In the spring and summer, you can find huge lily-like flowers in the flower shops. Many people associate these plants with miniature gramophones, created for wood elves or fairies by nature. If you are a fan of lilies, then amaryllis can become a decent analogue of a garden flower for home growing. This plant is able to please the owners with a delicate aroma and beautiful flowering. Having learned the nuances of growing amaryllis at home, you can have these “fire lilies” on your windowsill almost all year round.
What Is Amaryllis?
Amaryllis belladonna is the only variety used in indoor floriculture. Its homeland is the small Karoo desert in South Africa. It is a bulbous plant with large narrow leaves about 0.5 m long. On a peduncle of 0.4–0.6 m high, there are large white or pink flowers resembling lilies in shape. The next feature determines the nuances of growing amaryllis bulbs at home. Like other desert plants, the active lifetime lasts 2-3 months a year. During this period, amaryllis manages to bloom, scatter seeds and prepare for rest until the next year.
The most popular varieties are those with large double flowers of 20 cm or more in diameter:
- Nymph with white petals and bright pink strokes;
- Macarena – red flower with white stripes in the centre of the petals;
- Double Dragon – coral petals with white tips.
The varieties with simple flowers are no less good:
- Large-flowered plants: white Ice Queen, red Durban, and Red Lion;
- Medium-sized flowers up to 12 cm in diameter: pink Maxima and pink-yellow Parker.
But multi-colour varieties with very thin petals are now especially popular:
- Grandeur – the petals of different shades of pink;
- La Paz – green petals with red borders;
- Chico is perhaps one of the most unusual varieties: at first glance, the flowers look more like some kind of exotic insect thanks to the graceful green-brown petals grown in different directions.
How to Grow Amaryllis?
If you do not buy amaryllis already planted in a flowerpot, carefully consider the quality of bulbs you buy. The bulbs must be dry, healthy, free from damage or rot, with strong but small roots. The upper dark scales are removed from the bulbs, then treated with potassium permanganate, dried and planted a day after drying. It is very important to work with the flower in gloves because amaryllis bulbs are poisonous.
The amaryllis pot should be heavy and stable. Several bulbs can also be planted in one pot – the main thing is that the distance between them should be about 10 cm. Amaryllis does not tolerate stagnant water, therefore, good drainage of 3-4 cm of thickness from gravel and sand on top is very important. Since amaryllis is sun-loving but does not tolerate direct sunlight, the best place for a flower will be a southwestern or southeastern window sill. Finally, you can achieve flowering at almost any time, and if you have several bulbs – even all year round!