Amaryllis Bulb Care After Blooming

If you’re reading this, you have probably reached the point where you’re wondering how to care for your amaryllis now that is done blooming. Planting the bulb and waiting for it to break dormancy was the easy part. All the work to get your amaryllis bulb to bloom was done by the grower. Whether the amaryllis blooms again will be up to you and how you care for it.

Amaryllis Bulb Care After Blooming




Some gardeners who grow amaryllis bulbs don’t bother caring for the bulb after it has finished blooming. I’ve been told by many that they compost them just like the other bulbs they force inside during the winter. To me, this seems crazy because an amaryllis bulb can be successfully grown for years to come. Generally speaking, you will get one bloom from your amaryllis after you potted it. Larger, quality amaryllis bulbs may produce a second or third scape and bloom again this winter. I have found that the amaryllis bulbs sold in kits are usually only old enough to bloom once, but like with everything else in gardening--expect the unexpected.

If you planted your amaryllis bulb in the plastic pot that came with the kit, now may be a good time to slip that pot into a sturdier, heavier pot for house plants. The heavier pot will keep your amaryllis bulb from tipping over, either from the weight of the leaves, or from a pet or family member brushing up against it.

An easy way to protect against your bulb tipping over is to give it a “ponytail.” Take a section of raffia, twine or something similar. Grab all the leaves in one hand and loosely tie all the leaves together in the center so they more or less stand straight up. Now you won’t accidentally knock your amaryllis over if you brush past it, and the floppy leaves will not cause your bulb to tip over to one side.

Lighting


Amaryllis bulbs need strong, direct sunlight. These bulbs are not good low light house plants. If you were brining your bulb out of dormancy in a dark location, you may have noticed it leaned to one side as the scape was developing. Ideally your bulbs should be grown in a south facing window. A window that faces west is your second best option. Bulbs that are not getting enough sunlight will grow long and stretched-out leaves that are a light green color. The floppy leaves make your bulb prone to tip over, which is why I recommended tying them together. As winter turns into spring and the amount of natural light increases you can untie your leaves.

Watering


If you planted your amaryllis bulb in the cocoa coir that came with the kit, make sure your “soil” does not dry out completely. Coir is hard to get wet again once it has completely dried out. Keep your coir “soil” evenly moist. If you planted your bulb in house plant potting soil that you are familiar with, water your bulb like you do your other house plants. Take a look at your amaryllis bulb, is it as thick as it was when you planted it, or do you see signs of shrinkage? In after-blooming care of amaryllis bulbs, watering is very important. Your bulb just expended a lot of energy in producing the flower, leaves--and if you pollinated your amaryllis flower--in producing seeds pods and seeds. The next thing you need to think about is fertilizing your amaryllis bulb.

Fertilizing


As I mentioned above, you may have noticed that your bulb is a little smaller than when you planted it. This is because your bulb has just run the gardening equivalent of a marathon, and it needs to refuel. When you first plant a dormant amaryllis bulb you don’t need to do any fertilizing. All the work to get it to flower for you was done by the grower. You just need to give it warmth and moisture to wake it up. Feeding your amaryllis bulb is very important.

After your bulb has flowered, produced leaves and roots (this is important) start fertilizing your amaryllis twice a month at full strength with a fertilizer formulated for flowering plants. I prefer a fertilizer that I can add and dissolve in a watering can, but the type (organic or synthetic?) and the brand name is up to you.

Do not use an all-purpose fertilizer, and do not dilute it. Over the late winter, spring and summer, you will need to replace the energy in the bulb that it used to bloom for you, and prepare it to bloom again the following winter.

In the spring and summer, I like to either plant my amaryllis bulb in the ground or in a very large container garden. There I continue to fertilize it using the same fertilizer for flowering garden plants. If you’re lucky, you may get another scape to produce and bloom in the middle of summer. But properly watering and fertilizing your bulb starting in late winter will result in impressive growth and possibly more than one flowering period the next winter. I have also noticed that after I have forced the bulb to go dormant in the fall after it has spent the spring and summer in the garden it will shrink down a bit. So it is best to bulk up the bulb in preparation for the next blooming period.

What's your favorite fertilizer to apply to your amaryllis to get it to bloom again?


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