Value and dramatic show
make these tropical bulb flowers consumer favorites.
“Amaryllis” and “Barbados lily” are the common names for these
striking trumpet-shaped flowers, which are known botanically as
Hippeastrum is a member of the Amaryllidaceae family.
Close relatives include Alstroemeria, Nerine,
Narcissus, Eucharis, Vallota and Clivia,
home sweet home
Amaryllises are native to the Caribbean region and to tropical and
subtropical South America (Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and
take a look
Amaryllises’ showy blooms range from 3 to 8 inches in diameter.
There are generally three to five blooms atop each stem. Blooms can
be single flowered, with six “petals”; double flowered, with 12; or
triple flowered, with 18. Some new hybrids have narrower petals,
giving the blooms a spidery, or lilylike, appearance.
hues and news
These bulb flowers are available in both solid colors and bicolors
(usually striped or mottled), in a palette that comprises reds, from
pink to burgundy; red-orange; orange; salmon/peach/apricot; and
white, as well as new yellow and yellow-green varieties.
Because of new varieties and global markets, cut amaryllises are
available almost year-round; however, peak commercial production
occurs from around October through March or April. Prices can vary
greatly depending on source and time of year.
life goes on
Amaryllises can last eight to 14 days, depending on variety and
care, with individual blooms lasting two to five days each.
Look for stems with puffy, undamaged buds that are just showing
color. One or two buds can be just starting to open. Avoid stems
with mold, rot or brown spots on the blossoms or stems.
Amaryllises are extremely sensitive to ethylene, so make sure the
flowers you purchase have been treated with an ethylene inhibitor at
the grower level or during transportation. Buy only from a grower or
supplier whose veracity you can trust.
Immediately remove amaryllises from the shipping boxes, and check
flower quality. Recut the stems, on an angle, with a sharp knife,
removing at least 1 inch of stem. Immediately after cutting, dip or
place the stem ends into a hydration solution, then place them into
containers with 4 to 6 inches of properly proportioned
room-temperature bulb-flower-food solution.
Because amaryllises are tropical bulb flowers, they prefer
refrigeration at temperatures between 41 F and 50 F. Allow them to
hydrate for at least two hours before using or selling them. If open
blooms are needed quickly, store these flowers out of the cooler, at
Amaryllis stem ends are prone to splitting and curling; however,
some research suggests this can be reduced by placing the stems into
a sugar solution (made with 2 tablespoons of sugar per quart of
water) for 24 hours prior to sale or use. Some florists also wrap
the bases of the stems with waterproof tape to prevent the problems.
do no harm
Some florists claim to improve the lasting quality of amaryllises by
searing stem ends with a flame or dipping them into boiling water
for several seconds. Avoid these actions; there is no scientific
data that substantiate these claims, and these actions can damage
the flower stems.
the vase debate
Some florists argue that amaryllises are most successfully used in
vase arrangements—without floral foam. However, if you wish to
arrange these flowers in floral foam, invert the flowers, fill the
hollow stems with water, insert two plant stakes into each stem to
extend beyond the end of each stem, and plug the stem ends with
cotton. Then, wrap the outside of stem ends with waterproof tape to
prevent them from splitting. Finally, turn the flowers upright, and
place them into designs, before any other flowers or foliages, by
inserting the stakes into the floral foam and bringing the stem ends
into contact with the wet floral foam.
on the homefront
Instruct customers to recut the stems and to change the vase
solution every other day using the bulb-flower nutrient you provide.
Also advise them to cut off blooms as they fade, to carefully remove
pollen-bearing anthers as soon as blooms open, and to keep the
flowers out of direct sunlight and warm and cold drafts.
can’t stomach it
All parts of these bulb flowers can cause minor illness, if
ingested, so keep them out of the reach of children and pets.
let’s get literal
“Hippeastrum” is said to derive from the Greek words
hippos, for horse, and astron, for star, because the
blooms once were considered to resemble a horse’s head, at a certain
stage in their opening, and because of the star-shaped form of the
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