Amaryllis (Hippeastrum hybrids)

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum hybrids)

The Hippeastrum hybrids produce clusters of huge red, pink, salmon, white and bicolor trumpet-shaped flowers atop tall slender stalks. The leaves and flowers arise from a large bulb, often resulting in 8-12 flowers per bulb. Amaryllis can be used as a potted plant for holiday decorating. They also make lovely cut flowers for arrangements.

When selecting bulbs make sure the bulb feels firm and full. If growth has started, check to see that the blossom stalk has begun to develop. Place in a well-drained potting mix with the neck and shoulders of the bulb above the soil line. Water sparingly until growth begins, then feed weekly with a dilute liquid fertilizer. Once flowering has finished, remove the flower stalk but do not cut off the leaves. Allow them to grow to replenish the bulb and insure flowering next year. As the leaves turn yellow, reduce water and then withhold completely when the plants are dormant. Keep the bulbs dry and warm during dormancy, allowing at least a 3 month rest period. Amaryllis resent root disturbance so repot only every 3 or 4 years before a new cycle of growth begins.

The parents of these Amaryllis hybrids are native to Central and South America and cannot survive Indiana winters outdoors. In contrast, the popular Magic Lily (Lycoris squamigera), native to Japan, survives easily in central Indiana, producing leaves in spring and pink flowers (similar to those of Amaryllis) in late summer. Both are members of the Amaryllis family, as are daffodils, snowdrops, and snowflakes. All parts of these plants, especially the bulbs, are considered TOXIC. KEEP OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN.

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