19 November 2010

Getting your amaryllis to rebloom


November is a funny month, and I mean funny peculiar, not funny ha-ha. Days when the sun is out and everything is awash in golden light, I appreciate and even revel in the natural world around me. Days like the last few, which have been varying shades of grey with sometimes heavy rain, make me want to pull the covers over my head, drink coffee and read books until the sun comes out again. That’s okay, except such behaviour doesn’t pay the bills! We are, however, rewarded sometimes with splendid sunsets, and those cheer me and give me something to celebrate for Skywatch Fridays.

Thank you for all the comments and suggestions following my previous post. To follow up with a request I had via my Facebook Fan Page, I know that many people are perplexed with trying to get amaryllis to rebloom. I normally have no problem with getting them to come around in subsequent years, providing two things:

1. That I didn't water-force them. I find forcing bulbs of any sort in water will so exhaust them that it's not worth the effort to try to bring them around again. The exception would be if you planted your amaryllis bulb into soil after it finished blooming, so that it could take up nutrients and store them.
2. That I'm using quality bulbs, such as those sold by Halifax Seed, Botanus, or GardenImport. Those cut-price bulbs at grocery stores, bigboxes, etc? They're generally lower-grade, smaller bulbs and while they might come back in subsequent years, I find the better the quality the more likelihood of success.

So, for reblooming: after your amaryllis bulb has finished blooming, cut the spent flowerstalk off and let the foliage grow through the winter. When the risk of frost is past (late May here in my part of Nova Scotia, may be earlier or later where you are, put the pots of amaryllis outside for the summer, watering occasionally if needed.

When the leaves begin to fade, and before autumn frost, remove the bulbs from their pots, cut the leaves back to the neck (the top of the bulb from whence the growth comes), clean the dirt off and store the bulbs in a cool, dry, dark place for 6-8 weeks. Some people leave them in the pots, but I like to give them a complete break from any temptation to grow. Remember to store them somewhere that is free of any ripening fruit; apples, pears and other fruit give off ethylene gas as they ripen, and this gas can kill the flower embryos inside bulbs.

At the end of 6-8 weeks, replant your amaryllis bulbs in fresh potting mix, and bring them into a well-lit, but not hot, location; I normally put mine in the east-facing windows of the kitchen or office. Usually, the bulbs will start to grow shoots within a couple of weeks, and flower within 6-8 weeks of this replanting.
I stress that USUALLY, amaryllis bulbs will behave in this manner following such treatment. Not always. And then there was the time I forgot they were downstairs (in my defence, it was the autumn of major surgery) had bought several new ones...and found the old ones quite dessicated, some months later. They made good compost.

14 comments:

  1. Ooooh, this is good info! I knew they needed a rest period in the fall so I put mine into a dark room and have been waiting for the foliage to drop off. Nothing yet, so I will follow your steps... cut down the foliage and move it out to the garage (not freezing) for 6-8 weeks. I've never had them bloom before and I am anxious. Do they need to be fertilized ever?

    Thanks!
    Amy

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  2. Thanks so much Jodi for that information on re-blooming of amaryllis...I'm planning to get at least one BIG bulb from Den Haan's...and have asked for another for my birthday so will definitely use you recipe for re bloom on these!
    Sherry in AR

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  3. I love amaryllis. They are one of my favorites! Gorgeous blooms.

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  4. Great information! And you are so right about November. We are still very much in Autumn here, but I can tell the brink of winter is close. Those cold, gray days are precursor of more to come. Of course, our winters are short, so I can complain - but really they are an opportunity for me to catch my breath before spring arrives.

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  5. Dear Jodi, Good information, as always. Beautiful amaryllis pics. Pam x

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  6. Thanks Jodi for the tips - I never realised that the fruit bowl gas could kill the little flowers inside the bulb - that is so good to know. :)

    Normally I use the fruit bowl effect to bring bromeliads back into flower.

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  7. That is a gorgeous sky picture Jodi girl ! the flowers ain't bad either ? LOL
    I have been going through a name change to my blog so of course talk about headaches getting back in the groove .. I am now at
    http://canadiangardenjoy.blogspot.com/ .. it was a little more individually Canadian as a name eh!
    Joy : )

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  8. You might find it interesting to know how amaryllis go in the the gardens of the tropics. I have them in boarders and clumps in various places around the garden. They always have leaf, but bloom enthusiastically at the end of winter - following a cold(er) and dry time. In these conditions they naturalise into clumps, which will bloom better if divided every few years (which is why I have them everywhere).

    I have seen some well established and impressive boarders of amaryllis, especially in the cooler sub-tropical areas. They always bring a smile to my face!

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  9. So, I am assuming that one thing I shouldn't have done was leave them outside to freeze. Forgot about them completely, and just brought them in. Let's see if they are hardy, LOL.

    Great advice.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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  10. Thanks for these excellent tips, Jodi! I had my amaryllis outside all summer and then brought them in a few weeks ago. But I haven't cut them back, and they're probably in too warm a place. Hopefully, I still have time to correct these mistakes--nothing like these gorgeous blooms during February!

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  11. Great info, Jodi. I'm sending this to my mom, as she's a determined Amaryllis grower who has irregular results with the reblooms some years. :)

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  12. It is indeed a beautiful sunset, and it is amazing to see such a dramatic display of colours as the sun makes its exit into the night. Jodi, these are good tips on growing the amarylis bulbs. I have started growing bulbs and now I will be looking out for amarylis too.

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  13. One of mine is starting to get leaves but I totally forgot to give them their time in the dark. Hopefully, they won't mind and bloom anyway. I do love those gorgeous blooms.

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  14. Hi Jodi,
    You're not going to believe this but my Amaryllis finally bloomed this month!!! I followed your steps and it worked!! Thanks again. Thought I would share the blog post I wrote about it. You can see the pictures of my blooms too...

    http://www.getbusygardening.com/2011/04/amaryllis-blooms.html

    Amy

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