Amaryllis are the classic forced winter flower, providing a dazzling display and much needed colour, but naturally, they flower in the summer months!
The word Amaryllis comes from the Greek word amarysso, which means ‘to sparkle’ – which they certainly do!
Bulbs were introduced in Europe in the 1700s and have been known to bloom for up to an astonishing 75 years.
Amaryllis flowers range from 4-10 inches and can be either single or double flower heads.
Flowers come red, white, pink, salmon, apricot, peach, rose and deep burgundy. Some Amaryllis varieties are bi-colour, purple and green, and have petals with a different edge colour.
Modern hybrids are termed giant or Royal Dutch amaryllis. Trumpet-shaped flowers, in various patterns and sizes. Hybrids have also created striped or multicolored flowers, some with green centres, termed ‘throats’.
Flowering during November-July, Amaryllis usually take between six to eight weeks to bloom, from planting, and are easy to grow in pots and containers.
Plant each Amaryllis bulb in a heavy pot, as it needs to support the weight of the heavy bloom, and place the pot in a bright, indirect light, watering sparingly until you see about 2 inches of new growth.
Thereafter water regularly, turning the pot to encourage the flower stalk to grow straight, with the flower bud appearing at the top. Prolong blooms, keeping the pot out of direct sunlight.
Amaryllis have yielded several substances with medicinal properties, including treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.