Thursday, March 29, 2012

March is Amaryllis Month

My Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) are just as precious to me as my orchids, most flower just once a year and maybe that is the reason why they are so special.

I started out with just one variety I inherited from the previous owner at our former property. When we moved, I dug up several of them to take with me.


Old Florida Garden variety, original bulbs, 24+ years old 


Realizing how reliable they keep flowering every Spring, I decided to add more.  Over the past 6 years I kept  my eyes open for on sale bulbs after Christmas at the box stores and supermarkets. And recently I started to trade with other Amaryllis fans to get my hands on the unusual varieties.

H. Fairy Tale is one I received in trade

Hippeastrum, commonly known as Amaryllis, has about 90 species and hundreds of hybrids and cultivars, and is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas and the Caribbean.

H. Blossom Peacock

Here in Central Florida we have ideal conditions for Amaryllis, they like a cool and dry winter and can take the rains and heat during summer.  

The bulbs need protection from frost, but other than that they are easy to grow, and are a favorite among Florida gardeners. Hippeastrum does best with some protection from the midday sun, but in heavy shade they will flower poorly.

old garden variety, given to me by a fellow gardening friend, this variety grows waist high 




Give them well-drained soil with lots of organic matter such as peat or compost and feed with slow-release fertilizer. Don't plant too deep, leave the neck of the bulb above ground.
The bulbs may be left in the ground for several years or dug and reset every September or October.

  
An unusual color, green with maroon, the Hippeastrum  Papilio


A bulb must produce at least 4 large and healthy leaves in the summer time to collect food before it can send out a flower spike the following year.  


You can get them as single flower, double flower, miniature, cybister and trumpet. It does not matter, they all grow beautiful and keep multiplying.


H. Nymph

Flower colors include red, rose, pink, white, orange, yellow, pale green and variations including different colored stripes and edges on the petals.


About 14 years ago, a gardening friend gave me this one, I named it Ms. Riffle


Propagate Hippeastrum by separating the bulblets from the mother bulb or by seeds.

  
H. Lady Jane is a very large flowering variety


Some are similar, like the Whirygig and Aphrodite, but still, they are different. Since Amaryllis bulbs aren't expensive, I usually add a couple of them to my plant orders. 


H. Whirlygig 

H. Aphrodite


H. Ragtime

H. Picotee, white petals, rimmed in red


H. Samba


How I grow them is simple. I do not force the bulbs to flower but let them decide for themselves. 

But they can be forced to flower in about 6 weeks after planting: Keep the top half of the bulb above soil level, water thoroughly and place in a cool bright location. When the bulb begins to sprout move the pot to a sunny and warm location and keep the soil moist.


H. Bolero


Most of my collection I keep potted, Hippeastrum are great container plants.

After flowering I just stick those pots  in the flower beds in part shade and forget about them until Fall. In October I cut back their foliage, this is the begin of the dry and cool rest period. As soon as the spring rains wake them up it does not take long for the flowers to appear.


H. San Remo 


The flower color may be a little different depending on the temperatures. In cooler years the H. San Remo has less white. This year,  it looks very similar to H. Apple Blossom, but the petals have the dark pink edging.

H. Orange Sovereign

The 'Garden Pink' I keep picking up at the boxstores, a simple pink flower, but oh so cheerful 

H. Dancing Queen, one of my favorites. 

H. Pasadena


Last one for this post, another pass-me-over-the-fence variety





Hippeastrum Cybister x Papilio ‘Lima’ was the first one to flower beginning of February and there are a few more still in bud, but those are for an upcoming post :-)

  

3 comments:

  1. Eine Blüte ist schöner wie die andere
    du bist eine tolle Gärtnerin
    ich wünsche dir viel Freude beim gärteln

    ReplyDelete
  2. Danke fuer's Kompliment, aber da muss man nicht gaertnern koennen, Amaryllis sind so leicht zu haben, anspruchslos und zuverlaessig :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Absolutely beautiful ! I have never grown these and now I am inspired too ! Thank you for these stunning photos and explanation on how to grow Amaryllis I learned a lot from your post... Garden Hugs to you, Chrissy

    ReplyDelete

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