Amaryllis are such a wonderful flowering houseplant in the bleak winter months. Their easy care and bright cheerful colours make them a popular choice for gift giving at Christmas time. Traditionally amaryllis bulbs were sold either as a ready to plant kit or already planted and growing in a pot with soil. These are often grown in a soilless medium like coconut hulls but certainly can also be planted in a traditional potting soil. In either instance they needed to be treated like any other house plant that requires minimal care. Frequency of watering will always be different from home to home based on humidity, but it is normal for amaryllis to only need watering every 7-10 days.
In following the latest trends you will often see them sold as a single bulb covered in wax. These require absolutely zero care. In fact it's not really even possible to water them. These are very popular as a gift item, especially for elderly people who have small living spaces as they take up very little room. Often they will have multiple bloom stocks and usually flower for about 4 weeks.
So the question is - what do I do with my amaryllis after it's done flowering? Many people think of them simply as a long lasting alternative to a cut flower arrangement, so when it is done flowering they simply throw it away, but for those who want to keep their amaryllis over, there are a few simple steps to follow to have it successfully rebloom year after year.
The first step is to get (or keep) the amaryllis growing and healthy in a pot of soil. If the bulb was already planted simply care for it as any other houseplant. If the amaryllis bulb is covered in wax it will be necessary to remove the wax and any other coverings from the bulb. Sometimes under the bulb there is almost a balloon like plastic wrapped around the bulb to keep the moisture in. Remove any sort of packaging from the bulb and plant it good quality potting soil in a pot that is 6" in diameter or larger. The planted amaryllis bulb will need to be watered weekly and fertilized monthly so it can build up energy in the bulb to produce the beautiful winter blooms. Continue to water and care for your amaryllis through the spring and summer months. It will produce lots of green leaves.
In order for an amaryllis to re-bloom it will need to be forced into a dormant period. In late August/Early September give it one final drink and place it in a cool dark place (ideally a basement) for storage. It can be stored in its planted pot, or if preferred it can be removed from the soil and be stored just as a bulb and be replanted when it's brought out of storage. It will need to stay in dormancy for 6-10 weeks. After that time it should be placed in a nice bright window and given a small amount of water. It will take a few weeks to show signs of growth. Once it starts actively growing it will need regular watering the same as any houseplant. It should bloom around 4-6 weeks after it is brought back out of dormancy.