Amaryllis are a great investment – Ask the Gardener

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Dear Rick,

Hi. Can you tell me how to store Amaryllis bulbs?  Can I plant them in the ground after they stop flowering?  Thank you.



Dear Lisa,

Amaryllis bulbs produce huge colorful flowers during the bleak days of winter and are very easy to grow. Think of the Amaryllis bulb as a battery that needs to be recharged after flowering. After the flowers are spent cut off the flowering stalk and continue to water and fertilize the plant in a sunny window as it sends up at least four long leaves. In the spring after the fear of frost is over place the bulb and pot in a sunny part of your garden and water and fertilize all summer. The Amaryllis like to be a bit root bound so you can keep the bulb in the same pot for a couple of years before transplanting it. The leaves will continue to produce nutrients for the bulb so it can bloom during the winter months.

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By late summer, early fall, stop watering the plant and allow the leaves to die back and cut them off. Place the potted bulb in a dark cool area, like a cool corner of the basement for 10 to 12 weeks so it can rest. In late November or early December place some fresh potting soil around the bulb, leaving at least half of the bulb above the soil line. Place it in a sunny window and water just enough to wake the bulb up. Too much water can rot the bulb before it actively begins to grow. When you see the flower buds developing begin to increase watering. In six weeks the bulb will flower again.

I used to work with a woman who had a thirty-year-old Amaryllis bulb that had grown to be very large. Every fall it would send up at least six flowering stalks with four flowers per stalk! As it grows it will produce smaller bulbs that can be removed and potted up for future flowers. Amaryllis is a great investment and with a little bit of work it can reward you with its beautiful huge flowers for years to come!

—Rick Patterson, Avid Gardener


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