House Plants/Amaryllis

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Question
Received a wonderful Amaryllis bulb/plant as a gift.  I think I understand about how to water but still wonder if I should also "mist" it or not

Answer
Hi William,

Misting may help keep the foliage clean in a dusty environment, but it does not raise the humidity as is commonly believed. It certainty does no harm to mist, but the benefits are not significant. Humidifiers and pebble trays do raise humidity but Amaryllis is not a plant that requires high humidity anyway.

Proper care of Amaryllis is a bit complicated and not generally understood. That is because Amaryllis have a fall dormant period that is required for flowers during the holiday season.

After your Amaryllis has finished flowering, cut off the entire flower stalk at its base. By then you should have several strap-like leaves. It is important that these leaves grow strong and healthy in direct sunlight so they can restore the bulb over the course of the next 7-8 months. Do NOT repot your Amaryllis as it must stay potbound in order to bloom again. Water the soil thoroughly as soon as the top half-inch of soil is dry. Once per month, fertilize with a basic plant food, but at half the recommended strength. The inportant thing is to provide as much direct sunlight as possible throughout the day. An uncovered south window is best. Keep up this routine until early September.

In the early fall stop watering completely. Allow the leaves to yellow and die back. It will look ugly, so you can cut off the leaves as they discolor. In the fall, the plant does not require any light. Because it is rather unattractive as it goes into dormancy, it is best to stick it out of sight where it will stay completely dry.

After 8 weeks or more of dormancy, your Amaryllis will be ready to be awakened. Do this by taking the plant to the sink and thoroughly soaking the soil and roots in the sink just once. Again, do NOT repot it. Move it to a warm location. After a few weeks you will see new growth emerge from the top of the bulb and flowers will emerge about a month or so after taking it out of dormancy. If you provided good light through the summer and proper dormancy through the fall, then the new growth will be a flower stalk. Otherwise, you will get just new leaves, in which case you will probably have to repeat the process and wait until the following year to get flowers.

Amaryllis require quite a bit of attention for most of the year and then flower for only a week or two each year. However, as the bulbs age they become larger and start to produce multiple flower stalks with more flowers.

I have written detailed articles on Amaryllis care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com. I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

If this information has been helpful, please click the Rate Volunteer bar below and enter a rating and NOMINATION for me. I am a volunteer on this site so Ratings are the only compensation I receive for answering plant questions.

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or email me at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com or call me at 917-887-8601 (EST)
 
Regards,
Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC

Visit my website at: A link to HorticulturalHelp.com  

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Will Creed

Expertise

I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.

Experience

I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

Education/Credentials
BA, Amherst College

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