What to Do with Amaryllis Bulbs After They Bloom
I’m a plant lover and it’s hard for me to throw out a plant — especially a houseplant. I tend to keep them around for years. Like the Christmas cactus in my office that my son brought home from first grade…back in 1994. But I feel differently about amaryllis.
Storing amaryllis bulbs from one year to the next is a bother and you can’t always count on getting flowers. With a freshly-purchased amaryllis bulb, I know I’ll get great results every time. So I treat amaryllis like I do fresh flowers. Once a bulb has finished blooming, I simply throw it out.
Here’s the way I look at it. The price of an amaryllis bulb is less than the price of a supermarket bouquet. And while that supermarket bouquet lasts barely a week, an amaryllis bulb will give me 3-4 weeks of flowers plus the fun of watching it grow.
Sometimes the spent bulbs get stashed in the basement and don’t make it to the compost pile until spring. But they do eventually get tossed. It took me years to become this hard-hearted, so if you can’t bring yourself to throw out your amaryllis bulbs, I understand.
Our article All About Amaryllis will give you the basics, or read on for a quick overview.
Getting an Amaryllis Bulb to Rebloom
After the flowers have faded, cut off the stems to within an inch of the top of the bulb. If you grew the bulb in water rather than soil, transfer it to a pot filled with moist growing mix (making sure the top 1/3 of the bulb is exposed). Put the pot in a bright window and continue watering as needed, keeping the soil barely moist. Fertilize monthly, using a standard liquid houseplant fertilizer.
When spring arrives and the weather has settled (several weeks after any danger of frost has passed), put the potted bulb outdoors in a partially shaded location where it will be protected from the wind and won’t get too wet. Continue to care for your amaryllis as you would a houseplant, watering and fertilizing as needed.
When fall approaches (well before any danger of frost), bring the potted bulb indoors. Put it in a cool, relatively dark place (garage or basement) and stop watering. This will tell the bulb that it’s time to rest and initiate flower formation. After 6 to 12 weeks, gently remove the bulb from the pot and pull off any dry leaves. Replant the bulb in fresh potting soil and care for it as you would a newly purchased bulb.