Amaryllis belladonna - a bewitching romantic
The name of the amaryllis, which gave the name to the entire family of magnificent bulbous plants, is so often used as a synonym for hippeastrum that they forgot about real, genuine amaryllis. This plant is inferior to its much more popular counterpart in the varietal palette, and in species diversity, and in demand. But everyone who has ever seen the touching flowering of genuine amaryllises forever gave them a piece of their heart. Less capricious, hardy, producing more flowers, amaryllis deserve to be returned to the list of fashionable cultures.
- Authentic Amaryllis and their romantic flowering
- Varietal Amaryllis Belladonna Palette
- Caring for amaryllis belladonna at home
- Diseases and pests of amaryllis belladonna
- Amaryllis Reproduction
Authentic Amaryllis and their romantic flowering
Real amaryllis, like their most popular and spectacular (and actually the only actively used) representative of amaryllis belladonna, have practically disappeared from our interiors. Much more common plants from the amaryllis family, which should correctly be called not amaryllis, namely hippeastrum, in spite of any “habits”, have captured almost the entire niche in the category of indoor bulb crops and replaced the once popular genuine amaryllis from the list of popular plants.
Meanwhile, they have distinctive individual characteristics and differ from amaryllis quite significantly (and by quite obvious signs). All the same, they are different cultures in terms of flowering, and in its timing, and in nature, and in the cultivation strategy.
Real amaryllises, like most spectacular indoor bulbs, came to us from South Africa and were naturally accustomed to subtropical conditions.
Amaryllis belladonna, or Amaryllis beauty (Amaryllis belladonna) have much in common with their brethren hippeastrum, but still the key characteristics of flowering they radically differ. Amaryllis develops from slightly elongated, round, spindle-pear-shaped, with a prominent “neck”, rather large bulbs, the diameter of which can reach 5-6 cm.
Amaryllises form rather large roots that do not die off during the dormant period. They produce reaching in length from 40 to 60 cm with a width of only 2-3 cm, belt-shaped, linear, with a central "fold" leaves, which the bulb produces only after luxurious flowering in the fall (and not simultaneously with peduncles, like hippeastrum) . Leaves die off by the end of spring, before the dormancy stage begins. Each bulb produces up to 16 leaves, located opposite, quite strict pairs.
Unlike hippeastrums, amaryllises do not produce hollow, but powerful dense peduncles from half a meter to almost 1 m high. The development of the peduncle is very rapid, occurring literally in a matter of days. Amaryllis wakes up at an amazing rate. From the moment of the first signs of the beginning of growth of the peduncle to the beginning of flowering itself, most often a very short period passes (up to 1 week).
The flower stalk is crowned not with a multi-flowered but with a multi-flowered umbrella of inflorescence. It contains up to 12 funnel-shaped flowers with a corolla divided into six petals, the maximum diameter of which is limited to only 6-10 cm.The flowers are smaller and more elegant than hippeastrum, but they bloom much more.
The flowering period of amaryllis belladonna is radically different from hippeastrum. If the latter are considered winter-flowering plants, usually reaching the peak of decorativeness by the end of February, then amaryllis are cultures that precede autumn. Amaryllis belladonna blooms traditionally at the end of summer, most often, it pleases with flowers for a long time. Due to the fact that each flower opens for 4-5 days and literally one after another, a kind of wave passes through the inflorescence.
After flowering, amaryllis fruit boxes are tied, in which 6 or more seeds are traditionally hidden. They manage to mature in a month.
The color scheme of amaryllis, unlike hippeastrum, the selection of which expanded the possible color options to almost limitless, is romantic and rather modest. White-pink variations from the most delicate and watercolor shades to saturated candy colors and dark wine-red tones - with amaryllis belladonna you can admire all this richness of color, which is traditionally considered purely feminine and very pastoral.
The aroma of amaryllis is quite intense, most similar to the exquisite version of the smell of hyacinths.
Varietal Amaryllis Belladonna Palette
The choice of varieties in amaryllis is much less impressive than in hippeastrum. Almost all varieties have become legendary, and the varieties found on sale can be counted on the fingers. The best white-flowered varieties are still considered the old "Alba" and "Blanda", pink-flowered - "Maxima" and "Elata", large-flowered and small-flowered - "Major" and "Minor", respectively. Yes, and purple "Purpurea" can also be considered an exemplary variety.
Caring for amaryllis belladonna at home
Amaryllis, unlike hippeastrum, can be grown not only as indoor plants, but also as garden plants with containers in containers for the winter. But still, the greatest abundance can be achieved from them in room culture, so this plant will deliver the least trouble.
Amaryllis, with the exception of the need to provide them with a cool period of rest, are undemanding crops. Caring for them is no different from most flowering indoor plants and bulbous forcing. Amaryllis does not need to increase air humidity, nor in any special temperature regime. Grow this plant under the power of both experienced and novice gardeners.
Rest period for amaryllis belladonna
The flowering of amaryllis is worth any effort that will have to be made to ensure the correct regime in the dormant phase. Fortunately, this plant is relatively short in this plant: in order to cause the next flowering, it is enough to give the amaryllis to rest for at least 6 weeks (optimally - 7-8 weeks).
Traditionally, the dormant period of amaryllis falls in the summer, it begins from the moment of leaf dropping in late spring, and ends with the formation of a peduncle at the end of summer.
During the resting phase, the plant must be provided with 3 main factors of normal “rest”:
- a sharp decrease in watering;
- complete cessation of feeding.
Cool temperatures are sometimes called an optional condition, but without them it will be very difficult to achieve abundant flowering even with perfect care.
The flowering time of amaryllis can be freely controlled by shifting the dormant period and shifting it to other dates for the plant to be distilled to specific dates or seasons.
Lighting for Amaryllis Belladonna
Amaryllis makes stringent lighting requirements only during the active development phase. At the time when the plant produces peduncles and leaves, and before they wither, the amaryllis must be provided with as bright a lighting as possible from all possible options.
Direct sunlight only affects the flowers at noon (if the evening or morning sun falls on the plant, it will not harm him). In any case, the place for amaryllis is chosen as light as possible. Shading during this period may result in a lack of flowering or bud dropping.
As for the lighting regime during the dormant period, for amaryllis dropping leaves, it is one of the key factors in preparing for future flowering and one of the three most important indicators that ensure the correct passage of the dormant phase. Amaryllis after the plant has dropped leaves, it is necessary to move it to a more shaded place (preferably in full shadow or at least in intense partial shade), which contrasts sharply with the previous location.
During the flowering stage, while amaryllis is actively developing, it is a heat-loving plant, but not too capricious to temperature indicators. Amaryllis will feel good in any living room and will be able to bloom profusely in both more moderate and medium-high air temperatures.
But at the dormant stage, for more abundant flowering in the future, it is advisable to withstand the bulb in cool temperatures. The optimal temperature range during rest is from 5 to 12 degrees, but it is better to maintain a temperature of about 10 degrees for at least 6 weeks.
Watering and humidity
Despite their belonging to the bulbous and fear of stagnant dampness of the soil, amaryllis need abundant flowering for abundant flowering. For this crop, it is necessary to carry out abundant, but not too frequent watering, allowing only the topsoil to dry out.
Of course, an active regime of soil moisture is necessary for this plant exclusively in the stage of active development. With the transition of the plant to the dormant stage, after the leaves die off, watering is gradually reduced and minimized, maintaining only a slight soil moisture, taking into account the conservation of roots (complete drought is contraindicated). In this regard, caring for amaryllis is not much different from caring for hippeastrum.
Amaryllis does not need to increase air humidity even during a period of abundant flowering. Leaves should be regularly cleaned from dust.
Amaryllis belladonna dressing
Finding the right fertilizer strategy for amaryllis is not easy. The thing is that the data on the preferences of this crop for fertilizers vary significantly and often do not match. In many ways, what kind of dressing is needed for amaryllis depends on the usual care provided in the flower center or when breeding.
Old varieties of amaryllis are sometimes ranked as rare indoor crops, which do not like mineral fertilizing too much and recommend choosing organic fertilizers for them in liquid form. But most modern varieties (and by definition any amaryllis that can be purchased today) prefer just mineral or complex mineral-organic fertilizers.
For this plant it is better to purchase special fertilizer mixtures for bulbs or amaryllis or use the usual complex fertilizer for flowering plants. When buying amaryllis, it is better to clarify information about which composition of fertilizers a particular crop is used to.
But the period of fertilizer application and the frequency of procedures are the same for all amaryllis. Top dressing is applied once every 2 weeks and is carried out only during the stage of active development.
Transplant and substrate
This magnificent bulb is traditionally transplanted in a state of rest, after all the aboveground parts die from it. You can transplant amaryllis at the beginning of this stage, and before the start of watering.
For all amaryllis, universal soil mixtures, purchased ready-made substrates with neutral characteristics, or independently composed soil mixtures of sheet, soddy soil, sand and humus are suitable. Amaryllis can be planted even in ordinary garden or garden soil, mixing loosening additives or at least sand, but it is better to pay much more attention to the selection of soil. The soil for growing amaryllis should be not only nutritious, but also water- and breathable.
The optimal transplantation frequency for these plants is 1 time every 4-5 years, but you can transplant plants more often if the children fill the soil and the bulbs do not have enough space. In years when transplantation is not performed, for the amaryllis, the top layer of the substrate in the containers is replaced. In this case, it is imperative to carefully monitor that the depth of immersion of the bulbs remains the same.
When transplanting to the bottom of the tank, at least average drainage must be laid (the minimum height of the drainage layer is about 3 cm). The main thing is to try to inflict minimal damage to the rather thick roots of the bulbs during the transplant procedure, which do not die off even during the dormant period and are very sensitive to damage. Therefore, amaryllis, if there is no need for separation, it is better not to transplant, but to reload.
If you want to separate the daughter plants, then carefully inspect the bulbs, make sure that it is not damaged by rot. Damaged areas are carefully removed with a sharp knife, immediately processing the slices with powdered charcoal. During planting, roots must be handled very carefully, but damaged, dry, long, or rotted roots should be removed immediately.
When planting, the amaryllis bulbs are buried by 1/3 or only half. Plants are planted so that a distance of 3-5 cm remains to the walls of the container. Amaryllises can be placed in large containers in groups, leaving a distance of about 10 cm between the bulbs and 2-3 cm to the walls of the container. But a much simpler way to get a lot flower stalks in one capacity - do not separate the bulb families during transplantation, do not separate daughter plants as independent ones, but transplant maternal bulbs with educated children - the "family".
Diseases and pests of amaryllis belladonna
Amaryllis suffers from decay, subject to poor care and improper watering. But much more dangerous for these bulbous pests: spider mites, thrips and aphids. To fight them, you must start immediately with insecticidal drugs.
Amaryllis makes it easy to get new plants and increase the collection due to the formation of daughter bulbs, which during transplantation can be separated from the mother plant and used as independent cultures.
For 1 season, each adult bulb that has reached optimal sizes is capable of producing from 2 to 4 children. Separating daughter plants one at a time is not necessary, you can simply divide the families into 2-3 parts. But if you have a desire, this plant can be propagated from seeds, although flowering will have to wait long enough, from 4 to 8 years. Seeds are sown with light soil cover, germinated under a film or glass.