Rejuvenating Amaryllis blooms

What to do when a Christmas amaryllis gift no longer blooms.

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This is a common situation that occurs when the bulb is not mature enough to produce a flower stalk.

After the flowers have faded, apply an all-purpose liquid fertilizer once every two weeks until midsummer. You may even move the plant gradually outdoors to get more sunlight.

Switch to a high-potash fertilizer to hasten ripening of the bulb and to ensure a flower stalk. Discontinue feeding by mid-fall and halt any further watering. Allow the bulb to go dormant at a cool temperature (10°C) for about 10 weeks or until new growth (usually a flower bud tip) appears first. Leave the bulbs in their pots.

This induced dormant period is a requirement for these plants. As amaryllis plants dislike root disturbance, for the first three to four years after planting, remove just a little of the soil on top and between the roots. Repot completely every three to four years, just before new growth appears.

Amaryllis bulbs may not always flower by Christmas Day, but I have heard of one plant that flowers three times a year!