Amaryllis Needs High Shade, Good Drainage

by Ms. Grow-It-All on May 5, 2011

in Weekly Column Archive

Q: We would like to grow amaryllis in outside beds, but all the articles I find concerning amaryllis seem to be for growing them in pots. What do you suggest?

A: In colder climes, people grow amaryllis in pots and move them to protected areas or indoors for the winter. Because of our relatively mild winters, amaryllis will grow outdoors here and perform reliably as a perennial. Their trumpet-shaped flowers and strap-like foliage make them a favorite for planting in drifts or for adding a spot of color in front of shrubbery.

Amaryllis prefer light or high shade, and a bed under tall pine trees is ideal. Too much shade leaves them spindly and they won’t flower very well. They also need good drainage or they’ll rot. It is important to mulch them heavily in winter, to create a blanket of protection, and to remove the spent blossoms before the plant sets seed, or else the plant puts its energy into reproducing itself and next year’s blossoms will suffer.

Plant the bulbs 12 to 15 inches apart with the neck sticking up slightly out of the ground. Keep them moist but not soggy for the first few weeks, until they get established.

Dividing the bulbs in the fall will give you bigger flowers the following year, as well as create an opportunity to mix in some compost. Amaryllis grown in the ground, don’t need as much fertilizer as pot-grown plants, so use a light hand with fertilizer. Use a slow-release formula such as 15-0-15, unless a soil test has indicated you’re lacking in phosphorus.

Garden Tours: The 19th Annual Apalachicola Historic Home & Garden Tour is scheduled for this weekend, with a lecture program Friday evening and a tour of cottages and gardens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Proceeds benefit Trinity Episcopal Church’s maintenance fund. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the event. Call 850-653-9550 for more information.

Also, mark your calendars for the Leon County Extension Office’s demonstration garden spring open house on May 21 from 9 a.m. to noon. Learn what grows in our area, view exhibits and get information on creating wildlife habitat, the Florida Friendly Landscape program, plant propagation and invasive plants – and it’s free. Stroll the grounds or take a guided tour. See the new 40,000-gallon rooftop rainwater recycling system. For more information, see http://leon.ifas.ufl.edu/

Internet radio show: Leon County/University of Florida forester Stan Rosenthal will join Ms. Grow-It-All on Blog Talk Radio at 5 p.m. today (Thursday) to talk about dogwood trees for the coastal south. Join us at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ms_grow-it-all. If you can’t join us live, you can download a podcast of the program.

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