My amaryllis has bloomed, now what? -Washington Daily News

My amaryllis has bloomed, now what?  -Washington Daily News

My amaryllis has bloomed, now what?

Posted at 3:47pm Friday, December 1, 2023

I was talking to someone from Washington Park last week and she asked me, “What do you do with your amaryllis bulbs after they bloom? Can you put them outside since they're forced to?” The short answer is yes but let's talk about how to do it.

Terra Ceia, loosely translated, means “where heaven meets earth or heavenly earth.” The area is aptly named if you've ever witnessed one of the stunning sunset views that can only be had from the sky above. Dutch immigrants settled in the Terra Ceia area around the early 1940s looking for a place to grow flowering bulbs. They established Terra Ceia Farms to grow the cut flower industry and later created a thriving market for flowering bulbs. They donated a number of Dutch Amaryllis (genus Hippestrum sp.) to the Terra Ceia Fall Auction School fundraiser and my wife bought me one a few years ago. The bulb was already planted and was just before sending out the flower stalk.

Although I knew what amaryllis were, I had never grown them. I had to do a little research on bulb and flower care. As it did, the long flower stalk began to grow. My kids and I watched and even tried to measure daily growth. We soon found ourselves impatiently waiting for the flowers to bloom. We had five flowers and we were betting on how the colors would turn out. One by one, they began to open, revealing a red flower with what could only be described as a white sunburst pattern near the base of the flower. As we watched, we began to notice a second flower stalk emerge from the bulb. We are now waiting to find out how many flowers this flower will have. This leads me to the question: What do I do with them after the flowers are gone?

Amaryllis is a general term that describes plants in both regions Amaryllis And Hippestrumsex. They are different. Affiliated plants Hippestrum The genus is hardier (USDA zone 7a) and we usually see it in ornamental beds. Most of the plants Amaryllis Genus (USDA Zone 8a) in our area as houseplants unless protected. In our area, we can get away with plants in zone 8a most years but not always.

Firstly it is important to understand that the plant does not typically flower in late fall or mid-winter, but rather in late winter to early spring. The bulb was forced to flower early by keeping it in a cool, dry place for several weeks. Most spring bulbs need a period of cool weather to stimulate flowering. This does not mean that it cannot be grown outside, but there are some necessary steps to ensure success. When the flowers begin to wilt, cut the flower stem near the top of the bulb. Start by fertilizing with a liquid fertilizer mix once a week or use a single application of slow-release pellets sprinkled over the potting soil after flowering. Water when the soil feels dry and keep it indoors until all danger of frost has passed.

Once the threat of freeze death has passed, acclimate the plant to the outdoors by placing it outside for a few hours at first for a few days and then all day for a few days. Plant outside in a sunny to part shade bed with well-drained soil. Plant as you planted it in the pot, so that a third of the bulb is above the surface of the soil. Do not allow the bulbs to dry completely. To help conserve moisture and reduce weed pressure, use a layer of mulch around the bulbs.

Once planted outdoors, the plants will return to their natural flowering cycle. Amaryllis are adaptable to many locations and are usually resistant to deer and voles. Please remember that resistance does not mean that they will never be harmed by these animals but that the potential for harm is low. Learn more about this plant and others by visiting our Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox at Amaryllis are a wonderful addition to your landscape and will continue to bloom for many seasons!

If you have a question to submit, please email Gene Fox at If you're having trouble growing it in your home landscape, ask a master gardenerpoison Volunteer (EMGV's) through the Blacklands Area Horticulture Facebook page or visit the Extension office located at 155 Airport Road in Washington, NC!

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