The amaryllis (hippeastrum sp.) is a popular houseplant that blooms in lovely, up to 6-inch-diameter flowers. The large blossoms come in shades of white, orange, salmon, pink and red, sometimes with two-tone colors. Amaryllis plants are grown from bulbs and are most common as houseplants given as gifts during the winter holiday season. These flowering plants add unexpected color and beauty during the winter months. Amaryllis plants are easy to care for, but they do require some special treatment in order to get them to re-bloom the following year.
Basic Amaryllis Care
Pot your amaryllis bulb in a container that's 1 to 2 inches wider than the bulb and that has drainage holes in the bottom. Fill the container with a mixture of equal parts loam or potting soil, peat moss and perlite. Plant the bulb so that the top one-third to half of the bulb is above the soil level.
Place the amaryllis in a sunny window, such as one that has southern exposure. Maintain normal indoor air temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees F.
Water your amaryllis deeply and thoroughly until the water drains from the bottom of the pot. Water the amaryllis only when the soil feels dry to the touch.
Rotate the container a quarter or half turn each day after the foliage growth emerges. This will help to keep the amaryllis growing upright.
Stake the amaryllis as the flower stalk begins to grow tall to support the stem. Insert a small wooden stake into the soil beside the flower stalk and tie the stalk to the stake with string.
Feed your amaryllis once every two weeks year-round with an all-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer. Follow the dosage directions on the package.
Deadhead the flowers to remove the blooms after they begin to fade. Cut the wilted flower stalk back close to the soil level, but keep the leaves intact.
Getting Your Amaryllis to Re-Bloom
Stop watering your amaryllis in late summer, but continue to fertilize it and keep it in bright light. Place the amaryllis in a cool location with air temperatures of 50 to 60 degrees.
Move the amaryllis to a dark location that's away from direct light after the leaves turn brown and die back.
Repot the amaryllis bulb in mid-winter into a container that's no more than 2 inches wider than the bulb. Keep the top half or one-third of the bulb above the soil level and pot the bulb in the same well-draining mixture.
Move the amaryllis to a sunny spot, such as beside a south-facing window, in late winter. Resume watering the amaryllis regularly, allowing the potting soil to dry out slightly between waterings. The amaryllis should sprout new growth, as well as a new flower stalk that will bloom.
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Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.