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The Greenhouse. Painting by Birger Carlstedt in 1937

How To Rebloom Your Amaryllis Bulbs

container gardening

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) is a glorious plant to gift and receive, and it brings the joy of Christmas to both the giver and the recipient.

The plant's scientific name, Hippeastrum, means 'the star of the knight.' I wondered where the name originated from - who was the knight the name was referring to and which star. I read about several knighthoods of a star or stars founded during past centuries. The most plausible explanation was from the Middle Ages. Indeed, after a bit of research, it seems that the name 'the Star of the Knight' eventually refers to the Christmas Star.

In November 1351, King John II of France founded the Ordre de l´Étoile, the Order of the Star. The Order consisted of the best knights meant to protect the land on the battlefields. The knights wore a star in their attire, referring to the Three Wise Men (or Three Kings), and the star leading them was the Star of Bethlehem.

Therefore, it perfectly fits this historical background and the plants' scientific name Hippeastrum, that Amaryllis is forced to bloom at Christmas.


Left: Amaryllis ' Alfresco'. Right: Amaryllis 'Minerva'


Plenty of Amaryllis Varieties To Choose From

Amaryllis plants are native to South America, and the flowers we grow for Christmas are hybrids cultivated from these native varieties.

Nowadays, there are over 600 different Amaryllis varieties, and new ones are being cultivated all the time, especially in the Netherlands, South Africa, the USA, and Japan.


Left: Amaryllis ' Hollywood'. Right: Amaryllis 'Olaf'

How To Rebloom Your Amaryllis For Next Christmas

To rebloom your Amaryllis, you got to keep the bulb healthy and vigorous. The way to grow a vital bulb is by proper fertilizing.

  • So start fertilizing as soon as the flower stalk is just appearing. Water your plant when the soil surface feels dry about 1 cm deep, and fertilize every other week.
  • Be sure to turn the pot regularly and, above all, enjoy the flowering!
  • Cut the flower stalks to one inch when flowering is over. Note! Let the leaves grow freely. Keep watering and regularly fertilizing until next fall.
  • Take care of your Amaryllis like you would a regular house plant during the following winter and spring.
  • If you want to get your Amaryllis to rebloom during Christmas, you should force it into dormancy or rest at the end of the summer. You do that by placing the potted bulb in a dark, cool (50 to 60 degrees of Fahrenheit) room for eight to twelve weeks without watering, starting in late summer.
  • To break the dormancy, start watering again in early November and, your amaryllis should schedule its flowering at Christmas.



Happy holidays and best wishes for a fantastic New Year!



PS. The painting in the first photo is called 'The Greenhouse' by Birger Carlstedt. The greenhouse was situated in Villa Carlstedt's garden in Espoo, Finland, and Carlstedt created the painting in 1937. The technique is oil on canvas.





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