Flower Facts: Christmas Amaryllis

Flower Facts: Christmas Amaryllis


Fast Facts About Amaryllis

Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Amaryllidoideae
Tribe: Amaryllideae
Subtribe: Hippeastrinae
Genus: Hippeastrum
Type species: Amaryllis belladonna L.
Flower colors: Amaryllis blooms in red, pink, white, purple, and yellow

Amaryllis for Christmas

Aside from red poinsettia flowers, vibrant red amaryllis flowers make wonderful gifts during the holiday season, too. This beautiful houseplant is easy to care for and lasts long even after Christmas. As a flowering bulb, amaryllis has that signature lily-like blooms that come in red, pink, yellow, white, or purple.

Amaryllis versus Hippeastrum

This festive Christmas flower has quite a confusing name. Technically, Amaryllis and Hippeastrum are two different genera. The flowers we are talking about in this article belonged in the Amaryllis genus until they were reclassified under Hippeastrum in the late 1800s or the early 19th century. This has left botanists and the average plant lovers in circles for many years. Lately, though it has been settled that amaryllis will be the generic name for the cultivars and hybrids of the Hippeastrum genus that will be sold as a houseplant.

Interestingly, the name Amaryllis literally translates to sparkle in Greek. Hippeastrum, on the other hand, which was named by botanist, William Herbert, means a horseman’s star or a knight’s star in Greek, because of the flowers star shape.

Amaryllis and Hippeastrum flowering plants look almost identical, except that Hippeastrum has a hollow stem.

Amaryllis in Greek mythology

In Greek mythology, Amaryllis was a fair maiden who has an unrequited love from a man named Alteo. In a desperate attempt to capture the attention of the man she so loves, Amaryllis consulted Delphi for some love advice.

She was instructed to struck her heart with an arrow every time she knocks on the door of Alteo’s house. She was to do this rather painful sacrifice until Alteo decides to open his door and his heart for her. She was dropping blood each time, which, according to legends, turned into stunning red flowers after 30 days. In the end, she won Alteo’s heart and hers was magically healed.

Amaryllis species and varieties

In its natural habitat, amaryllis would bloom in spring to the summer season, but the ones we see today have been modified to bloom earlier in time for the holiday festivities.  There are about 90 unique species and over 600 hybrids and cultivars of Hippeastrum and they are usually found in the tropical parts of South America, the Caribbean, Argentina, and Mexico.

Some of the most popular amaryllis varieties for your home include:

  • Hippeastrum 'Benfica'
  • Hippeastrum 'Temptation'
  • Hippeastrum ‘Santos’
  • Hippeastrum 'Red Nymph'
  • Hippeastrum 'Monaco'
  • Hippeastrum 'Samba'
  • Hippeastrum 'Naranja'
  • Hippeastrum 'Fantasy'

Amaryllis flower meanings

If you are thinking of giving flower for Christmas, amaryllis should definitely be on your list. This striking Christmas flower possesses positive and beautiful flower meanings. Amaryllis represents beauty, courage, and love. In Victorian times, the stunning and statuesque flowers were deemed as a flower symbol for confidence in women.

Amaryllis Post-Blooming Care: How to Maintain and Make Your Amaryllis Rebloom

Whether you received your amaryllis plant as a Christmas present or you ordered one for yourself, chances are you are going to get a potted amaryllis instead of a bulb and have it during its blooming phase. Each amaryllis flower can last from two to three weeks but the plant itself can last for many years and continuously bloom with proper care.

Here are some tips on how to maintain your amaryllis and see it bloom again next Christmas.

  • Chop off the flower stalk to the top of the bulb or just above the bulb nose after the flowers have faded.
  • Water regularly but do not overdo it. As a bulb, amaryllis is prone to rotting of the roots when it is constantly wet. Observe how fast the soil dries and create a watering schedule based on it.
  • Feed it with a blooming fertilizer every 7 to 14 days.
  • Put in a spot where it can get an ample amount of indirect sunlight.

Do you want to send Christmas flowers?

Orchid Republic has a wide collection of orchids, succulents, and flowering plants. This year, our holiday collection includes vibrant poinsettia, orchids, and amaryllis plants. Visit our floral boutique to view our impressive collection or shop online. Order amaryllis and get same day delivery anywhere in Los Angeles and Orange County