As summer draws to a close, the amaryllis bulb begins to prepare for its approaching dormancy. This is a vital step in the bulb’s lifecycle and can lead to bountiful bulblets and, when done properly, many beautiful seasons. During the last couple of months of summer, the bulb amplifies its efforts to collect nutrients through its foliage and roots. This is an important process as it not only swells itself with nutrients and moisture, but also readies its embryo buds in preparation for blooming in the following summer season. If you purchased an amaryllis, this is an exciting time as you can encourage future growth by following these care tips for their dormant season. Find the gardening supplies you’ll need online!
After an amaryllis has produced blooms for the summer season, it directs its energy towards growing healthy, sturdy foliage. This step cannot be overlooked and, although you may want to remove the amaryllis bulbs from the soil after they have flowered, it is better to wait for the leaves to naturally lose their lustre as the wonderful winter chills set in. As the leaves turn a yellowed or earthy brown colour, they are no longer useful to the plant and may be removed.
Keeping the amaryllis leaves allows the bulb to receive plenty of direct sunshine for photosynthesis and bulb rejuvenation so, the more sun, the better! If your bulb is potted inside your home, move your amaryllis into a sunny and warm area in your garden. If you are worried about pesky pests, spray your plant with Cypermethrin to keep lily borer and snout beetle away.
During this time, it is important to give your amaryllis bulb all of the attention, care and nutrients it needs. To keep the soil moist, water the plant every 3 to 4 days. During these last few months of summer, you can feed the bulb with Hadeco Bulb Food. Our bulb food contains all the nutrients your gorgeous amaryllis plants need as it is high in Potassium but low in Nitrogen. After February, it is best to avoid all fertilisers that are high in Nitrogen as this will stimulate leaf growth, which is what we need to avoid during the coming months. From late April, we recommend gradually reducing the amount of water the bulb is receiving.
When winter rolls around, if your amaryllis bulb is potted, you may move the pot to a cool, dark, dry place – perhaps your garage or garden tool shed. You can leave it here until early September. This is the bulb’s rest period – so don’t feed or water it during this time. An amaryllis in the garden should be fine left unattended in South Africa. The bulbs in your garden can tolerate watering during the dormant period provided the soil is well draining. In other parts of the country that experience warmer winters (such as parts of KZN), a bulb will keep its leaves on and will show signs of activity throughout winter. If possible this can be discouraged by preventing water from reaching the plant during the coldest months (June and July).
As your little floral friend enters a new phase of its life, give it the care and attention it needs to rest, rejuvenate and rebloom next summer. Explore Hadeco’s online store for seasonal bulbs and plant care products!