How To Save Your Amaryllis Bulbs For More Gorgeous Blooms Next Season

Amaryllis flowers are a fan favorite among newbies and experienced gardeners alike. While you can grow them in your garden, they're often given as houseplant gifts. Thanks to their cheerful red faces, they're a fan-favorite around the holiday season, adding a pop of cheer to any living or dining room they're placed in. It really helps to spice up your holiday decor. However, once the blooms fade and the leaves begin to wilt, some people assume it's time to toss them into the trash can. But if you enjoyed their blooms, you can actually save the bulb and have it grow again next season. All you have to do is help it go dormant, and it should start sprouting again come early spring. In fact, one single bulb can continue to flower for years, so it's definitely worth saving if you enjoyed how it looked on your coffee table or kitchen island! 

By helping the amaryllis flower go dormant, you're able to control the plant's bloom time. Rather than letting it waste energy on growing leaves all winter long, you can make the bulb go into a type of slumber, which will have it store its energy to later produce petals. Then, you can either keep it as a houseplant or plant it outside in your garden. Whichever you choose, you will be able to enjoy those red blooms once more. Here is how to save your bulbs so they grow big and colorful come spring.

How to save your amaryllis bulbs

In order for your bulb to release showstopping blooms, it needs to store enough energy to create the flowers. That means you have to help it go dormant. To do so, wait until the stalk has turned yellow and then cut it down to a 1/2-inch nub. This will stop the plant from sending energy and resources to the stalk, storing it instead. However, leave the plant's leaves intact. You can trim them back only when they have browned and shriveled on their own. To help the bulb go dormant, put the potted plant in a cool, dark room such as a your basement or garage. You want the temp to hover around 55 degrees, so make sure it's sufficiently crisp in the room. Leave it there between two to three months, and act as if you have completely forgotten about it. That means you stop watering it and ensure it gets no sunlight. Your mantra is going to be "out of sight, out of mind."

Once the dormant period is up, remove the plant from its dark location and put it next to a sunny window. Water it thoroughly and give it a boost in nutrients with a plant fertilizer, such as Miracle-Gro's Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food, which you can get for $10 at Home Depot. Small stalks should begin to sprout from the bulb, and you should see healthy blooms within a month.

Caveats to keep in mind

While this process is extremely easy since you set the pot in a dark room and forget about it for a few months, there is some light maintenance you need to do to ensure the bulb stays healthy. Mainly, you should check the bulb periodically for any mold. If you spot some, it might mean that the bulb is decaying. If it has soft spots, it might be on its way out, but if it's still firm to the touch, simply treat it with fungicide. A good one to try is Daconil, which you can get for $21 at Home Depot.

Secondly, if you check on your bulb while it's meant to be dormant and you notice it growing shoots, immediately remove it from the dark room, place it in front of a window, and water it. Seeing growth means that the plant hasn't gone dormant yet and is still producing energy, so you want to allow it to go through its natural cycle before trying to make it go to sleep again.