Amaryllis is a great holiday gift. This blooming bulb gives a wonderful display all season for its blooms last a long time.
This is a genus of about 80 species found in Central and South America in a range of habitats. Many large flowered hybrids have been bred for cultivation in containers.
If you are starting a bulb from scratch, count back from when you would like to see the bloom - about 6-8 weeks. Mid-October would be good. Plant the bulb in a six inch or eight inch pot with the shoulder of the bulb above the soil level. Place in good bright light but not full sun. Water thoroughly initially then sparingly until growth begins. Allow the pot to dry slightly between watering. By doing this the root system will be stimulated. Using a clay pot will anchor and stabilize the often top-heavy growth. You may have to stake the stem.
After the season let the bloom normally die back then cut the stem(s) near the top of the bulb. Do not water and let the bulb go dormant. You can summer outside for larger bulb growth.
To achieve another holiday blooming season continue the entire steps again (see Emily's Mail, below). Do repot in new soil to replenish nutrients. Probably by mid September, let the bulb go dormant from the summer. Essentially you will be forcing the bulb once again.
Emily: What do I do with my Christmas Amaryllis?
Dear Emily: Please tell me how to store my Amaryllis bulb until summer and how to get it started again.
A: After you have force bloomed it for Christmas let the bloom normally die back then cut the stem(s) near the top of the bulb. Do not water and let the bulb go dormant. Store in a cool dry place at 55-65 degrees F.
In the spring move the pot outdoors or plant in your garden. Water and fertilize with a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus (that's the middle number of the fertilizer code). Leaving it outdoors will enhance the bulb growth.
To try to get them started again, pull it out of the pot by, say, Labor Day. If there are any baby bulbs, cut them off and use them separately. Then just follow the instructions that you bought with them again starting in, say, mid-October.