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Amaryllis care

Q: A friend gave me a beautiful amaryllis this winter. How should I care for the bulb and will it to bloom again?

Susan Goode, Keene, NH

A: Dotti Schultz, editor of the  McClure & Zimmerman  bulb catalog, replies: It’s quite easy to coax your amaryllis into bloom again. After flowering, cut back the stem and keep the pot of foliage in a warm place with good light. Water regularly, keeping the soil moist but not soggy, and apply houseplant fertilizer about once a month to build up the bulb’s strength.

Once it’s reliably warm outside, move the amaryllis outdoors and either sink the pot into the soil or display it as a container plant. Water and feed for at least 6 to 8 weeks. In late July, gradually reduce watering and feeding. By September, stop watering and allow the soil to dry out completely. Cut off the remaining foliage, put the pot in a cool location (50°F to 60°F) such as a basement, and allow the bulb to rest for 10 to 12 weeks. Cool temperatures during this period are the key to successful rebloom.

In November or December, remove the bulb from its pot, clean off any loose outer scales and dead foliage, leaving firm roots intact. Repot it in good potting soil and a clean container no more than 2 inches wider than the bulb itself. Move the pot into a warm, sunny location and water as before. In about 8 weeks, the amaryllis should reward you with beautiful blooms once again.

From Fine Gardening 66, pp. 82