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AMARYLLIS (am-a-ril’is) is a family of bulbous plants, which in­cludes Hippeastrums, Belladonnas, Nerines and other well known and so-called ”Lilies.” They can be dis­tinguished from the true lilies by an almost universal habit of throwing up the naked flower stem after the foliage dies down. Hippeastrums are an exception to this rule. So for purpose of cultivation we can deal with them separately.

Amaryllis Belladona (or ”Bella­ donna Lily”) is the type generally known. There is a bigger and finer genus known as Brunsvigia, closely resembling Belladonnia, but with more flowers to the head 18 to 30 borne cylindrically in pink or white.

Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759 -1840) was a Flemish painter and botanist renowned for his exquisite watercolors of lilies, roses, and other native plant species. His prolific career spanned the turbulent years of the French Revolution and resulted in the “Raphael of Flowers” being regarded as one of the finest botanical illustrators of all time.

Amaryllis Belladona

All these are planted with the neck of the bulb just at soil level. Do not bury it. Ordinary well­ drained garden soil is suitable and an open sunny aspect.

Belladonnas and Brunsvigias can be planted from November to March. Nerines (”Spider Lilies”), including Lycoris, are planted December to April. Brunsvigia Baptisti ( alba or rosea-white or pink), Belladonna rosea and Nerine aurea (golden yel­low), Fothergilli (scarlet spangled gold-splendid), Sarniensis (scarlet), Japonica (red or white), and Bow­ deni (pink), are all good varieties.


Hippeastrums (or Giant Lily) are the magnificent members of the family. Large blooms of scarlet, white, red, orange-red, crimson-red, in selfs or striped and marbled in attractive blendings. Individual blooms are from 6 to 8 inches across and carried 3 to 5 on stems. Good soil, deeply dug and well-enriched with ample dairy manure. In the open ground with full sunlight, they should be planted with the neck of bulb showing. Plant December to April to flower in Spring.

It is a good practice to heavily mulch the Hippeastrum beds with fairly fresh stable manure in July to stimulate growth. They respond quickly to that generous treatment. Allow 12 to 18 inches between bulbs. Plants may be grown from seed­lings of either Belladonnas or Hippeastrums. Gather when ripe, and sow in a sandy compost seed­ bed, giving an inch of manure topped covering. Sow seeds 1½ inches apart.
Lift after second season to open beds. Many will bloom in second year, giving some surprises.

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