Amaryllis is a single species of bulbous perennial - but nonetheless has some beautiful varieties from which to choose.
Amaryllis belladonna are autumn flowering, and will lighten up this time of year with its delicate colours.
Sometimes confused with Nerines - which are similar but different. Often referred to as Belladonna Lily, it is not a lily, nor is it a member of the lily family, but Amarilliaceae.
This bulbous plant is not the same as the indoor-grown Hippeastrum - though often mistakenly labelled as such. The Hippeastrum is a tender bulb, and from a different family even.
The Amaryllis pictured bears the name Amaryllis belladonna 'Pink Johannesburg'.
Amaryllis Belladonna 'Johannesburg'
It is a delicate pink with contrasting dark stems. The foliage does not appear until after the plant has flowered. The foliage might benefit from some form of protection in exposed places, in order to protect it from frost damage. This would inhibit the bulb from strengthening up ready for the next year. Horticultural fleece will do the trick. If it is not in an exposed situation, then this is not necessary.
Amaryllis belladonna prefer a light but moist soil, but will also grow quite well in dry situations - especially if there is moisture in the autumn period. They are well suited to growing at the foot of a wall or in shrub borders where they will add a little different colour top the autumn hues.
They have numerous flowers on each stem - 4 - 6 or even more, and form small clumps over time. The flowers are borne at height of around 24in (50cm). A spectacular sight in the garden at this time of year.
Bulbs are normally available as dormant bulbs in late summer, and should be planted immediately. They will already have the food reserves within the bulb with which to produce their flowers. After flowering, then the foliage will appear. This then allows the bulb to regenerate and build up food reserves ready for the following year. A sunny spot is more or less essential - though light dappled shade will suffice. Keep well watered if autumn is dry.
Plant the bulbs just below soil level in any type of garden soil other than heavy clay. A sheltered position is best, simply to allow the late foliage to do its vital work of ensuring the bulb's regeneration. The flowers may need a bit of protection in harsh weather conditions, but do not normally require staking or tying in.
Seed as soon as ripe after flowering, may be sown in a greenhouse - preferably with a little heat until germinated. Cool frost free thereafter. The seedling will need to be grown under protection for a further two years after this, during which time they will form small bulbs. Bear in mind that they have a dormant period, and should be allowed to die down. Normally dormant throughout summer.
It is possible to separate side offshoot bulblets from the parent. This best done in spring after the plant has died down.
The main problems that might occur with Amaryllis belladonna is that of slugs and snails after a late autumn feast - on foliage and flowers. other than that, there are rarely any problems with those Belladonna Lilies grown outside.