Everything You Need to Know About Growing and Caring for Amaryllis Belladonna at Home
In the world of gardening, each flower develops a reputation for its unique traits. One flower known for its beauty is the Amaryllis belladonna. This South African native represents beauty in many cultures and is guaranteed to bring a touch of elegance to your home or garden. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know to successfully grow and care for Amaryllis belladonna at home.
- How to Grow Amaryllis Belladonna – The Essentials:
- About Amaryllis Belladonna
- Scientific Facts About Amaryllis Belladonna
- Amaryllis Belladonna Origins and History
- General Botanical Characteristics
- Uses and Benefits of Amaryllis Belladonna
- Can You Grow Amaryllis Belladonna Flowers Inside and Outside?
- Bloom Time and Flowering Season
- Growth Expectations for Amaryllis Belladonna
- Best Companion Plants for Amaryllis Belladonna Flowers in the Garden
- Popular Types of Amaryllis
- How to Grow Amaryllis Belladonna
- What Are the Best Locations to Plant Amaryllis?
- What Are the Best Times of Year to Plant Amaryllis Belladonna?
- Growing Amaryllis Plants from Seed vs. Young Nursery Plants
- What to Do Before Planting
- What’s the Best Soil for Growing Amaryllis Belladonna?
- How to Plant Amaryllis Belladonna
- Amaryllis Belladonna Light Preferences
- Temperature and Humidity Preferences
- How to Care for Amaryllis Belladonna Plants
- Common Amaryllis Belladonna Problems and How to Treat Them
- Essential Tools for Amaryllis Belladonna Care
- Wrapping Up
- Growing Amaryllis Belladonna Plant FAQs:
How to Grow Amaryllis Belladonna – The Essentials:
|Botanical Name:||Amaryllis belladonna|
|Also Known As:||Belladonna lily, Jersey lily, Naked ladies|
|Hardiness Zones:||USDA zones 7 through 10|
|Flowering Months:||July through September, depending on location|
|Growing Difficulty:||Easy to moderate, suitable for beginners|
|Type of Plant:||Deciduous bulbous perennial|
|Light Requirements:||Full sun for at least four hours a day during its growing season|
|Temperature and Humidity:||This plant enjoys warm temperatures between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit during its growing season. It also needs cooler temperatures around 50 to 55 degrees for at least eight weeks in the winter to produce blooms.|
|Watering Needs:||Water enough to maintain moist soil during the growing season. Avoid watering during the dormant winter period.|
|Soil Preferences:||Enjoys moist yet well-drained soil. Grows well with acidic, alkaline, or neutral soils. Does well in a chalky, loamy, or sandy soil.|
|Feeding:||Diluted liquid fertilizer can encourage healthy growth if needed.|
|Growth Expectations:||Can reach a height from two to three feet tall and a spread of two to three feet in approximately five to 10 years.|
|Toxicity:||All parts of the plant are toxic to humans and wildlife and can cause symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.|
About Amaryllis Belladonna
Scientific Facts About Amaryllis Belladonna
The Amaryllis belladonna is one of two species belonging to the amaryllis genus. Plants in the genus are bulbous with green leaves. They have bell-shaped flowers that open into an array of colorful petals during the blooming season.
The other species within the amaryllis genus is Amaryllis paradisicola. Amaryllis belladonna is the more popular of the two species.
Amaryllis Belladonna Origins and History
The belladonna lily is native to South Africa, where it grows in rocky areas. Plants in the Amaryllis genus have many nicknames, including naked ladies, belladonna lily, and Jersey lily.
The belladonna lily is an ornamental plant cultivated everywhere from Europe to South America. Its flowers are pink and supported by a ‘naked,’ or leafless, stem. This quality is why the plant is often referred to by the name naked ladies.
The name belladonna comes from the Italian words ‘bella donna,’ meaning beautiful lady. In Portugal, the flowers are referred to as ‘meninas para a escola’ which means girls go to school.
The plant got its Portuguese nickname because it blooms around the same time children start the school year. Its petals are also a similar pink to the girls’ school uniform.
General Botanical Characteristics
The Amaryllis belladonna plant is a bulbous perennial that has leafless, erect stems. Its blooms are pink and bell-shaped with strappy petals that open up during the blooming season.
Each of these flower’s petals can grow to around four inches in length, and blooms produce a sweet, fruity aroma. This plant’s foliage is deciduous, and all parts are toxic to humans and wildlife.
Uses and Benefits of Amaryllis Belladonna
The belladonna lily is beautiful as an ornamental plant. However, this is not a flower you would want to use in cooking or making tea.
In fact, the species is considered to be highly toxic to both humans and wildlife. Consumption of any part of the plant would likely result in vomiting or diarrhea.
Animals may experience various symptoms like lethargy or even heart failure if they consume the belladonna lily. In the wild, deer have learned to stay clear of the plant, perhaps because they are aware of its dangers.
However, insects aren’t bothered by this toxic plant. It attracts hawk moths and carpenter bees, among other pollinators. This is due to the plant’s sweet aroma, which draws pollinators with a combination of nectar, linalool, and alcohol.
Some believe this plant could be used to treat malaria. It contains alkaloids, which have effective properties to fight the disease.
Can You Grow Amaryllis Belladonna Flowers Inside and Outside?
You can grow Amaryllis flowers both inside and outside. The best locations to cultivate the flower include flower beds, patios, and gravel gardens.
Bloom Time and Flowering Season
The Jersey lily tends to flower during late summer or fall, between July and September, in the northern hemisphere.
Unfortunately, this plant’s flowering season is brief. It can last for as few as a couple of weeks. However, the bloom time may last a month or longer, depending on the growing conditions.
Growth Expectations for Amaryllis Belladonna
The Jersey lily can reach between two and three feet tall. Its spread will be a similar size to its height, around two to three feet wide. The plant grows fairly slowly and may take five to 10 years to reach its maximum height.
Best Companion Plants for Amaryllis Belladonna Flowers in the Garden
Choose companion plants that are also native to South Africa or areas with similar climates. This will mean the plants enjoy similar growing conditions.
Gardeners also plant amaryllis flowers alongside aromatic herbs such as rosemary and lavender. This combination can create a lovely scent to enjoy and attract pollinators to your garden.
Popular Types of Amaryllis
While the belladonna is the most popular species in the Amaryllis genus, paradisicola is another species that you might like to grow.
The Amaryllis paradisicola produces a circle between 10 and 21 flowers that bloom in April. The petals are usually pink or purple and broader than the belladonna’s leaves. This species also has slightly longer stamens.
The Amaryllis paradisicola prefers a cooler environment than the belladonna. On the Red List of South African Plants, this plant is listed as a vulnerable species as baboons threaten their growth.
How to Grow Amaryllis Belladonna
What Are the Best Locations to Plant Amaryllis?
Amaryllis plants grow well in the full sun, so they’ll enjoy west and south-facing spots with plenty of light. However, this species does need shelter from harsh winter conditions. Find a spot where the plant is protected from excess heat in the hotter months or frost in the colder season.
If you decide to keep the plant indoors, remember that it is toxic. So, make sure to place your belladonna lilies out of reach of children and pets.
Some of the best gardens for Amaryllis belladonna include patios, gravel gardens, and flower beds.
What Are the Best Times of Year to Plant Amaryllis Belladonna?
Try to plant your belladonna bulbs toward the end of winter. This will give the plant plenty of time to prepare for its blooming season in late summer.
Growing Amaryllis Plants from Seed vs. Young Nursery Plants
To grow amaryllis plants by seed, you need to take the pink-colored seeds and plant them straight away. Germination shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks, but you may have to wait up to six years for them to flower.
If you buy the amaryllis belladonna from a nursery, you can expect it to be around two feet tall. This approach will allow you to enjoy belladonna lily blooms sooner.
What to Do Before Planting
First, you’ll want to consider how many Amaryllis belladonna flowers you want to plant in your garden. Then, you’ll want to make sure you have enough space to put them six to 12 inches apart for optimal growth.
Next, you’ll need to gather the tools for planting your belladonna lilies. For example, if you’re planting the lilies in pots, you’ll need well-draining soil and pots with drainage holes. You may want to buy a phosphorus-rich fertilizer as well, but it isn’t essential.
What’s the Best Soil for Growing Amaryllis Belladonna?
Your belladonna lilies will prefer moist yet well-draining soil. When it comes to pH, the plant will do well in soil that is either slightly acidic, slightly alkaline, or neutral. Chalk, loam, and sand can all help provide the drainage this plant needs to thrive.
How to Plant Amaryllis Belladonna
The best way to plant amaryllis flowers is to place the dormant bulb a little below the soil’s surface. Make sure the bulb’s neck is visible on the surface.
You’ll want to ensure your belladonna lilies are in a well-draining environment for optimal growth. In colder climates, you’ll need to rely on mulching and overwintering to ensure survival and healthy growth.
If you’re interested in a step-by-step guide for potting your belladonna lilies, check the section on how to repot the plant below.
Amaryllis Belladonna Light Preferences
To ensure that your Amaryllis flowers grow well, you need to place them in a sheltered location that receives full sun. This may be a sunny spot in the garden or near a sunny window indoors.
Temperature and Humidity Preferences
Your Amaryllis belladonna will enjoy different temperatures depending on the time of year. During its growing season, the plant prefers warm temperatures between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the winter, the plant needs to rest for at least eight weeks at temperatures between 50 to 55 degrees to produce its showy blooms. It also needs more humidity in the winter months. However, belladonna lilies may receive the moisture they need from the winter precipitation.
How to Care for Amaryllis Belladonna Plants
Watering Amaryllis Belladonna Plants
Fortunately for beginners, the Amaryllis flower requires minimal watering. In fact, the plant is so resilient that it can survive droughts. This species will also adapt to prolonged periods without moisture.
You’ll want to water the plant enough to maintain moist soil during its growing season in the warmer months. Avoid watering during the dormant winter period, as it will likely receive enough moisture from the winter rains.
How, When, and Why to Fertilize
In some cases, it isn’t necessary to use fertilizers for the Amaryllis belladonna plant. However, some gardeners like to use a diluted, high phosphorus fertilizer in spring to keep the flower happy.
If you want to fertilize your Amaryllis belladonna, wait until the plant begins to produce new foliage. Fertilize the plant two to four times per month, adjusting its feeding schedule as needed.
Pruning and Cutting Back Amaryllis Belladonna
Generally, the Amaryllis belladonna plant doesn’t need to be pruned at all. However, you can remove the flower heads when the blossom starts to fade if you don’t want extra seeds to form.
Propagating Amaryllis Belladonna
You can propagate this plant in various ways. You can sow seeds in containers when they’re ripe or when spring comes around. You can also place the plant’s offsets, which grow as smaller bulbs, in separate pots with the same soil you use for your main amaryllis plant.
Overwintering Amaryllis Belladonna
It’s possible to overwinter Amaryllis belladonna plants. In fact, this may be necessary in colder climates.
To overwinter this type of plant, you need to store the bulbs in the colder months. To get them, cut the flower stalks above the bulb once they’ve begun to fade away. Make sure not to damage the leaves, as these are necessary for the bulb’s survival.
Now, store the bulbs in a pot with drainage holes and keep it somewhere with sun exposure. You should bring bulbs inside if temperatures plummet and frost becomes an issue, as this can damage the bulb.
When spring arrives, simply place bulbs in a small pot and position it somewhere that receives full sun.
When and How to Repot Amaryllis Belladonna Plants Grown in Containers
The best time to consider repotting your Amaryllis plants is when the leaves start to turn brown. By this time, usually around late fall, the bulbs should be dormant. You’ll want to repot your belladonna lilies every three to four years as needed.
Here are some steps for repotting your Amaryllis belladonna plant.
- Remove the plant from its current container, taking a sharp tool around the edges to loosen the roots.
- Lift the plant out of its container, taking care not to damage the root ball.
- Add your blend of well-draining soil to the base of this plant’s new container, filling it about halfway.
- Place the plant in the soil, making sure the bulb sits just below the soil’s surface.
- Fill in any remaining gaps with soil.
Common Amaryllis Belladonna Problems and How to Treat Them
For the most part, Amaryllis belladonna is easy to take care of and suitable for beginners. However, be on the lookout for the following issues that may affect the plant’s growth.
The Amaryllis belladonna requires very little water to stay alive, so underwatering it isn’t as much of a risk. However, with too much water, the plant’s bulb can start to rot.
Always use a pot with drainage holes or add sand to optimize the drainage process. If you think your plant is experiencing watering-related issues, you should adjust its watering schedule.
Signs an Amaryllis Belladonna is Getting Too Much Light
You’ll know your amaryllis plant is getting too much light if it shows signs of leaf burn. To avoid this, give the plant more shelter from the sun’s rays.
Signs of Temperature Issues
Belladonna lilies are fairly heat-tolerant, but they won’t survive in harsh winter conditions. It’s a good idea to shelter your Amaryllis belladonna from cold temperatures. Bring it indoors as needed to avoid exposure to frost.
Common Amaryllis Pests and Diseases
Fortunately, this plant’s toxicity helps protect it from many pests. There aren’t a lot of diseases that affect it either. However, here are a few issues you may want to look out for when caring for the Jersey lily.
- Bulb mites: These mites can stunt your plant’s growth and attack damaged bulbs. To protect against bulb mites, water the plant regularly and keep bulbs healthy.
- Caterpillars: You may find caterpillars chewing through this plant’s leaves and flowers. Simply remove caterpillars from the plant with a pair of gloves or tweezers to avoid further damage.
- Bulb rot: Bulb rot is one of the few diseases known to affect the Amaryllis belladonna plant. It usually occurs as a result of fungal growth. Spray some fungicide around the affected area, sterilize the soil, and ensure fungus does not come into contact with your other plants.
Essential Tools for Amaryllis Belladonna Care
Here are the tools and materials we recommend keeping on hand taking care of your Amaryllis belladonna.
- Pot with drainage holes
- Well-draining soil
- High-phosphorus fertilizer
- Watering can
- Sand to optimize drainage
- Gloves to protect your skin when handling the plant
- Tweezers to remove pests like caterpillars
While they may be native to South Africa, the Jersey Lily is a plant that anyone can enjoy in their garden. As long as you have access to full sun and the right tools, you can grow Amaryllis belladonna at home.
Use our tips to prepare for your beautiful amaryllis flowers. When fall comes around, your garden will burst to life with this plant’s showy pink blooms.
Growing Amaryllis Belladonna Plant FAQs:
Is Amaryllis easy to grow?
Yes, Amaryllis belladonna is easy to grow.
Does Amaryllis come back every year?
No, if you want your Amaryllis plant to survive and bloom again the following year, you’ll need to overwinter it.
Does Amaryllis like sun or shade?
Amaryllis belladonna likes full sun, as long as it can be protected from harsh conditions if needed.
Where should I put amaryllis indoors?
Your Amaryllis belladonna will enjoy a sunny location in your home near a west or south-facing window.
Is Amaryllis toxic to humans and pets?
Yes, Amaryllis belladonna is toxic to both humans and pets. You should handle the plant with gloves and place it out of the reach of children and pets.