Amaryllis: houseplant of the month for December
Totally ‘happy holidays’ but still a bit different, as a houseplant Amaryllis brings both peace and luxury to your interior to enjoy for a long time.
Stylish and sensual Amaryllis is available in many varieties and rich earthy colours. This houseplant’s big plus is its changing appearance. A bulb produces a hollow, stately stem on which smooth buds appear. They open out into voluminous calyxes with velvety petals in white, salmon, red, pink or even green. The flowers can reach a width of 20 cm. Very spectacular, especially because you don’t expect all that magnificence from the understated stem, particularly not in winter.
Mix of large and small
Depending on the variety, the plant has single or double flowers. There are also mini and giant versions, and one with unusual trumpet-shaped flowers. By placing a number of Amaryllis plants together you can create an attractive corner which provides both greenery and colour without dominating the rest of the room.
Amaryllis’s unusual shape makes it highly appropriate for the new interiors trend which is all about the balance between masculine and feminine elements. The houseplant allows you to introduce greenery into the interior without it becoming overwhelming, and the combination of the smooth stem and the soft flower also fits well with the theme. Choose a mixture for the base as well, such as perforated metal in pastel shades or plastic with a tactile surface in order to emphasise the feeling of emancipation in the interior.
Caring for Amaryllis
- Amaryllis likes a light spot, but not in full sun.
- Amaryllis is bought ready to go: all the nutrients are in the bulb, all you need to do is water it.
- Amaryllis bulbs are also sold dipped in candle wax. You don’t need to do anything with these: they will flower of their own accord when they’re ready.
At home in the rainforest
Amaryllis is a member of the Narcissus family, and includes more than 70 species. It’s native to the (sub)tropical regions of Mexico and the Caribbean down to northern Argentina. The earliest plants probably evolved in Brazil. The plant was first cultivated in Europe in around 1800.
- Amaryllis’s scientific name is Hippeastrum. That comes from the Greek and means ‘knight star’, referring to the star-shaped petals.
- Scientists have been bickering over the name for centuries, because there is also a South African Amaryllis. However, the name is so well-established that only purists still refer to the plant as Hippeastrum.
- Amaryllis symbolises pride and enchanting beauty, but also represents warmth during the dark days of winter.
- The red variety does well at Christmas, whilst the other colours provide cheerfulness heading towards spring.
- According to a Mexican fairy-tale every flower houses a good fairy who will help to fulfil a love-related wish if you give the plant to someone else.
For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.uk
Published on: 23 November 2017