Amaryllis reminder: Don’t cut off the leaves

'Star of Holland' amaryllis at Buffalo Botanical Gardens by Stofko
‘Star of Holland’ amaryllis at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

Many of you may have received an amaryllis bulb or plant over the holidays, and you’d like to get it to rebloom indoors next year. It’s not hard to do.

However, I’ve heard from a couple people that they were told to cut back the plant after it has finished blooming.

Don’t do that!

You need to keep the leaves on the plant. Through photosynthesis, the leaves will work to recharge the bulb. The plant needs the energy stored in the bulb to produce a new flower next year. If you cut off the leaves, you’re weakening your plant.

You can cut off the stem if you want, but make sure you keep the leaves in place.

Water the plant while it’s blooming and keep watering the plant when the bloom is done.

When the danger of frost has passed, place the pot outside. Make sure you keep it watered well. Tip: I have several bulbs in one large pot; a large pot won’t dry out as fast as a small pot will.

Around the beginning of September, bring the pot inside. Sometimes I leave mine outside until the leaves die. I put mine in my basement where it’s a little cooler. Stop watering the plant. If they haven’t already, the leaves will die and that’s okay. You want the plant to go dormant.

Usually after Christmas, I notice that the plant has started growing again. I bring the pot upstairs, put it in a sunny window and start watering it again.

Get a few more details and see more photos in this previous article on amaryllis.

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11 Comments on “Amaryllis reminder: Don’t cut off the leaves

  1. Mine is just now blooming. 4 blossoms and one more bud forming. I will try your suggestion for rebloom.

  2. My amaryllis are blooming now, too. I was afraid people had already cut back their plants. I’m glad this post was in time for some people.

  3. We follow the same process. This year our 3 bulbs grew buds almost as soon as we brought them inside and each had 2 huge flowerheads.This is the third year they have rebloomed.

  4. Yes–this works VERY WELL!!!!! I keep mine outside in the summer in partial shade and feed them when I feed all my other plants–

    15 years ago—-I had ONE bulb—I now have 34!!!! I just keep dividing and repotting—-!!!!
    HOWEVER–do NOT repot close to flowering–I had 2 -3 stems out of some bulbs but last spring repotted—-they did NOT flower!
    I have noticed they have started up again on their own in a unheated room where I keep them–
    HOPEFULLY they will flower this year–so I can give some away for EASTER!!!
    My husband not a plant person keeps asking me WHY I have SO MANY PLANTS (can there ever be too many??!!)
    I guess it is because I don’t kill my plants—-oh well—maybe I can give some away for Easter and whittle down my collection somewhat! I have a beautiful pink variety Apple something—-SO PRETTY!

  5. Andrea, we who are plant people envy you! Thanks for that tip. I may have to divide my amaryllis, and I’ll do that when it’s time to bring them inside in the fall. You have lucky friends who will get these plants from you. And if you give away some of your collection of amaryllis, that means you have room for other plants!

  6. This years Amaryllis had 4 huge flowers. However my bulb from last year (that stayed in the basement all summer) only had 2 foot long leaves when I brought it up and starting watering it just before Thanksgiving but no flowers. This year I’ll try putting it outside for the summer.

  7. I just came across your site after cutting back the leaves and flower stem! This is the first time I have had an amaryllis; Did I kill it? Do you have any recommendations as to how to revive it?

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