- How this beautiful flowering bulb got its name as told by Suzanne DeJohn:
“Greek mythology brings us the story of Amaryllis was a love-struck maiden who longed for the handsome but cold-hearted Alteo. Desperate to win his love, she pierced her heart with a golden arrow and then visited his cottage daily, shedding drops of blood along the way. On the thirtieth day, beautiful scarlet flowers bloomed along the path. Alteo was enamored, Amaryllis’ heart was healed, and our favorite holiday bloom got its name. That is, until it was reclassified in the 1800s under the genus Hippeastrum.”
Amaryllis (means “to sparkle” in Greek)
Botanical name: Hippeastrum (from the Greek words for horse and star)
Origin: Tropical regions of South America
Light requirements: bright, indirect light
Blooms: equally well indoors or out for an extended period of time. It gives large blooms in shades of red, white, pink, salmon and orange. Multi-coloured and striped varieties combine shades of pink or red with white. There are over 600 named varieties of amaryllis.
Blooming period: spring and summer (can be forced into early bloom for the holidays).
Propagation: generally from “baby” bulbs which grow next to the “mother” bulb. It can also be grown from seed; however, they will take up to 6 years to mature into a flower producing plant.
Hardy: in zones 9 to 11
Amaryllis is among the easiest bulbs to bring to bloom. Planted in good quality potting soil, watered regularly and set in bright, indirect light, it should provide bloom in about 6 weeks. Its large, showy flowers are suitable for cut flower arrangements. With proper care, your amaryllis can live up to 75 years.
How to Pot an Amaryllis Bulb
The amaryllis needs good drainage; therefore, make sure the pot you are using has a drainage hole. It is a top-heavy plant so it will benefit from a heavier pot to prevent it from being toppled. The pot should have a diameter 1 or 2 inches wider than the bulb and be deep enough so that the bulb can sit about 2 inches of soil. Avoid contamination by using a fresh, good quality potting soil. Moisten the soil and position the bulb so that the top third is above the soil, leaving 1 inch between the top of the soil and the rim of the pot. Gently pack the soil around the bulb.
Place the pot in a relatively cool location where it will get bright, indirect light. Water sparingly until you see about 2″ of new growth. Once in active growth, the plant should be watered regularly. The flower talks will naturally reach for the light source; turning the pot regularly will encourage them to grow straight. Within 5 to 6 weeks, buds will appear and blooms will begin to open. Keeping the plant away from heat and direct sunlight will prolong the blooms.
Growing Amaryllis Outdoors.
In warm climates, Amaryllis can be planted outdoors, usually in September or October. When planted in a well-cared for bed, the bulbs will not need to be lifted and will bloom for many years. Continuous bloom can be achieved by planting bulbs at 2 week intervals.