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I have some Amaryllis in my garden and I'd like to give a few to someone else. It's mid-spring at the moment (October) in Melbourne, and they have their leaves on them. If they flower, it's in late summer (January - February).

Can they be transplanted at any time of year? I'm thinking it's probably best to wait until they go dormant.

How long can they survive out of the ground without water? They would travel for an hour. Do they need to be replanted immediately?

What do I need to do to maximise their chances of survival after being transplanted?

Naked ladies in my garden, 2 February 2015 (summer)

Naked Ladies, 2 February 2015

Click for larger image

  • Are they amaryllis, where the bulb flowers and then leaves appear, or a relative like Lycoris, where the leaves appear, disappear after 6-8 weeks, and then the bulb flowers a couple of months later? – Jurp Oct 3 '18 at 11:10
  • I think some clarification as to exactly which plant you mean is necessary- Amaryllis belladonna flowers in autumn, after the leaves have died down, so the leaves arrive first, then die back in summer. Naked ladies is a common name for Amaryllis, but also some other plants such as Colchicum. – Bamboo Oct 3 '18 at 16:44
  • @Bamboo - Naked Ladies is also used for Lycoris here, hence my confusion. – Jurp Oct 4 '18 at 0:12
  • @Jurp - its sometimes used for Arum maculatum here too...no idea why, that's the trouble with common names.... – Bamboo Oct 4 '18 at 10:06
  • @Bamboo, Jurp, I've added a photo from a few years ago now. I believe I've identified the plant correctly. – CJ Dennis Oct 4 '18 at 11:08
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I'm guessing that October in Melbourne is close to the start of their growing season - the roots will be actively growing even if there aren't many leaves yet, and they haven't flowered yet. That is probably the worst time to transplant any bulb, because disturbing the roots checks its growth just at the time when it "wants" to start growing quickly.

The best option is to wait until after flowering. Cut off the flower spike, but not the leaves, so the leaves continue to grow and "feed" the bulb ready for the next year. When the leaves begin to die (probably March or April in the southern hemisphere - September in the northern hemisphere) cut the leaves off about 10cm / 4 inches above the neck of the bulb. You can then lift the bulb and it will survive out of the ground for months, not "an hour", if you keep it somewhere dry, cool, and well ventilated. Replant it two or three months before you expect it to flower next year.

Note that they won't flower unless they experience a cold period to make them go dormant - so if the bulb is out of the ground for weeks or months, don't keep it too warm, otherwise next year you will get lots of leaves but no flower.

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Well, that's very interesting - in Australia, these bulbs flower around January/ February/March, before the leaves appear. In the northern hemisphere, the leaves are present from spring through summer, die back, and it flowers in autumn. But you are right, it looks like Amaryllis belladonna, its just it grows a little differently there compared to the UK, and its confusing thinking about terms like 'spring' in a different hemisphere!

According to this site http://www.igarden.com.au/plant-type.jsp?t=Amaryllis, the time to divide these is in late spring or summer in the southern hemisphere - but only if you have to, because they're likely to sulk and not flower the following year, though they will recover.

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