Sylvain in Montreal, Quebec, asks:
I stopped watering my amaryllis at the beginning of September as usual. The leaves yellowed and were cut off. As I was about to store them for 10 weeks in my cool, dark cellar, they started growing new flower stems! I have been growing amaryllis for 20 years and this has never happened. What should I do?
From Dugald Cameron, bulb expert:
In your case, I suggest leaving the flower stalks and let them bloom. After flowering, follow the steps for overwintering I learned from a customer who collected amaryllis.
After flowering, grow amaryllis on a sunny window indoors. Once temperatures are above freezing, move them to a shaded spot outdoors, watering occasionally to keep them from drying out. I use a slow-release fertilizer with more phosphorus and potassium than nitrogen — indicated by the last two numbers in fertilizer formulas. Stop watering in the fall, bring the plants indoors when overnight frosts threaten and cut off the foliage. Lay the pots on their side in a dark, cool spot. Don’t water until you see a sprouting flower stalk.
Considering the cost of amaryllis, it’s worth trying to get bulbs to bloom more than once year. Big bulbs are worth the investment; small ones should flower the first year, but may not flower the second year because they aren’t big enough.