The glossy, strap-shaped leaves and striking trumpet flowers of Amaryllis bring welcome colour and brightness to the home in the depths of winter gloom. Provided the bulb is planted at the right time, the spectacular flowers will bring additional cheer to the Christmas table to complement the mulled wine and roast turkey.Buy Amaryllis Here!
There is confusion in the horticultural world about the name. The true Amaryllis belladonna, sometimes grown in UK gardens as the ‘naked lady’, belongs to a genus that hails from South Africa. The ‘Christmas’ indoor Amaryllis derives from a family of 90 species that originate from the Americas. They were separated by experts into the genus Hippeastrum in 1987, but the original name has stuck, and the confusion remains! This article is about growing and caring for the magnificent Amaryllis bulb that has become one of our most popular Christmas house plants.
The name Hippeastrum is said to come from the resemblance of the flower to a knight’s morning star, a familiar flailing medieval weapon, from the Greek ‘hippeus’ (knight) and ‘astron’ (star).
Hippeastrum species have been selectively bred since the early nineteenth century to produce a huge variety of large, colourful flowers. In the UK, these need to be raised as house plants for the winter, though the pots can be placed outside in the summer, and - if allowed a dormancy period – they can be brought back inside to flower once again in the following winter.