If you visit the Houston Botanic Garden in spring, you will see an abundant array of impressive flowering bulbs. Amaryllis (genus Hippeastrum) is a flowering plant that belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family. Its history can be traced back to South America, where it is native to the tropical and subtropical regions.
The plant was first discovered by European botanists in the late 18th century during explorations of the continent. However, it wasn’t until the early 19th century that the Amaryllis gained popularity in horticulture due to its striking beauty and vibrant flowers.
As you can discover in our Bamboo area and on the way to the Arid Gardens, the beauty of the Amaryllis lies in its large, trumpet-shaped flowers that come in a variety of colors, including red, pink, white, and orange. The blossoms can reach impressive sizes, adding a touch of elegance to gardens and indoor spaces alike. The plant is also known for its tall, sturdy stems that support these magnificent blooms, making it a favorite among gardeners and floral fans.
Caring for Amaryllis involves providing it with the right conditions for growth and blooming. These plants thrive in well-draining soil and should be placed in a location that receives bright, indirect sunlight. Adequate watering is crucial, and it is essential to allow the soil to dry out between waterings to prevent bulb rot. Amaryllis bulbs can be planted in pots or directly in the ground, and they typically bloom in late winter or early spring, adding a burst of color to the surroundings.
If you come into the Garden Gift Shop this holiday season you will see wax dipped Amaryllis for sale—these can flower inside and be replanted in late spring.
The history of Amaryllis is rooted in the rich biodiversity of South America, with its captivating beauty earning it a cherished place in our growing collection. The plant’s stunning flowers and robust growth make it a popular choice for Houstonians, both indoor and outdoor. While the scientific details of Amaryllis may not captivate everyone, its enduring appeal to gardeners and flower enthusiasts make it a perennial staple and a holiday favorite.