Amaryllis belladonna in pots

Johannes-Ulrich Urban
Wed, 06 Aug 2014 09:51:00 PDT
Hello Brad,

You live in an even colder climate than I do. Here we are zone 6-7 in
northern Germany and we have to be prepared for minus 20°C in winter for
many days in a row. Thak kind of frost penetrates deep into the soil
although that does not happen every winter. So any winter growing bulb
has be be grown under glass, protected from frost but with good light.
I do love Amaryllis belladonna, every time I see them in flower.... I
want them. I have tried so many times, in pots, in the garden with good
protection, in the open ground in the greenhouse.... nothing really
worked. I had a few blooms from the bulbs planted in the open soil
inside the greenhouse which is kept frost free. But even that was
disappointing because I had a big bunch of leaves at a time of the year
where space is at a premium under glass and very littel rewards
flowerwise to justify the space taken.
So... honestly..... I gave up on that bulb. I do not want to discourage
you... but there are so many plants that can be grown under one's given
condition, why bother with one that will not perform? With me A.
belladonna has never flowererd in a pot and it is said that the bulbs do
not like to be disturbed, they need one or two years to settle in after
transplanting and will not flower until they are established, in a
suitable climate that is. 

What I recommend as a suitable substitute are the hardiest forms of
Nerine bowdenii. (Not N. sarniensis!) N. bowdenii var wellsii is
considered quite hardy.  I have donated seeds to the BX of a
particularly hardy form that has even survived outside one of the worst
winters we had those last years. But I give it overhead protection with
a thick mulch and a cover against winter wet at the base of a south
facing wall.  N. bowdenii is entirely summer growing but autumn blooming
when the leaves die down. The flowers are different from A. belladomma
of course, but they are THERE, many of them. Looks great with silver
Artemisia and blue Ceratostigma. Ontario should have a thick snow cover
that is an excellent insulation. I remember Ellen Hornig talking about
her former nursery in New York state, she could grow things outside that
I can only dream of, because of her immense and very reliable snow

Hope that helps.....


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