The amaryllis is a well-known lily-like potted plant, but can be grown outdoors as well in the right climate. The plant grows 1 to 2 feet tall and blooms in combinations of white, pink, red and orange. Amaryllis is hardy in USDA Zones 8 to 10, which means it will grow as a perennial where the temperature does not drop below 10 to 20 degrees F. Since Zone 8 falls on the lower end of this spectrum, however, amaryllis may benefit from special care that will help protect it over the winter.
Choose a site to plant the amaryllis bulb in late September or early October. Look for an area with sun in the morning, light shade in the afternoon and well-drained, rich soil. Dig 6 to 8 inches into the soil, mixing in 2 to 3 inches of organic compost.
Plant the amaryllis bulb so that its neck is right at soil level. Space multiple plants 8 to 12 inches apart.
Water the bulbs deeply and place a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch over them. The mulch will protect the bulbs over the winter. Keep the bulbs lightly moist until they begin to sprout in two to four weeks. After that point, allow the surface of the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Stop watering for the winter.
Fertilize the plant as new growth appears with a complete low-nitrogen fertilizer marked 5-10-10 or 6-12-12. Fertilize again when the stalks are 6 to 8 inches tall and again right after flowering. Follow the directions on the package for application instructions. Each fertilizer brand will have different instructions.
Cut the stalk off at ground level with pruning shears when the amaryllis finishes flowering. This will divert the energy from seed production into the bulb. In Zone 8, the plant needs this energy to stay living through the winter.
Start watering again when the danger of the frost passes in spring. Don't worry if the leaves of your amaryllis are dead. This happens in Zone 8 with the winter cold. They will grow back quickly when temperatures rise.