Bulbs and bulblike plants, Perennials
Known best as large-flowered Christmas gift plants, hybrid amaryllis can also be grown outdoors year-round in Zones 13, 15–17, 21–24, H1, H2; and with some shelter, in Zones 8, 9, 14, 18, 20. Available as singles and doubles in reds, pinks, salmon, near-orange, creamy yellow, and white; some are striped, picoteed, and variously marked; as miniatures with 3–5-in. flowers topping 12–15-in. stems; and as an unusual evergreen Brazilian species, H. papilio (Zones 8, 9, 13–24), with 5-in., greenish white flowers heavily patterned in pinkish purple or red. These blooms are 8–9 in. across, on a stout, 2-ft. stem. For the fall-blooming amaryllis commonly called naked lady, see Amaryllis belladonna.
Outdoors, amaryllis blooms in spring, appearing either before or with the broad, strap-shaped leaves. Indoors, they bloom just a few weeks after planting.
In the fall, plant in large clumps or drifts by setting bulbs 1 ft. apart in organically enriched, well-drained soil; keep tops of bulb necks even with the soil surface. Protect from slugs and snails. Water thoroughly, then keep soil barely moist until leaves emerge. Once plants have sprouted, increase watering, but don’t let soil become soggy. Leaves will grow through summer and disappear in fall if the plants are dried off; otherwise, some foliage will remain. Divide infrequently.
For container culture, indoors or out, plant in fall in a rich, sandy potting mix amended with bonemeal or superphosphate. Allow a 2-in. space between the bulb and the edge of the pot; set upper half of the bulb above the soil surface. Firm the soil, water well, and then keep the soil barely moist until plant growth begins. When flowers fade, cut off the stem; keep up regular watering and feeding until late summer. Then cut back on watering. When leaves are completely yellow, withhold water and let plants dry out.