Many people wonder if you can get amaryllis bulbs to rebloom. Yes! It’s easy because amaryllis are forgiving plants.
Amaryllis benefit from a summer outdoors. For best growth and bloom potential, remove them from pots and plant them in the ground.
“The flowers faded months ago, but I can’t bear to throw it out. I’d like to save it and see if I can get it to bloom again. What should I do?”
Blooming amaryllis bulbs make spectacular holiday gifts and recipients invariably want to keep the plants in hopes of a repeat performance and to honor the gift-giver. Fortunately, amaryllis are forgiving plants. All they need to bloom again is a season in the garden to replenish the bulbs. Giving the bulbs a summer vacation of fresh air, sunshine and moist, fertile soil is the best way to keep them healthy and to increase their size and flowering potential.
After the blossoms have faded, cut off the flowers, but leave the stalk until it withers. If any leaves have grown, leave them alone. Continue to water and feed the plant regularly with a liquid houseplant fertilizer, such as All-Purpose Plant Health Care.
In spring, when the danger of frost has passed and daytime temperatures are above 50 degrees F., you can plant your bulb outdoors. It’s important to give it a slow transition to outdoor living. A couple of weeks of protected exposure to the sun and wind will prepare the bulb for life in the garden. For the first week, put the potted plant outdoors in a shady place out of the wind. If nighttime temperatures are predicted to go below 40 degrees F., bring them indoors in the evening and set them back out in the morning. In the second week, introduce them to morning sun or full exposure on cloudy days. Continue to protect the foliage from hot midday and afternoon sun. Keep the soil in the pot barely moist during this transition time.
After the transition time, it’s safe to plant the bulb in the ground. Choose a site with well-drained, fertile soil that gets four to six hours a day of morning sun and afternoon shade. Avoid hot, sunny areas. To encourage strong root and bulb growth, mix some granular fertilizer into the soil. Be sure to follow the recommended application rate.
Tip the plant carefully out of its pot and gently unwind any circling roots. Set the plant into the garden soil so that the neck of the bulb is an inch or two above ground. Backfill with the amended soil, firm it gently, and water thoroughly.
During the summer, protect the plant from slugs and snails. Feed with liquid fertilizer every six weeks. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. The goal is to keep the bulb growing vigorously. Strong foliage feeds the bulb and produces more flower stems and buds.
In late summer, usually by mid- to late August, stop watering and fertilizing the amaryllis plant. Let the foliage die back naturally, but protect it from freezing. In September — or if frost threatens — dig the bulb from the garden and plant it in a pot indoors. Trim the roots only if necessary to get the bulb into the pot. For detailed potting instructions, read How to Pot an Amaryllis Bulb. Let the soil in the pot dry out and the foliage die back. Store the bulb in a cool, dark and dry place for a minimum of two months.
About five to eight weeks before you want the amaryllis to flower again, resume watering — sparingly at first. Once you see sprouting, increase watering and place the pot in a cool place with bright, indirect light.
—Ann Whitman, Gardener’s Supply