This is the month to put your Amaryllis to sleep for the fall so it will re-bloom this Christmas. Start by cutting  all the foliage to about 1″ – 2″ from the top of the bulbs, and place the bulbs in a dry, dark place. I put mine in paper NOT plastic, grocery bags. Basements are good choices, and even the back of a closet will work. You are trying to force your bulbs to take a rest, to slip into a few weeks of dormancy before starting a new flowering cycle. During this period, DO NOT water.

Let the Amaryllis sleep for ten to twelve weeks. Then start the growing cycle over just as you did when you first planted the bulbs.

PRE-SOAK BULB – Bulbs are very dry when you buy them. They need to be pre-soaked before planting. To do this place the bulb in a small container that will allow it to be half way submerged and soak in tepid water for 3-8 hours.

Replace the soil with fresh mix, remove any dead leaves and old, peeling bulb sheaths (these look like the dried, outer skins on an onion) and replant, again with the bulb shoulders exposed. Place your bulbs in bright light and give them one good drink of water. The combination of light and water will wake up the plants and encourage them to start growing again. When the first leaves appear, and NOT BEFORE, begin watering them regularly. If you give them a steady supply of water to the bulb with no foliage, the bulb will rot.

The only things I will add is that I take mine out of the old dirt for fear of bugs in the soil and I spray my bulbs with the Insecticidal Soap to make sure no funguses lived over the ten to twelve weeks they are sleeping. I would leave them the 12 weeks then re-pot the bulbs. Remember they will need another 2 weeks after they are re-planted to bloom so count backwards from when you want them to bloom and add one more week to this formula. Example: I will be putting mine to “bed” the week of August 21 and replanting the week of November 21st. Yeah, right before Thanksgiving. Then they have 2-3 weeks to bloom before Christmas. If you wait them blooming the first week of December adjust your week to put them to “bed”.

Can’t believe we are thinking about Christmas when it’s in the 90’s. Happy Gardening.

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