Amaryllis belladonna

Height: 60-75cm (2-2 1/2ft)

Planting distance: 30cm (1ft)

Features: flowers autumn

Soil: well-drained, sandy loam

Site: sun, shelter

Type: bulb

Only one species of true amaryllis, Amaryllis belladonna, grows outdoors; the showy, winter-flowering hippeastrum hybrids, often sold as amaryllis, are tender house plants.

The strapshaped leaves of A. belladonna die down in mid summer; in autumn, it produces a magnificent display of fragrant, satiny pink, trumpet-shaped flowers on long, purple, leafless stems.

Popular varieties:

include ‘Hathor’ (white flowers with an ivory-yellow throat) and ‘Parkeri’ (pink with a yellow throat).

Cultivation

The ideal situation for A. belladonna is the foot of a sheltered, south-facing wall, where it can get maximum summer sunshine and protection for the young leaves when they appear in late winter and early spring.

Plant the bulbs in early or mid summer, setting them 15-20cm (6-8in) deep in well-drained soil. In frost-free areas, plant shallowly. Remove faded flowers and the stems and leaves when they die down.

Propagation: Lift the mature plants when the leaves begin to turn yellow in summer, detach offsets from well-ripened bulbs and replant immediately.

Pests and diseases: Narcissus fly maggots may tunnel in the bulbs.

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