With the Amaryllis you bring a colorful plant into your home, which, if properly cared for, is quite robust against diseases and pests.© Alexandr / stock.adobe.com
On dreary winter days, the impressive onion flowers add an exotic splash of color to everyday gray. The amaryllis (Hippeastrum) competes with the traditional poinsettia in German living rooms.
The impressive funnel flowers make the amaryllis a popular houseplant. There are a few things to consider when cultivating the subtropical plant. We reveal how the amaryllis can be cultivated, why there is often talk of the knight's star and how it is possible to get the lush bulbs to bloom again the following year.
The botanist counts the plants available in many colors around the Christmas season in the genus of knight stars. The term generally causes confusion among plant friends, because the term amaryllis is commonly used for the Belladonna lily and for the knight star related to it.
In the past century, both plants formed a common genus. Today botanically only the Belladonna lily, also known as the real amaryllis, belongs to the genus of the same name. The plant blooms in late summer and comes from southern Africa.
Despite botanical differentiation, the knight's star is still persistently referred to as amaryllis. Therefore, the plant from the Andes of Peru is the subject of this text.
Amaryllis as a cut flower© fesenko / stock.adobe.com
The amaryllis is not only an eye-catcher at the flower window, but is also very suitable as a vase flower or for winter arrangements. For this purpose, the buds are separated from the mother plant with a sharp knife before opening.
The flower stems look particularly good in tall glass vases. In order to give the hollow stems more stability, they can be wrapped with adhesive tape at the lower end. If the stems are about to buckle, a thin wooden stick can give the flower stability.
Tip: Only fill the flower vase with a little water, because the amaryllis will quickly rot.
Find the right location
When the amaryllis is in full bloom, it needs a bright stand. The full sun is tolerated. Sunlight stimulates flower formation.
In late winter, the sun's rays can be quite intense. If there are light discolorations and brown spots on the leaves, this indicates burns. Then a partially shaded location is preferred.
Choose the ideal substrate
The amaryllis prefers a well-drained soil. Conventional potting soil is suitable.
Other options are:
- Cactus-potting mix in a ratio of 1: 1, supplemented by perlite flakes
- Uniform earth and prickly earth in a ratio of 1: 1, supplemented by lava granulate and quartz sand
- Coconut fiber substrate
Tip: In order to prevent the onion from rotting, the humus content in the soil should be kept as low as possible.
Planting amaryllis - step by step© akuptsova / stock.adobe.com
1. Select planter
2. Prepare the substrate
3. Insert drainage
4. Put onion
5. Fill up the substrate
6. Pour onion well
The onions are planted or repotted in November. Since the lush flower stems develop a certain weight, stable plant pots should be used. Clay pots are particularly suitable for cultivating the amaryllis.
So that the irrigation water can drain off easily and no waterlogging occurs, gravel or shards of clay are filled into the bottom of the planter as drainage. When planting it is important to note that only half of the onion is covered with soil.
The onion is poured on vigorously and brought to a bright and warm place.
Overview of planting tips
Pour the amaryllis correctly
When it comes to irrigation, you have to be very sensitive. The amaryllis must not be too wet - waterlogging should be avoided. Pouring errors often lead to rotting and fungal attack.
Tip: If the amaryllis is watered too intensely during the resting phase, the flowering will suffer.
It is poured moderately. The surface may have dried well before reaching for the watering can again. However, the plants should not dry out completely. The amaryllis is irrigated from above. The water should be poured onto the substrate and not directly onto the onion.
Excess water must be removed from the coaster. Since the plants love a warm substrate, they are preferably watered with lukewarm water.
Watering is very economical during the rest phase. Regular watering only begins when the flower stalk has grown about ten centimeters.
Properly fertilize the amaryllis
When the first flowers begin to open, a special fertilizer for onion plants is administered every 14 days. If the amaryllis has faded, the fertilizers are stopped. No additional nutrients should be added during the resting phase.
If the bulb is repotted in November, flower bulb fertilizer can be mixed into the substrate to promote flowering.
The flowers should only be cut off when they are completely withered. The inflorescence is then completely removed. At the beginning of the rest period, all dead plant parts are cut off or can usually already be stripped from the onion.
Annual overview of care measures
There are some special features when caring for the tropical plant. The exotic species have a completely different life cycle than domestic houseplants.
The following overview lists the relevant features and gives the hobby gardener help with plant care.
|Vegetation period||What is happening?||What should I do?|
|December to January||heyday|
|March to April||growth phase|
|May to July||flowering|
|August to October||dormancy|
|November||Growing time begins|
The amaryllis can be propagated by sowing and brooding.
Propagate by sowing
The plant must be pollinated so that seeds can be obtained. It is usually sufficient to shake the stems every now and then. This is how the pollen is distributed. If you want to be on the safe side, you can also use a brush to run over stamps and pollen. The fruits develop within four to six weeks. The seeds can be removed from the opened capsules.
Sowing step by step
2. Prepare the substrate
3. Fill in the substrate
4. Moisten plant pots
6. Lightly press on the seeds
7. Cover plant pots
8. Wait for germination
The plant pots are filled with growing soil. The seeds are spread on the substrate at a distance of five centimeters and not covered with earth. The cover with a plastic hood promotes germination and creates a microclimate in the planter.
The plant pots are cultivated in a partially shaded location at room temperature. Germination begins after about three weeks. The substrate must be kept moist. Regular ventilation of the cover prevents mold growth. Once the seedlings have grown about five centimeters, the planting hood can be removed.
Tip: Young plants do not need a break and are watered continuously until they bloom for the first time.
Propagation by broilers
The propagation by broilers requires less effort and patience than sowing. The brood bulbs can be separated from the plant if they measure about three centimeters in diameter.
Half of the onions are planted in the ground and cultivated in a warm and partially shaded spot. When the bulbs have grown to about twice their size, they are repotted and the plants are cultivated as described.
Diseases and pestsHealthy plants are hardly susceptible to diseases and pests - © ecobo / stock.adobe.com
The amaryllis is quite robust. However, care errors often lead to diseases and pests. If waterlogging occurs, the roots start to rot. If this is recognized in good time, limiting the watering behavior and repotting the plant can save the amaryllis from rotting.
The large narcissus fly and onion peel mites are the preferred pests. The daffodil flies visually resemble small bumblebees. The eggs are laid on the leaves or in the leaf axils. The larvae grow to about ten millimeters in size and attack the onions, where they also spend the winter.
The maggots die when the onion is placed in hot water for several hours. The pest also affects snowdrops, hyacinths or daffodils.
Onion skin mites can be recognized by the red streaking on the stems and leaves of the amaryllis. The leaves tear and the plant grows sparsely. The mites are invisible to the naked eye and sit under the onion scales.
Treatment with hot water can also help here.
Tip: If the amaryllis are allowed to go outdoors in early summer, attention should be paid to snail infestation. The onions are preferred by the annoying reptiles.
If the garden is still in bloom, it should not be forgotten that the summer rest now begins for the amaryllis. The exotic grows in winter and must be dry and coolly summered over. Otherwise you will wait in vain for new flowers.
In the late summer, watering stops. The onion is stored at around twelve degrees and is best brought to the cellar for this. The rest period should last at least two months. Watering is only sporadic and just enough that the plant does not dry out completely.
Is the amaryllis poisonous?
The amaryllis is one of the poisonous plants. The toxic substances are concentrated in the onion.
Tip: The real amaryllis is also poisonous. The plant juice once served as an arrow poison in South Africa.
Nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and sweating are among the symptoms of poisoning. Rash and redness may occur on skin contact.