Big red blooms often with white stripes were likely spring displays of amaryllis. Some were a peach color and others white. It seems like amaryllis have been more spectacular this year pushing up the tall stalks with big heads of color. Maybe it was the brief rest they received due to the cold days of winter that sent them into a sort of dormant state that helped revive the bulbs. Many lost their leaves and now they are in full bloom.
One University of Florida study suggests amaryllis do best after a rest during the fall. Bulbs dug and held out of ground for six to eight weeks and then planted were better bloomers. This may have been the effect of the winter cold.
A majority of my amaryllis are in containers that can be moved to displays on the windowsills and patio. They can also be set in gardens pot and all. It?s one plant I can count on for good spring color. But not all gardeners are successful.
It seems you need the amaryllis that grow in Florida. Many years ago there were several farmers growing amaryllis in the Orlando area. I am sure some amaryllis grown from those older plantings still exist today. Also Ted Mead, for whom Mead Gardens in Winter Park is named, had a collection. Many were shared with Henry Nehrling another early local horticulturist who lived where Nehrling Gardens is being reestablished in Gotha today.
My plantings grow clustered with other ornamentals kept in containers or in the ground. The container plants do get extra waterings and feedings when I remember. One thing I like is to grow more plants from the seed heads. It is easy to do. When the seed heads form, save the seeds and sow them in a good potting mix. They germinate in about a week or two. Then I eventually pot them up. I have lots. The seeds also disperse in the landscape and start on their own. I now have amaryllis where I never planted the bulbs.
Some amaryllis bulbs still do not flower that well locally. I find, if you keep these plants on the dry side during the fall so they take a rest, they seem to do best. The rest of the year, keep them moist but not wet and feed lightly every six to eight weeks and they do fine. For the reluctant bloomers try the University trick of digging and storing for six weeks and then replant.
Amaryllis like to grow in a good garden site. Sandy sites can be improved with lots of organic matter. They prefer a full sun to lightly shaded location. Set the bulbs in the ground with the necks just above the soil line. Add a light mulch. Keep them moist and a bit dry during the fall to obtain good spring blooms.