What's Blooming?

September 2004

Amaryllis belladonna "Johannesburg"

Amaryllis belladonna "Johannesburg"

Amaryllis belladonna is a bulb that is native to South Africa. It blooms in late summer, on a tall stem with large clusters of up to twelve pink or white fragrant, trumpet-shaped flowers.  The flowers tend to face the direction that receives the most sun.  At the Garden, we grow an unusual cultivar called "Johannesburg," which has reddish stems and striking deep pink flowers.

Leaves appear only after the bloom fades.  They remain green throughout winter.  Eventually the leaves die back, and the bulb goes dormant until late summer when it is ready to flower again.  This strange phenomenon of flowering before the leaves appear is known as hysteranthy.  It accounts for Stem and flower bud of A. belladonnaA. belladonna's common name, "Naked Ladies."  

A. belladonna requires very little attention, multiply readily, and produce flowers every year.  Plant the bulbs with their necks at soil level, in sun or filtered shade, in the ground or in a large pot using a very porous soil mix. The plant can be grown among other plants or by itself, where it will eventually form a cluster.  It is well suited for a rock garden, and can tolerate quite arid conditions.

The family Amaryllidaceae forms a large group of over sixty genera, which are mainly centered in southern Africa with smaller distributions in Andean South America.  Hippeastrum, which some gardeners mistakenly call amaryllis, is a large South American genus of the Amaryllidaceae family.


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Last update 04/04/08

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Friends of the Hortense Miller Garden, 2004
 except as noted.