The Q&A Archives: growing holiday amaryllis in garden

Question: I have been told by a couple of friends that the holiday Amaryllis
bulbs may be put in the garden and will do well there. Should this be
done now or let them bloom inside once and then put outside. Also
have been told that the bulbs multiply.

Is this true and do voles bother the bulbs. I am in the middle of a
war with them. Can the bulbs be grown in containers similar to canna
conditions? I've become almost afraid to put anything in the ground.

Thank you so very much for the information you've given me on my
other questions. I've had success with all you've given me.

Answer: These bulbs are prized for their willingness to produce large and colorful blooms indoors in the dead of winter. In Zones 9 and 10, they can also be planted outdoors in full sun and well-drained soil, with the shoulders of the bulbs 1in above the soil. Bulbs planted in the ground generally bloom in late spring or early summer. If you recently acquired your amaryllis, I'd allow it to go through a natural blooming cycle indoors and plant it outdoors next spring.

After flowering, your bulb will be exhausted. If you want flowers next year, you must allow it to rebuild itself. After the last bloom fades, cut off the flower stalk 3?5 inches above the bulb, but leave the foliage intact. Put your plant in a sunny window (a south-facing one is best), water when the top inch of the potting mix is dry to the touch, and begin fertilizing with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer once a month. (I use Miracle-Gro.) When the danger of frost has passed in spring, set the pot outdoors in full sun or knock the bulb out of its pot and plant it in the ground in a sunny location.

If you're having trouble with voles, you'll want to protect your amaryllis bulb by lining the planting site with hardware cloth or making a basket for the bulb. Since part of it will be above-ground, you may need to construct a hardware cloth sleeve that will also protect the above-ground part of the bulb. You may have to experiment to find just the right level of protection. Amaryllis bulbs do produce offsets which can be separated from the parent plant. Best wishes with your amaryllis!

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