Different types of Amaryllis-just an explanation

Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)March 26, 2009

Saying one has Amaryllis bulbs could mean one of numerous things.

There are Hippeastrum hybrids and they are of the Family: Amaryllidaceae (amaryllis Family). They are commonly named varieties and sold in 'kits' in big box stores. They are 'usually only hardy in zones 9-11 and are most often grown indoors and flower in the winter or early spring. In warmer climates, they can be planted outdoors and left year round.

Some examples of Hippeastrum can be found here at The Pacific Bulb Society.

There are also other members of the Family: Amaryllidaceae (amaryllis Family).

They include Lycoris Radiata which is hardy in zones 7-10.

Then there is the much hardier Lycoris squamigera (also of the amaryllis Family) that is hardy in zones 5-10.

Here are several varieties of Lycoris which are of the Amaryllidaceae (amaryllis) Family.

There are also many other varieties of the amaryllis Family

My post is a result recent post and some off the board emails...so just thought I would reply here. Feel free to add additional info about Amaryllis.



Here is a link that might be useful: Amaryllis/Hippeastrum Forum

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timbershort(zone 9 LA)

thanks! great info.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 9:55AM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

I guess I would just like to see people refer to Amaryllis only when they mean A. belladonna and none of the others and that way there is never confusion. I would never think of calling my Boophone or Brunsvigia or Crinum or Worsleya or Lycoris an Amaryllis. By being specific as to genus we avoid the problems noted above and in the other post, but I realize we sometimes do not know the genus of the plant in question so then it would be helpful to simply post you have someting in the Amaryllis family (Amaryllidacea as noted above).....just my 2 cents :o) Dan

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 1:21PM
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If you notice, Dan, I try to refer to Hippeastrum by their proper name, even if I do shorten it to Hippi. I'm sort of a stickler when it comes to the Latin names of plants, you could say.

Since I'm a collector and grower of Amaryllids, it makes me nuts when people refer to Hippeastrum bulbs as 'Amaryllis'! There is only one true Amaryllis... Belladonna!

The Amaryllidacea family is fairly large, so it helps me keep everything straight to label with proper names. I wish the bulb industry would follow suit.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 7:39AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

It sure does not help matters any when the big box stores package and sell their Hippie kits and refer to them as Amaryllis.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 10:36AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

I saw some bulbs in Lowes yesterday, a bag full that were labeled "amaryllis". Hoping they were the kind that were hardy in my zone, I picked them up and examined the label, but there was no Latin name on it. The picture looked like Hippeastrum though! Nor was there zone data. The bulbs were about the size of a tangerine, 3 in a bag so not nearly as big as the Hippeastrum you find in kits. I was wondering but not curious enough to risk my money. I was there for dahlias but couldn't help looking for something hardy at the same time.

All the big box stores intermix the summer bulbs like glads and dahlias in with the hardy ones like lilies. It makes me wonder how many people buy a tender bulb and then are mad when it doesnÂt come back. I was explaining this to a woman I saw filling her cart with dahlias. She put them all back and rolled off in disgust. She came back later and picked up some lilies!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 5:17PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Thanks for this info. I truly thought that Hippeastrum was always the one referred to as Amaryllis, and that Belladonna should be the one that was specified. I will try to watch my language in the future. :)

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 10:50PM
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What makes me even more nuts is when catalogs refer to "Garden Amaryllis" as hardy in zones 3-9... and then in tiny print, which the average person would miss, it says they should be lifted in northern gardens. So, most novice gardeners would think, "Oh boy! I can plant these in my zone 5 garden and just leave them!" Disappointment is sure to follow as their "garden amaryllis" bulbs freeze to death over winter.

Early on in my gardening "career", I learned NOT to take any zone in any catalog seriously, and to check with at least three other good sources to make sure of hardiness zones. This has saved me a lot of grief and a lot of money!

Any bagged bulbs labeled as "Amaryllis", and sold at this time of year, are most likely what the bulb industry calls "Garden Amaryllis"... these are nothing more than smaller Hippeastrum bulbs.

I recently bought two of these Garden Amaryllis bulbs, myself. They were labeled as being pink. I potted them up and grew them indoors, along with all my other Hippeastrum bulbs... and was not very surprised to find that the flowers were actually red. I think I have two young Red Lions, or at least two young red mutts. Pretty, though.

Buyer beware... always check zones, and if you are so inclined, it's also helpful to check proper names and know what you're getting when you purchase bulbs. Bulbs are wonderful additions to the garden, but some are tender and need to be lifted and stored in northern zones. If you know what to expect, you won't be disappointed!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 8:30AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

It looks like Gardenweb is putting ads into our postings by creating hyperlinks with our words. The underlining of my words was not put in there by me! I resent that, I thought it had been solved. It was a big issue on some forums a few fews ago. At least those are in green, I can ignore those compared to a genuine link inserted by a member.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 1:11PM
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