A customer e-mailed in with the following question:
“I received some amaryllis bulbs for Christmas. Now that they have finished blooming, can I put them in a container or ground outside? Will they bloom again?I live in Katy, which is Zone 9. Thanks!” – Sharon
“Many flower lovers who who have forced an amaryllis for Christmas or have been given one as a gift for the holiday season, often wonder if they can somehow plant their bulbs in their garden or store them after the bloom for another bloom the following season. The answer is of course, dependent on varieties and locations. Amaryllis are in the genus Hippeastrum, and there are numerous selections. The most historic and cold hardy, is the first hybrid amaryllis and excellent garden selection, the Johnson’s Amaryllis (Hippeastrum x johnsonii), also known as St. Joseph’s Lily or the hardy amaryllis.
If you are in a warmer climate, such as the Gulf Coast or the coastal areas of Southern California, you can usually simply plant your amaryllis after it has bloomed in your garden. It might not bloom too well the first year after it has been “forced” for Christmas, but it will usually fall into a general routine for the following years of blooming in mid-April. Freezes are the number one killer of amaryllis bulbs, so consider mulching the bulbs if a hard freeze is possible. When planting the bulbs, DO NOT plant them using the general rule of 2-3 times the height of the bulb for the depth, and DO NOT plant them as you bought them in the pots, with a top 1/3 of the bulb above the ground. Rather, plant them with the top of their neck just under the soil surface. If you are not sure which way is up, plant the bulb sideways.
If you are in colder climates or want to keep your bulb in it’s pot, it is best to keep the bulb growing in the pot in a sunny warm spot and keep the soil moist, but not soaked or in standing water. During the warmer summer months, you can move the pot outside into the full sun. Amaryllis (genus Hippeastrum) are tropical by nature and will never really go dormant if kept warm and watered. While more traditional bulbs like daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths operate primarily on a cold-warm cycle, amaryllis operate more on a dry-wet cycle. Therefore, to get your bulb to bloom for Christmas time, it will be best to stop watering it in the fall to let it go dormant. Begin watering it again around Thanksgiving, and you should be able to coax another bloom out of the bulb.”
“The Bulb Hunter”