Grow in pots/containers at least 6-8” wide in the St. Louis area. Select the largest bulbs available. Plant each bulb neck up with half of the bulb above the soil surface in a humusy, well-draining potting soil mix. Plants enjoy bright locations in the home with some morning sun, but not direct afternoon sun. Sun dappled shade or bright shade is best for plants taken outdoors. Bulbs are commonly planted in pots between mid-fall and late winter, or in succession every week or so during such period for bloom approximately 5 weeks later. Bulbs may also be started indoors in early spring and moved outside for late spring to early summer bloom. Regardless of growing cycle, bulbs need (1) a period of recovery and rejuvenation after bloom when flowers are removed but foliage is left in tact and watering is continued, albeit reduced and (2) a subsequent period of dormancy (at least 2 months) before starting the bloom cycle over.
The giant amaryllis bulbs sold in fall each year are basically all hybrids which have been developed over the years from Hippeastrum species plants indigenous to Central and South America. Bulbs are frequently planted in pots at Thanksgiving for bloom at Christmas. Typically bulbs produce one or more stout-but-hollow leafless flowering stems (scapes) that grow 12-18” tall. 2-6 amaryllis flowers, mostly in shades of red, pink and white with interesting spotting and banding, bloom atop each scape. Large strap-shaped green leaves begin to grow at about the time the flowers open.
Genus name comes eventually from the Greek words hippos meaning horse and hippeus meaning rider. A possible allusion to the flower looking like the head of a horse.
No serious insect or disease problems. Mealybugs are occasional visitors. Watch for snails if plants are taken outdoors. Culture for saving the bulbs for the following year is somewhat complicated and time-consuming.
Houseplant, container plant.