Monday, March 3, 2008

Caring for Amaryllis Bulbs

by Ralph Powell
from the Winter 1999 newsletter

After flowering in the spring the plants are allowed to continue growing with as much sunlight as possible either in pots or in the garden. Potted plants and extra bulbs can be planted in the garden when frost danger has passed. The bulbs should be covered with any foliage above ground.

In late summer or early fall when the leaves begin to yellow and frost becomes likely it is time to allow them to become dormant. Stop watering the plants in the pots. You can cut back the foliage, removing the dead leaves, and store them in a cool, dry place. Those in the garden can be dug up. Remove any side bulbs and allow them to dry out later, removing dead leaves and shriveled roots. Store in a cool, dry place until you are ready to repot them. Bulbs can be repotted in containers with good drainage, preferably using a rich, porous potting mixture. Bulbs not potted can be planted outside later.

In potting, at least one third of the bulb should be above the soil level in pots one to two inches larger than the bulb. New growth can be stimulated by “light” watering and a warmer environment. Do not overwater. Watering can be increased when the new flower stalk is growing vigorously.

After blooming the leaves should be encouraged to grow with plenty of sunlight. They and smaller bulbs saved from the previous year can be planted in the garden after frost damage is unlikely. You may want to fertilize the plants depending on the soil.

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