Forcing Bulbs to Flower Indoors - Featured plant Amaryllis

You can grow tropical bulbs anytime of the year indoors. Bulbs must be given a cold temperature treatment of 35– 48 degrees F for a few weeks between flowerings. I like to do this by putting the bulbs in a plastic container with moist sand and a few holes in the top of the container. Tropical bulbs like Amaryllis must not be allowed to freeze.
After the cold period, the bulb should be potted up in light, rich soil (like the coir I am using in the pictures) in a pot that is only 1–2 inches larger in diameter than the bulb. The upper half of the bulb should be exposed above the soil. After watering thoroughly, allow the soil to become dry. You will notice the coir becomes lighter brown as it dries. Water more frequently after the green flower stalk emerges from the bulb, but never water when the soil is already moist. Put the plant in a warm, sunny spot or under your indoor light as soon as you see growth.   I like to display my flowers where the most people will see them. After blooming, cut off the flowers to prevent seed formation. Seed formation will drain the bulb of energy for flowering in the coming years. Place the plant back under your light or in the brightest possible location indoors until it is warm enough to sink the pot in soil outdoors. Do not put it in full sun right away, plants need to get used to the UV rays etc. from the sun. Gradually move it to a brighter location where eventually it has full sun for at least five or six hours daily. Fertilize with a high phosphorus fertilizer to encourage flowering next year.

Amaryllis should be brought indoors before the first frost in the fall. Traditionally, the bulb is then given a resting period by placing it in a dark location, withholding all water and allowing the leaves to dry. The bulb may be forced into bloom again after resting eight weeks, or even less, should new growth appear spontaneously. If necessary, repot in a slightly larger container. If the pot is still large enough, remove the upper 2 inches of soil and add fresh potting soil. This completes the cycle, which may be repeated for many years.
 Sometimes small plantlets will develop beside a well-grown amaryllis. These may be separated gently from the large bulb and repotted, or they may be left attached and allowed to grow to full size along with the original bulb. You could end up with a large pot containing several amaryllis, all blooming at once
With a little care and effort, you can have a steady supply of bulb flowers from late January to April. Forcing bulbs into flowering can be a great pleasure and challenge for anyone who is interested in flowering plants

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