New amaryllis bulbs can be bought at this time of the year. Whether you are buying them for yourself, or for gifts, buy the biggest you can afford and follow the instructions because these bulbs are preconditioned and all set to bloom. However, if you still have the amaryllis plants that flowered last winter, those bulbs need a period of dormancy in order to come into flower again.
Putting Your Amaryllis Bulbs Into Dormancy
- Take your pots containing the bulbs to a dark cool spot (but not below 50F) such as a basement and withhold water for about 6 weeks so that the leaves wither and brown.
- If you have a potting bench in a frost free garage or shed, it is traditional to turn the pots on their sides under the bottom shelf to rest.Wherever or however the pots are positioned they must not freeze and they must have a period of rest before starting a new cycle of bloom.
- When you are ready to wake them up again after at least 6 weeks, remove the dead foliage and place the pot under grow lights or on a sunny window sill and begin watering again.
- Soon (3- 6 weeks), the plant will send up a flower stalk with a bud shaped like a horse’s ear which is why the botanical name for amaryllis is hippeastrum.
- Amaryllis don’t need to be repotted frequently because they like a tight fitting pot with the upper part of the bulb exposed. Cut down the flower stalk when the bloom fades to prevent seeds forming.
- Water sparingly until the spring when the pots can be set out doors for the summer.
- You can top dress the pot with new soil if you wish but be sure to fertilize regularly during the summer so that the bulb stores energy for next winter’s bloom.