Amaryllis* (Amaryllis, Hippeastrum) - one of our favorite indoor plants, especially in a rather cold Russian climate, with an almost six-month period of snow and lack of access to such natural gardening work in your favorite garden area! Modern amaryllis varieties are very varied in color and, as a rule, are crowned with large bell-shaped flowers of various shades from pure white to dark crimson, purple and even green. There are varieties with double and pronounced striped flowers. The homeland of this unusual flower is South America.
(* The commercial name Amaryllis refers to representatives of two species - Amaryllis belladonna and Hippeastrum garden. Here we are talking about hippeastrum, see the description on the page Hippeastrum (Ed.)
Amaryllis are bulbous plants with linear, rather long, oblong leaves. In culture, hybrid amaryllis and hippeastrum are more common. Amaryllis are among the best forcing plants, as they are easily driven out in indoor conditions even by the most unprepared hobbyists. Typically, each bulb produces one or two long flower arrows with 4-6 huge flowers reaching 20 cm in diameter and sometimes even more. It happens that well-developed bulbs also give a third arrow, but I usually remove it at the very early stage of its development, because I believe that the third flowering is very significantly inferior in beauty and abundance of flowering to the previous two and, most importantly, greatly weakens the mother bulb. which is fraught with a lack of flowering next year.
Amaryllis normally bloom in late winter or early spring. Some species and varieties can bloom in summer or autumn. With the help of forcing, with some little knowledge and skills, in principle, amaryllis can be made to bloom at any time of the year that suits you. The height of the peduncles averages 0.4-0.7 m and strongly depends on the characteristics of a particular variety. The same applies to the size of each individual flower.
What is the difference between amaryllis and hippeastrum?
In fact, the popularly beloved flowers are representatives of two different genera (hippeastrum and amaryllis) or their hybrids. By the nature of flowering, planting and caring for them, these two plants differ little from each other. In the first and simplest approximation, their difference is only in the size of the flower, the height of the peduncles and the size of the bulbs. Most often, in hippeastrum, all this is larger. Other differences for us flower growers are of little importance, therefore, for simplicity, we will use the name common to these plants - amaryllis. By the way, hippeastrum means "big knightly star" in translation.
How to plant amaryllis correctly?
Depending on the size of the bulb, amaryllis is planted in an individual (rather heavy) pot 15-20 cm in size or in a small group, at a distance of 10 cm from each other in a slightly larger container or container. Avoid light pots that can tip over during the flowering of amaryllis or from minor gusts of wind with sufficiently large foliage and peduncles. With a blunt end (usually with remnants of roots), the bulbs are buried in well-drained, humus-rich soil. Thoroughly tamp the soil mixture around the bulbs so that about half or at least one third of the bulb remains above the soil surface. In the lower part of the earthen coma, almost above the drainage itself, you can horizontally put one or one and a half sticks of any complex fertilizer with prolonged action that you have tested, having previously divided them in half.
After planting or transplanting, a pot of amaryllis is placed on a bright window in a warm enough place and watered with water at room temperature.For planting, an earthen mixture is used, consisting of approximately equal parts of sod, leaf, humus earth and sand. When transplanting, the roots are shaken off from the old soil, and the roots that have rotted in an old pot or dried out during long-term storage are removed.
Before planting, it is highly advisable to first remove all dried outer bulb scales that are black or dark brown in color for several reasons. Firstly, by peeling the bulb to live and elastic white or light green tissues and placing your plant in the light, you thereby stimulate the production of chlorophyll in them and, as it were, stimulate or start all the necessary life processes in a plant that is often still dormant or resting, if we are talking about a planned transplant of this plant. Secondly, if we are talking about newly acquired specimens, behind the dead covering shells, there can be anything you like - small hidden foci of rot, and disease-causing spores, and even young babies that have grown into growth. Therefore, I strongly advise you before planting to carefully remove all external dark and even still light, but have already lost their elasticity, outer shells, and to separate all sufficiently large and viable children. Further, it will be useful to treat your bulbs almost to the very neck for half an hour with some kind of fungicide or at least a dark solution of potassium permanganate. Then, having dried them well for several hours, or even days, you can start planting the prepared plants. Places that arouse you suspicion can be pretreated with Maxim, Fitosporin, or at least ordinary brilliant green. But they, too, must be well pre-dried before planting!
Very small, slightly biting babies are removed or left on the bulb, depending on your further goals and preferences in relation to this variety or specifically in relation to this specimen or specific bulb. They can be left if you need to quickly propagate this variety or removed if abundant and long flowering is more important to you. It must be remembered that the presence of children can lead in some varieties to a delay or even a prolonged absence of flowering. The intensive education of children is facilitated by a very spacious container in which they grow. The plant seems to understand - why strain and try to reproduce through flowering and setting seeds, if it is possible to multiply its offspring more naturally and faster vegetatively.
Therefore, pots for planting amaryllis are taken mainly of small diameter, the distance between the wall and the bulb of which should be only 1.5-2 cm! Less is possible! As mentioned above, in a spacious container, the plant forms many children and does not bloom for a long time. At the same time, well-developed amaryllis roots need a lot of space, so the pot should be deep enough and wide at the bottom. Good drainage is also imperative, since most of the roots are located in this part of the pot. Expanded clay or fine gravel can be used as drainage. It is advisable to use ceramic pots, without enamel. This promotes better ventilation and aeration of the root system.
Adult plants are transplanted approximately every 2 years, younger plants are transplanted as needed and the bulb grows. The top layer of the earth, if possible, for all plants is replaced annually.
On which window is it better to put it?
Amaryllis are light-loving plants, they feel very good on the southeast and southwest windows. You can also put on the southern windows, but in the daytime it is better to shade the pots from direct sunlight. As the leaves and flower arrow grow, the plant must be periodically rotated slightly so that the stem stretching towards the light returns to an upright position.
How to water amaryllis?
Water the newly planted plant very sparingly so as not to overfill the bulb and roots until the new leaves or flower grows and reaches about 5-7 cm in height.Depending on the variety, amaryllis may be the first to appear with foliage or a flower - either of these options is normal, but flower stalks still appear more often. After the leaves or the arrow of the flower have started to grow, the soil should be kept sufficiently moist. But it must be borne in mind that with a strong excess of moisture, thick roots that have not yet taken root and properly rooted can rot, or even the bulb itself, especially if before that it had areas affected by decay. In the absence of leaves and in cold weather or a windowsill, moisture from pots, especially plastic ones, evaporates slowly, and this can provoke rotting of roots and bulbs.
When will my amaryllis bloom?
A powerful, well-developed bulb starts growing or throws out flower stalks almost immediately after planting. And within seven to eight weeks, depending on the variety and variety of amaryllis, you will receive one or two powerful peduncles, each of which will have three to five, and sometimes six beautiful flowers. To prolong their bloom, keep the pot in a cool place and not in direct sunlight. If a third flower arrow suddenly appears, then it is better to break it off immediately at the base and not allow the bulb to bloom a third time, since three times flowering greatly depletes the bulb. The peduncle immediately after the opening of the first flower can be safely cut off and placed in the water in a narrow high vase, it is advisable to renew the water every day. The flowering time of each flower stalk in the cut and on the bulb is almost the same, but at the same time you significantly reduce the depletion of the bulbs and thereby often stimulate the emergence of a new peduncle.
How to keep amaryllis in the summer?
In summer, plants are watered abundantly (but not often!) As needed, and fed every two weeks. On sunny days, only the pots are shaded; you can spray the foliage in the evening or in the morning. In the daytime, it is better not to do this, since water droplets can become microlenses and simply burn the leaves, concentrating the sun's rays on them. Amaryllises can also be taken out into the open air - a balcony, an external window sill, or even planted in a garden, protecting the mouth of the bulb from heavy rainfall and excessive moisture in the earthen coma.
What does an amaryllis need to bloom regularly?
You can help the amaryllis bloom again next year. You only need a little extra care of this plant, and he will repay you a hundredfold. After the end of flowering, the peduncles should be immediately removed, cutting them at about 3-4 cm from its base. Continue to water the plant periodically as the top layer of the earthy coma dries. Amaryllis should also be fed regularly, about once every two weeks or ten days, preferably with liquid fertilizers for bulbous plants. Amaryllis react very well to liquid complex fertilizer "Izumrud". The more Amaryllis leaves during the spring and summer, the better. They will help the plant to stock up on the necessary energy for the next flowering. At the same time, under favorable conditions for the plant, either a flower bud or a baby's embryo is laid behind every fourth leaf. And depending on the size of the pot, the care of the plant and some other external conditions, they may well start growing and reward you with either a beautiful flower or a new plant.
When can amaryllis be kicked out?
Amaryllis are highly valued precisely because the time of their flowering, by properly regulating the dormant period, can be timed to almost any desired date. But it is still better to do this from December to April for two reasons. These terms are more natural for a given plant. In this case, the bulbs are less depleted and better tolerate this event, which, in other words, passes for them with the least loss. In this case, your collection will bloom beautifully and almost continuously every year, and the bulbs will recover normally in the spring-summer period. In industrial conditions, forcing for cutting is carried out almost all year round.
How to prepare amaryllis for dormancy?
At the end of August - September, stop feeding and start reducing the amount of watering until they stop completely at the end of October - November. By this time, the amaryllis will begin to gradually shed the leaves, and the nutrients from them will gradually pass into the bulb. Due to a significant decrease in watering and natural light, in October - November, all leaves should naturally die off. It is not worthwhile to specially cut off the leaves that have not yet wilted, since when they die off, all organic substances from them pass into the bulb, making the necessary supply of nutrients for the subsequent abundant flowering. But sometimes one or two leaves that have not wilted remain on the bulb for a rather long time. If they do not interfere with further storage of the amaryllis pot, you can leave them. Often they are carefully bent down or cut at the base of the bulb to save space when storing them, for example, on shelves in a cool closet or a warm enough garage where the temperature does not drop below zero in winter.
How to store amaryllis during the dormant period?
At rest, the bulbs usually retain living roots, at least skeletal and the largest, so they need to be watered occasionally (once every 15-20 days). The bulbs do not need light during rest, so they can be placed in a dark, cool and always dry place. Pots with resting bulbs are kept at a temperature of about + 5- + 12 ° C. Leave the resting bulbs in pots or loose in boxes for at least eight to nine weeks. Remember: bulbs of hippeastrum and amaryllis are not frost-resistant and are very afraid of even a short-term drop in temperature to negative values.
Read more - in the article Preparing Amaryllis * for rest and spring distillation
When does amaryllis usually bloom?
At home, the normal flowering period for amaryllis is mid-February - first half of March. Very often, amaryllis bloom precisely on Valentine's Day or on March 8, which for many years replaced Valentine's Day in our country. 7-10 weeks before the desired flowering time, bring the rested bulbs into a warmer, brighter room as described above. The amount of watering should be adjusted depending on the intensity of foliage growth, the temperature and dryness of the surrounding air, as well as the humidity of the earthen coma. By following these easy guidelines, you will be rewarded with regular flowering of your amaryllis every year.
How and when to transplant amaryllis?
It is advisable to replant and change the soil in pots every 1-2 years. The root system is not cut off during planting and transplanting, but only diseased and dried roots are removed, sprinkling cuts with crushed charcoal. When transplanting, the children, which often appear on the bulbs, are carefully separated and, if necessary, planted in separate pots, indicating the variety. Babies usually bloom around the third year after separation and transplantation. When transplanting, the diameter of the dishes is increased only slightly, since in the "cramped" dishes amaryllis bloom more readily and much faster.
It is better to replant plants in spring, about 3-5 weeks after flowering. This is due to the fact that faded bulbs are greatly depleted and reduced in diameter, since flowering occurs almost exclusively due to the reserves of the bulb itself. Faded plants are thoroughly cleaned of withered and dried outer scales and transplanted into smaller pots with a new nutrient substrate. Amaryllis pots are discussed above. In the summer they are kept in the same way as young plants, regularly feeding.
As the diameter of the bulb increases, it can be transferred into a slightly larger container. But this must be done very carefully so as not to severely damage the earthen ball and roots. At this moment, you can insert mineral nutrient sticks (fertilizers) of prolonged action into the lower part of the earthen coma. In a normally developing plant, the root system densely and evenly penetrates the entire earthen lump and does not allow it to fall apart.If this is not the case, then you need to understand what prevents the plant from developing normally and take all the necessary measures to eliminate these unfavorable factors.
How to propagate amaryllis?
Amaryllidaceae are propagated by seeds and baby bulbs. Seed propagation is practiced only for selection and hybridization; for amateur floriculture, this propagation method is considered very costly and ineffective. I will share a little my sad experience. In my school years, I wanted to understand what would happen when crossing red and white amaryllis. At the same time, I received seeds on both white and red specimens. There were a lot of seeds in all the seed pods. Germination was good and almost all planted seeds taken from both amaryllis germinated. There were about a hundred seedlings, I simply did not plant more, due to the lack of space. Gradually growing up, they began to take up more and more space, and I had to compact them or distribute them to friends. Having reached adulthood, they all bloomed, but I never got any outstanding or at least white-pink colors. Almost all colors were in red. After polling all the acquaintances with whom I shared the seedlings, I realized that their colors were almost completely identical to mine. This whole experiment took me about 5 years. Perhaps I was just unlucky, but my desire to become a “breeder” of Amaryllis faded away.
The development of modern selection of amaryllis is mainly in 3 directions:
- improvement or search for new varieties with classic large flowers of double and non-double forms. I would like to note such terry varieties as Celica, Double Roma, Double Dragon, Ice Queen, Pink Nymph, Merry Christmas, Macarena, Promise and others. Among the non-double monochrome forms, for my taste are very interesting varieties Black Pearl, Ampulo, Benfica, Exotica, Faro, Lemon Lime, Moonlight, Matterhorn, Rosalie, White Baby and etc.;
- search for fundamentally new two- or multi-color colors, or giving new shades to existing ones. I would like to mention such modern varieties as Charisma, Gervesa, Temptatia, Prelude, Misty, Clown, Neon, Estella, Santa Cruz, Papillio, Pizazz and etc.;
- search for new forms of a flower, for example, the so-called narrow-petaled varieties of amaryllis or "spiders", from the English "spider" - a spider. This group includes varieties Spotty, Santana, Grandeur, Night Star, Chico, Lima, Evergreen, La Paz and others. All of them look very beautiful in group compositions, but single flowers, in my opinion, are very inferior to large-flowered hybrids.
Amaryllis in the open field
In the southern regions of the Russian Federation, amaryllis can be grown in the open field, but, be sure to remember that he is afraid of freezing temperatures. If there is a threat of frost, amaryllis bulbs should be brought into rooms with a controlled temperature in advance. Bulbs should be planted in open ground mainly in sunny places or partial shade only after the threat of recurrent frost has disappeared.
In most regions of the Russian Federation, in winter, amaryllis hibernates only as a houseplant with a pronounced dormant period from about the end of October to the beginning of February.