Not all good things must come to an end...
Take the Amaryllis
, for example. These extravagant plants are popular holiday displays, whether it's the delicate flowers of the miniatures or the huge, spectacular blooms of the standards. There are countless varieties that come in a range of colors from purest white to brilliant red, with pinks, oranges, salmons and striped or two-toned varieties. Once the flowers have faded, you can prepare the bulbs for a repeat show next year.
Cut the flower stalk, but let the leaves continue to grow. Like any other bulb, the leaves provide the nourishment for next year's blooms. So put the plant in a sunny window, fertilize it every few weeks and water it enough to keep the soil evenly moist - never let it dry out. In spring, once all danger of frost has passed, you can move the plant outside. Continue to water and fertilize.
For Holiday blooms:
Around the middle of August, let the plant dry out, stop fertilizing and move the pot to a cool (55°F.), dry place. If you can't find a place to accommodate these conditions, it may be easier to let your Amaryllis rebloom on its own schedule. Amaryllis will thrive well into autumn, but be sure to bring it indoors if frost threatens.
Chill the bulb:
You can either leave the bulb in the pot or remove it and wash the roots before storing. Leave the bulb undisturbed in cold storage for 8-10 weeks, checking it every so often. Eventually, you will notice the tip of the new flower stalk starting to emerge. If you need to repot the bulb, use fresh lightweight soil and be careful not to plant the bulb too deep - 1/3 of the bulb should be above the soil line.
Water thoroughly and warm it up:
Move the pot into warmer temperatures (70-80° F.) to help develop leaves and roots. A sunny window is best - without enough light, the stalk will grow long and weak, and will have a hard time supporting the blooms. When the first flower has opened, move the pot out of direct sun to prolong the bloom life.
By following these few simple steps your Amaryllis will continue to provide beautiful blooms for years to come. Provided the right conditions, your bulb will grow bigger, and generally bigger bulbs produce more stalks and more blooms!