Happy Hippeastrums

These semi evergreen bulbs sends up masses of flower spikes throughout March.

Credit: David Tarrant

These wonderful flowers are just coming into bloom in my Mexican garden. They are Hippeastrums, but there seems some controversy over which one.

Last week, I gave a presentation to the Vancouver Hardy Plant Group and had it misnamed as Hippeastrum aulicum. However I now believe it to be a cross Hippeastrum x johnsonii or St Josephs Lily.

It is a semi evergreen bulb that sends up masses of flower spikes throughout March, each stem with three to five flowers. They were in the wrong place when I moved in two years ago, so I moved them in mid-summer—then read that they don’t like being moved!

However, these plants are happy, as you can see.

The close relatives of this bulbous perennial grown by many up north as indoor plants are also hybrids. The ones that send up massive flower spikes are eventually followed by long strap-like leaves. Once they’ve flowered, they should be fed lightly, and the leaves should be allowed to keep growing for at least a couple of months. Then let them dry out completely.

When I was an apprentice gardener in England many years ago now, we used to turn their pots on their sides to prevent watering during the summer months then shake off the soil and re-pot in fresh potting soil in mid-September.