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Knight stars (hippeastrum), better known as amaryllis, are an enrichment in the dark season with their large, elegant and colorful flowers. In winter, when hardly anything is blooming, this plant is in top form. However, even with the best care, their splendor does not last forever and the pretty onion flower fades. It is then often thrown away, but this is unnecessary because the amaryllis is perennial and can continue to bloom for many winters.

What happens after flowering?

Both flowers and leaves develop from a rather inconspicuous brown one onion. In its natural habitat in South America, the amaryllis' life cycle is determined by the alternation of dry and rainy seasons. In order to be able to develop flowers at all, the knight star must go through three vegetation phases: the flowering period in winter from December to February, the growth phase from March to the beginning of August and finally the dry and dormant phase in autumn or from August to the beginning of December.

As a result, these bulbous flowers usually show their lush flowers in winter. One bulb usually develops one or two stalks, each with three or four flowers up to 20 cm in size. In some cases, flowering can last until March. By April at the latest, the splendor will be over for good. The amaryllis fades, signaling the end of the flowering period and the seamless transition to the summer growth phase. She sheds her flowers and puts all her energy into leaf growth.

Hippeastrum 'Double White'

Post-flowering care

The care of this tropical flowering plant, i.e. watering, temperature and pruning, should always be based on the seasonal rhythm of its natural home. This applies to each individual vegetation phase, because the demands after flowering differ significantly from those before or during flowering.

Cut off wilted flowers as soon as possible

As soon as a single flower has faded, you should cut it off. Experience has shown that this is the case in February/March. The longer you leave wilted flowers on the stalk, the more energy it takes for the bulb. Once the amaryllis has faded, the stems will also begin to turn yellow and dry up. Now they can be cut off just above the onion with a sharp knife. The leaves remain untouched by the cut, without them no photosynthesis would be possible, the amaryllis could not survive.

Cutting off the wilted inflorescences of the amaryllis is important for the next stage of its development. Because now the growth of the leaves begins. For this purpose, the Amaryllis Hippeastrum initially remains in a warm and bright location after removing the flower stalks. This is the only way the narrow, green leaves can develop optimally. Provided that no more night frosts are to be expected, it can easily be placed outside in a bright, preferably sunny place from May to June.

tip: To be on the safe side, gloves should be worn when handling this plant as it is considered highly toxic to both humans and pets. The toxic alkaloid lycorine is found in leaves, flowers and especially onions.


  • With the beginning of the growth phase until July, continue to water regularly
  • As the leaves grow, so does the need for water
  • Increase the amount of water accordingly
  • Avoid waterlogging at all costs, otherwise there is a risk of rot
  • If possible, only pour over the saucer and not over the onion
  • Onion should never get wet
  • Otherwise there is a very high risk of rotting
  • It is best to place the amaryllis in a saucer filled with water twice a week
  • Only leave in the water until the substrate no longer absorbs water
  • Then completely remove any remaining water in the saucer or planter

From about July, the watering is gradually reduced and completely stopped from September. Now begins the urgently needed for this plant rest period.


  • As long as the amaryllis does not wither, no additional fertilization is required
  • Only after flowering is the bulb exhausted and in need of nutrients
  • Accordingly, fertilize regularly in spring and summer
  • Administer an appropriate liquid fertilizer over the irrigation water about every two weeks
  • Any complete fertilizer as well as liquid and long-term fertilizer is suitable
  • Fertilizers in the form of pellets or granules are also possible
  • Stop fertilizing completely from August
  • Regardless of what type of fertilizer is used, it should always be dosed and administered according to the manufacturer's specifications.

Entering the quiescent phase

With the lack of water and nutrients, this bulb flower is prepared for the upcoming dormant phase. She now draws the nutrients from the green leaves and stores them in the onion. Hippeastrum reacts to this by drawing in or withering the leaves within a few weeks. The completely dried leaves are cut off.

Until the end of October, the pot with the onion or just the onion should be stored in a dry, cool and dark place at temperatures around 15 °C, for example in an unheated cellar. There she can safely be left to her own devices until, after a three-month rest period, she is finally ready to sprout new magnificent flowers again.

tip: For the benefit of the amaryllis, the approx. six-week rest period should be strictly observed.

After flowering is before flowering

When the flowers and leaves are wilted and the dormant phase is over, the bulb can be planted in fresh substrate. The planting time of the knight star defines the flowering period, with the flowering period from December to February being the most common and popular. If it is to bloom at Christmas time, the bulb would have to be planted between mid-October and early November. The best time to plant is between November and February.


When planting, make sure that at least half, preferably two-thirds, of the bulb protrudes from the ground. If you use commercially available potting soil, it should be mixed with sand. You can also mix it with cactus soil and lava granules or make a mixture of two parts of low-peat vegetable soil and one part each of seramis or expanded clay and quartz sand. The freshly planted onion is then placed in a warm and bright place.

  • Do not water immediately after planting
  • Only water when the stems have reached a certain height
  • They should be at least 15-20 cm high or hand-high
  • Water a little more sparingly at first
  • If the amaryllis is in full bloom, increase the watering rate
  • Water plentifully and regularly between December and February/March
  • Waterlogging must be avoided at all costs
  • For a long flowering period, do not keep the amaryllis too warm
  • Temperatures between 18 °C and 21 °C and a location that is not too sunny are optimal
  • Stems always bend towards the light and could easily snap over
  • Therefore, turn the pot every few days

It takes about five to eight weeks from planting the bulb to the moment the first flower blooms. In order to extend the flowering time a little or to delay the opening of the flowers, it makes sense to attach the pot with the onion to a little cooler place to deliver. At a room temperature of more than 20 °C, the flowers usually end after just a few days. Due to the large and heavy flowers, it can sometimes be useful to support the hollow flower stalks with small wooden sticks or something similar. When the knight star has faded, the growth phase and with it the cycle begin again.

tip: If the onion has formed small spawning bulbs, these can be removed before repotting and repotted separately. However, it can take a few years before they are big enough to form flowers.

What to look out for when buying

So that an amaryllis can show off its magnificent flowers year after year, you should pay attention to a high quality when buying both a plant that has already grown and a bulb. Mature specimens should have thick buds and several flowers per stem and should not have faded yet.
The flowers should also be well colored, then you can assume a good quality. The more immature the plant is, the more difficult it is to discern the number of later buds and flowers. In addition, the onion should be well rooted and at least a green tip should be visible on the onion. Mold should not be visible either on the bulb or on the substrate. That would be an indication of too much moisture and an important argument against a purchase.

Reddish lines on the stems, bulb scales or flower bracts can indicate an infestation by the so-called 'red burner', which causes the plant to stun and lead to deformities. When buying an onion, it depends on whether it is to be cultivated in a pot, in soil or in a jar. For driving in the glass, you should preferably use short-stemmed varieties that don't tip over as easily as the long-stemmed ones.

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