My Hippeastrum (amaryllis) has finished flowering but has no leaves. How do I care for it now?
While some of these plants have leaves when they flower, others do not. You should snip off the flowers right after they fade so that no energy is wasted on creating seeds. Then leave the stem in place until it dries out and becomes yellow. There is a good chance that your bulb will now grow green leaves to finish storing energy to bloom next year. Continue to water and feed the bulb, keeping it in a strong sun position. (It can even go outdoors in the warmest months.) Feed a standard liquid fertilizer (1/4 strength) once every two weeks from the time the flowers have finished blooming until midsummer. Then switch to a high-potash fertilizer, such as is usually recommended for tomatoes. This will help to mature the bulb and ensure a flowering stalk the next year. Discontinue feedings entirely in early fall and discontinue watering so that the plant has a period of dormancy.
For most large, modern Hippeastrum bulbs, it is not essential to have a period of dormancy, but inducing dormancy allows you to control when the plant will bloom. Dormancy should last 8 to 10 weeks and then your bulb will bloom about 6 weeks later (up to 12 weeks for Dutch bulbs). For flowers in December, initiate dormancy in earliest September. Dutch bulbs will probably not bloom until late winter.
Store the potted bulb in a cool, 55 to 60º F, dry place. When the bulb begins to show signs of growth, repot to the next larger size pot. Use a soil mixture of equal parts sterilized houseplant potting soil high in organic matter, peat moss and sand/or perlite with plenty of broken clay shards for good drainage at the bottom of the pot. Place your newly potted bulb in light and begin watering.
Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service
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