Amaryllis is as popular a holiday gift plant as poinsettia and Christmas cactus. Once the attractive blooms fade, though, we’re left wondering what to do next. Of course, many people choose to continue growing the plant indoors, but it may come as a pleasant surprise to know that in warmer climes, up to USDA zone 7b, planting amaryllis outside in the garden is an option too. Read on to learn more about growing amaryllis in gardens.
Amaryllis Planting Outdoors
Amaryllis bulbs are easy enough to grow indoors, and just as easy to grow in the garden, provided you live in a suitable region. They make great specimens outdoors. They perform well in beds, borders, or containers outside. You can also scatter them throughout the landscape in naturalized areas. These plants look exceptionally attractive when planted in groups. Best of all, amaryllis bulbs are deemed resistant to both deer and many rodents.
Whether you are planning on planting the bulbs themselves or transplanting forced plants, it’s important to know when the appropriate time for doing so is. Typically, new bulbs are planted with other spring bloomers – in fall. Those gifted to you (or purchased plants) can go outside in spring after the threat of frost has passed. Wait until the plants have finished blooming too. Prior to moving these plants outside, however, you’ll want to gradually acclimate them to their new environment.
How to Grow Amaryllis in the Garden
Once amaryllis plants are ready to be planted, you’ll have to decide where to put them. First, consider light, since those being acclimated will need to slowly be introduced to more light anyway. Amaryllis can tolerate both sun and shade fairly well but typically fares better somewhere in between – like partial shade. Too much sunlight can lead to leaf burn, while flowering may be limited in too much shade.
Next, consider the soil in the area you want to grow amaryllis. These bulbs prefer well-draining soil. You can improve drainage by creating raised beds or simply mixing in some organic matter, like peat or compost. Amended soil will also provide amaryllis with nutrients for healthy growth.
Planting amaryllis outdoors is much the same as in containers, neck deep, keeping the top 1/3 of the bulb sticking up above soil level. Space plants 12 to 15 inches (31-38 cm.) apart. Water well following planting until they’re established.
Amaryllis Garden Care
Amaryllis appreciates at least one feeding upon emergence in early spring. Although not necessary, additional fertilizer can be applied a couple more times throughout the growing season as needed using a balanced fertilizer at the recommended rates.
Amaryllis also needs to be kept moist throughout the growing season, though established plants are fairly tolerant of drought.
Once planted outside, forced amaryllis bulbs will eventually revert back to their natural spring blooming cycle. Once flowers have faded, remove the stalks. You can expect foliage to remain throughout much of summer before succumbing to fall frosts. Adding about a 2 inch (8 cm.) layer of mulch around your plants will not only help conserve moisture and reduce weed growth but will offer them added protection once cooler temps arrive.
Given adequate amaryllis garden care, you can expect to see beautiful blooms each year. They don’t require much and are fairly tolerant of neglect once established. Should plants become overcrowded, divide the clumps and separate them as needed. This can also help with reduced blooming, as can a bloom-boosting fertilizer or bone meal.
Growing amaryllis in the garden is a great way to enjoy these plants year after year.