Amaryllis is a favorite plant to have in the home around the holidays, but it can also be forced to bloom any time of the year. Originally from South America, Amaryllis plants boasts large bright flowers that can light up any room. The blossoms, of which there are usually 4-6 per plant, come in red, yellow, pink and white. If properly cared for, Amaryllis can last for several years.
Amaryllis are usually sold in bulb form although you can find some plants already potted up and growing. They do require a dormancy period but have most likely already gone through that by the time they are in stores.
The bulb should be planted in well-draining soil and in a well-draining container. Regular potting soil for houseplants will work fine. The container does not need to be much larger than the bulb itself.
Amaryllis prefer direct sun light and room temperatures. A windowsill makes a great place for it. Once growing, rotate the pot periodically to keep it growing straight. Once it starts blooming, move it out of direct light to keep it blooming longer.
Amaryllis do not like soil to be overly wet. Water just enough to make the soil moist, allowing it to dry out in between waterings.
Once the flowers have died, cut back the flower stalks but do not cut back the leaves. The plant needs these to continue to create energy for the bulb. Use a general houseplant fertilizer at this point.
In order to rebloom, the bulb must go through a dormancy period. This done by placing it in a cool, dry location, such as a basement. Do not worry about light during the dormancy period as it is not needed by the plant. Remove the leaves after they yellow and die. Also, do not water the plant during this time.
After 6-8 weeks, the Amaryllis will start to regrow. At this time, return it to a sunny location and begin caring for it as above. By following this process, Amaryllis can bloom several times each year. In order to have it bloom for the holidays, it is necessary to begin the dormancy process in late summer or early fall.
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