When the weather gets cold in Minnesota, we turn to plants that we can grow indoors. One of the most striking of these plants is Amaryllis bulbs.
Native to Central and South America, Amaryllis usually bloom in the spring outdoors. In cooler areas, Amaryllis can be forced to bloom at different times of the year, usually around winter holidays. It can take the bulbs 1-2 months to begin blooming so they should be planted in early to mid-November for holiday blooms. Different varieties bloom at different times, planting multiple varieties will extend the bloom season.
Amaryllis are top-heavy when blooming, use a heavy pot with a wide base to prevent them from tipping over. Start with moist, good-quality potting soil. Fill the pot a little more than half full and place the bulb on top of the soil. Add more soil, leaving the top third of the bulb exposed.
Water sparingly to keep the soil barely moist and place in a cool room with bright, indirect light. When the flower bud starts to appear out of the top of the bulb, begin rotating the pot every few days to keep the stem straight.
Blooming & Beyond
When the flowers start to open, keep the plant cool to extend the bloom time. Clip off faded blooms and, when the stem has finished blooming, cut it to 1” above the bulb. Leaves will begin to emerge from the bulb after it finishes blooming. At this point, you can toss the bulb or keep it to get it to bloom again next winter.
Keep the plant in bright light and water sparingly throughout the winter. After the danger of frost has passed, place the Amaryllis outdoors. Fertilize once or twice a month and keep the soil barely moist.
In late Summer to early Fall, stop watering and place the plant in a cool location away from bright light like a basement or garage. Take care to not let the bulb freeze. The leaves will wither and fall away, and the bulb will go dormant.
After 2-5 months, repot the bulb using fresh soil. Water and move to bright light. The Amaryllis bulb should bloom again in 1-2 months. Some Amaryllis have been known to bloom for 75 years!