Information about Amaryllis / Hippeastrum Bulbs
Amaryllis, Hippeastrum Bulbs
Some flowers that are often called amaryllis are in the genus Hippeastrum and are in the Amaryllidaceae family. There is nearly eighty species in the group, with more than six hundred hybrids. The hippeastrum amaryllis are native to the tropical and subtropical areas of South America and the Caribbean. They are mainly sold to grow indoors during the winter holidays from December through March.
Hippeastrum amaryllis bulbs grow two to five inches across. They have two to seven leaves that are usually between twelve to thirty-six inches long, and one to two inches wide. Most amaryllis bulbs must produce at least four healthy leaves in order to bloom the next year. Some species will grow leaves and bloom at the same time. Others will grow leaves after they bloom. Some amaryllis produce only one flower stem while others will produce two. The stems will grow twelve to thirty inches tall.
Most amaryllis bulbs will produce four flowers that face outwards at the top of its hollow stems. All four flowers will bloom about the same time. They are usually five to eight inches across. Some of their colors include shades of red to pink, orange, yellow and white. Hippeastrum flowers can also be two colors such as red with white. Each bloom has three inner petals and three sepals which can look the same or different from each other, depending on the species. The few different types of amaryllis that are sold include a single flower, double flowers, and miniature flowers.
Growing amaryllis bulbs indoors is easy. The pot used should be four to six inches larger than the bulb. The roots should be softened in luke warm water prior to planting. When planting, the roots need to spread outwards so that they will provide enough support for the flowers when they bloom. Place the flower bulb in the pot so the top third rises above the potting soil then water. Find a location for the potted bulb where it can get some sun daily. To prevent the bulb and roots from rotting, lightly water it only after the soil has dried. After blooming remove only the flowers. The stems may be cut to about two inches tall after they have yellowed and started to wilt.
Hippeastrum care during the summer can be done in a few ways. In all three ways the flower bulbs will need some sun, but not so much that it burns the leaves. The easiest way approach amaryllis care for the bulbs is to leave the bulb in the pot and place it outdoors. Another way is to bury or plant the bulb with the pot. The final way for summer amaryllis care is to plant the bulb in well-drained soil and dig it up the following blooming season when the temperature drops to about fifty degrees at night. Indoors plant food or granular can be used to fertilize the flower bulbs during the summer months.
Amaryllis, hippeastrum bulbs need from six weeks to four months of resting time depending on the species. During this time, usually in September, reduce watering or bring the flower bulb indoors. When the bulb is ready to grow it will start to produce a green leaf or stem. At this time water once, as if it were new. It is best to make sure the roots and bulb are healthy yearly, and to replace the soil every other year. Amaryllis bulbs will reproduce by forming offsets that can be left attached to its mother until it reaches blooming size.
Many hippeastrum bulbs can be grown outdoors in zones eight and up. They need to be planted where there is shade and some sun. They can tolerate a light frost but not a freeze. Moths and butterflies will often lay their larvae on hippeastrum plants to be eaten later when they hatch.