If last winter’s amaryllis was just the blast of big, bold color needed to pull you through, of course you’ll want to enjoy that display again. (Besides that bulb wasn’t cheap, right?) With just a little insider info, you’ll find that getting your amaryllis to rebloom isn’t difficult.
The trick to coaxing your amaryllis to flower again pretty straight forward. The plant needs rejuvenating care so come next fall, the bulb has enough stored energy to deliver another glorious show.
Here are the steps for successfully getting your amaryllis to rebloom.
First, Snip Off Blooms and Flower Stalks as They Die
As individual amaryllis flowers fade, snip them off. This keeps the plant from developing seeds, which requires quite a bit of energy. Instead, you want that energy directed back into your amaryllis plant to strengthen it for future flowering.
When all the blooms on a stalk have finished flowering and the stalk begins to turn yellow and weaken, cut it off. At this point it is no longer of use to the bulb and it’s not attractive. Snip the stem off one inch above the bulb.
While snipping, take care not to cut off any green foliage. The plant needs these leaves to photosynthesize, using sunlight, carbon dioxide and water to create energy. This energy is later stored in the bulb and that’s what powers the amaryllis rebloom.
Give Your Amaryllis Sunlight and Moisture
During the late winter and spring, keep your amaryllis happy and thriving with morning sun on the window sill and just enough water to keep the soil lightly moist. During this period, treat it like any other indoor plant that needs these basics to flourish.
When Outdoor Temperatures Warm, Move Your Amaryllis Out for the Summer
The easiest way to set your amaryllis up for success is to take the plant – pot and all – and tuck it into an existing garden or flower bed that gets early day sunlight.
First, make sure your amaryllis is in a container with a drainage hole so excess water doesn’t build up around the roots. If there is no drainage hole, repot your plant.
Then dig a hole and place the pot rim-deep and push the soil back around the pot sides. Having soil encircle the pot protects the bulb from the daily temperature swings that can occur on toasty summer days. If the unprotected pot is placed in direct sun, the pot, soil and bulb can overheat on sunny days and the bulb can suffer.
Leaving the bulb in the pot also makes it easy to bring the amaryllis indoors when chilly fall weather arrives.
When first placed outdoors, the amaryllis leaves may flop over, especially if they’ve grown quite long. Don’t worry. New, stronger leaves will develop.
Provide Your Amaryllis with Food and Water
Water your amaryllis as needed to keep the soil lightly moist. Keep in mind that consistently wet soil can lead to root rot, so this is not a case where more is better. For best results, water early in the day, not during the hottest part of the day.
To ensure that your amaryllis has sufficient nutrients, add water-soluble houseplant food every 2 weeks. The goal is to replenish the plant’s depleted state after flowering, but don’t add more than the recommended amount of fertilizer. This is another case where more is not better.
Let your amaryllis soak up the fresh air and morning sun all summer.
As Autumn Approaches
With the onset of cooler fall temperatures, typically in September, your amaryllis foliage will begin yellow. This is a sign that your plant is slipping into its natural resting/dormancy period. Ease up a bit on watering, gradually reducing moisture as the leaves die. Trim off the spent foliage at the neck of the bulb, leaving anything that is still green.
When most of the leaves have started to yellow, pop the container out of the garden and bring it indoors. This is typically when night time temperatures dip to the 50s F.
Before the Big Show, Your Amaryllis Need a Nap
Amaryllis bulbs need at least 6-8 weeks of dormancy or rest, and are fine with a bit more. Cool temperature encourage the bulb to stay dormant; warm temperature can prompt premature sprouting which may negatively affect flowering.
Store your amaryllis inside, in a dark, cool site such as a unheated basement or garage. (Do not allow the bulb to freeze.) The ideal temperature range is 45-55 degrees. Note that amaryllis bulbs can be stored in the refrigerator during this resting period, but should not be placed in a fridge with fruits and vegetables. Many types of produce give off ethylene gas as they ripen and this will kill the flower sprout inside an amaryllis bulb.
Do not water your amaryllis during dormancy. It’s sleeping.
This resting period is required for amaryllis bulbs to rebloom.
Waking Up Your Amaryllis/Breaking Dormancy for Rebloom
After the require dormancy period has past, bring your amaryllis into a room with light and warmth. Give the bulb a good drink. It’s not necessary to place the amaryllis on a sunny windowsill at this stage as there’s not top growth yet. And as window areas in northern regions can be 10-15 degrees colder than the rest of the room, it’s often best to place the pot away from the window until it sprouts.
Tip: If you have several amaryllis bulbs, staggering the timing for breaking dormancy is one way to ensure that you have flowers for weeks and weeks.
Some amaryllis start to sprout in just a week or so, while others may take 5 to 6 weeks to get growing. Be patient.
Resist the urge to water your plant. Until the plant has new leaves, stems and flowers to use that water, excess moisture has nowhere to go, will sit in the soil and is likely to rot the bulb. Shoot for very lightly moist soil.
Now you’re ready to restart your amaryllis bulb growing again. Here’s a growing guide to help with that: Amaryllis Planting Guide
FAQs: Getting Amaryllis to Rebloom
- Can amaryllis be coaxed to bloom more than once a year? No, the plant cannot produce the energy necessary to deliver its big floral show more than once a year. A show that impressive is hard work – whew!
- How do I get my waxed amaryllis to flower again? Unfortunately, covering a bulb in wax suffocates the roots. Those roots are essential for growth after the energy in the bulb is depleted. Consequently, waxed amaryllis won’t rebloom and should be discarded after flowering.
- My bulb was forced in a vase with water and pebbles; how can I get my amaryllis to rebloom? Sadly, water-forced amaryllis don’t usually rebloom. This forcing approach requires amaryllis to sit with their roots in water for weeks, weakening the roots. Strong roots are required for absorbing the energy-building nutrients your amaryllis needs to rebloom.
- Can I leave my amaryllis outside year round, to rebloom in the garden?
- If you live in a part of the U.S. where the soil doesn’t freeze – generally zones 8b to 10 – amaryllis can be planted in the garden and grown outdoors year round. Given time they’ll grow into impressive, multi-bulb clumps with oodles of flower stalks. There are a couple of stunning amaryllis clumps near our office in southern California.
- If the soil freezes in winter in your region, don’t leave your amaryllis outside. They will freeze and die if left outside over the winter.
- Can I make my amaryllis rebloom without giving it a summer vacation outside? Yes, it’s possible, but takes a little more attention. You’ll need good sunlight and regular monitoring of watering and fertilizing. Keep in mind that you’re goal is not just to keep the amaryllis happy as a houseplant, but to also build up its strength so it’s able to deliver another big (exhausting) show.