Hippeastrum - Amaryllidaceae - How to care for and grow Hippeastrum plants

 Hippeastrum - Amaryllidaceae - How to care for and grow Hippeastrum plants



known improperly as


L'Hippeastrum, is a wonderful bulbous with an imposing posture that produces large and elegant variously colored flowers, very widespread in our homes and sought after by floriculturists.






: Angiosperms


: Monocotyledons











: see the paragraph on "Main species"


The genre Hippeastrum, includes plants native to the tropical regions of the Caribbean, Mexico and South America and belong to the family of Amayllidaceae.

Floricultures tend to call this plant by its old nameAMARYLLIS or AMARYLLIS or AMARILLO even if this is wrong as now internationally botanists have classified this plant as Hippeastrum. The true Amaryllisit is actually a South African species.

They are bulbous plants with a very large bulb, more or less spherical and provided with tunics with a very evident collar and branched fleshy roots.

The leaves are linear, long, hairless and of a beautiful dark green color.

The Hippeastrum they are plants characterized by the production of large flowers varying in color from white to pink to more or less dark red and more or less mottled.

The flowers are inserted in groups of 2/4 in the terminal part of a long flower stem that originates directly from the bulb.

In many species they are fragrant.


There are about 70 species of Hippeastrum as well as numerous hybrids as genetic improvement in this sector is very active. In fact, many plants of these species are marketed simply under the name of HIPPEASTRUM HYBRIDUM. Here are just a few species:


L'Hippeastrum puniceum it is characterized by a long flower stem (up to 60 cm long) which leads to the top from two to three trumpet-like flowers of pinkish-red variegatedly mottled.

It is one of the most widespread and cultivated species.


L'Hippeastrum vittatum is a splendid specimen of this genus with very large and wide flowers up to 15 cm, white in color streaked with red.

Of this species there are numerous cultivars among which we remember: H. vittatum'Red Lion' with large red flowers; H. vittatum 'White Lady 'with white flowers faded with green; H. vittatum 'Picotee 'with white flowers tinged with pink, just to mention a few.


The Hippeastrum, they adapt to being grown in pots in the apartment and outdoors as long as their climatic and cultural needs are respected.

A very important thing for these plants to be able to vegetate and bloom is that they must have a true vegetative rest period of about two to three months.

Now let's see step by step how to best breed these plants to get splendid blooms.


Generally, at the end of winter - early spring, the bulbs are planted.

Before plant the bulb it is advisable to immerse the roots of the bulb in water for 12-24 hours, making sure that only the roots remain in soaking and not the base of the bulb. Eliminate any dry roots and it would be good to wet the bulb with a broad-spectrum systemic fungicide to avoid the onset of any fungal diseases.

Use gods vases 18 cm for bulbs that have a circumference of 30-34 cm and 20 cm for larger bulbs. Or to have a nice flower pot put together three bulbs in 25 cm pots.

We use a ground consisting of peat, fine sand and perlite in equal parts. Put some of this soil on the bottom of the pot and then arrange the roots of the bulb very gently and then cover everything until the bulbosia is buried only for 2/3 of its length. So water not lukewarm water.

The vase with the bulb of Hippeastrum it should be placed in a place where the temperature is constant of about 21 ° C and keeping the soil just humid and with good lighting (not direct sun) and away from air currents.

When the first shoots begin to appearwatering is increased in order to keep the soil moist. When watering, take care to use lukewarm water, being very careful not to wet the upper part of the bulb and that water never stagnates in the saucer.

Also start fertilizing every 15 days using a liquid fertilizer equally balanced in Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, slightly decreasing the doses compared to what is reported in the package.

To have a straight and uniform growth it is advisable to turn the pot 45 ° every day to prevent the leaves and flower stems from bending in the direction of the light.When the flower stems reach the length of 40 cm it is advisable to secure a stake in order to avoid that they bend or break.

When the flowers start to appear it would be preferable to find a location where the temperatures are lower, around 16 ° C so that the flowering of your Amarillo lasts longer but they can safely stay even at higher temperatures, up to a maximum of 30 ° C.

It is preferable to change the type of fertilizer you use by choosing one with a higher potassium content and administered once a week, always slightly decreasing the doses compared to what is reported in the package.

Plants of Hippeastrum flowering can also be placed outdoors, even in direct sun but not in the hottest hours of the day.

Since the plant loves humid environments, spray the leaves (not the flowers) with lukewarm water to ensure greater humidity and arrange bowls full of water around the plant which evaporate will ensure a more humid environment.

When autumn begins, around mid-October, bring the plant inside to a temperature of around 13 ° C by reducing the watering in order to keep the soil just slightly humid and interrupt the fertilizations. As we go we will see that some of the leaves will begin to wither. Don't worry, this is normal. If the environment in which we have placed theHippeastrum at a considerably lower temperature (around 5 ° C), a plastic cap must be placed around the plant to ensure a warmer and more stable temperature.

After about three months of these temperatures, cut all the remaining leaves about 10 cm from the collar of the bulb taking great care that the tool you use for cutting is well cleaned and disinfected with alcohol or bleach, preferably over the flame and also the hands are very well clean.

Replace the first 5-6 cm of soil with fresh soil as it is not necessary to repot every year. Every 3-4 years is more than enough.

Once the soil is replaced, move the plant to a warmer location, as indicated above, and grow it as explained above.


If the Hippeastrum are planted outdoors, at the end of the season the bulbs can be buried and stored for transplanting the following spring. They are kept in dark and dry places at temperatures around 5 ° C in the peat. These bulbs will give more abundant blooms than those that they have been left in the ground as in this way, they will have a real period of rest, very important for this plant to be able to vegetate and flower at its best.


We have seen how both the leaves and the flower stems grow directly from the bulbs, but from them new bulbs are also generated alongside the main one. We realize that they are present when we see that new leaves are born next to the mother bulb. These can be detached from the mother plant in a very delicate way, taking care not to damage the roots and placed in separate pots.

The best time to separate these bulbs is January-March.

It takes several years (3-6 years) before these new bulbs of Hippeastrumreach the size to produce flowers. During this time, treat them as if they were flowering plants i.e. do not subject them to a cold period.


Presence of small red spots on all parts of the plant

The appearance of these red spots of variable size, initially very small (a few millimeters) and subsequently up to a few centimeters, both in the aerial part of the plant and in the bulbs, indicates a serious fungal attack. On the leaves and flower stems of Hippeastrum generally they are located in the basal part almost at ground level and following this infection, the stelosis folds. On the bulbs, the infection begins first from the outer skin of the bulb and then passes inside, creating areas of black rot in the center and red at the edges.

It is an attack of a fungus, quite common in Hippeastrumthere Stagonospora curtisii. It is necessary to intervene with specific pesticides.

A very simple practice to implement can be, before planting the bulbs, disinfect them with 0.2-1% formalin which provides good results and a good protection for the plants.

The leaves begin to turn yellow and small yellow and brown spots appear

The leaves begin to turn yellow and curl up taking on an almost dusty appearance and you can see thin cobwebs, especially on the underside of the leaves. This symptom is associated with a spider mite infection, a mite.

Remedies: increase the ambient humidity as mites proliferate in dry environments. If the infestation is severe, use specific insecticides. If the plant is not particularly large, you can try cleaning the leaves using a wet, soapy cotton ball to mechanically eliminate the pest. After you say the Hippeastrum it must be rinsed very well to eliminate residual soap.


The name of the genus Hippeastrum comes from the Greek and means "star of the knight". It is not known for sure where this curious name comes from. The first identification of this plant was made by Linnaeus who called the first Hippeastrumclassified by him Amaryllis equestris and it is not known why he associated the name equestris to the plant. In Curtis's Botanical Magazineof 1795 an explanation is given: it seems that at the beginning of flowering if observed carefully they remember the ears of a horse, therefore the flower would have reminded Linnaeus of the head of a horse, hence the name. A few years later, however, William Dean Herbert, a botanist who studied the family of Amaryllidaceae1800, he realized that the plant classified by Linnaeus as Amaryllisin reality it had nothing to do with that type of plants and so he coined a new genus and to keep the name given by Linnaeus (Amaryllis equestris) called the genre Hippeastrum, «Star of the knight».

Online bibliographic sources:
- (en) Royal Botanic Gardens

Video: Progression of growth for amaryllis bulb Hippeastrum