Amaryllis is a genus of plants belonging to the Amaryllidaceae family. The history of the discovery of this genus is complex. It was isolated in 1737, and before that time amaryllis was classified as Lilium and Lilio narcissus.
Over time, the number of species in the genus grew due to finds and discoveries made in the subtropics and tropics of America. And in 1821, William Herbert, a botanist from Great Britain, decided to classify more than 15 species of American amaryllis into the genus Hippeastrum. As a result, confusion and disputes arose in botany between adherents of the innovation, who began to actively replenish the new genus, and those who refused to accept Herbert's proposal. A number of scientists considered the terms “Amaryllis” and “Hippeastrum” to be synonymous. Only in 1954, the International Botanical Congress issued a recommendation that only the South African species Amaryllis belladonna be called Amaryllis, the species from America be classified as the genus Hippeastrum, and the varieties and hybrids were given the name “Hippeastrum hybrid.”
This is why true Amaryllis is so rarely found among amateurs. Its main differences from Hippeastrum are:
- blooms in autumn and summer (from August to October), and “Americans” and their hybrids - in spring and winter (from February to April);
- the dormant period occurs in winter, in Hippeastrum - in summer;
- the diameter of the funnel-shaped flowers reaches 8 cm, in Hippeastrum it is larger - up to 15 cm;
- lilac, white, scarlet color, in Hippeastrum it is more diverse: flowers can be of all colors from purple to dark crimson, there are even striped and green specimens;
- flowering occurs in a leafless form; in Hippeastrums, during the formation of flowers or shortly after it, a long, oblong-linear leaf appears, the length of which is up to 80 cm;
- a dense peduncle with the number of flowers from 6 to 12, in Hippeastrum the peduncle is hollow, the flowers are odorless, there are only up to 6 of them.
Both Hippeastrum and Amaryllis are considered the best of forcing plants, since their forcing can be done even by inexperienced beginners. Even not very deep knowledge and basic skills in floriculture are enough to make Amaryllis bloom at the right time. To do this, you just need to change the timing of planting the bulbs. Why not try it?
Most Amaryllis have leaves that form a two-row “construction”, in which even leaves are placed exclusively under even ones, and odd leaves grow under odd ones. Growing this plant and seeing such a structure with your own eyes is very interesting, isn’t it?
But it should be remembered that almost all Amaryllis need to be given a period of rest after each flowering, putting the bulbs in the dark. If the plant is not given rest, the inflorescences that form in the bulbs will die. At the request of the owner, Amaryllis can bloom from 1 to 3 times a year, and the duration of each flowering will be 2-3 months.
The subtleties of successful cultivation of Amaryllis
The plant is light-loving, feels very good on the south-west or south-east window of the house, but does not like direct sunlight. On a south window, it will have to be covered from the sun with a removable screen, which creates light partial shade during the day. Amaryllis stems, reaching towards the light, take on a curved shape; to maintain the vertical shape of the plant, the pot should be rotated periodically.
During the dormant period, watering is stopped until shoots appear from the bulb. After this, they begin to give a moderate amount of warm water through the pan - no water should get on the bulb. During the growing season, care should be taken to ensure that the soil does not become too dry; at the same time, stagnation of moisture is no less dangerous for a plant that is sensitive to excess moisture.
The relative air humidity in the room can be any, so it is not necessary to spray Amaryllis; it is enough to clean the leaves from dust with a wet soft sponge or a warm shower.
The temperature during the rest period should not exceed +15°C, optimally - +10°C. Trimming withered leaves is allowed only after they have completely dried, because the bulb receives organic matter from them.
After the dormant period is over, the pot with the bulb is transferred to a warmer room (+20°C, premature overheating of the roots and bulbs is dangerous). Here the plant is kept for several days, and after the flower stalk appears, it is placed on the window. Only after the peduncle reaches 5–8 cm in length can you begin to water it with warm water.
When the arrow reaches a length of 12–15 cm, the Amaryllis should be watered with a weak solution of potassium permanganate, and after 6 days it should be fed with phosphorus fertilizer. During the flowering and growth period, once every two weeks or every 7 days in reduced doses, the plant is fed with complex mineral fertilizers intended for ornamental flowering plants. 1.5–2 months before the dormant period, feeding should be stopped. The use of organic fertilizers is not recommended as they lead to bulb diseases.
Amaryllis love compact containers - there should be no more than 3 cm between the walls of the pot and the bulb, otherwise the plant will refuse to bloom. Only after the plant becomes too cramped in the pot can it be transplanted into a larger one. For replanting, a new substrate of weak acidity (pH = 5.0-6.0) is used: it can be leaf and turf soil, humus, peat and sand in a ratio of 2: 4: 1–2: 2: 2. There must be drainage in a pot. The bulb is buried to 2/3 of its height, carefully handling its fragile roots. Root restoration is poor, so Amaryllis should be replanted as rarely as possible.
Amaryllis is propagated by “baby” bulbs. They are separated from the bulb during dormancy. If the onion has not formed “babies”, it can be cut into several parts, each of which should have parts of the roots and bottom. The cuts should be sprinkled with carefully crushed charcoal. The resulting parts are planted in a mixture of equal parts of peat and sand and watered moderately.
If dormant bulbs are treated with water at a temperature of 43-45°C, this will stimulate the plant to flower - it will occur in 20-30 days. But such exposure depletes Amaryllis, so it should not be carried out more often than once every 3-4 years.
Amaryllis rarely gets sick.
One of its diseases is gray rot, which manifests itself in the appearance of gray-brown spots on the leaves. This is a fungal infection that occurs when moisture stagnates in the pot. It is enough to normalize the watering regime and use fungicides to get rid of gray rot.
Red fungal blight of staganospora affects Amaryllis more often. It causes red, rust-like spots to appear on the leaves and bulbs. In this case, remove the bulb from the pot and remove the diseased and dry outer scales from it. The lesions are completely cut out, leaving only healthy tissue, the resulting wounds are covered with a mixture of copper sulfate and chalk (1: 20). After drying for a week, the bulb is planted in fresh soil, treated with fungicide and steamed. The bud should have a reduced humus content. In this case, only the bottom and roots of the bulb can come into contact with the ground, and the bulb itself must remain in the air.
Amaryllis is also attacked by insect pests: thrips and aphids. They cause the plant's leaves to become deformed and turn yellow. Scale insects and spider mites are also dangerous for Amaryllis.
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