Species Amaryllis

SPECIES AMARYLLIS Amaryllidaceae Hippeastrum species

HABITAT:  Native So. America.  Zones 7-10 dependent on species.

USES: Tubs, pots, houseplants, greenhouses, gardens.

HABIT: Bulbous perennial plants with flat, slender, straplike leaves often atop towering stem-like elongations of the bulbs.  Various sized lily-like, trumpet-shaped flowers atop 12" hollow scapes (stems) in a variety of colors. Flowers last about a week indoors.  Flowers of the Amaryllis species vary from blue to green to brown and can be orchid-like or daffodil-like in shape.

SEED GERMINATION: For best results sow seed indoors on moistened Park's Grow Mix; cover lightly, keep moist but not wet at all times and maintain 75°F within soil mixture during germination which requires 4-6 weeks.  Set seedling trays under fluorescent lights.  Transplant when large enough to handle to peat pots or sow directly to peat pots or pellets; transplant in larger containers or to garden beds (Zones 7-9 dependent on species) when roots emerge from pot walls and weather permits.  From seed to flower 4-10 years.

CULTURE, GENERAL: Pot bulbs in a pot 1-2 inches larger than the bulb, leaving 1/3 of the upper portion exposed.  Do not repot until bulb becomes root bound (may crack clay pot).  Use a loose, well-drained soil mix.  Add a tablespoon of bone meal for root development.  Fertilize during the summer with a 15-30-15 liquid fertilizer according to label directions. Excellent drainage essential.  Water thoroughly after potting and place in warm, shady spot.  Water sparingly until growth starts, then place in a light area free from direct sun and water frequently.  Grow warm, not below 55°.  High temperature speeds up flowering.  Cool temperature prolongs flowering.  Flower stalk usually shows first, but foliage may precede flowers.  After flowering, cut the flower stalk off to 2 inches above bulb, but continue watering and feeding through the summer until the leaves turn brown.  Rest bulb on its side in pot in a dark, dry location.  If repotting bulb, lift entire bulb and root ball, soil and all, and add fresh soil on bottom of pot allowing bulb to set at the same level and add fresh soil around the sides and top.  Water thoroughly, place in cool, dark location, and grow almost dry until flower bud is up 6 inches or more.  Repeat as above. Plants will bloom 2 weeks or more from restarting of the growth cycle. Bulbs may also be grown outdoors.  Plant after danger of frost in well-drained soil with added humus (leaf mold, compost, etc.) and in partial shade.  Cover 2-3 inches.  Fertilize as above with Hyponex or Mag Amp.  Dig in late summer when foliage begins to die, remove soil, and store in cool, dry area.  Rest 2-3 months and repot and grow as above or store until spring for outside planting (may be grown year round outside in Zones 8 to 10.

SPECIES:   H. aglaiae:  Zone 10.  Argentina.  Ruffled yellow/white.  Outdoors in Zone 10 or in pots northward.
H. calyptrata:  Zone 10.  Brazil. Rutabaga-sized bulb, producing long green, orchid-shaped blossoms.  Pot in 6-8" pots with base of bulb (where bulb and roots meet) at soil line.  Keep moist during active growth but reduce water to just enough to keep bulb from drying during resting period (October-December).  Give overhead protection from moisture and apply water to soil only.  Does not tolerate frost.  Give full sun during January-June and semi-shade July-October.
H. candia' immaculata:  Zone 10.  Argentina. 12" trumpet-shaped, lily-like fragrant blooms.  Pot in 6-8" pots.  Cover bulbs with tip of bulb just barely out of soil. General culture above.
H. evansiae:  Zone 10.  Argentina.  Cream yellow.  Lily-like.  Pot in 6" pots, covering with 1/2 of bulb above soil level.
H. hieronymiella aurea:  Zone 7.  Argentina. Bright yellow.  6" Daffodil-like flowers.  8-12 per stem. Spring-fall.  Fragrant.  Pot in 6-8" pot with bulb 4-5" beneath soil surface.  Grow in semi-shade.  Keep somewhat dry except during active growth (January-October).  Grow outdoors with same culture as Lilies.  Plant outdoors in deeply-worked, sandy, well-drained soil with humus (leaf mold, compost, peat moss, etc.) added and with 6" of sand beneath bulb and covering bulb 6-8" with soil.
H. Hieronymiella chlidanthoides:  Zone 7. Argentina.  White maturing to delicate pink.  Culture as for H. Hieronymiella aurea.
H. procerum = Worsleya Rayneri = griffinia hyacinthina (Blue Amaryllis, Empress of Brazil):  Zone 10. Brazil.  4-5" bulbs with elongated stem-like trunk.  18-24" hollow stem.  8-10 wavy-edged, light lilac-blue flowers.July-August.  Evergreen.  Pot in deep, 12-14" pot with 3-4" drainage material in bottom.  Pot with base of bulb at soil line.  Keep moist but not wet during growing period.  Reduce water and keep somewhat dry October-December and at nighttime temperatures of 55°F.  Resume watering and feeding after this time.  Fertilize every other week with 1/2 strength standard houseplant fertilizer.  Will not tolerate frost or water on bulbs or foliage.  Give overhead protection outdoors and water soil only.  Flowers best when pot bound.  When season permits, grow outdoors in full sun.

INSECTS:  Mite:  Use Kelthane or Insecticidal Soap. Scale, Mealy Bug, Bulbfly:  Use Malathion, Pyrethrum, Rotenone.

DISEASES:  Bulb Rot:  Improve drainage.  Use Captan or Benomyl as a soil drench once a week for 2-3 weeks.
Leaf Scorch:  Avoid overwatering, provide good air circulation.  Spray with Zineb, Ferbam, or Captan once a week for 6 weeks as the new leaves develop.

PROPAGATION:  Offsets, seeds.

REMARKS: For the serious Amaryllis collector or the "home" gardener who prefers something a bit out of the ordinary, the Amaryllis species offer much pleasure in form and color differences.  The rarity of colors is an experience in itself. For Amaryllis bulbs that refuse to bloom, continue the correct growth and resting cycle, and you will be rewarded with flowering the next year.