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Amaryllis are grown in the open field or in beds and borders around the home. They are excellent landscape subjects for use as individual specimens, in mass plantings, in beds, or as part of the border planting around home grounds and in park plantings. Those planted in the garden should be set so that the top of the bulb is just covered with soil.
You do not have to dig each year or to "dry off" as commonly believed. It is better to dig, separate, and replant each year as an aid to uniform flowering and larger flowers. This practice also aids in reducing disease and insect pests, since unhealthy bulbs can be graded out and destroyed at this time.
Fertilizer is an important item if you want to keep them blooming. High nitrogen fertilizers will make the plant fat and green but have few blooms. The bulbs that bloom best are those that are given a small amount of a low nitrogen fertilizer. Apply about a pound of 4-8-8-, 3-9-9, or 5-10-10
(nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) per 100 square feet of flower bed. Add another half a coffee can of fertilizer as needed to keep the amaryllis healthy. This will help give you a proud display of bloom next year.
If the plants grow rampant on little or no food, try planting them in less fertile soil next time. Rationing water during the late growing stages will help the bulb become dormant.
Bulbs should be planted from October-February and should flower within 6-8 weeks. Flowering season is March-May. Select a fairly sunny spot for an amaryllis bed because too much shade will cause small flowers. Deep shade may cause the bulb to die.
Amaryllis bulbs can be purchased at your garden supply store. Colors to choose are red, pink, white, and a combination of these colors. Bulb grades are based on size as: Exhibition, Selected, and Field Run. Hybrid bulbs are expensive but with care they will give you bigger and better blooms.
When the tops of the amaryllis die back in the fall, it is time to dig, separate, and replant. Remove the smaller offset bulbs from the mother bulb when digging them up. It will take about three years for the juvenile bulblets to bloom, but in the meantime the mother bulb will show her colors as well as produce infants for future generations of flowers.
Prepared by: Broward County Agricultural Agent's Office