Amaryllis

I received an amaryllis bulb for Christmas, planted it, let it bloom. In late spring I planted it outside (I live in southeast Tennessee). Today I cut back, divided and replanted some of my iris. What do I do with the amaryllis? It grew several healthy leaves since being planted outside; I didn't expect it to flower again this year. I plan to cut back the greenery and mulch it in real good for the winter, but I don't know when is the best time to cut it back.
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Below is some text from a web site that I am currently building for an Amaryllis vendor. This information from the "Amaryllis Care" page of the site. This new site should be available within a few days.
Amaryllis bulbs are usually available in the fall. The Amaryllis is a large plant, growing 18-24 in., with blooms 4-10" wide. Colors range from pure white to salmon, pink and red. Bulbs can be brought into bloom from late fall until early spring, blooming 6-8 weeks after planting. In the south (zones 8-10) Amaryllis can overwinter in the garden and usually bloom in April.
Purchase large, firm bulbs. The larger the bulb the more stalks and flowers it will produce. Plant in a light, well--drained potting mixture. The potting mix should be about 1" below the pot rim to allow space for watering. Plant the bulb with 1/3 of the bulb above the mix. In the garden it may be necessary, after several years, to lift the bulb and replant as they tend to pull themselves deeper into the soil. When foliage and blooms decline this is usually the problem.
Place your potted Amaryllis in a sunny, warm room. Water sparingly until first shoots appear, then water whenever soil is dry- making sure it is evenly moist, but not wet. Turn the pot every few days to keep the foliage balanced. Some varieties may need staking. Fertilize with a balanced water -soluble fertilizer such as 20-20-20 once a month while the plant is in active growth.
Once the flower buds are ready to open, the pot can be moved to a different location, one which is cooler and has less direct sunlight. This will prolong flowering and show off the brilliant colors. Remove the flowers as they fade to prevent seed pods from forming, which diverts food from the bulb itself.
When the bloom period is over, place the pot in a sunny location. Water and feed regularly to promote vigorous foliage and to enlarge the bulb. Bulbs may be placed outdoors in light shade during the summer as long as they are protected from spring and fall frosts. Bring indoors after the foliage has died(about Sept). Store in a cool dry location out of direct sunlight until signs of growth reappear. Discontinue watering and feeding during this time to prevent rot.
In about 2 months new growth will appear. Gently remove and replenish the top 1" in. of soil adding in 1 tsp. of bonemeal.
--
Bobby Baxter
TheGardenSite.com
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Hippeastrum is an evergreen bulb. With proper care it does NOT go dormant. If you force it to go dormant, you risk sacraficing the next season's flowers.
True Amaryllis is a deciduous bulb. It does go dormant. As with all deciduous bulbs, however, if you remove the foliage while it is still green you risk killing the bulb.
See my <http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_hippeastrum.html for information on how to distinguish between Hippeastrum and Amaryllis.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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Sorry to contradict both of you but the large flowering amaryllis sold as gift plants/bulbs during the winter are hybrids of Hippeastrum and are not hardy in the ground in zones below 9 or 10. And while they may very well be evergreen in your climate, David, they are not in colder parts of the country and they do go through a period of dormancy. Obviously they must, as they are most frequently sold as just a bare bulb without any foliage. There are many websites which address how to get one of these large flowered amaryllis to rebloom in subsequent years in zones where they are not winter hardy and the instructions are exactly as I have stated.
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-8529.html http://www.thegardenhelper.com/amaryllis.html
pam - gardengal

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Actually, I think you're both correct. The instructions given for amarylis in books and websites are really for the vast majority of gardeners in the north, who want to have blooms in the winter. The dormancy is basically "induced" by a combination of cooler temperatures and letting the soil dry out. - and in this way, a northern gardener can also induce the amarylis to bloom a few months ahead of its natural schedule. In Tallahassee, where the average winter temperature is pretty warm, but there are still 20 or more days of frost most years, the foliage of the amarylis I grew outdoors there would die back after a frost, and the plant would send out new foliage and a flower scape in March. I have kept amarylis going year round in spokane, but the foliage gets very ratty in the short gray days of a northwestern winter, pressed up against a cold window pane. However, the plant will still bloom in its normal time - which is March, April, or early May. Eventually the ratty foliage drops off and new foliage replaces it - about the time that the new flower scape begins to rise. I'm not good about repotting every year in fresh soil, so often my bulbs s will give me about 2 years of bloom and then peter out.

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gregpresley wrote:

Please reread my Web page, where I state: "I leave the clumps in the ground year-round, where they MAY [emphasis added] remain evergreen. They bloom more reliably if they do not go dormant in the winter. Contrary to some advice, never cut the foliage or force dormancy on Hippeastrum. In their native tropics, they are indeed evergreen." Note that I do not say that Hippeastrum never goes dormant. Generally, at least one bulb (a different one each year) does go dormant each winter; all go dormant in some winters.
However, in cold-winter climates, bulbs should be lifted, potted, and continued indoors, where they MIGHT stay in leaf all winter. This reflects the advice given by Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, for which there is a link on my Hippeastrum page.
As for bloom time, I have two Hippeastrum that are blooming right now. One of them is blooming for the second time this year, having bloomed about 2-3 months ago. No, I did nothing to force blooming. Blooming twice in one year is common (but NOT universal) for the Hippeastrum in my garden. On rare occasions, a bulb might actually bloom three times in one year. (They like me!)
My "California Mediterranean" climate is not frost free. We get 20-40 nights of frost in the winter, none of which lingers after the sun rises. We had a killing frost only once in the 31 years that I have been in my current house. In that same time, I think we might have had snow three times (each in different years), lasting on the ground only a very few hours. The point is that mine is NOT the tropical climate found where Hippeastrum originates; nevertheless, most (not all) of the Hippeastrum bulbs in my garden remain in leaf all winter (albeit looking somewhat ratty as indicated by gregpresley). They have been here the entire 31 years, having been moved from our previous house when we moved into this house.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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