Last year's amaryllis
After my water-grown amaryllis finished blooming last year and withered, I potted it. It has grown 6 beautiful big leaves and I did fertilize it. What do I do now? Will it bloom if I do nothing, or do I have to put it in a dark room and discontinue watering?
Putnam County West Virginia amaryllis
Amaryllis likes to be “crowded” in the pot. It is perfectly happy if the bulb has exposed shoulders (1/3 of the bulb should be above the surface of the growing medium in the pot), only an inch clearing from the sides of the pot and no more than two from the bottom. Being native to the tropical and subtropical Americas, most of amaryllis species go through very warm, humid, rainy season and period when they experience more dry conditions. So, these are the conditions that need to be reproduced when we grow them in our homes.
From your question I see that your amaryllis is in the growing stage. If you want it to develop a new flower stalk put it near the southern window where it will have plenty of sun and warmth. Water it regularly without allowing it to dry out completely. Make sure the water does not go over the exposed bulb’s shoulders. Apply slow release or liquid fertilizer every two weeks or so. Soon, you will see the new flower stalk starting to protrude from the center of the bulb.
It is interesting that the bloom time could be manipulated. If you want it to bloom for Christmas, keep it cool and dry. Expose your amaryllis to that quieter, dormant period. They need to be in the environment where the temperature would be about 55°F with bulb on a dry side. It will take eight to ten weeks before the bulb starts showing “signs of life” by pushing the tip of a new flower stalk out.
If you do not have a cool spot in the house, keep your potted amaryllis outside in the garden or on the deck till about the end of October (but do not allow it to freeze). At this point, place it inside at room temperature by the southern window and resume regular watering and fertilization. That warm temperature will encourage and speed up the leaf development. It will take about three weeks for the leaves to develop. Warm temperature is not necessary for flower stalk development. This time might be a good opportunity for re-potting if needed.