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Amaryllis Secrets: What to do with Amaryllis after Blooming

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Have you wondered exactly what to do with Amaryllis bulbs after they are done blooming? Confused about how to properly care for amaryllis? Well keep reading because I have grown amaryllis plants to mammoth proportions in the past, and they have produced clusters of bulbs and several flowering stalks all in one pot!

I will teach you everything I know so that you can easily do this too if you follow my instructions!

There are many things that are crucial to have your amaryllis bloom and thrive for years to come:

  • Proper light
  • Correct dormant period
  • Attention to the foliage
  • Fertilization to help keep the bulbs strong for the future

Planting Your Amaryllis

Quick side note…Amaryllis is just the common name for this plant. Not to be confused with the “belladonna” lily which is Amaryllis belladonna. What most people know as Amaryllis are actually in the Hippeastrum genus. Common names can be so confusing!

I will refer to these plants as Amaryllis though because that’s what everyone calls them.

When you first get your amaryllis bulb, it is important that you plant the bulb at the correct depth. More on this topic shortly.

Check out this amaryllis below that I grew years ago. Look at all the blooms! It grew into a cluster of bulbs, and each bulb produced multiple flower stalks, each with 4-6 flowers.

I had this plant for over a decade before I bought my own home and left my parents’ house and sadly didn’t take it with me…what a mistake that was!

Purchasing an Amaryllis Bulb

When you purchase your big, juicy amaryllis bulb, make sure that you purchase the biggest bulb that you can afford.

If you see skimpy little tiny bulbs, they honestly are not worth even the few dollars that you spend on them, unless you want to force them to bloom and throw away right after.

For best results, avoid purchasing the pre-boxed kits where you can’t see the bulb.

I like to either go to a garden center and hand select big, loose bulbs, or you can purchase some online. Regardless, only get the biggest one that you can afford. I promise you won’t regret it.

These plants can become glorious specimens, as you can see from my photo above of the ‘Orange King’ amaryllis that I cared for over a dozen years or so.

Planting Your Amaryllis Bulb

Select a Pot

Next, select an appropriate pot size for your amaryllis. You don’t want to pick too small of a pot, but you also don’t want a gigantic pot.

Place the bulb in the middle of the pot that you think you’ll use, and you’ll want about 2-3 inches, roughly, from the edge of the bulb to the perimeter of the pot.

I prefer either terra cotta pots or ceramic pots. They give you extra weight because these plants can become too top heavy if you plant them in lightweight pots. My preferred pot of choice is terra cotta.

Planting the Bulb

Regardless what pot you choose, it MUST have a drainage hole. Don’t even think of planting in a pot with no drainage hole.

I like to place a broken pot shard over the drainage hole, and use a general all-purpose potting soil (I really love Espoma’s potting soil) to which I mix a good bulb food. I have gotten fantastic results with using Bulb-Tone.

Stick with this fertilizer and you will not be disappointed. You should not use any fertilizers that are high in Nitrogen for bulbs.

A very important step in planting the bulb is to make sure you don’t bury the whole bulb under the soil. Keep the top 1/3 to 1/2 (at the most) above the surface of the soil. Lastly, be sure to gently firm the soil down with your hands.

Place Your Amaryllis in its Growing Location

Once you have planted it, give it a light watering and place it in a bright location. These plants prefer a lot of direct sun, and you have read many sites that say to place in bright indirect light.

This is not the case and I have achieved my results in part because I kept my plant in a very sunny Southern exposure window.

These are sun loving plants! So place your plant in the sunniest window that you have. More on this topic later.

Caring for Amaryllis during Flowering

Now it’s a waiting game! Be careful not to overwater your amaryllis at this stage because it won’t be able to use much water yet. Wait until the top couple inches of potting soil are dry before watering again.

Within a few days to a couple weeks or so, you should be able to see the flower stalk(s) emerging from the bulb. Sometimes when you purchase your bulb, the flower stalk has already started in growth.

Turn Your Pot

As your amaryllis flower stalk(s) start to grow, you’ll need to rotate your pot so that the stalk(s) grow straight. They will continually lean toward the light, so rotate them every few days, or as needed.

For a healthy, well-grown plant, each bulb will produce at least one flower stalk, and each stalk should have at least 4 flower buds.

In my plant that I described earlier, I had several flower stalks in one pot and each stalk had 4-6 flowers!

This is a photo of the same plant where you can see the stalk has 6 flowers.

how to get amaryllis to bloom

What to Do With Amaryllis After Flowering

This is the trick, right? What exactly should you do with your amaryllis after it is done blooming?

Cut the Flower Stalks Off

After the plant has bloomed its heart out for you, carefully cut the flower stalks off as close to the bulb as you can. Be careful not to cut into any leaves.

This is the crucial time for your amaryllis where you will be nurturing it until it reblooms again for you the following year. And if you follow my advice, it will be very easy to keep your amaryllis blooming every year for years to come!

I have repeated this process for many, many years and it works!

Allow the Leaves to Grow and Provide Routine Care

This will be the growing phase for your plant. Sometimes amaryllis will grow leaves at the same time as the flower stalks, and sometimes they will appear a bit later. After all, plants are all individuals like people!

Keep your amaryllis in the SUNNIEST window that you have. The plant I documented in this post was kept in a large, Southern exposure window that was very sunny.

If you keep your amaryllis is lower light, you can tell because the leaves will become weak and floppy. Amaryllis need to be in direct sun for best results.


Allow the surface of the soil to dry out, maybe an inch or so. Then water thoroughly. Do not let your plant sit in water at any time or it will rot.


You want to avoid fertilizers that are high in nitrogen. Bulbs like to have have fertilizers that lean more heavily on the Phosphorus and Potassium.

I’ve had really great success with using both Bulb-Tone and Neptune’s Harvest Fish Emulsion. Always use fertilizers as recommended according to the label.

Stick with these fertilizers, and I will summarize those again at the end of the post for your convenience. I highly recommend these fertilizers to enhance the size and quantity of your blooms!


As I mentioned, keep your growing amaryllis in the sunniest window you have. If you don’t, you will risk not getting any flowers, or a poor show at best.

When Warm Weather Arrives Outside

If you live in a cold climate like me, when the weather is warm enough to place houseplants outside, the best thing you can do is to place this plant outside in full sun.

Don’t put it directly into full sun immediately though! When transitioning a plant from indoors to outdoors, you need your plant to go through a hardening off period. This is CRITICAL otherwise you will scorch the leaves very quickly.

Although your plant may have been growing in full sun indoors, you still need to harden off your plant when you move it outdoors.

When the weather is warm enough, start out by placing the amaryllis in full shade for a few days. It will get accustomed to the higher light outdoors.

Then move it to an area where it maybe gets an hour or two of morning sun. Do this for a few days. And gradually increase it from there.

You can’t go too slow with this process, but if you go too fast you will burn the leaves!

Preparing Your Amaryllis to Rebloom

Stop All Watering

This is the secret sauce right here! Leave your amaryllis outside until about the end of September or beginning of October.

At that point, place it in a sheltered spot outside where it would get NO rain and you want to completely cut off all water.

If it is too cold outside, depending on where you live, bring the plant back indoors. As long as the minimum temperature outside is around 55F or so, you should be just fine.

Again, cut off ALL water. The foliage will start to yellow and wilt. When all the foliage is yellowed or dried up, take a sharp, sterilized knife or scissors and cut all the leaves off down to the neck of the bulb.

Let all of the foliage ripen and don’t cut any foliage off until this is done!

Dormancy Period

Then place the pot in a cool, dark area for a full 4-6 weeks. A cool, dark basement works well. You’ll want your bulb to rest for at least a month.

If you want to delay forcing the amaryllis to bloom a little later, you can keep it a couple more weeks.

One thing to note is that most amaryllis that are on the market need this dormancy period. This is one variety that is evergreen and that you should NOT give it a dormancy period. The variety is Hippeastrum papilio (or the butterfly amaryllis).

Return Your Amaryllis to Your Window

After the 4-6 week rest period for your amaryllis, it is time to return your amaryllis to your sunny window.

At this time, it is also important to replenish the nutrients in the soil. I like to add a special bulb fertilizer blend to the soil, and also use liquid fertilizer throughout the whole growing season.

I have achieved wonderful results with using Bulb-Tone for my amaryllis throughout the years. Again, for bulbs, you don’t want to use any fertilizer that has a high nitrogen content. Bulb-Tone has been absolutely fantastic.

Simply use the recommended amount per the label, and mix it into the top part of the soil, and water it in.

Give your plant a nice watering at this time, but go easy on the watering until the growth really starts to take off. After the plant is done flowering, I like to fertilize periodically with a fish emulsion fertilizer.

Using the Bulb-Tone and fish emulsion fertilizers (both organic and not synthetic), it really results in beautifully healthy plants that flower abundantly!

Amaryllis Toxicity

Amaryllis is toxic to cats and dogs according to the ASPCA.

So this concludes the blog post on how to care for amaryllis and how to get amaryllis to bloom for you year after year. With a little effort, you will end up with a beautiful specimen plant!

Please do me a favor and share this post to social media because it will help me spread the Ohio Tropics houseplant care tips to the masses! Also, check out my shop on Amazon for all your houseplant care needs:


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Friday 15th of January 2021

I received a bulb as a Christmas gift. It has given me quite a show Unbelievable at this dreary time in Michigan I so want to keep it healthy for next year Thank You for this information🙏

Marsha Smaaladen

Wednesday 13th of January 2021

Excellent information. Thank you! One question, do I withhold water the entire time it is outside? I live in ND and it wouldn't go out till mid May.


Wednesday 13th of January 2021

You're welcome Marsha! And no, you ONLY withhold water when you're forcing it into dormancy and it is resting. When you bring it back from dormancy and put it back in bright light and start watering and it blooms and grows leaves, etc., you water like normal for the next several months all the way up to the next time you have a dormancy period again. I hope this is clear!

Plant Mama

Friday 8th of January 2021

I received a bulb dipped and encased in a thick red wax (no dirt or pot). Now that it has bloomed and the leaves have fallen off, should I remove the wax covering before or after dormancy?


Monday 11th of January 2021

The waxing of the bulbs is a new thing and unfortunately is another marketing ploy. This is not the time for a dormancy period. For an unwaxed bulb, which is how people have been growing them for a long time, the leaves start to grow around the same time as the flowers and then you let them keep growing until Autumn. Only after the leaves have grown and ripened for several months would you have the dormancy period. I'm not surprised that the leaves have fallen off since the bulb was encased in wax not able to grow any roots in soil. I would try and remove the wax immediately if you can, and plant it in a pot like I describe in the post and see what happens. I'm curious as to the results though since the waxing thing is really a marketing play and it's not good for the plant if you intend on keeping it more than a few weeks. Try it and see what happens. If you really love these plants, I would suggest getting an unwaxed bulb and grow them that way. Hope this helps!


Thursday 19th of November 2020

I've grown amaryllis for years and have several. I bought one to work and after blooming, I put it outside behind the bldg., where it would be out of the way, but still get a lot of sun to recharge for next year. The landscapers whacked off the leaves about a month ago (mid Oct) so I bought it inside to dry up and go dormant. Now I'm seeing a pale green leaf shoot growing … should I cut it off? It's in a cool dry relatively dark place, shouldn't it have gone dormant by now?


Friday 20th of November 2020

Hi Heidi! Did you stop watering, or are you continuing to water?


Tuesday 6th of October 2020

Hi Raffaele I have successfully followed your amaryllis instructions with my last winter’s giant bulbs that were forced in water. I have giant Fairy Tale (red/white striped) and Lemon Star bulbs. They were repotted, fertilized and thrived outside in full sun. Great foliage and bulbs enlarged as well ! I live in Ohio on Lake Erie) I have a few questions : I have moved them to my heated garage to dry out ( 65 degrees). I just moved them into garage 1 week ago as temps were hovering 50 degrees. They are right by the garage window. Is it ok they get direct sunlight at this time ? Next question : One of my large bulbs didn’t grow foliage from the top, only from the side, which I presume is from a baby bulb. After rechecking, strong foliage from the side grew and only one small strand of foliage from main bulb has grown. What should I do now ? Next question: When do I bring up the bulbs from basement for Christmas blooms timing wise in weeks ?


Wednesday 7th of October 2020

Hi Patricia! Your conditions in the garage sound fine to me! I would move them out of the sun though in the garage to a darker spot while the bulb is resting. As far as the one that only grew one leaf, just give it time. More will come if the plant is healthy. There is no strict timing on how long you should have your bulb dormant, but I would say at least 4-6 weeks from the time the leaves have completely yellowed and you've cut them off. It's hard to say about timing for Christmas...Hope this helps!