Native to South Africa
The Amaryllis flower, often called the Naked Lady, is originally from South Africa along the shores of the Cape. They are often confused with Hippeastrum flowers which are commonly sold in winter months because they can bloom indoors. Though better cultivated outdoors, Amaryllis flowers are fairly sensitive to temperature and do not typically survive frost or excessive heat. For this reason, the plant is most common in the United States along the West Coast where the climate is similar to its South African home. Under the right care though, Amaryllises can be cultivated in almost any garden.
They are bulbous plants that range from 5 cm to 10 cm in width and its leaves grow typically in the fall or late spring followed by its flowering period. Before the flowering period, the plant usually requires relatively dry soil as the stem begins to grow. This need for dryer ground than most flowers also explains why Amaryllises do not flourish in South America and similar tropical and rainy climates like many species of flowers do. Interestingly, the name of the flower comes from Virgil’s “Eclogues” in which a shepherdess speaks in Latin of an “amarysso”, meaning “to sparkle”.
Growing Recommendations - Amaryllis
Amaryllis flowers should be planted between October and the end of April with the flowering period most often between late December late June. Within that time frame, most Amaryllises are in bloom for 7 to 10 weeks. When planting the bulb, it should be planted up to its neck. The larger the bulb, the more flowers there will be when it blooms. Also, use ample amounts of nutritious compost for the best results, and unplanted Amaryllis bulbs should be kept refrigerated at 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut Amaryllis flowers typically last 1 to 2 weeks and, as with the planted flowers, are best suited in moderate sun light and climates.