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BELLADONNA LILy (Amaryllis belladonna)

This is the only species in the genus, and it is subject to some confusion with Hippeastrum, another genus of the great amaryllis family. Dealers' catalogues list Hippeastrum as Amaryllis or A. hybrids and the listing is now generally accepted in horticultural literature. However, we might just as well be correct about this thing as not; without any desire to burden you with technical details, here's the whole situation in a nutshell. Both genera are very similar in appearance. The belladonna lily comes from South Africa and flowers during late summer. Hippeastrum varieties, as offered in catalogues, are March-blooming bulbs native to South America. Flower stalks of the former are solid, in the latter, hollow.

Amaryllis belladonna has large, lily-like flowers of rose-red, 3 to 5 of them on heavy stalks which grow to 18 inches and reluctantly support the imposing cluster of flowers which precede the leathery, straplike leaves. Plant the large bulb early in the winter with a third of it exposed. Use Potting Mixture 3 and a small pot; an inch of dirt between the bulb and container is enough. Over-potted plants spend their energy in roots and foliage at the expense of flowers. Place the pot in a cool, semi-dark place for four to six weeks, or until top growth is several inches high, when it may be brought into medium light for active growth. Weak manure water every 2 or 3 weeks will assist in the quality of flowers produced. Allow a rest period Of 3 months after flowering but not before the leaves have had time to develop. Perform the operation with the same pot by laying it on its side in a cool, dark place; it will not be necessary to re-pot for several years. There are several named varieties. Among them are:

Amaryllis belladonna major {short description of image} pink.
Amaryllis belladonna minor light pink, shading to cream at the center.
Amaryllis belladonna elata deep rose.
Amaryllis belladonna speciosa Purpurea purple-rose with a white center.