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The Amaryllis Plant: Facts, Growth, and Care

A graduate in botany, Nithya Venkat enjoys writing about plants that help sustain life on planet Earth.

Amaryllis "Hippeastrum" Flowers

Amaryllis "Hippeastrum" Flowers

Amaryllis plants are ornamental plants popular for their bright colors and large flowers. The word “Amaryllis” comes from the Greek word “amarysso,” which means to sparkle.

The plant that is commonly called “amaryllis” is a South American native belonging to the “Hippeastrum” genus. The true amaryllis that is also known as the belladonna lilies are from South Africa. Both belong to the Amaryllidaceae family. The "Hippeastrum" genus has about 90 species with nearly 700 hybrids.

This article is all about the following amaryllis plants belonging to the Hippeastrum genus:

  1. Amaryllis Samba
  2. Amaryllis Apple Blossom
  3. Amaryllis Hercules
  4. Amaryllis Summertime
  5. Amaryllis Matterhorn
  6. Amaryllis Dancing Queen
  7. Amaryllis Cybister

Before we launch into describing the various amaryllis plants, we'll go over a general description of the plant. We'll end the article by discussing how to grow and care for the amaryllis plant.

Description of the Amaryllis Plant

The large amaryllis flowers are mostly grown as winter-blooming indoor house plants. They are carefully bred hybrids derived from various species in the Hippeastrum genus.

The amaryllis plant grows to a height ranging between 1 to 2 feet. The leaves are green, large strap-shaped, and begin to grow when the flowers start to open. The leaves are green with a midrib, 12 to 20 inches long and 1 inch wide.

The amaryllis varieties bloom in beautiful colors of red, white, pink, salmon, and orange, and some varieties are multicolored or striped or a combination of both.

Amaryllis bulbs are large, 2 to 6 inches in diameter and each bulb produces a cluster of 2 to 12 funnel-shaped flowers. Each flower ranges from 2-8 inches in width with 3 sepals and 3 petals.

The flowers sit on the top of a stout, hollow leafless stem that grows 12-18 inches tall. Amaryllis flowers are popular as cut flowers as they last for more than a week in a vase and can also be used in decorating a table as a centerpiece.

The amaryllis needs six or more hours of direct sunlight with partial shade for about 2 to 6 hours. These plants flourish in well-drained soil outdoors and in rich potting mix indoors. The amaryllis plants can be purchased bare or as planted bulbs.

There are five main types of amaryllis-large flowering, double flowering, small flowering, trumpet-shaped and cybister.

Here are some of the popular varieties of the amaryllis plant. These plants are easy to grow and provide weeks and even months of bloom time indoors as potted plants or cut flowers. However, since the flowers don’t bloom all at once, the overall blooming period is extended.

Amaryllis "Samba" (Hippeastrum)

Amaryllis "Samba" (Hippeastrum)

1. Amaryllis Samba

The amaryllis "Samba" flowers are gorgeous, with bright red petals bordered with a white band. The center of the flowers has broad white stripes. The flowers are slightly ruffled and 7 inches in width.

The flowering stem grows up to 24 inches tall, and each bulb produces 2 to 3 stems and 4-6 flowers per stem. This plant blooms after 6-8 weeks after planting the bulb.

Amaryllis "Apple Blossom"

Amaryllis "Apple Blossom"

2. Amaryllis Apple Blossom

The amaryllis "Apple Blossom" plant bears large, funnel-shaped flowers and grows to an average of 20 inches in height. Each bulb produces 2-3 stems with 4-6 flowers per stem. The flower is 7 inches wide with white petals brushed with soft pink stripes.

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These flowers have an extensive bright green throat lined with a ring of red dots and bloom after 6-12 weeks of planting the bulb.

Amaryllis "Hercules"

Amaryllis "Hercules"

3. Amaryllis Hercules

The amaryllis "Hercules" plant has large flowers that measure up to 8 inches in width with petals that are deep rich carmine-pink.

These plants bloom 8-10 weeks after planting and each bulb produces 2-3 stems and 4-6 flowers per stem. The flowering stem grows between a range of 20-24 inches in height.

Amaryllis Summertime

Amaryllis Summertime

4. Amaryllis Summertime

The amaryllis "Summertime" variety produces stunning blooms with pink watermelon petals with soft white striped highlights.

The plant produces one or two stems and each stem bears three to four funnel-shaped flowers that are 6-8 inches wide. The Amaryllis summertime blooms 6-8 weeks after planting.

Amaryllis Matterhorn

Amaryllis Matterhorn

5. Amaryllis Matterhorn

The amaryllis "Matterhorn" plant produces slightly ruffled white flowers up to 7 inches wide and has a lime-green throat. The stem grows up to 18-22 inches tall and each stem bears 4-6 flowers. This plant blooms 6-10 weeks after planting.

Amaryllis Dancing Queen"

Amaryllis Dancing Queen"

6. Amaryllis Dancing Queen

The flowers of the amaryllis “Dancing Queen” variety have stunningly beautiful double flowers with red and white stripes and frilly edges. The blossoms have 12-14 petals and several petaloid stamens.

The flowering stem grows between a range of 20-22 inches in height. Each bulb produces 2-3 stems with 3-4 flowers per stem. They bloom 5-6 weeks after planting the bulb.

Amaryllis Cybister

Amaryllis Cybister

7. Amaryllis Cybister

The amaryllis “Cybister” flowers are spectacular and resemble the exotic orchids. These flowers have long, ribbon-like, spidery petals. The flowers bloom in bright colors of deep red, soft-green, copper, dark-pink, creamy white and burgundy.

Potting the Amaryllis Plant

Potting the Amaryllis Plant

How to Grow and Take Care of the Amaryllis Plant

Select the largest bulbs available for the plant as they will produce more stalks and blooms in the first year. The bulbs should be firm and dry without signs of mold, decay, or any injury. Choose bulbs with bright green new growth.

Choose a container with holes at the bottom that allows for easy drainage of water. Plant the bulbs in a nutritious planting compost up to its neck and make sure not to damage the roots. Press the soil gently but firmly to set the bulb securely in place.

Place the potted bulb in a warm place with direct sunlight for the stem to grow. Water sparingly until the stem appears and gradually increase the watering frequency as the leaves and buds appear.

After the amaryllis plants have stopped flowering, the bulbs can be made to flower again. Cut the old flowers from the stem, and when the stem starts to sag, cut back to the top of the bulb.

Clean the bulb and store it in a dark place for a minimum of six weeks. After six weeks, the bulb can be planted again. Turn the pot regularly towards the sunlight as this will keep the amaryllis stem growing straight.

To promote blooming, use a houseplant fertilizer with high phosphorous content.

References

Amaryllis: Hippeastrum species | SantaFe Botanical Gardens

October 2014 Plant Profile: Amaryllis belladonna | University of Washington Botanic Gardens

Growing and Caring for Amaryllis | University of Minnesota Extension

How to Grow Amaryllis | The Spruce

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Nithya Venkat

Comments

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 16, 2021:

Thank you FlourishAnyway. Pets are great companions and we can really connect from the heat and soul with them.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 16, 2021:

These are so beautiful and showy, and I loved reading your knowledgable article. You must have an impressive garden yourself. Unforfuntately, I have not met a plant I cannot kill whether through benign neglect, overlove, or mishandling. I'm so much different with animals. We connect.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 15, 2021:

The Amaryllis flowers are beautiful and brighten a dull day. I think these f

Plants will grow indoors easily in India. Thank you for your visit and comments Chitrangada.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 15, 2021:

Thank you Misbah for your visit and comments. Yes these flowers are stunning. Blessings and love to you too.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 15, 2021:

Devika I am happy you got to know more about this plant. Thank you for your visit and comments.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 15, 2021:

Thank you for your visit and comments Linda. These plants are a delight to grow so you should get some of them.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 14, 2021:

Oh my! It must have been a pleasant surprise! It is so easy to grow the Amaryllis ! Thank you fir your visit and sharing the happy moments!

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on October 13, 2021:

I love Amaryllis. When I was just 22 and living in Spain with my husband, I wrote home that I missed gardens and flowering things. So my mother sent me an amaryllis bulb. It was the dead of winter just before Christmas, so I thought I would plant the bulb in early spring. I left the bulb bare and closed in the cardboard box it came in. One day weeks later, while cleaning I happened to notice that the box seemed to be slightly open so I lifted one flap to look in and screamed. The bulb and sent out one green stem topped with a "head" of the soon-to-be flower. It was curled around the interior of the box looking for the light and appeared for all the world to be a large green snake. I had no idea it would sprout with no light and no water but it did. I had to laugh at myself. It was time to give it the light it so urgently desired. When it bloomed it proved itself to be a Samba. Beautiful snake!

Blessings,

Denise

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 13, 2021:

You've described and shown some beautiful plants. Thank you for sharing the information about them. It's very tempting to get some of the plants after reading your article.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 13, 2021:

Vellur this is so interesting and a lot that I have learned about Amaryllis. I haven't seen much, but these plants have beautiful flowers

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Rebels. on October 13, 2021:

Interesting and very well presented article about Amaryllis plants. We have these flower plants in Spain and Pakistan as well. These flowers are stunning. Thank you for sharing. Take care and have a great day.

Blessings and Love to you!!!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 13, 2021:

Hello Nithya!

The Amaryllis flowers are so beautiful, and in such pretty colours. Some of them resemble the lilies, some look like hibiscus or orchids. I loved reading all the significant details, which you have shared in the article. I don’t think, they grow in this part of the World, or may be I haven’t come across them. I would love to plant them.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful information.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 12, 2021:

Thank you, Umesh for your visit and comments.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 12, 2021:

Oh my! It must be a treat to see hundreds of Amaryllis!Thank you for your visit and comments Peggy.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 12, 2021:

Thank you Miebakagh for your visit and comments. I am happy you got to know about this plant.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 12, 2021:

Thank you Mary for your visit and comments. Yes, they are so beautiful.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 12, 2021:

Such beautiful flowers. Good to know more about them.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on October 12, 2021:

Thanks for introducing me to this wonderful flowering plant. I like the read.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 12, 2021:

The colors of amaryllis plants are so pretty. Here in Houston, they can be planted outdoors and they bloom every year. One of our neighbors must have hundreds of them planted in their front yard. It is a thing of beauty to see them all in bloom each year!

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 12, 2021:

Very informative and well presented article.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 12, 2021:

Thank you Pamela for your visit and comments. There are so many beautiful varieties to choose from and I am sure that we cannot choose just one!

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 12, 2021:

Yes Dora all these flowers are so beautiful and in so many amazing varieties. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 12, 2021:

Thank you Liz for your visit and comments. The bulb can be made to flower again. These plants make great gifts for even kids.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 12, 2021:

Thank you for your visit and comments Bill. I am sure you will be able to grow this plant.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 12, 2021:

I have never grown them. Never even attempted to grow them. Perhaps you have given me the courage to attempt it. Perhaps not. LOL I'll have to think about it. I don't have the best luck with this type of plant, but thank you!

Liz Westwood from UK on October 12, 2021:

I have read your informative article with great interest as I was given an amaryllis bulb at Christmas. It flowered and then died back. It has just flowered again and I was wondering what I should do with it.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 12, 2021:

Thanks for the introduction to these various types of Amaryllis. They are all so beautiful, and in surprising shapes and colors. The white is precious!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 12, 2021:

I have always like amaryllis. This is a very good article, Nithya. I did not know there were so many types. Thank you for all this good information.

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