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 is easy and certainly worth the effort.
The trick to coaxing your amaryllis to flower again pretty straight forward. The plant needs rejuvenating care so come next fall, that big beautiful bulb has enough stored energy to deliver another glorious show.
Here’s how to get your amaryllis to rebloom.
Snip Off the Spent Blooms and Stalks
As individual amaryllis flowers fade get out a pair of scissors and snip them off. This keeps the plant from developing seedpods which requires quite a bit of the plant’s energy. Instead, you want to direct that energy back into your amaryllis 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 a half 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 build up energy. This energy is later stored in the bulb and that’s what powers the amaryllis rebloom next season.
Give Your Amaryllis Sunlight and Moisture
During the late winter and spring, keep your amaryllis happy and thriving. Place the pot on a sunny window sill and add just enough water to keep the soil lightly moist. During this period, treat your amaryllis like any other indoor plant that needs these basics to flourish.
After blooming, the amaryllis bulb may look slightly shriveled. Not to worry, this is normal. Read on to see how to strengthen and plump that bulb back up so it’s ready to deliver another stunning show.
In Late Spring Move Your Amaryllis Outside
When outdoor temperature have warmed to 60 overnight, it’s time to move your amaryllis outside for a summer vacation. The easiest way is to take the plant – pot and all – and tuck it into an existing garden or flower bed that gets good 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.
Next give your amaryllis a little time to acclimate to the stronger outdoor light. This keeps the foliage from sunburning while it gets used to the brighter sunlight. Place your potted amaryllis in a spot that gets morning sun only or is in dappled shade. Either situation is brighter than your windowsill setting but not as intense as a full sun spot.
Allow your amaryllis to acclimate for a week or so.
Plant Your Amaryllis, Pot and All
If you have space in your garden, there’s a super easy way to keep your amaryllis happy. Simply dig a hole, place the pot rim-deep and tuck the soil back around the pot sides. Encircling the pot with soil protects the bulb from the daily temperature swings that can occur on toasty summer days. And the plant will enjoy the same watering cycle – rain or irrigation – that keeps the rest of the garden thriving.
Leaving the bulb in the pot also makes it easy to bring the amaryllis indoors when chilly fall weather arrives.
If there’s no garden bed space, your amaryllis can stay in it’s pot on the edge of a patio or deck. Just keep an eye on soil moisture as small containers may heat up and dry out more quickly without the insulation of the garden bed.
When first placed outside the amaryllis leaves may flop over, especially if they’ve grown quite long. Don’t worry. New, stronger leaves will develop.
Feed and Water Your Amaryllis
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.
Feed your amaryllis with a water-soluble houseplant food every couple of weeks. Additional nutrients are needed because the pot’s soil is probably pretty depleted and the plant needs a consistent supply of food to bulk up for it’s big show. Follow the label instructions and don’t add more than the recommended amount of fertilizer. Resist the urge to over love your plant – more is not better.
Let your amaryllis soak up the fresh air and sun all summer. Ahhhh.
Let Autumn Weather Trigger Dormancy
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 back. 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 typically occurs when night time temperatures dip to the 50s F.
Before Another Big Show, Give Your Amaryllis 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 you want to avoid.
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, not growing.
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 isn’t any 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 glass until the bulb 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. This variation ties to cultivar, room temperature and even the individual bulb. It’s okay, just 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 can to rot the bulb. Shoot for soil that’s very lightly moist.
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 Your Amaryllis to Rebloom
Can amaryllis be coaxed to bloom more than once a year?
No, the plant can’t produce the energy necessary to deliver its big floral show more than once a year. That impressive show 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 gathering nutrients to support growth after the energy inside the bulb has been used up. Sadly, waxed amaryllis won’t rebloom and should be discarded after flowering.
My bulb was forced in a vase with water and pebbles; can I get it to rebloom?
Water-forced amaryllis may not rebloom the first year. This forcing approach requires amaryllis to sit with their roots in water, which offers no access to nutrients. This leaves the plant pretty depleted. Because of this, your amaryllis will need extra time to strengthen before it’s able to put on an impressive show.
The leaves on my plant are really long; is this normal?
Very long, floppy foliage is due to insufficient sunlight. Many indoor window sills offer less light than amaryllis prefer. Relocating your plant to a sunny site outdoors for the summer will help.
Can I leave my amaryllis outdoors year round?
If you live in a part of the U.S. where the soil doesn’t freeze – generally zones 8b to 10 – amaryllis can be grown outside in the garden. Given time they’ll expand into stunning multi-bulb clumps with oodles of flowers. There are a couple of amazing clumps near our offices in southern California. However, if the soil freezes in winter in your region, don’t leave your amaryllis outside. It will die if left outside over the winter.
Can I make my amaryllis rebloom without giving it a summer vacation outside?
Yes, absolutely. You’ll need a bright, sunny window 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.