Hippeastrum: The Gardener's Amaryllis

Overview

The hybrids of Hippeastrum, also known by gardeners as amaryllis, have long been popular indoor plants, their flamboyant blooms bringing cheer during the dark winter months. Published in association with the Royal Horticultural Society as part of our Plant Collector Guide series, this book for gardeners describes the astonishing range of hybrids now available and explains how to get the best results from these rewarding plants. A wealth of practical advice accompanies the plant descriptions, including a specially...

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Overview

The hybrids of Hippeastrum, also known by gardeners as amaryllis, have long been popular indoor plants, their flamboyant blooms bringing cheer during the dark winter months. Published in association with the Royal Horticultural Society as part of our Plant Collector Guide series, this book for gardeners describes the astonishing range of hybrids now available and explains how to get the best results from these rewarding plants. A wealth of practical advice accompanies the plant descriptions, including a specially formulated growing medium used by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, an effective "hot water treatment" for pests, and essential advice on feeding, watering, and lighting.

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Editorial Reviews

National Gardener
"An outstanding book."

—Veronica Read, National Gardener, July 2004

From the Publisher
"An outstanding book."
—Veronica Read, National Gardener, July 2004
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780881926392
  • Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/15/2004
  • Series: Royal Horticultural Society Plant Collec
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 1,350,016
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Veronica Read is the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens (NCCPG) National Plant Collection Holder of Hippeastrum in the United Kingdom. In 1999 she won a gold medal for her exhibit of South African hybrids at the RHS Westminster Show. She lectures widely to horticultural societies and gardening clubs and has also written for and been featured in horticultural journals and broadsheets including Amaryllids, The Garden, Herbertia, Kew Friends Magazine, Plant Heritage, the Professional Gardener, and the Daily Telegraph.

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Read an Excerpt

Habitats and climates are as varied as the plants themselves. Hippeastrum elegans grows in grassy meadows where conditions are warm and humid; other species grow by the side of rivers, while H. angustifolium inhabits muddy swamps. Hippeastrum reticulatum prefers cool, moist and shady conditions, while H. reginae is found in soil high in organic matter. Hippeastrum aulicum inhabits shady areas and has been found growing in the crotches of trees. Hippeastrum striatum grows in the open, in shade as well as in full sun, in acid red clay where early morning temperatures can fall to near freezing occasionally during the winter. Some species inhabit dense Brazilian rain forests where conditions are cool and moist, with around 60–160 in. (1600–4000 mm) of rainfall per year, dense morning and evening fogs and little temperature variation throughout the year (59–70°F or 15–21°C). Vegetation is thick and luscious, and species grow among bromeliads and orchids, or in the case of H. calyptratum, cling epiphytically to tree trunks.

Hippeastrum leopoldii, H. pardinum, H. reginae and H. vittatum inhabit the lightly forested Bolivian slopes at 2000–6000 ft. (610–1830 m) where conditions are cool and shady. The ground is covered with a litter of rocks, twigs and leaves, and regular night rains during the spring follow a short dry season.

Hippeastrum cybister, H. evansiae, H. fosteri and H. parodii grow in mountainous areas where conditions are harsh and inhospitable. Temperatures during the summer soar above 100°F (38°C) and fall below freezing during the winter with frosts and heavy snowfalls in some areas. If it were not for their upright position and bluish cast, the leaves of H. parodii would be quickly burnt. The entire year's rainfall of 6 in. (15 cm) falls during 2–3 months, resulting in all external growth being completed during this period. Other species send forth scapes following snow melts as moisture trickles to the bulbs situated below the level of frost penetration.

Some plants cling to steep, bare, rocky slopes where soil is almost nonexistent. Others grow among vegetation and bushes or near other plants where dark gray, sandy soils low in organic content are barely moist. Hippeastrum psittacinum grows on steep bare rocks, as well as at the base of cliffs which are covered with a thin layer of moss that becomes wet with dew each night and, at certain times of the year, from fog condensation.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 7
Preface 9
Acknowledgments 13
Ch. 1 Amaryllis or Hippeastrum? 15
Ch. 2 Species 29
Ch. 3 Large-flowering singles 41
Ch. 4 Smaller flowering hybrids 81
Ch. 5 Yellow Hippeastrums 97
Ch. 6 Modern hybrids 107
Ch. 7 Doubles 133
Ch. 8 Structure and development 159
Ch. 9 Growers' guide to cultivating better Hippeastrums 179
Ch. 10 Commercial breeding and production 201
Ch. 11 Propagation 219
Ch. 12 Pests and diseases 235
App Further information on the hybrid lists in chapters 3 to 7 257
Glossary 265
Bibliography 270
Index 284
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