How to Grow Amaryllis in California

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Amaryllis belladonna is the only species of the genus Amaryllis commonly grown in the garden. Because the flowers appear before the foliage, the plant is also called "naked lady." A. belladonna is frequently confused with plants in the Hippeastrum genus, which also are called amaryllis and are generally grown indoors during the winter holidays. Amaryllis belladonna thrives in a Mediterranean climate, making it ideal for inclusion in California gardens. Plant your bulbs in March and April to bloom the following year. Once the bulbs are planted, they require almost no care.

Difficulty: Easy


Things You’ll Need:

  • Hoe or garden fork
  • Pruning shears
  1. Choose a sunny location in which to plant the amaryllis bulb. Although the plant can tolerate partial shade, in California you will get more flowers if you plant in all day sun.

  2. Amend the soil with 3 to 4 inches of compost, mixed to a depth of 6 inches.

  3. Plant the amaryllis bulb with its neck at soil level. Part of the bulb will be exposed after planting.

  4. Water to a depth of 6 inches after planting and water again only if the flowers appear to be wilting. Amaryllis generally requires no water but if the weather has been dry in California for over a month, water the plant.

  5. Deadhead the amaryllis when the flower dies by cutting the long stem to its junction with the bulb. Be careful not to cut any of the foliage.

  6. Inspect the plant for the lily borer, a black and yellow-striped caterpillar. It will eat the flower, collapsing it, and eventually bore into the bulb. Pick the caterpillars off manually.

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