The Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) grows large strap-like leaves from a large bulb. However, it is the outstanding large single or double blooms of pink, red, or orange that are its outstanding feature. Amaryllis bulbs are often purchased around the winter holidays and planted in flower pots usually 6 inches in diameter filled with potting soil. The bulbs are planted with the top quarter of the bulb exposed. When given moisture and light, the bulbs sprout and produce a bloom in six to eight weeks. After the bloom period, the amaryllis can be saved to bloom the next year.
Cut each faded bloom from the blooming amaryllis plant as the bloom fades. The amaryllis produces three to four blooms at the top of the main stalk. To properly cut the faded flower, use a pair of sharp scissors and snip off the faded bloom right behind the green swollen part of the stem just behind the flower. Don't cut into the main stalk that holds the other other blooms. Keep the soil moist around the bulb during the growth and blooming period.
Cut the main flower stalk down to 2 inches above the bulb after all the blooms have faded and are removed. The plant will continue to produce more leaves. Be sure the plant is kept in a brightly lit location. The bulb will use the energy from the leaves to produce blooms the next season, so growing healthy green leaves is an important part of the blooming cycle of the plant.
Allow the amaryllis plant to produce more leaves and care for the plant by adding a half-strength water soluble fertilizer every two weeks. Don't allow the soil to completely dry out. Amaryllis grow best in damp, but not wet or waterlogged soil.
Begin to withhold water and fertilizer when the leaves begin to yellow in late summer or early fall. When the lower leaves begin to yellow it means the amaryllis plant is going dormant. Continue to lightly water the plant, keeping the soil slightly moist until all the leaves are yellow or in decline. Once all the leaves are in decline, stop watering completely and allow the leaves and soil to completely dry out.
Leave the soil and bulb dry for eight weeks. At this time it can be re-potted into another pot or the potting soil can be changed. Be careful not to disturb the roots when transplanting. Also, be sure the amaryllis bulb has the top quarter of the bulb exposed after transplanting. Place in a warm bright location. After the eight weeks are up, begin to moisten the soil around the bulb until the bulb wakes from dormancy and begins to grow. After the bulb is actively growing, resume the water and fertilization schedule. The amaryllis plant will bloom again in eight to ten weeks.