Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) is an indoor flowering bulb that traditionally blooms here in the northeast during the winter months, making them a fabulous alternative to poinsettias for the holidays. With proper care, you can keep your bulb and have it re-bloom for you year after year.
When potting up the amaryllis, choose a pot with an opening about one inch wider than the diameter of the bulb. Be sure the pot has a hole for drainage. Clay is the preferred type of pot. Use a light weight potting soil that drains well. Plant the bulb so that the upper 25% of it is exposed. Never cover the crown with soil as this will lead to rotting. After planting, water the pot thoroughly.
As with all plants, there are two important factors in caring for your amaryllis: light and watering.
Proper light is one of the most important factors for optimum plant growth. For an amaryllis, this means a spot that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Move the plant out of direct sunlight when flower buds start to show color.
Correct watering is next. Never let the plant stand in water, and never over water!! Use your finger to determine how wet or dry your amaryllis is. Simply stick it into the plant’s soil to feel if it is drying out. While flowering, water your bulb thoroughly when approaching dryness. At other times, you can allow it to dry out slightly in between watering.
After your amaryllis has finished blooming, the leaves will continue to grow for a few months, and you can begin fertilizing it until the foliage starts to die back. At this point, you can allow it to go dormant, gradually withholding water until the leaves die back completely. You can then place the tuber in a cool dark place for 2-4 months. After dormancy, you can repot it, begin watering it regularly and place in bright light. With proper conditions, it should re-bloom for you!