Amaryllis are dancing in the garden!

The bulbs’ leaves died down long ago, leaving no trace. Now, in the heat of summer, flower stalks shoot from the ground like dancers on stage elevators, to spring from their enclosing sheaths as their stems reach full height. This happens quickly, in a matter of days. One day there’s just some grassy lomandra; the next, a flower show.

Amaryllis belladonna, also known as naked ladies because the flowers emerge sans leaves, ┬áis a “plant and forget” bulb. They grow on spring rain, go dormant, flower, and wait for the next Mediterranean climate rain cycle in fall. Give them room to spread a bit, since they won’t bloom for a few years after being divided.

These are the ordinary, light pink variety that came with the garden when we bought the house. They’re the most often seen, growing in abandoned places typically in coastal areas of Northern California where they get no water other than the winter rains. The colors seem deeper along the cooler coast, but the plants thrive here in the Central Valley. If you want fancier colors, there are deep pink, white and other color hybrids, if you can find them.