The genus name Amaryllis comes from the Greek word amarysso which means ‘to sparkle’. In Vergil’s Eclogues, Amaryllis was the name given to a shepherdess who shed her own blood to prove her true love and in doing so inspired the naming of this bright red flower.
There are two species of Amaryllis, the better known of the two being Amaryllis belladonna. The botanical name for this plant however is Hippeastrum, and is a native of South America. The flowers are typically large and trumpet-shaped, with stems ranging from 18-30 inches long. Their colours vary from bold reds and oranges to white and pale pinks. Modern hybrids of amaryllis are called Giant Amaryllis or Royal Dutch Amaryllis. The flowers’ size and ease with which they can be grown have increased their popularity worldwide.
Tips: Amaryllis performs best when grown under warm (70 to 75 degrees F) temperatures for 9 to 10 months in order to promote flowering and vegetative growth, followed by 2 to 3 months of either cool dry storage or cool growing conditions. Of all flowering bulbs, amaryllis are among the easiest to bring to bloom. They tend to have a vase life of approximately 10 days depending on room temperature. Generally they are available from September to May.
Fortunately, amaryllis are typically very easy to look after. However, to keep them looking their best follow the tips below!
- Trim the stems half an inch from the ends
- Place them in a vase that will support the stems as they can go soft as the flowers mature and open
- Be aware that the warmer the temperature of the water, the quicker they will open
- Remove the sepals (the outer parts surrounding the flower) as they tend to go brown and can look quite ugly
- They look very nice arranged on their own or together with grass, as you can see from one of our own designs in the photo above.
- For a more traditional look, you can team them with roses
If you want a really spectacular display for your home, buy ten stems of amaryllis in one colour, buy a large bunch of steel grass (you will probably need to go to a florist for this), find a tall cylindrical vase (I would recommend at least 40cm high) and place on a flat surface where it is protected from water damage etc as this can be messy. Take the amaryllis stems and bundle them together with the stems all straight and running parallel to each other (you might need someone to help you with this), adjust the heads so they are all facing outwards, away from each other, then add the grass in using chunky, generous bunches, again with the grass falling outwards away from the centre of the bunch. Ideally use paper covered wire or fine satin ribbon to tie the stems at the halfway point. If you can find raffia, it is ideal for this and looks attractive, otherwise use string and cover with thin satin ribbon in the same colour palette as the flowers.
Finally trim the stems so they are the same length and carefully place them into the vase. The stems should fill the vase so they stand up straight without falling to the side or leaning at all. Fill the vase with water and step back to enjoy the ensuing show over the next week or two!
Let us know how you get on by sharing the final photos of your beautiful vase by tagging us on Instagram so we can re-share them (like the adorable photo below!) - you never know, there might even be a prize for the best attempt!