Amaryllis Outdoors (Zones 9 - 11)
Since these bulbs are tropical (native to South America), they can be grown beautifully outdoors in very warm and frost-free zones. This means from southern Georgia down through Florida, south Texas, and much of the Pacific coast. Planting time in these areas is usually September or October, and if the bed is well-cared for, the bulbs will stay in the ground and flower for years.
How to Make Sure You'll Have Blooms When You Want Them
We are frequently asked, "What can I do to ensure my amaryllis are in bloom for the holidays?" The answer: Most amaryllis will bloom 6 to 12 weeks after planting. If you want to ensure blooms at holiday time, here are a few things you can do:
Plant Multiple Varieties
The time between planting and bloom varies for different amaryllis varieties, so plant several varieties for a long season of bloom. While you're waiting to plant, store your amaryllis bulbs in a cool (40-50F), dry, dark place. (Not the refrigerator; it's too cold.) Don't worry if the bulbs begin to sprout a little; just take care not to damage the emerging shoots.
Stagger Planting Times
Starting in mid to late October, plant one amaryllis bulb every week for three or four weeks. That way, bulbs will be in different stages of growth and one or more will be in bloom for the holidays.
Modify the Growing Environment
Although it's best to grow amaryllis at room temperature, you can vary the growth rate by modifying the temperature slightly. Once the flower stalk is formed, you can slow its growth by placing the plant in a room that's a bit cooler (55 to 60F) or speed its growth with warmer temperatures (75 to 80 F).
Prolong the Life of the Blooms
Once your amaryllis is in full bloom, you can keep it looking its best by keeping it at cool room temperature and out of direct sunlight. If it's on display in a warm room, just put it in a cool (55 to 60F) place at night. And watch for additional flower shoots, which sometimes appear as the first flowers fade.
Tip: Blooming amaryllis make welcome gifts! Consider potting up some of our amaryllis kits so they're at or near bloom in time for holiday gift-giving.