The University Record, January 11, 1999

It bloomed. It was beautiful. Now what?

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services

Whether it was red, pink, striped or pure white, that amaryllis you received as a Christmas gift was beautiful while it bloomed. Now what do you do with it?

Michael Palmer, a horticulturist at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, says once the flowering is done, the flower stalk or stalks (not the leaves) should be cut off, and watering, along with a water-soluble fertilizer, continued.

Your amaryllis needs to be “recharged” for next year’s flowering season, Palmer says. To enjoy blooms next year, Palmer suggests plunging the plant, clay pot and all, into the garden after all danger of frost is past. If the plant is in a plastic pot, Palmer recommends removing the pot and planting the root ball (without disturbing the roots) in the garden. Regardless of the planting method, the plant should be watered and fertilized throughout the summer.

Before frost in September, Palmer says to bring the bulb indoors and stop watering it. In November, the amaryllis should be repotted by removing some of the old soil from the roots and replacing it with new. Then, water the plant well, and wait for new growth to begin the cycle again.

“Eventually your amaryllis will create ‘pups’ (new bulbs),” Palmer says. “You can transplant the pups to new pots. These pups will take two or three years to bloom, but then can continue to bloom for many years.”

The amaryllis (Hippeastrum hybrids) is an easy-to-grow flowering bulb, which gives weeks of glorious color when forced to bloom during winter’s drab months.

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