The exotic beauty of amaryllis may seem intimidating, but amaryllis are actually very simple to grow. Plant them in a pot eight to ten weeks before you’d like them to bloom. Plant them with the stem tip and top of the bulb poking out of the soil. Place them in a warm, sunny location and water them to keep the soil evenly moist, but not wet. With proper care, amaryllis produce at least two or three softball-size blooms.
Cut the stems with a sharp knife or hand pruning shears after the plant has bloomed and the flowers are wilting. Cut it 2 inches above the bulb. Discard the spent flowers and stems.
Leave the foliage intact. The foliage continues to grow, providing nutrients through photosynthesis for subsequent blooms. Water it to keep the soil evenly moist. Allow it to dry out in between waterings. Once per week is usually adequate.
Fertilize the amaryllis with a slow-release fertilizer, according to package directions. Amaryllis are heavy feeders and need fertilizing after blooming, and every two to four weeks when actively growing, according to Iowa State University.
To force last year’s amaryllis to bloom for Christmas, withhold water, starting in August. Place the plant in the garage and allow it to wither and yellow. Bring the bulb indoors, six to eight weeks before Christmas. Repot it and water it. Place it in a bright, warm location.
To hasten blooming, water the amaryllis with warm water and keep it in a very warm (75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit) location. To slow blooming, store the amaryllis in a cool location.