Bulbs Garden Myths Gardening Houseplants

Garden Myth: No Need to Refrigerate Your Amaryllis!

No, don’t put your amaryllis bulb in the fridge while it’s dormant. Source: Claire Tourigny, from the book Les 1500 trucs du jardinier paresseux

The very popular amaryllis (Hippeastrum) usually blooms around Christmas or into January or February in the Northern Hemisphere, then produces long green leaves that allow it to store energy for the following year. By September, the foliage is usually turning yellow, indicating it is ready to go through its annual period of dormancy. Do stop watering the plant and cut its dying foliage off at this point, but do not put the bulb in the fridge, a bizarre recommendation that I see more and more often on the Internet. (I sometimes wonder if anyone on the Internet actually tests the advice they give!)

The amaryllis is a tropical plant, originally from a climate where the temperature doesn’t vary all that much through the year. A bulb placed in the refrigerator may well be able to survive this mistreatment, but will be under extreme stress and may even begin to rot. Just leave your amaryllis at room temperature while it sleeps.

Buds showing at the tip of this bulb show it’s ready to start a new cycle of bloom and growth. Source: karenhancock.com

When new growth appears two to four months later, simply start watering again. With any luck, it will soon be in full bloom … without any cold treatment at all!

For more information on the amaryllis, read How to Get Your Amaryllis to Rebloom.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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