Dutch Amaryllis

Two weeks ago I shed some light on telling the difference between the Thanksgiving and Christmas cactus (you should check it out).  This week we are diving deeper into the holiday favorites and talking about Hippeastrum.

Yes you are probably scratching your head and wondering why you haven’t heard of Hippeastrum.  Trust me you have.  You know them as amaryllis.

Hippeastrum is a genus of plants belonging to the Amaryllidaceae family that includes other familiar favorites such as the Kaffir lily (Clivia sp.), Surprise lily (Lycoris sp.), Snowflakes (Lecojum sp.), Daffodils (Narcissus sp.), and Snowdrops (Galanthus sp.).  In the not so distant past, Hippeastrum belonged in the Genus Amaryllis until taxonomist separated it out.

To keep things simple we’ll refer to Hippeastrum as Dutch amaryllis.  These tropical bulbs originate from the Caribbean and South America with many cultivated hybrids that range in color from red, white, pink, and double blooms.  They are in the garden centers right now and easily grow and flower indoors but what do you do after they are done?

  • Remove spent flower stalks and move plant to a sunny window. Water once a week.
  • Dutch amaryllis are a full sun plant – when the weather allows it move outdoors in a full sun location and plant. Yes plant the bulb in the ground.
  • Water as you would any other perennial during the growing season.
  • As fall approaches allow the bulb to experience a few cool nights (mid 30’s °F).
  • Dig bulb, cut foliage and store in cool dark location.
  • When new growth resumes pot it and move into bright sunny window.

The key to getting the bulb to flower is cool storage.  An attached garage that doesn’t freeze is an ideal location.

Don’t toss your Dutch amaryllis when they are done and try to get them to flower for you again.  It’s a fun and rewarding challenge.

Scott Evans
Scott Evans is a horticulture assistant with Nebraska Extension in Douglas-Sarpy Counties. A certified arborist through International Society of Arboirculture and Nebraska Arborist Association. Scott is also Tree Risk Assessment Qualified through ISA. Scott co-leads the Master Gardener program in Douglas & Sarpy counties. Along with volunteer management he provides his expertise with disease and insect identification, lawn and landscape weed management, plant health, and I.P.M. practices. He also enjoys growing many houseplants ranging from African violets to cacti and succulents. Scott has two Bachelors of Science, one in Biology (emphasis in Botany, Ecology and Environmental Science) and second in Environmental Geology from Northwest Missouri State University. He earned his Master of Agriculture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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