Amaryllis belladonna

Amaryllis belladonna – Naked Lady Lily
Extravagant pink flowers rise on bare stems in mid-summer.

This plant grows from a large bulb that sits on, or close to, the surface of the soil. Though they are very easy to dig up, they resent being moved and will take a couple of years to settle down. One or two flowering stems rise about 0.8M from each bulb. Each stem may have up to a dozen flowers on it. The leaves grow after the plant has flowered.

Some bulbs in some years can be very shy about flowering. The causes of this are complex as each bulb contains within it buds for the flowers over the next two or three years. The creation and development of any flower is thus dependent on conditions at little understood moments over a period of years.

A. belladonna comes from Cape Province in South Africa, though it has naturalised widely around the world, including; Louisiana and Portugal in the northern hemisphere, and Chile and Australia in the Southern hemisphere. It has also naturalised in New Zealand.

This “true” amaryllis” should not be confused with Hippeastrum, which often known as Amaryllis. A. belladonna is fine in the ground in Karin’s Garden, whereas Hippeastrum really needs to be grown in pots so it can be moved to a sheltered spot next to the house, or indeed inside, in winter.

Soil / Aspect:
In the wild A. belladonna may be found growing amongst rocks. Here it needs a spot that does not become waterlogged in winter; and sun or, at most, partial shade.

This plant does not seem to suffer any particular pest of fungal problems in Karin’s garden. Flowering will be enhanced by feeding after the leaves have emerged.

Eventually the bulbs will become obviously crowded, when you have no choice by to lift the lot and break the bulbs apart by hand. This is the moment to remove any offsets, and after a few years you will have many to give away.