By: Liz Baessler
Amaryllis flowers are very popular early-blooming bulbs that make for big, dramatic splashes of color in the dead of winter. Once those impressive blossoms have faded, however, it’s not over. Storing amaryllis bulbs over the winter is an easy and effective way to get recurring blooms for years to come. Keep reading to learn more about amaryllis bulb storage and how to overwinter an amaryllis bulb.
Once the flowers of your amaryllis have faded, cut back the flower stalks to ½ an inch (1.25 cm.) above the bulb. Don’t cut the leaves yet! Your bulb needs the leaves in place to gather energy to make it through the winter and grow again in the spring.
If you move it to a sunny spot, it can gather even more energy. If it’s in a pot with drainage holes and your nights are warmer than 50 F. (10 C.), you can move it outside. If your pot does not have drainage holes, don’t put it outside – the rain will build up and rot your bulb.
You can transplant it outside into your garden for the duration of the summer, though. Make sure to bring it inside again if there’s any danger of frost.
When the foliage starts to die back naturally, cut it back to 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm.) above the bulb. Dig your bulb up and store it in a cool, dry, dark place (like a basement) for anywhere between 4 and 12 weeks. Amaryllis bulbs in winter go dormant, so it won’t need any water or attention.
When you want to plant your bulb, place it in a pot not much bigger than the bulb, with its shoulders above the soil. Give it one good drink of water and place it in a warm, sunny window. Before long it should start growing.
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Many of our customers who enjoyed the large, lovely amaryllis flowers their bulb produced this winter are now wondering how to keep the plant so that they can bring it into flower again next year. Here are directions for making sure your bulbs live and store up the energy that will be needed for future flowering.
After these flowers fade the bulbs will produce more leaves. They should be kept in a sunny window until they can go outside in May.
When amaryllis bulbs outgrow their pots, or if they came in a plastic container, transplant them into a clay pot with unblocked drainage holes.
In the fall move pots of dormant bulbs into a cool place such as this attached but unheated garage. Don’t let the bulbs freeze and don’t water the soil during this resting period.
Given this treatment your amaryllis bulbs can not only last from year to year, but they are likely to produce new bulbs that can either be left attached to the mother bulb or transplanted and grown on into large bulbs on their own. Come into the store for some good quality potting soil, fertilizer, and an assortment of pots that are perfect for these beautiful bulbs.
Your friend got you a lovely amaryllis bulb this holiday season and you have enjoyed the blooms. What’s next for this amaryllis bulb? The aftercare of your amaryllis all depends on the type of amaryllis as well as your motivation for blooms the next year.
Amaryllis bulbs will typically put on 1-3 sets of flowers. You will know that your amaryllis isn’t going to flower again this season when it starts to produce long green strap-like leaves. At this stage in the growth of your amaryllis, you will need to decide if you want to keep it for next year’s blooms or discard the bulb and start over next year with a new bulb.
For a traditional amaryllis bulb that was planted as a kit or bulb, there are more blooms and life to be had. During the first growing season after the bulb has set up a few sets of buds, flowered and then produced leaves it is time to prepare it for next year.
When the leaves have fully formed and you are preparing it for dormancy you will want to cut off the leaves and store the bulb in a dry, and dark location. Remove the amaryllis bulb from the pot and soil it was planted in and store it in a paper bag or container for dormancy. Protect from extreme heat and cold during the dormant period. Most likely depending on when you planted you will begin the storage of your amaryllis late winter to early spring. The bulb needs to sleep so it can save energy for next year’s growth and blooms.
In September to early October is when you will want to start waking up your amaryllis bulb. Take the amaryllis out of the storage container you have it in. Plant the amaryllis bulb like you did last winter with soil, water and sun to help it grow. Gradually exposing it to light can be helpful to give it balanced growth. Your amaryllis should be ready to bloom in time for the holiday season!
Waxed Amaryllis are one of the hottest gardening trends of the last couple of years. They are easy to grow and require no care at all. If your thumb is anything but green you will still be able to have success with waxed amaryllis.
Due to the nature of how they are prepared in wax and grown without water, soil or roots, waxed amaryllis are only good for one season. I do not suggest trying to re-plant your waxed amaryllis for the next season’s blooms as the energy in the bulb will be depleted. In addition to the lack of energy in the waxed amaryllis, you would need to remove the wax if you wanted the bulb to re-bloom which may be a difficult and unfruitful task. Therefore, the aftercare for waxed amaryllis is just as easy as the care for it, which is no care required.
Amaryllis bulbs are easy to grow for and can provide blooms for many seasons. Storing amaryllis bulbs in dormancy as suggested for next year is what is necessary to get the bulbs to bloom again. However, since bulbs are plants and plants don’t always obey the rules this may not work on all of your amaryllis bulbs. With the wide variety of choices and affordable prices on amaryllis bulbs you may want to consider buying new amaryllis bulbs each season as a fun way to have the biggest and boldest amaryllis blooms guaranteed.
Divide amaryllis before inducing dormancy. Twist off any side bulbs that have formed, and store for repotting. A refrigerator supplies the proper temperature and darkness level for storage.
Check the storing medium and bulb for excessive moisture regularly during storage to avoid rot.
Striking amaryllis is often forced into bloom near Christmas to add winter color to the holidays. Large red, white or orange flowers blossom in clusters from the top of a 2-foot tall flower stalk. After blooming, the amaryllis foliage continues to remain green, so it can collect and store nutrients for the next blooming period. Once the foliage dies back, amaryllis requires a period of dormancy in order to bloom again. Amaryllis planted in the ground experiences this naturally when winter comes, but potted amaryllis must be stored properly to force a dormancy period.
Plan to induce dormancy and store your bulb 16 to 18 weeks before you desire blooming. Store bulbs in late August or early September for Christmas blooms.
Move the pot into a cool, dimly lit area such as a basement or garage. Allow the leaves to brown and die back naturally.
Cut off the leaves 1 inch above the soil surface once they turn brown and die. Use sharp scissors or garden shears to avoid pulling on the leaves and damaging the bulb.
Lay down a sheet of newspaper, and turn the soil out of the pot onto it. Brush all the excess soil from the amaryllis bulb.
Fill a perforated plastic bag with dry vermiculite or peat moss. Place the bulb inside, and store it in a dark 50-degree Fahrenheit location for 8 to 10 weeks.
Replant the bulb in fresh potting soil inside a pot 2 inches larger than the diameter of the bulb. Water regularly and place in a bright, warm location to induce growth and the blooming period.
When orchids refuse to flower, they usually aren’t receiving enough light. When your plant is actively growing and developing new leaves, move it to a bright, east-facing window or place it under a grow light during daytime hours. This will help stimulate formation of new bloom spikes. Mix in diluted orchid food when you water to promote healthy leaf and flower bud growth. Phalaenopsis orchids also prefer warm indoor temperatures of 75-80° F during the day and 65-70° F at night. They thrive in high humidity, which you can furnish by placing a saucer of damp pebbles under the pot.
Although amaryllis are typically only sold around the holidays, they can be grown successfully year-round and bloom again as long as they receive proper care.
They key to re-flowering is simply making sure the plant stays healthy and growing. If your amaryllis has finished flowering, cut off the spent blooms to prevent the plant from going to seed. Make a point of only removing the spent flowers and leaving the flower stalk until it turns yellow or begins to wither. The flower stalk is capable of photosynthesis and will help create new energy that will recharge the bulb.
Next, place the amaryllis in the sunniest spot possible in your home. A window with a southern exposure is the best choice. The long, strap-like leaves of amaryllis will photosynthesize and create energy that is stored in the bulb and used to create future flowers. An actively growing plant will require frequent watering and fertilization. Water when the soil at the top of the pot is dry, and apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every 2-4 weeks. Once the risk of frost has passed in the spring, move your amaryllis outside for the summer where it can receive more sunlight. Like any other houseplant, the amaryllis should be gradually hardened before placing it in direct sun to avoid burning foliage. Start by placing the bulb in a shady place and gradually expose it to more sun each day over a week-long period. Once the amaryllis has adjusted to outdoor conditions, bring it into an area with full sun and continue to water and fertilize regularly. Bring the plant back indoors before the first frost.
There is likely no need to repot your amaryllis in the first season. Amaryllis actually grow best when they are slightly pot-bound and may only need to be repotted every three or four years.
Unlike other bulbs, Amaryllis does not require a dormant period in order to flower. However, if you want to time your plant’s bloom around the holidays the bulb must be forced into dormancy in the fall. When you bring your amaryllis indoors, store it in a cool, dry, and dark place. Let the leaves die back before cutting them off and do not water. After 10-12 weeks, move the bulb back into a bright, sunny place and begin watering and fertilizing once more. If your amaryllis has been well-cared for, you can expect to see flower development in 4-6 weeks.
Amaryllis bulbs are forced indoors for their large, spectacular flowers. Some individuals discard the amaryllis after flowering. However, it is possible to save the amaryllis and force it to flower on an annual basis. The key to successful reflowering is proper care.
After the flowers fade, cut off the flower stalk with a sharp knife. Make the cut 1 to 2 inches above the bulb. Do not damage the foliage. In order for the bulb to bloom again next season, the plant must replenish its depleted food reserves. The strap-like leaves manufacture food for the plant. Place the plant in a sunny window and water when the soil surface is nearly dry. Fertilize every 2 to 4 weeks with a dilute fertilizer solution.
The amaryllis can be moved outdoors in late May. Harden or acclimate the plant to the outdoors by initially placing it in a shady, protected area. After 2 or 3 days, gradually expose the amaryllis to longer periods of direct sun. Once hardened, select a site in part sun. Dig a hole and set the pot into the ground. Outdoors, continue to water the plant during dry weather. Also, continue to fertilize the amaryllis once or twice a month through July. Bring the plant indoors in mid-September. Plants left indoors should be kept in a sunny window.
In order to bloom, amaryllis bulbs must be exposed to temperatures of 50 to 55F for a minimum of 8 to 10 weeks. This can be accomplished by inducing the plant to go dormant and then storing the dormant bulb at a temperature of 50 to 55F.
To induce dormancy, place the plant in a cool, semi-dark location in late September and withhold water. Cut off the foliage when the leaves turn brown. Then place the dormant bulb in a 50 to 55F location for at least 8 to 10 weeks. After the cool requirement has been met, start the growth cycle again by watering the bulb and placing it in a well-lighted, 70 to 75F location.
Keep the potting soil moist, but not wet, until growth appears. The other option is to place the plant in a well-lighted, 50 to 55F location in fall. Maintain the amaryllis as a green plant from fall to mid-winter. After the cool requirement has been met, move the plant to a warmer (70 to 75F) location.