Can Amaryllis Bloom Again?

Can amaryllis bloom again?

It’s holiday time and for many that means amaryllis as a gift plant.

Many gardeners as well as non-gardeners love to grow amaryllis. I counted myself in the former group.  That is, until I thought it would be great to have an amaryllis rebloom the following year.

The amaryllis belongs to the tropical plant world. That means for us here in New England an amaryllis becomes a houseplant.

Amaryllis ‘Red Lion’ [Courtesy of Target]

A few years ago I received the Smith and Hawken amaryllis called ‘Red Lion’ as a Christmas gift.  I had never grown an amaryllis before and I was excited to try it.

In early January I potted it according to the instructions and it grew just fine.  First the plant’s long green leaves appeared, and then the large red flowers followed.

The colorful blooms lasted for a couple of weeks. I was happy with the result.

When the plant’s flowers dropped, I simply tossed the contents of the pot in the compost bin. That was my happy first experience with the amaryllis.

Advice

Four years ago I bought three amaryllis bulbs. I thought the group of three would add a burst of indoor color over those chilly weeks of winter. I chose the variety called ‘Minerva’ which blooms with bright pink and white flowers.

After they finished blooming in late March, I wondered if this group of three bulbs would rebloom the following winter.

I asked some of my Master Gardener friends what to do. 

All of them insisted on the need for a dormant period for the bulbs of about three months. I needed to have the bulbs rest in a dark, low heated area of my house, like the basement.  This was of course after I had left them outside in their pots for the entire summer.

So I followed their advice.

Then I placed the three pots in the bright light of the dining room sun in early January. Over several weeks each grew long green leaves but no flowers of any size ever appeared.

What was I doing wrong?

I decided to try again the following year.

More Advice

This time I consulted an amaryllis expert I met in the spring at Boston’s Flower and Garden Show.  For their dormancy period she advised I store each of the potted bulbs in a separate large brown bag in my cellar for three months.

After the three months, it was January and time to bring them out of the basement.

I placed each of the pots on a separate stand in front of the dining room window. The leaves grew well. I waited patiently for the flowers to follow, but no flowers ever emerged.

That was two years ago.

This past year I did the same thing. Three brown bags in the cellar followed by light and water in the sunny dining room in January.

Again no flowers appeared.

When I complained to my gardener friends, none of them could give a satisfactory answer. They only raised questions. Did I have them outdoors during the summer in their pots?  Was I careful to keep them in a dark place for several weeks?

Amaryllis ‘Pink Piper’ [Courtesy of White Flower Farm]

Recently I received a beautiful garden catalog from White Flower Farm. The cover and the first twenty-three pages are dedicated to the amaryllis. Beautiful photos of different amaryllis varieties fill each page.

This year I think I might just buy a new amaryllis bulb.

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Comments

  1. Kath Anderson says:

    I live and garden in MN. and have had great success with amaryllis reblooming. Here’s what I have done for many years
    1. cut off the flower stalk after it has flowered and subsequently browned, leave the leaves
    2. treat as a houseplant (although not the prettiest) continue watering the bulb until the weather in your area is appropriate for you to plant the bulb in a sunny garden spot
    3. treat the bulb as you would any other garden plant, checking for bugs and watering on a regular basis, you want to encourage more leaves
    4. in September, gently dig up the bulb, wash dirt off, let dry out (do this is a shed or garage or some enclosure as the little rodents in your neighborhood will LOVE to eat the bulbs) and let it go dormant in a cool/warm place
    5. when totally dry, bag up in a paper bag and leave for 3 months – keep in cool spot but protect from freezing
    6. around Thanksgiving, take it out of the bag and pot up
    7. water and give a drink of water soluable fertilizer
    8. leaves and subsequent bud should make their way upward!
    At one time I had 17 amaryllis bulbs of varying sizes, many were the babies of original bulbs I received as gifts or as cast off from others who didn’t know what to do once the flowers were gone!

    • Hello Kath, thank you so much for the detailed instructions on how to have the amaryllis rebloom. The steps are quite clear. It is apparent that you have had success with this method. That makes it tempting for me to try.
      Makes me look forward now to my amaryllis gift under the tree.
      Merry Christmas.

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