Amaryllis flowers have become very popular during the Christmas season to bloom indoors. They are very easy to care for and provide beautiful large flowers from red, pink, salmon, to even striped that bloom for a couple months. As the flowering period winds down, you may wonder can an Amaryllis bulb be used again?
Can an Amaryllis bulb be used again? An Amaryllis bulb can be used again if you allow the leaves to grow to provide energy for the bulb to use next season and make sure the bulbs do not freeze.
With just a bit of work, you can be able to reuse your Amaryllis bulbs year after year! Read on to learn the steps necessary to prepare your bulb to go dormant and bloom again the next year.
Can an Amaryllis Bulb be Used Again?
If you have a potted Amaryllis bulb that has begun flowering, there are a few things that you can do to help keep the bulb in great health to reuse next year. An Amaryllis bulb can be used again if you make sure to allow a long enough time for the leaves to take in energy and then prevent the bulb from freezing.
Amaryllis are tropical plants that originate in South America. If you think about the area in which this plant is native, you can get a better understanding of how to keep it healthy throughout flowering and then bring it to bloom again the following year. At The Grow Monster, we always make sure to understand the natural growth patterns of plants to help us cultivate them better in our own garden.
Some people receive waxed Amaryllis bulbs to bloom during Christmas and winter, and those have a bit of different care. You can read this article to learn how to treat a waxed Amaryllis bulb after it blooms.
Will Amaryllis Bulbs Grow Outside?
Even though many people grow Amaryllis bulbs inside during the winter, you may wonder will Amaryllis bulbs grow outside too. Amaryllis bulbs will grow outside but since they are tropical are only hardy in zones 9 and above, zone 8 if covering in winter. Otherwise, you will need to dig them up before the first frost and bring inside to overwinter and then replant in spring once all danger of frost has ended. You can check when your first and last frost are by entering your zip code in the box at the Farmer’s Almanac here.
Since most people force Amaryllis bulbs to bloom during the winter, if you are planting them outside, it may take a few seasons for the plant to re-adjust to spring blooming. If you are purchasing the bulbs new to plant in the spring, then you shouldn’t have this problem.
When you dig them up to save over the winter, you want to treat them similar to the Calla Lily rhizomes and cut back any foliage, let the bulbs cure, and then store in a cool, dry place over winter until you are ready to plant them in the spring after all threat of frost is gone. When you take the bulbs outside to plant in spring, check to make sure that none have rotted- they should be firm. NOTE: do not store the bulbs near fruit, as the release of ethylene gas impairs flowering.
Should I Cut Off Dead Amaryllis Flowers?
While your Amaryllis bulb is in bloom, make sure to keep it away from very direct sunlight because that will make the flowers wilt faster. Each flower stalk will have multiples flowers coming from it. As each individual flower begins to wilt, you can cut that flower off. Once all the flowers on the stalk have wilted, you can cut the entire flower stalk off the bulb.
Cutting the spent flower stalks off the Amaryllis bulb encourages new flower stalks to grow. Take care not to damage the bulb while cutting the stalks. The flower stalks are hollow, this is why we make sure that the bulb has a couple inches sticking out of the ground or pot. When cutting the flower stalk, leave about an inch sticking out of the bulb to dry. This cures the hollow end of the stalk to prevent excess moisture or mold from affecting the bulb while it is still flowering and producing leaves.
As you cut the spent flower stalks, you will notice more stalks growing. Your Amaryllis bulb should continue flowering throughout the next 7-10 weeks. Take care not to cut back any leaves while cutting the spent flower stalks. The leaves are important to help the bulb start to store energy for blooming the following year.
When to Cut Back Amaryllis Leaves?
Throughout the period of bloom time, the Amaryllis bulbs will also start to grow leaves. Do not cut back the leaves while the Amaryllis is still flowering. The leaves help the bulb collect and store energy for the following year. If a leaf gets damaged, you can cut the damaged part off; but take care not to damage or remove the leaves if you want to reuse your Amaryllis bulb.
Once the Amaryllis bulb is done flowering, usually after a blooming period of about 6 weeks, the leaves will continue growing. Sometimes, Amaryllis bulbs that are forced during the winter season will not grow leaves until after the bulb has already produced the flower shoots. Let the leaves continue to grow even after the bulb is done flowering. This is the key to answer the question can an amaryllis bulb be used again. The leaves are important to help the bulb store energy to continue living and bloom the next year.
Larger Amaryllis bulbs may have multiple bloom periods lasting 7-10 weeks. Be mindful of this while your bulb is in bloom.
Once the leaves start to turn yellow and die back, you can cut back the Amaryllis leaves. This signals the bulb has the energy needed to bloom again the following year. You can remove your bulb from the pot or dig it up from outside. Make sure that it is not mushy and remove all the dirt from it. You want to make sure to dig the bulbs up before any frosts, otherwise they will be ruined. If you live in the warmer zones 9 and above, or zone 8 with covering, you can let the Amaryllis bulb stay in the ground over the winter.
If you are going to store the bulbs over winter, there are a few extra steps to follow to protect them from rotting in storage. Cut all the leaves and flower stalks leaving about an inch above the bulb. Then, cure the bulbs before storage to use again the following year. Store in a cool, dry place that is protected against frost.
Will Amaryllis Bulbs Multiply?
Amaryllis bulbs multiply by growing additional, smaller, bulbs on the main bulb. These smaller bulbs are known as daughter bulbs. It can take at least 3 years for a daughter bulb to be large enough to produce flowers. It is a long and slow process to propagate Amaryllis bulbs which is why individual bulbs can be more expensive than bulbs like Tulips and Daffodils.
As the Amaryllis starts producing daughter bulbs, you will want to leave them attached to the main bulb. This is because Amaryllis bulbs actually prefer crowding to grow better. If you do wish to separate the daughter bulbs from the main bulb take care not to damage either while separating. Remove your bulb from the container or dig it out of the ground and remove the dirt around it. Take the bulb and snap off the larger daughter bulbs. If you are having a hard time separating them, it may be best to just leave them connected for another year.
Whether you are enjoying your Amaryllis blooms during the winter indoors or outside in a sunny climate, you can reuse your bulbs again and again. Some people even claim to use the same bulbs for decades! As long as you take care of the bulb while it is flowering and allow the leaves to collect enough energy for the following year while keeping your bulb out of the frost you should be able to enjoy Amaryllis flowers for years to come.
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