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When belladonna lilies bulge from the ground, it's time to divide.

Take a close look at photograph number 4. Les Hannibal of Fair Oaks, California Fair Oaks is a census-designated place (CDP) in Sacramento County, California, United States. The population was 28,008 at the 2000 census. Fair Oaks' zip code is 95628 and its area code is 916. It is considered an unincorporated area of eastern Sacramento County. , has just divided a clump of belladonna belladonna (bĕlədŏn`ə) or deadly nightshade, poisonous perennial plant, Atropa belladona, of the nightshade family.  lilies (Amaryllis amaryllis (ăm'ərĭl`ĭs), common name for some members of the Amaryllidaceae, a family of mostly perennial plants with narrow, flat leaves and with lilylike flowers borne on separate, leafless stalks.  belladonna, also sold as Brunsvigia rosea) in full bloom, and that timing might surprise even experienced gardeners.

With nearly all other bulbs, you wait until winter to lift and separate plants. But Amaryllis belladonna is dormant in summer. You divide these plants between the time leaves die back completely (about June) and immediately after bloom (August or early September). If you divide them after leaves start growing, they may not bloom again for several years.

Long-lived belladonna lilies need dividing only every 10 years or so. Plants are ready to divide when bulbs begin to push out of the ground. Replant separated plants in full sun or half shade in well-drained soil. Put bulbs in a spot with as little summer water as possible--too much and they'll rot. (See page 82 of the July 1984 Sunset for more amaryllis information.)

In October or November, belladonna lilies form strap-like leaves in clumps 2 to 3 feet across. As soon as foliage appears, feed plants with a complete fertilizer, water if winter rains are late or light.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jul 1, 1985
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