Everything You Need to Know About Amaryllis Flower Meaning, Symbolism, Origins, and Best Gifting Occasions

The Amaryllis is an exquisite bulbous plant that produces truly beautiful, vibrant flowers. Native to South African shores, these charmers are steeped in history and have several fascinating stories to tell. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Amaryllis flower meaning, symbolism, colors, history, and origins.

Table of Contents 


About the Amaryllis Flower

About the Amaryllis Flower

There’s long been some debate in the botanical kingdom around what actually constitutes the true Amaryllis. For many, the original is the plant species Amaryllis belladonna (AKA the Jersey Lily, Naked-lady-lily, Easter Lily, or the March Lily given for the time of year it typically blooms). These are traditionally always grown outdoors.  

To confuse matters, the name ‘amaryllis’ has been assigned over time to numerous cultivars of the genus Hippeastrum (these are typically the ones grown indoors during the winter months).  

Etymological Meaning

The name of the Amaryllis flower derives from the Greek word “Amarullis”.

The Romans did alter the Greek word “Amarullis” to Amaryllis, but the name for the flower hasn’t changed since. In the English language, the name directly translates to ‘sparkle, shine’

The Origins of Amaryllis Flowers in Greek Mythology

The Origins of Amaryllis Flowers in Greek Mythology

There is even a literary background to the name Amaryllis flower. To be specific, the literary story is about a nymph named Amaryllis. The story takes the form of a dramatic poem written by Virgil. In the poem, the nymph named Amaryllis had a strong love for her gardener Alto. 

To display her affections towards her gardener, Amaryllis pierced herself in the heart with a golden arrow. She did this every day for a month while waiting on his doorstep in hopes that he would notice her.

The poem explains why the Amaryllis flower has a red color inside of its flower head. 

This story does not have a happy ending, unfortunately. The nymph named Amaryllis died after she attempted to capture the attention of her unrequited love.  

Amaryllis Flowers in the Victorian Era

Amaryllis Flowers in the Victorian Era

Fast forward to the Victorian era, people back then viewed the Amaryllis flower as a symbol of a strong and feminine figure.

As a result, Amaryllis flowers often served as gifts for women who were perceivably strong and confident. Men or women who wanted to impress someone powerful or sought-after would often give their potential partners Amaryllis flowers.

The giving of the Amaryllis flower in the Victorian era symbolized a significant amount of respect and admiration. 


Uses & Benefits of Amaryllis Flowers

There are a surprising amount of uses for the Amaryllis flower; however, the benefits differ depending on the genus.

For example, a few species of the Hippeastrum genus have a high amount of alkaloids. Isoquinoline alkaloids, to be more specific. These alkaloids have physiological effects on humans, so they can aid in creating medicines.

The alkaloids found in the Hippeastrum genus can also help with mental issues such as anxiety, seizures, and depression. These plants need to be treated with care though as the Amaryllis flower is toxic if ingested directly! 


Amaryllis Flower Meaning & Symbolism 

Amaryllis flowers showcase a broad spectrum of vibrant colors with each traditionally conveying their own unique meaning and symbolism. 

Red Amaryllis Flower Meaning

Red Amaryllis Flower Meaning

The color red typically symbolizes attraction. It can also convey love and passion. Giving someone a red Amaryllis flower is an excellent way to subtly show someone that you are attracted to them. The red Amaryllis flower serves as a symbol of beauty.

A red Amaryllis flower can also be seen as a lucky flower, as in China, the color red is a symbol of luck.

White Amaryllis Flower Meaning

White Amaryllis Flower Meaning

The color white is often said to symbolize spirituality and the divine. 

A white Amaryllis flower is a symbol of purity. White Amaryllis flowers can also symbolize children and the innocence that comes with them. 

Because the color white has ties to spiritual symbolism, the white Amaryllis ubiquitously plays a role as the flowers buried along with a grave. These flowers have links to mourning a lost soul, and the spiritual meaning it holds can mean a lot to the family and friends of a lost one. 

Orange Amaryllis Flower Meaning

Orange Amaryllis Flower Meaning

The color orange is a bright and happy color. As a result, orange often is a symbol of positive and optimistic energy. It can also mean security and contentment. 

Orange Amaryllis flowers often serve as gifts for new households or for friends or family during a celebratory event. Having beautiful orange flowers around the house is enough to boost almost anyone’s mood. 

Purple Amaryllis Flower Meaning

Purple Amaryllis Flower Meaning

Purple flowers are often associated with nobility, royalty, and grandeur.

The purple Amaryllis flower can also symbolize spirituality. The deepness of the color purple can also have romantic connotations with it, much like red. It can also symbolize strong and exciting personalities. 

Pink Amaryllis Flower Meaning

Pink Amaryllis Flower Meaning

Pink is a pleasant and gentle color.

Because of this, a pink Amaryllis flower can be a gift for someone as a symbol of friendship. 

Regardless of age, gender, or nationality, the pink Amaryllis flower represents all friendships. Though pink generally appears as a gentle color, its symbolism is strong enough to stand for one of the most vital connections humans can make.  

Yellow Amaryllis Flower Meaning

Yellow Amaryllis Flower Meaning

Like the color orange, the color yellow often serves as a symbol of pure happiness. While orange usually represents bright and positive thoughts, yellow has an almost childlike innocence. 

A yellow Amaryllis flower is a symbol of the innocent joy that comes from a sunny day. Having yellow Amaryllis flowers can brighten up any household or garden. 


Suitable Gifting Occasions for Amaryllis Flowers

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Amaryllis Flowers

On many occasions, it would be appropriate to gift someone (or a group of people) an Amaryllis flower bouquet or potted Amaryllis flower plant. 

More often than not, these occasions will depend on the color of the flower and to whom you want to give the flower. 

As a Holiday Gift

Because many Amaryllis flowers bloom in the wintertime, the flower can make for a great holiday decoration. Bringing a potted Amaryllis plant can brighten up a Christmas or New Year’s Party. 

If it’s Valentine’s Day, a red Amaryllis flower would be a great flower to give your partner. Red Amaryllis flowers symbolize love and attraction, and many will still be in bloom during February. 

As a Housewarming Gift

If your friends or family have just moved home, giving them an Amaryllis plant can be a great house warming present. 

Choosing colors like orange or yellow is a sure way to make the new home feel more lively. Orange and yellow are happy colors that often served to symbolize celebration. The bright colors are a mood booster, and having household plants can make a brand new home feel that more warm and cosy.


Amaryllis Cut Flower Care

Amaryllis Cut Flower Care

To ensure your Amaryllis flowers look their best for as long as possible cut the flower stem at a 45-degree angle with either a sharp knife or a pair of scissors, and place the flowers in a water-filled vase. The water in the vase should be room temperature and filled with a floral preservative. The floral preserve will help extend the flower’s life, but it won’t keep the Amaryllis alive for the same length of time as the plant would. 

Place your vase in a location with lots of sunlight and a warm temperature. Changing the water and floral preservation every two days will help extend the plant life as well.

Wrap Up

Amaryllis flowers are loved for their bold, color-filled blooms and make a particularly stunning centerpiece during the winter months. What’s great is they’re suitable for a host of gifting occasions and produce a great mix of color tones and hues conveying a broad array of meanings and sentiments. Enjoy!


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