Overwintering Amaryllis

Growing Tips
Amaryllis are among the easiest bulbs to force successfully indoors. They're so beautiful and long-lasting, you'll want to have these sumptuous, sophisticated flowers growing indoors all winter long. You can put amaryllis anywhere in your house you want to add fun and color. Remember to protect tabletops from moisture or water damage by placing potted amaryllis on pot saucers or plates set on a waterproof coaster or cork pad.

A few tips for keeping amaryllis happy!

1. Water sparingly until growth begins.

2. Keep plant in bright light – until flower opens.

3. Once the flower begins to open, move the plant out of direct sunlight or high heat areas, so its blooms will last longer. Place in a cool spot when not at home for longer bloom time. Sources of heat to avoid: radiators, refrigerators, direct sunlight.

4. Sometimes amaryllis become top-heavy and tippy – though this pot should be heavy enough to keep your plant upright. Still, should this become a problem, here are some techniques to try:

  • add a little more soil (top-dress),
  • stake the plant with a few sticks or pencils , secure the stem with to these supports with a lasso of ribbon, string or raffia
  • double pot (place this pot into a larger heavier pot, to provide more stability)
  • if a stem does topple, it's okay to cut it: now pop it in a vase!

5. Water regularly once growth is underway, keep soil moist not soggy. Let water run out the bottom drainage hole and pour away. Never let the pot sit in a water-filled saucer this causes the bulb and soil to get water-logged.

6. Each stem will produce four or more flowers. As each bloom fades, snip it off. When all blooms on a stem have faded, cut the entire stem off about an inch from its base.

7. Your bulb will probably produce a second stem with four more flowers. Don’t assume the show is over after the first stem-full fades. Sometimes a 3rd stem pops up.

8. If you like, toss your bulb after all blooms are past. Or keep it growing to bloom again for years to come. See Amaryllis Rebloom.

Step-by-Step Amaryllis Re-bloom

 To bring amaryllis back: Following are optimal conditions. Probably more than one needs to know. For most people, ideal conditions are not always possible. Don’t worry! Just get as close as you can to the following — the amaryllis is a trouper and will do its best to accommodate.

The main things to do:

  1. feed it
  2. keep it in a pot that is sized “just right” and not too big
  3. keep the soil moist, never soggy – do not over-water
  4. In the fall, give the bulb a rest for about 8 weeks – then start it up again for rebloom (follow notes below)

Winter through Fall: Amaryllis Growing & Rebloom Tips

  1. Fertilize amaryllis regularly during the growth cycle starting one month after planting (when active growth is underway). Use regular houseplant food such as Miracle Gro or another general plant food applied 1 x per month. Or use a long-lasting, balanced, timed-release fertilizer, applied as needed.
  2. After the bloom cycle finishes, cut off the stems just above the bulb nose.
  3. Continue to grow the plant in bright light, watering regularly to keep soil moist.
  4. Over the summer: keep the pot watered, fertilize monthly. If you like, keep it outdoors.
  5. In September, bring the pot inside (if out).
  6. To reflower the bulb, stop watering the plant, and place the bulb (still in pot) in a dry cool place or closet for 8-10 weeks.
  7. Do not store the plant near ripening fruit (such as apples) which emit ethylene gas. This naturally occurring gas damages flower development.
  8. After 8-10 weeks, add a little more potting soil to the pot, or, if you like, repot it.
  9. To repot in fresh soil: Fill the soil under and around the bulb with potting soil. Leave the “shoulders” of the bulb exposed (the top 1/3 of the bulb). Use a pot sized only slightly larger around than the bulb itself. Usually a 6- or 8-inch pot is perfect. For a more dramatic display of flowers, plant three bulbs with flowers of the same color together in a broad-based pot sized just big enough to hold all three bulbs. All pots must have drainage holes.
  10. To initiate growth, a warm site is best. Cooler sites are fine once growth commences.
  11. Water thoroughly to “start up.” In subsequent weeks, water sparingly. Once growth emerges, water regularly to keep soil moist (never soggy) and resume a fertilizing program.
  12. The amaryllis will bloom again, about 8 weeks after the first watering.

Warmer Zones (USDA zones 8-10): Outdoor Planting
In warmer areas amaryllis can be grown outdoors. Bulbs may be planted outside in spring after threat of frost is past. Plant the bulb with the base of the bulb 8-inches deep (so the top is about 3-inches deep). Protect over-winter with 2- to 3-inches of mulch. Amaryllis fare best in climates with approximately 9 months of temperatures of 70 F and up and 3 months of less than 60 F. Expect one bloom cycle per year, in late spring.