When buying an Amaryllis bulb you can find them either as just a bulb or already potted. If it is already potted and growing, then simply water and provide plenty of sunshine. No fertilizer is required until later, after the blooms fade. Allow it to go dry between watering.

If you are buying just a bulb then you must pot it into either a 6.5-inch pot or 7-inch pot. Fill the pot half full of a good, loose potting mix and place the bulb on top and fill in around the bulb with soil. The top 1/3 of the bulb should be exposed above the pot. Water a couple of times to thoroughly moisten the soil but do not water a second time until there are signs of growth.

Heat is the key to growing the Amaryllis. 70 to 80 degree temperatures day and night will ensure a quick start to your bulb. Starting your plant on top of the refrigerator where it can receive warm, bottom heat is a good idea. But once the new growth gets started, you should move your plant to a cooler spot or you will get a weak and spindly, tall plant that will require a support to keep it from toppling. Sunshine is important, and, rotating the plant often to prevent the stem from growing in one direction.

It is easy to get an Amaryllis back into bloom again next year but it must be treated properly throughout the remaining season. Once the flowers have faded simply cut them off allowing the foliage to remain. Water as needed allowing the soil to become dry between watering. Start fertilizing about once per month with your favorite general purpose fertilizer and keep in a sunny window. When all danger of frost has passed in the spring, set your pot outside in a sunny location or simply plant it in the ground.

In the fall, allow the frost to “nip” the foliage, even to the point of turning the leaves black. Bring the plant back inside, cut off the foliage just above the bulb and store in a dry, cool (55 degrees) and dark place such as a basement for 8-10 weeks. Then repot and care for your Amaryllis as described earlier in this story.

The Waynedale News Staff

Doug Hackbarth - Broadview Florist & Greenhouses

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