When to transplant amaryllis?

Step-by-step Method to Teach You How to Transplant Amaryllis

For all those who have had the beautiful amaryllis plant indoors all through the winter season, but now want to transplant it in the garden, here is a post sharing the right method to do it. So go ahead and read on to know about it.

Amaryllis is a bulbous flowering plant which is also known as amarillo, naked lady, and belladonna lily. Amaryllis belladonna is found to grow natively in South Africa and is more popular than the other species of the genus. The bulb of the plant is mostly used for transplanting. It is around 5-10 cm in diameter and remains under dormancy till late summer. The plant is required to be shifted indoors during the winter months because it is not frost resistant. It starts flowering during early spring and blooms throughout summer. The plant requires a good amount of sunlight and water to produce beautiful flowers during its flowering period. If you have a potted Amaryllis plant and wish to shift it to your garden, here is how you can do it so that it can adorn your garden with its bright and colorful flowers during the spring and summer months.

Transplanting Amaryllis Bulb Outdoors

The first thing to do is to identify a place in your garden where you can transplant the bulb. The planting bed should be such that it receives enough sunlight during the day period.

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Improve the drainage of the planting bed by loosening the soil and add sufficient compost to improve its quality.

Take out the plant’s bulb from the pot and remove extra soil around it. Let some soil remain attached onto the bulb so that it does not face any difficulty in adjusting to new soil around it.

Prune flowers and leaves from the stems using sharp pruning shears. Dead and yellow leaves must also be removed. Trim the plant sufficiently, but leave enough part so that it can remain above the soil after transplantation.

Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the bulb. If you have several bulbs to plant, dig holes in a row which are one foot apart.

Place the bulb in the hole and cover it with soil completely, leaving the uncut part of the plant uncovered. If winter season is about to begin, ensure that the bulb is covered with soil, as it cannot withstand cold temperatures.

You can also add a good amount of mulch or dried leaves over the soil to provide insulation and maintain warmth during the winter season.

Water the transplanted bulb with enough water to meet its requirements. Keep watering and fertilizing it at regular intervals for facilitating proper growth. Watering plants during the winter season is as important as watering during the summers because winters can be dry enough to leave the soil with inadequate water content for plants.

With the arrival of spring, the transplanted amaryllis plant is ready to blossom. Remove dried leaves and mulch that you had placed over it during the winters, and let the bright sun warm the plant. Once the plant receives the required amount of light and moisture, it will start flowering.

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The amaryllis plant needs a warm climate for proper growth with temperatures around 70-75 ºF. It does not require any specific soil type and can grow on any garden soil with sufficient moisture content. Therefore, watering the plant becomes an essential requirement so that the plant has all that it needs for growing well. While planting an indoor plant outdoors, do not shift it suddenly. First allow it to adjust to longer durations of light by placing it intermittently in the sun. After providing a few days to acclimate to new environmental conditions, shift it in the garden. If you want your plant to flower during the spring season, the best time to transplant it is late September or early October.

Planting amaryllis is simple and can be handled easily by people who have just started trying their hands out in gardening. The plant is easy to maintain and blossoms even during the darkest days of winter, if kept indoors. Amaryllis flowers can definitely enhance the beauty of your garden and make it look beautiful for many years to come.

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How to Transplant Amaryllis

Amaryllis is often referred to as a Christmas flower since nurseries often force the bulbs in mid-winter. Outdoors, amaryllis blooms naturally in spring and early summer. In mild climates with minimal daytime freezing during the winter, amaryllis may be planted outdoors as a bedding plant. The red or white blooms grow from the top of 2-foot flower spikes and the lush green foliage adds interest to the garden long after the blooms fade. Transplant potted Christmas amaryllis in fall so they can go through a natural dormancy period before spring blooming.

Choose a well-drained planting bed with full sun. Build up the bed to improve drainage and soil quality by working compost into the soil to raise it 2 to 4 inches.

Cut the remaining leaves down to 3 inches in length using sharp shears. Remove any yellowed, dead leaves and the spent flower stalk completely.

Dump the soil and bulb out of the pot for container-grown amaryllis. Dig around bulbs in the garden to loosen the soil then lever them out with your spade, taking care not to damage them.

Brush away the excess soil stuck to the bulbs and examine them for any rot or soft spots. Dispose of the damaged bulbs. Twist off any side bulbs growing from the main one and replant these as well.

Sow each bulb 1 foot apart in clusters or rows. Plant the bulb so the top is just covered in soil and is barely visible.

Water thoroughly after transplanting. Keep the soil moist to encourage healthy root growth. Stop watering once the bulb goes into complete dormancy and all the leaves have died back.

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Louisiana gardeners can safely transplant amaryllis in fall and late winter.

(NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune archive)

Question: I want to transplant my amaryllis plants that are growing outdoors. They have been in various places in my yard for several years. I would like to arrange them in groups, but don’t want to interfere with their blooming time. – Chuck Adams

Answer: If needed, amaryllis may be divided in October through mid-November or late February through mid-March. Lift the clumps of bulbs carefully so as not to damage the bulbs in the process. Try to get most of the roots attached to the bulbs. A garden fork works well as it will not cut through the roots. Separate off the smaller bulbs from the larger bulbs and put them in separate piles. Trim off any yellow or unhealthy foliage but leave healthy, green foliage attached. While the bulbs are out of the bed, take the opportunity to turn the soil and then incorporate some compost or rotted manure to enrich the soil. During this time wet the bulbs down, put them in a shady area and cover them to prevent the roots from drying out.

Replant the largest bulbs immediately back into their areas where you want them to grow. Amaryllis bulbs are planted with the narrow top of the bulb, or “neck,” exposed above the soil surface. Do not plant the bulbs too deep or flowering will decrease. Bulbs are generally spaced about 8 inches apart and show best in the garden when planted in clumps of three or more. Mulch the bed to control weeds and provide cold protection for the bulbs.

The smaller bulbs can be planted into another area where you want to grow amaryllises, or given to friends. Some may bloom the next spring or in the next year or two depending on their size. This is the most common method of propagating amaryllis.

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Amaryllis 101: Caring for Amaryllis Plants and Making Your Amaryllis Bloom Again Next Year

(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on January 8, 2008. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)

Each year, I purchase several new amaryllis bulbs. Growing them on from year to year is far more rewarding to me than composting them each January and buying them anew the following November or December. I’m especially happy to have a more expensive, rare variety or a particular favorite do well and bloom again for me the following year.
After the bloom has faded, the flower stalk can be cut off near the top of the bulb. Be careful of the leaves as you make the cut, and don’t worry about the juicy sap that may run out of the cut stalk.
Treat your amaryllis as you would any houseplant, with regular water and fertilizer. Amaryllis plants like sun, the brighter the better, especially in winter. If you tuck it in a dim corner, it may survive, but more sun means better growth and better bloom next year.

When late spring temperatures are above 50oF at night, you can move your amaryllis outside. Many people simply move pot and all into a sunny spot. That works as long as you remember that it likes to be watered regularly.
I find it’s easier to take care of my amaryllis plants if I plant them out into the garden. They get plenty of sun in the bed by my deck. To simplify watering, I run a soaker hose between the bulbs. If you plant them in the ground, follow the same guidelines as for planting in pots, leaving the upper 1/3 of the bulb exposed above the soil line.
The more water, sun and food your amaryllis plants get during the spring and summer, the more leaves they will grow. The more leaves they grow, the more photosynthesis occurs to feed the bulb, and the larger the bulb will grow. The larger the bulb grows, the more flower stalks it will put up the next time it blooms. I’ve heard that for every 3 to 5 leaves an amaryllis plant grows, the bulb will put up one additional flower stalk the following year.

Amaryllis plants are tender and must be lifted in fall, before a hard freeze kills the bulb. How early you lift them depends on whether you are trying to time their bloom. For holiday flowers, you’ll be digging bulbs in mid-August. I often pot up new bulbs in time for holiday blooms and enjoy my older amaryllises later in the winter, simply because I don’t think of lifting them at the height of summer.
Here’s a way to calculate the dates involved. Mark the approximate “bloom by” date you want on the calendar, remembering that you might have to be flexible. Count back the approximately eight weeks it will take for a potted bulb to start blooming, and mark the date you should pot up the bulb. Count back an additional eight weeks of dormant resting time, and mark a date to dig the bulb (or remove it from its pot).

When you dig up the bulb, brush or wash most of the dirt off the roots, and let them dry. Cut the foliage off about an inch above the top of the bulb. Put the bulb in a cool, dark place with good air circulation until it’s time to pot it up. Often, the bulb will start sprouting the tip of a flower stalk to tell you it’s ready to go. For potting up the bulb, follow the directions in Amaryllis 101: Planting Amarllis Bulbs for Winter Bloom.
If you’re content to let your plant bloom when it will, there’s no need to put the amaryllis bulb through an official dormant period. You can let the foliage remain on the bulb when you dig it up, or you can simply bring a potted plant back inside in fall. By doing so, you may encourage your amaryllis to bloom more than once each year!

Some of my older bulbs have produced offsets, which can be potted up separately or grown on with the mother bulb until they reach blooming size. I’ve also grown a few amaryllis plants from seed – an exercise in patience, as they can take 3 to 5 years to bloom for the first time. Over the years, my collection of amaryllises has gradually increased. This year, I dug 28 bulbs out of my “tropicals” bed by the deck!
I don’t make any particular effort to put mine through a dormant period. I find that some of the leaves get damaged or lost, while the foliage on other plants stays healthy and full. So some of the amaryllis bulbs that I pot up end up going dormant to some extent, and others don’t. Sometimes I pot them up right away, other times the bulbs may sit around for several weeks after I dig them up.

All the potted bulbs go on a sunny shelf in my basement. Every so often, a couple of them will start putting up bloom stalks, and I’ll bring them upstairs to enjoy their flowers. With so many amaryllis bulbs doing their thing at different times, I know I’ll have spectacular blooms to enjoy all winter long.
For additional information, see the National Arboretum’s directions for How to Make Your Amaryllis Bloom Again. Dave’s Garden has an entire discussion forum devoted to Amaryllis and Hippeastrums, and you’ll find photos and posts there from beginners and experts alike.
Photos by Jill M. Nicolaus. Cultivars: ‘Pink Impression’, ‘Blossom Peacock’, ‘Supreme’

Separating Amaryllis Plants: How To Divide Amaryllis Bulbs In The Garden

Amaryllis plants are prized for their large, exotic trumpet-shaped flowers which can be forced indoors to bloom during the winter months. After receiving festive potted amaryllis plants as gifts or using them for holiday centerpieces, gardeners in warm climates often plant them in perennial beds outdoors. Like many bulbs, in time and with the right environmental conditions, outdoor amaryllis bulbs will reproduce and naturalize. Amaryllis plant division is not only a way to control amaryllis colonies, but it also keeps plants healthy while allowing you to make more of your own amaryllis bulb centerpieces.

Separating Amaryllis Plants

In the United States, amaryllis bulbs can grow well outdoors in most parts of zones 8-11, with some varieties even overwintering in zone 7. In the right conditions, outdoor amaryllis plants will produce new bulbs each year, naturalizing into dense colonies. When too many bulbs form underground in a spot, they can begin to choke each other out. Like lilies, hosta, daffodils or many other plants, the overgrown clumps can be divided to space plants out and rejuvenate them.

When to split amaryllis plants will depend on what you intend to do with the bulbs. In late summer and fall, amaryllis can be taken from the garden to force into bloom for the holidays. However, garden amaryllis plants are usually divided in autumn months (October/November) or February and March in warmer regions. Dividing outdoor amaryllis plants at these times will allow them their natural dormancy period to form spring blooms.

How to Divide Amaryllis Bulbs in the Garden

Before amaryllis plant division, you should prepare the new site or containers. Add soil or amendments to provide a well-draining, healthy soil to reduce transplant shock. Amaryllis bulbs will benefit from the addition of rich, organic matter. Pre-dig holes with a bulb planter or auger. In regions with dry winters, it may be necessary to water the planting site deeply 24 hours before digging to make the soil easier to work with. You can also trim off any stalks and foliage remaining on the amaryllis at this point.

Use a sharp garden spade to cut a circle around the clump of amaryllis bulbs. Keep the spade a few inches away from any bulbs and cut deeply down into the soil. Then gently lift the bulb clump out of the earth; many gardeners prefer to use a garden fork for this step.

Once the selected amaryllis has been dug up, carefully remove the soil around the bulbs. Rinsing the bulbs with water or gently shaking them can help remove the dirt to allow you a better view. While some bulbs may easily separate or fall off the clump of bulbs, it may be necessary to use a clean, sharp knife to cut the bulbs apart.

Look over each bulb carefully and discard any that look sick, mushy or have signs of insects, such as boring holes. The remaining healthy bulbs should be planted immediately in the garden or designated containers. Plant bulbs 2-4 inches (5-10 cm.) deep and water thoroughly.

Q: When is the proper time to dig and divide the Dutch amaryllis bulbs growing in my garden? They still have some leaves but many have withered and fallen off.

A: Dutch amaryllis, Hippeastrum, is one of the largest and easiest to grow bulbs for either pot or garden culture. The standard-sized bulbs are about three to four inches in diameter and produce flower stalks two feet tall topped by several six-inch flowers. There are also miniature selections that grow to about half that size but are just as decorative and easy to grow. Flower colors include various shades of red, white, orange, and rose in both single and double forms. Because amaryllis bulbs are considered tender, they are typically grown in the United States as potted plants, but in our location, they do quite well in the garden.

Amaryllis bulbs growing in the ground have a different blooming period and require a different timetable than amaryllis bulbs growing in pots. The best time to lift and divide your amaryllis bulbs is when you notice the leaves beginning to wither from the shorter days and cooler weather of late fall. In most inland valley locations, this would be from late October to late November. So far this year, our weather has been quite mild, so it’s not too late to lift them.

Lift the bulb clumps with a sturdy shovel or a potato fork, being careful not to cut or damage the bulbs. Wash off as much soil as possible, to reveal the individual bulbs. Gently separate the individual bulbs, taking care not to break off the base from which the roots originate. I sometimes use an old steak knife as a wedge to pry the bulbs apart. Discard any bulbs that are not sound. Replant the sound bulbs immediately while they have nice fresh roots, allowing sufficient space between them so they will not need separating again for a few years. With a little luck, your amaryllis bulbs will not even notice that they’ve been disturbed and reward you with their typical extravagant display of flowers in spring.

Q: We planted some cabbage plants a couple of weeks ago, and they have aphids on them. How can I get rid of them?

A: When I find aphids on plants, the first thing I try is just washing them off with a spray of water every day or two. Often, this is all that is needed. If the problem persists, then I resort to a careful application of malathion. This pesticide is quite effective against aphids and is registered for use on vegetables. As with any chemical, be sure to read and follow the directions carefully to ensure your safety as well as success at controlling the aphids.

Ottillia “Toots” Bier has been a master gardener since 1980. Send comments and questions to [email protected]

I live in upstate South Carolina and plant amaryllis bulbs in my yard. They are beautiful this year with so many blooms I can’t count them. I would like to separate and share them with friends, but do not know when I should do this. Can you help me? Does the foliage need to die down?

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) are usually grown indoors as a winter blooming bulb, but they are commonly seen growing in gardens in temperate climates (zone 8 to 11) and they are even marginally cold hardy where I garden (zone 7). I have not tried growing Hippeastrum in the garden, but my mother’s neighbor had a flowerbed full of them.

While forced Hippeastrums bloom anytime from Christmas to late winter, outdoors the flowers appear in late spring and early summer. Over time the bulbs will naturalize and while they prefer to be root bound, you can dig and split them to generate more bulbs.

Dig the bulbs in late fall when the leaves begin to fade. Carefully lift the bulbs from the soil. Wash off the soil. You will notice that the mother bulb has bulblets or offsets coming off the base. Separate the offsets from the main bulb using a sharp knife.

Replant immediately with the neck and shoulders above the soil line. Plant in well-drained soil in filtered sunlight; too much sun may burn the leaves.

Store the bulbs you are planning to give to friends in a cool, dry location.

How to Divide Amaryllis Bulbs

Amaryllis is a winter-flowering bulb that is often referred to as a Christmas flower, along with poinsettias. The large bulbs may reach up to 4 inches in diameter. Amaryllis has a long flower stalk that produces several flowers in shades of red, orange and white. Unlike rhizomes, bulbs aren’t cut apart when divided. Instead, the plant produces secondary bulbs off the main bulb that take three to four growing seasons to mature. The secondary bulbs are then ready to be transplanted in their own pots. Amaryllis are usually grown in pots, though they do well in Southern gardens, where there are mild winters.

Potted Amaryllis

Lay out sheets of newspaper over your work surface to collect the soil and cut down on mess. Plan to divide your amaryllis when the leaves die back—in the fall for unforced bulbs and early summer for forced Christmas-blooming amaryllis.

Trim back all the dead leaves to 3 inches above the soil surface. Use sharp shears to avoid damaging the plant.

Turn the pot on its side and gently dump the soil onto the newspaper. Use your fingers instead of a spade to dislodge the bulbs so they don’t get damaged.

Inspect the primary bulb for the joint where the smaller, secondary bulb is attached. Grasp the secondary bulb in your fingers and twist slightly while pulling. The bulb will cleanly snap off.

Replant each bulb in its own pot. Choose pots 2 inches larger than the diameter of the bulb. Plant the bulb just under the soil surface and water well.

Garden Amaryllis

Cut down the dead foliage to approximately 3 inches above the soil surface. Plan to divide in early fall when the leaves have died back naturally on their own.

Dig around the bulb, approximately 6 inches from the dead leaf stalks in the center. Avoid digging too close and damaging the bulb with your spade.

Lever the bulb out of the ground with your spade or a garden fork. Work under the bulb to avoid accidentally nicking it.

Brush the dirt from the bulbs. Rinse lightly in running water if there is a lot of dirt obscuring the joints between the primary and secondary bulbs.

Grasp the smaller secondary bulbs in one hand and twist them off while pulling them away from the primary bulb.

Replant the healthy bulbs in the garden. Space the bulbs 10 to 12 inches apart in clusters or rows.

Growing amaryllis

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Last updated on 14 October 2019

One of the easiest and most rewarding bulbs to grow, amaryllis produce showy, trumpet-shaped blooms that add a flamboyant touch to your garden or home

READ MORE: 10 Roses we know you’ll love

The brilliant flowers of amaryllis may demand attention, but when it comes to growing them, these plants are as laid-back as their true name ‘hippy’ Hippeastrum hybrids suggests – all you have to do is plant the bulbs, water them and sit back and wait.

Originally hailing from hot, tropical central and southern America, amaryllis need warmth to perform well, in which case they’ll prove to be generous summer flowerers. Within about six weeks of planting, they’ll produce a tall flower spike with three to five large, trumpet-shaped blooms. Then, as these fade, another flower spike will appear. What’s more if you take care of them, they will continue to flower for years as their bulbs have a surprisingly long lifespan.

READ MORE: 46 Water-Wise plants for your garden

Perfect for pots, amaryllis also make excellent border plants and can be planted in groups in a warm but not hot, semi-shady spot in the garden.

BUYING BULBS

Hadeco is the main supplier of a wide selection of Hippeastrum hybrid bulbs. These plants range in size from 30–50cm high. The size of their flowers, which may be single or double, also varies from dainty ‘Solo’s’ blooms, which have a 6cm diameter, to those of bold ‘Symphony’, which measure 16cm across. Colours include shades of red, white, lemon and pink; many have contrasting markings.

READ MORE: 6 Flowering trees we love

Buy firm, ‘dormant’, mildew-free, undamaged bulbs from August to November and plant them before they start sprouting. To manipulate the flowering time for a special occasion or for a continuous display, buy your bulbs early in the season and delay sprouting by immediately placing them in the bottom of the fridge to retard their growth. Store in paper bags (not plastic) as the net bags are messy. Once removed from the cold, they will start growing again and will flower 5–6 weeks after being planted. For flowers at Christmas, plant your bulbs in the first week of November. Note: this only works for bulbs which have not yet started sprouting.

PLANTING IN POTS

Plant individual bulbs in smallish, 15–25cm diameter pots, group several together in a larger container or even line them up in a trough; space the bulbs 20–30cm apart.

Use a good-quality, free-draining potting or soil mix. Hadeco recommends a mix of 2/3 potting soil and 1/3 sand with a pH of 6–6,8; they also recommend you avoid fresh manure and pine bark. Make sure the drainage holes in the container don’t become blocked and never let the container sit in water as wet soil inhibits root growth.

READ MORE: Tips for growing veggies in pots

To plant your bulbs, hold them above the container with the roots spread out. Gradually dribble in the soil mix so that the neck and shoulders of the bulb are above the soil. Firm down and water sparingly. Once new growth is noticed, water again with tepid water and keep the soil just moist.

To cover the soil of indoor containers, use pebbles, moss or a shade-tolerant groundcover. Grow cascading groundcovers, seasonal annuals or grass-like plants among those in containers outdoors. Place the pot in a warm, but not hot, semi-shady position. Too little light will result in elongated leaves and may lead to a failure to flower the following year.

POST-FLOWERING CARE

To ensure flowering in subsequent years:

Remove each flower as it fades. Feed fortnightly with a little bulb fertiliser or a slow-release pot plant food. At the end of summer, water less frequently and allow the bulb to enter a dormant period; the leaves will yellow and die back.

READ MORE: 5 Ways to make your own fertiliser

Bulbs grown in the garden can be left in the soil while dormant provided it is free draining and temperatures don’t drop below freezing in winter.

For those in small containers, lay the pots on their sides for three months to allow the bulbs to rest. Lift the bulbs in spring, wash off the old soil and repot them. If you have several bulbs growing in one container, you can simply remove some of the soil and add fresh potting mix. That said, if the bulbs are over-crowded, rather repot them in a larger container.

TROUBLESHOOTING

Long stems and flower heads that fall over could be the result of the plant not getting enough light, being overwatered or being exposed to temperatures that are too low. Next year, place your potted amaryllis in a sunnier, warmer position, hold back on water and try rotating the container every few days.

Hand-pick and destroy snails and slugs as well as the black and yellow amaryllis caterpillar or lily borer which eats the leaves and bores down into the bulb.

Red blotches on the leaves are caused by fungi known as Stagonospora curtisii. Try cutting off the affected part of the leaf as soon as you spot signs of this disease.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Don’t confuse our beautiful, indigenous March lily, Amaryllis belladonna, with Hippeastrum hybrids. Although they share the same name, and both belong to the Amaryllidaceae family, they require different growing conditions and flower at different times of year.

The name Hippeastrum means ‘horseman’s star’. It’s thought that this could be because of the flower’s similarity to a medieval spiked club, known as a morning star, which was used by horsemen.

GROW YOUR OWN

Divide and replant over-crowded bulbs in spring. To propagate an amaryllis, allow the plant to go to seed; harvest in autumn and sow in spring. Viable seed may not be produced on some hybrids, but if it is, the offspring won’t necessarily be the same as the parent – but seeing what you land up with could be fun.

Sources:

Marianne Alexander

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