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Hippeastruh

HIPPEASTRUH, in botany, a genus of the natural order Amaryllidaceae, containing about 50 species of bulbous plants, natives of tropical and sub-tropical South America. In cultivation they are generally known as Amaryllis. The handsome funnel-shaped flowers are borne in a cluster of two to many, at the end of a short hollow scape. The species and the numerous hybrids which have been obtained artificially, show a great variety in size and colour of the flower, including the richest deep crimson and blood-red, white, or with striped, mottled or blended colours. They are of easy culture, and free-blooming habit. Like other bulbs they are increased by offsets, which should be carefully removed when the plants are at rest, and should be allowed to attain a fair size before removal. These young bulbs should be potted singly in February or March, in mellow loamy soil with a moderate quantity of sand, about two-thirds of the bulb being kept above the level of the soil, which should be made quite solid. They should be removed to a temperature of 60 by night and 70 by day, very carefully watered until the roots have begun to grow freely, after which the soil should be kept moderately moist. As they advance the temperature should be raised to 70 at night, and to 80 or higher with Sun heat by day. They do not need shading, but should have plenty of air, and be syringed daily in the afternoon. When growing they require a good supply of water. After the decay of the flowers they should be returned to a brisk moist temperature of from 70 to 80 by day during summer to perfect their leaves, and then be ripened off in autumn. Through the winter they should have less water, but must not be kept entirely dry. The minimum temperature should now be about 55, to be increased 10 or 15 in spring. As the bulbs get large they will occasionally need shifting into larger pots. Propagation is also readily effected by seeds for raising new varieties. Seeds are sown when ripe in well drained pans of sandy loam at a temperature of about 65. The seedlings when large enough to handle are placed either singly in very small pots or several in a pot or shallow pan, and put in a bottom heat, in a moist 'atmosphere with a temperature from 60 to 70. H. Ackermanni, with large, handsome, crimson flowers itself a hybrid is the parent of many of the large-flowered forms ; H . equestre (Barbados lily), with yellowish-green flowers tipped with scarlet, has also given rise to several handsome forms; H. aulicum (flowers crimson and green), H. pardinum (flowers creamy-white spotted with crimson), and H. mltatum (flowers white with red stripes, a beautiful species and the parent of many varieties), are stove or warm greenhouse plants. These kinds, however, are now only regarded as botanical curiosities, and are rarely grown in private or commercial establishments. They have been ousted by the more gorgeous looking hybrids, which have been evolved during the past 100 years. H. Johnsoni is named after a Lancashire watchmaker who raised it in 1799 by crossing H. Reginae with H. viltalum. Since that time other species have been used for hybridizing, notably H . reticulatum, H. aulicum, H. solandriflorum, and sometimes H . equestre and H . psitlacinum. The finest forms since 1880 have been evolved from H. Leopoldi and H. pardinum. (J. Ws.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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