Q: Are you familiar with hardy amaryllis? My daughter and I saw some huge clumps last May when we were visiting Douglasville.
A: “Hardy” amaryllis, Hippeastrum x johnsonii blooms in my landscape each year in late May as well! It was hybridized by an English gardener named Johnson in the late 1700′s and is recognized as one of the first hybrid amaryllis.
The flower is native to South America but much subsequent hybridization has been done by Dutch and South African gardeners. Most of the “holiday” amaryllis are not winter hardy outdoors in Atlanta but Johnson’s amaryllis usually survives the cold very well.
It likes being planted in morning sun and afternoon shade with the top third of the bulb exposed in summer. A thin covering of pine straw is best in winter.