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Q and A: Resting Amaryllis

Follow these tips to help an amaryllis go dormant.

Q. It's time to give my amaryllis a period of rest, but the leaves are still green and aren't yellowing. The pots are on their sides in a greenhouse. Can I remove the leaves or should I wait until they have finally wilted?

A. Is it possible that your greenhouse is warm and very humid — enough to keep your amaryllis from going dormant? They usually wither if kept both dry and cool, say about 50 degrees.

As you probably know, amaryllis shouldn't be fertilized after July. Then, gradually withhold water over a three-week period until the pot is allowed to dry out completely. After the foliage has died down, cut the leaves off to about two inches high.

Then set the pot in a cool dry place. The ideal temperature is 50 to 60 degrees, so often a basement will work just fine. Leave there for six to eight weeks.

After the rest period is over, bring the potted bulb back into the light and resume regular watering. The bulb should flower four to eight weeks later.

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