The large bulbs commonly sold under the name Amaryllis, often for winter flowering and indoor growing, in fact belong to the Hippeastrum genus; while the genus Amaryllis includes only one species, native to South Africa, the hippeastrum genus has a few dozen species of bulbous species widespread in nature in Central and South America, in tropical and subtropical areas, of which about six hundred have been produced over the decades hybrid varieties. The amarillis they are highly appreciated bulbous plants, because they need little care, and produce huge trumpet-shaped flowers made up of six large colored tepals. The large flowers are carried by a fleshy and thick stem, which rises from the center of a rosette consisting of three or four ribbon-shaped leaves, leathery and thick; most of the amaryllis cultivated it goes into vegetative rest in the winter months: the bulbs in vegetative rest lose the aerial part, and it is in this period that they are marketed. In fact, they are often used for forcing, because a bulb grown in a pot, in an apartment, can sprout within 4-6 weeks; so if we begin to water the pot in October, we will get a vigorous plant in the middle of winter. If we prefer to follow natural vegetative cycles, we can instead keep the bulb at rest from autumn until mid-winter; as soon as the days begin to lengthen we will begin to water the pot, obtaining flowering at the end of winter. Generally a bulb produces a single stem, which bears two or three flowers; but bulbs highly cultivated can even produce two or three stems in a single growing season. The large production of hybrids testifies to the success that these flowers have always had among plant enthusiasts, and especially among those who love to grow flowering plants even at home.
The species of Amaryllis
The genre hippeastrum it has many species, some of which differ very little from each other; besides this, there are about six hundred varieties on the market. To better describe the flowers of these plants, the hybrids have been divided into some groups, which identify particular floral forms, which differ in the shape of the petals, or for the number of flowers on each stem, or even for particular streaks. When it comes to amarillis it is not enough to remember the most widespread species, also because very often in the nursery we will find a greater number of hybrid varieties rather than botanical species. So we will describe some of the botanical species of hippeastrum most common, and some of the groups into which the many varieties available have been divided; sometimes the two terms coincide, that is, some groups of hippeastrum varieties have inherited the name from the botanical species that gave the salient characteristics to hybrid varieties.