(Species: Amaryllis belladonna - Family: Amaryllidaceae)
Amaryllis and its origins
Glamorous and proud, Amaryllis flowers stand tall in the garden with distinctively long, bare stems that feature large funnel-shaped, fragrant flowers. A native of South Africa, the most commonly known species is the Amaryllis Belladonna which was first cultivated in the 18th Century.
It’s a very poisonous plant, so much so that indigenous tribes would use the sap to poison the tips of arrows, making them deadly.
Seasonality: Amaryllis in flower
Amaryllis flower from August to October and can be in flower for up to 7 weeks. The bulb begins to produce stems in August thanks to the dry August soil and these stems can reach up to 70cm high. The bulbs are large and each one will produce a couple of stems and each stem can produce multiple flowers.
The traditional flowers are white with darker veins, although, there are quite a few variations depending on the species, and so you can expect to find a full spectrum of Amaryllis colours from white to yellow to crimson.
How to Plant Amaryllis
For best results, Amaryllis planting should be completed between May and June. The bulb requires a nutrient rich soil with good drainage but needs minimal water. The bulb should be placed in a depth of approximately 25cm of soil. Before the shoots appear it needs little water but as soon as the stems start to grow, increase the levels of watering.
The plant responds well to light but flowers for longer in cooler conditions. Bear this in mind when choosing a location for planting the bulb.
Considered an easy plant to grow, Amaryllis is great for even a novice gardener. Planted correctly, you will effortlessly grow an abundance of beautiful flowers year after year.
When the plant reaches the end of its blooming season, cut the stems back to the foliage, this allows the foliage to strengthen the bulb during its dormant months over the spring-summer period.
Propagation of Amaryllis
The main Amaryllis bulb will produce a number of offsets or smaller bulbs that can be replanted. In late summer or early autumn, the leaves on the original plant will begin to wilt. Once this happens the main bulb can be dug up and the offsets can either be broken or cut off. They should be replanted immediately and will produce Amaryllis flowers within a couple of years.