Q&A: Amaryllis Outdoors

Question: I received an amaryllis last Christmas. Can I plant the bulb outside this spring?

Answer: As with most things in gardening, it depends on your climate. Although we call these showy holiday bulbs "amaryllis," they actually belong to the genus Hippeastrum. Most Hippeastrum hybrids are hardy to USDA Zone 8. Some, such as ‘Red Lion’ are hardy to Zone 7.

If you plant the bulb outdoors, site it in full sun to light shade, with rich, well-drained soil. Set it so that its top is about five inches below the surface of the soil. This way the flower stems, once they appear, will be shorter. The plant will bloom in early summer rather than midwinter. The foliage will die back in the fall. If the bulb is marginally hardy in your area, cover it with a light dry mulch before winter.

Read how to keep potted amaryllis from year to year

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