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Amarylis bulbs (hippeastum bulbs)

Amaryllis Bulb

Enjoying a surge in popularity at Christmas time, Amarylis bulbs produce outstanding colorful flowers. The correct name is actually Hippeastrum, although Amaryllis is actually a broader genus. The flower appears on a tall stem, colors vary with the cultivar but bulbs that will produce flowers from white to red with peach and pastel colors in between are all readily available for sale. The spectacular large and colorful flowers they are popular with both gardeners and non gardeners across the country.

As Christmas bulbs they are popular in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Massachusetts as well as Illinois, here they are mainly grown indoors in containers. However they are actually spring flowering, and are widely grown in California, Florida and Texas where they thrive outdoors. Often forced to grow indoors and sold in flower, they can be saved to flower again.

The natural cycle of the hippeastrum by seasons is as follows

  • Spring
    The flowering period, the tall flower stalks appear and enchant us
  • Summer
    The foliage appears and remains
  • Fall
    If you are lucky, and live in a warmer zone, you MAY get another set of flowers.
  • Winter
    Dormancy, the folage dies back on most species, but not all. And this will also depend on the climate.

In cooler areas you will find them for sale in pots and even boxes with a complete kit to grow them, they make a great Christmas present. However they will not survive outdoors in areas that are subject to freezes or very cold winters. Are they worth the effort to overwinter ? We believe they are, as with a little effort they will flower regularly from year to year.

Planting Hippeastrum or Amarylis Bulbs

  • The neck of the bulb need to be planted above soil level to prevent rot.

  • Water when first planting, however keep fairly dry through winter.

  • Fertilize the plant only when in active growth with a liquid seaweed fertilizer.

  • Leave foliage to die back naturally.

More information

Yes you can grow amarylis plants from seed, just remember that unless its a species that you collect seed from the flower will probably be different to the hybrid one the collected the seed from, maybe better, maybe not.

 

Summary Notes

In brief, Hippeastrum like

  • Humus rich well drained soil
  • Dry winters
  • To be planted with the neck of the bulb above soil level.
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