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Dividing Garden Amaryllis

I live in upstate South Carolina and plant amaryllis bulbs in my yard. They are beautiful this year with so many blooms I can’t count them. I would like to separate and share them with friends, but do not know when I should do this. Can you help me? Does the foliage need to die down?

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) are usually grown indoors as a winter blooming bulb, but they are commonly seen growing in gardens in temperate climates (zone 8 to 11) and they are even marginally cold hardy where I garden (zone 7). I have not tried growing Hippeastrum in the garden, but my mother’s neighbor had a flowerbed full of them.

While forced Hippeastrums bloom anytime from Christmas to late winter, outdoors the flowers appear in late spring and early summer. Over time the bulbs will naturalize and while they prefer to be root bound, you can dig and split them to generate more bulbs.

Dig the bulbs in late fall when the leaves begin to fade. Carefully lift the bulbs from the soil. Wash off the soil. You will notice that the mother bulb has bulblets or offsets coming off the base. Separate the offsets from the main bulb using a sharp knife.

Replant immediately with the neck and shoulders above the soil line. Plant in well-drained soil in filtered sunlight; too much sun may burn the leaves.

Store the bulbs you are planning to give to friends in a cool, dry location.