‘Is there life after Christmas for my amaryllis?’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 16, 2018

Repot the bulb with fresh potting soil, so that the top half is exposed.

A blooming amaryllis bulb is a perfect Christmas gift but … “What do I do with the bulb after the holidays”?

Good news — these large showy flower bulbs can be saved for next year’s holiday.

Cut the flower and the stalk an inch or so above the base of the bulb after bloom. Place the plant in a sunny location and water throughout the winter as you would any houseplant.

After the danger of frost is over, bury the plant, pot and all, in the flower garden, or mulch heavily in a flower bed. Choose a protected location with filtered light.

Water and feed your bulb with a complete liquid fertilizer every two weeks.

Unearth the pot in September and bring potted bulb indoors and place in a dark location on its side for 6 to 8 weeks. Carefully remove the wilted leaves close to the bulb and store the bulb in a cool, dry location that is 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not water the bulb during this resting period.

Repot the bulb with fresh all-purpose potting soil, placing the bulb so that the top half is exposed. Firm the soil around the bulb but don’t pack too tightly.

Keep the soil moist and place in a sunny, cool location in the home with temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees, avoiding drafts and forced-air heating vents.

Keep the soil evenly moist but not damp. Excessive temperatures promote tall, weak, spindly growth. The flower stalk may flop over when temperatures are too high.

Note: bulbs that fail to bloom usually do not have enough resting time.

It takes some work to save an amaryllis for the next season, but the results are worth it.