If you treat it as a wonderfully showy annual, the amaryllis is among the easiest plants to grow.

If you want to show off your talents and get it to bloom for a second year, it’s a lot tougher.

The first step is to buy the bulb. The bigger the bulb, the better the flower, so it makes sense to spend more money and get a prime specimen. Sometimes the amaryllis bulbs are already planted in a pot. If not, get a heavy clay pot, put the bulb with the pointed end up in the pot and add commercial potting soil, not soil from your garden, which won’t drain properly. Water sparingly, and place the pot in a sunny, warm location.

Once the sprout is 2 inches tall, water regularly and turn the pot regularly so the stem grows straight. It might help to put a bamboo stick in the pot to encourage straight growth.

Six to eight weeks after planting, you should have exuberant, colorful blooms that will last for several weeks.

My wife, Nancy, and I have never gotten an amaryllis to bloom for a second year. But maybe your luck will be better than ours. Here are the instructions, if you want to try.

Cut the stem back about an inch above the top of the bulb. Water regularly with liquid fertilizer, letting the leaves grow. Around Memorial Day, you can take it outside, but you don’t have to. Then bring it inside in August and stop watering, so the foliage dies back and the pot dries out. Store it in a cool, dry place like a cellar for at least eight weeks.

After that, possibly just about now, get new planting soil, plant the bulb again and see if you get a bloom.

If you do it successfully, let me know. But the amaryllis is so beautiful that even if you get only one year of bloom, it’s worth it.