"Amaryllis" vs. Hippeastrum

Neighbor has this:
 Photo by neighbor.  Hippeastrum papilio

Do your know that situation where you sort of know something but don't, really?  I started thinking about the "Amaryllis"/Hippeastrum thing, and did a little self-educating.  

Amaryllis (not "Amaryllis") is a genus of two species native to South Africa.  They are summer-dormant, blooming in autumn before leaves emerge.  They grow perfectly, without care, in coastal Southern California because their native climate is so similar to the climate in coastal Southern California.  I knew that.  Away from coastal Southern California and its native range, Amaryllis is tricky to coax into bloom.  I didn't know that.  
Hippeastrum hybrid  
Hippeastrum is a genus of 80-some species native to South America.  They are either winter-dormant, or evergreen.  Some are epiphytes(!), growing in trees.  H. papilio, commonly known as the "Butterfly Amaryllis", is a very rare epiphytic species essentially wiped out in the wild, but very popular in the garden.  It can be very successful in the garden if you don't treat it like the South African Amaryllis.  It is evergreen and needs summer water.  Ohhhh.  

The species was only discovered by Western science in 1967.  Unlike Amaryllis,  Hippeastrums species want water throughout the year except winter, if they are winter dormant.  Ohhhh.

The hybrid bulbs commonly found for sale are Hippeastrums.  The use of the name "Amaryllis" for Hippeastrums goes all the way back to the 18th century, when both the South African and South American plants were placed in the same genus.  Ohhhh!

I feel better now.  Ignorance is not a virtue.   I need to read up on genus Ranunculus next, but some photos of them in the meantime.


Comments

  1. Oh, your neighbor's Hippeastrum! Those stripes. I can't even put sentences together to describe my lust.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks to your neighbor for sharing that knockout image of H. papilio. I'm greatly tempted by the papilio-influenced hybrids every year when bulb shopping (some of the catalogs call them "butterfly" hybrids); there's a green and white cultivar that really speaks to me. How tall is the H. papilio at your neighbor's? One of the attractions of the "butterfly" varieties for those of us restricted to indoor flowering is their smaller size.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Neighbor says 18" tall. I like the ones with somewhat shorter stems as they are sturdier in the garden. I grew one in a pot one year and it kept falling over--so it went in the ground.

      Delete
  3. Nell, it grows to maybe eighteen inches tall. It's been in the ground for about four years and receives only casual care. The only downside, if there could possibly be one, is the flower doesn't open fully - as shown in the photo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No downside that I can see! That's the "butterfly" shape.

      Delete
  4. I miss gardening in SoCal, I grew up in SD and lived in Mission Viejo for a long time. It was so easy to grow so many lush plants! Your Ranunculus are stunning! I used to love it when the fields on the north side of the freeway near Carlsbad had them in bloom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's easy to grow things here--if it was tougher, maybe I'd be a better gardener, LOL.

      Delete
    2. Your Meyerland MCM project looks great!

      Delete
  5. Ranunculus is pretty new to me, as I only see them locally very early in the season at nurseries -- and I don't go to nurseries very early in the season. :) I saw them a couple of years ago and LOVED their blooms, but no nothing about how they'd do here. I suspect not very well, or perhaps the herbivores would devour them. They eat all the best blooms in my experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even here they need to be dug and stored, they just vanish over the summer otherwise. Which is a lot of work for lazy me, so they--vanish over the summer.

      Delete
  6. That is one gorgeous butterfly amaryllis! I planted several Hippeastrum cybister in the bed along the street a couple of years ago, hoping they'd naturalize. They bloomed last year and the foliage is up this year but, frankly, they look a little peaked and I'm beginning to think I'll be lucky to get flowers this year. In contrast, the sturdier-stalked types I planted in my shady former garden over-achieved, forming a mass of bulbs and blooms after their first year in the ground. I hope your red one goes to town too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The H. cybister is beautiful. Perhaps it didn't want a rainy winter?

      Have you tried the Sprekelia formosissima? I love saturated reds in the garden.

      Delete
  7. OMG, that Hippeastrum papilio is incredible! I planted a few bulbs YEARS ago and while the clump is getting better, all I've ever had is foliage. I wonder what it takes from them to flower?

    ReplyDelete
  8. You keep providing evidence that Mom Nature is a heckuva designer.

    ReplyDelete
  9. thanks for sorting the amaryllis/hippeastrum biz out. Now what about amarcrinums, etc.? Just kidding...
    I always run into problems designating an area for these kind of bulbs. Heck, the drimia/urginea has been moved far more than it wants in my garden. Last I was at the Huntington I noted they had interplanted drimia in the new entry garden, but I digress.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A move of the Drimias from one slope to the other here at the wrong time made them take last "winter" off, but they are back bigger than ever this winter. Tough, tough bulbs.

      Delete
  10. Hi, I'm Angela, from Medellin, Colombia. I've had a whole bunch of H. Papilio bulbs. One of them flowered a couple of years ago, but up to that day, I had no idea what they were, I only knew that they were very exotic, very beautiful, and very strange looking; almost like a painting. A whole bag of these bulbs were given to me by a gardener at a rich lady's house. They multiply a lot and he was thinning them out and was going to throw them away. I couldn't believe he was going to dispose of that treasure and I asked him if I could have them. He didn't know what they were either. He said his boss had brought them from overseas. I took them home and because they were so many, I gave away many of them.
    Last Saturday, July 7th, 2018, after almost 5 years of having the plants, I invited some friends over and one of them recognized the flower (in a picture) and said it was an" Amaryllis". I immediately started digging in the internet until I came up with this blog, and other sites which had information on the plant. Now I am in love with the other varieties and plan to start a Hippeastrum garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, Angela! Thanks for stopping by and sharing the story of your H. papilio bulbs.

      Wonderful you were given such choice bulbs! H. papillio flowers are particularly beautiful. A Hippeastrum garden will be delightful. I moved almost all mine into one section where they can put on a show when they bloom.

      Keep in mind some will want to go dormant in hot dry weather and need very little water at that time, while a few like H. papillio are evergreen and need some water year round.

      I hope you have great results! Good luck.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for that information. I would also like to know if they can go dormant inside the pot or you have to uproot the bulbs and put them in a dark place?

      Delete
    3. I grow mine in the ground and do nothing to them. They stay in the ground year round (with good drainage and no water when dormant). I would think for the dormant kind, you can leave them in the pot. They bloom in spring normally--in the Northern Hemisphere they are "forced" for bloom at Christmas. Hope that helps! :)

      Delete

Post a Comment

Always interested in your thoughts.

Any comments containing a link to a commercial site with the intent to promote that site will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding on this matter.

Popular Posts