Amaryllis belladonna is a native plant of South Africa that grows from an underground bulb. It is also known as a “Naked Lady” because the flower appears without any leaves when it blooms, thus being “naked.” The blooms are excellent as cut flowers, lasting up to a week in bouquets.
The Amaryllis Family
The amaryllis belladonna plant belongs to a small genus of flowering bulbs called Amaryllidaceae. These plants are native to tropical regions and require warm temperatures to thrive. The leaves arise from the base of the stem or apex of the bulb. Flowers generally grow in clusters with showy blooms.
This type of amaryllis grows to 2 or 3 feet tall, with long slender leaves. The leaves die back early in the summer, and a tall stalk appears bearing up to a dozen flowers. The blooms are trumpet-shaped and may be white, red or pink. Amaryllis belladonna can handle dry conditions well. Though they prefer a sunny spot, they bloom better with a little afternoon shade. You can often purchase amaryllis pre-potted at garden centers.
Planting Amaryllis Belladonna
Growing amaryllis belladonna requires conditions similar to its native climate in South Africa. This climate is Mediterranean in type with temperatures that do not drop below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The bulb should be planted in rich, well-draining soil with the nose at soil level in a warm area with full sun, setting the bulbs about 1 foot apart. In colder climates, plant the bulb slightly deeper to protect it from cool temperatures. Amaryllis grows best in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 10.
Amaryllis Belladonna Care
Hot temperatures and dry conditions are required in late spring and early summer when the bulb is dormant to allow proper growth. In late summer, the plant requires regular watering during its active growth period. Fertilize amaryllis belladonna with a slow release fertilizer in the early spring. You can also top dress the plants with blood or bone meal at the same time for additional nutrients. Water the plant only when the top 2 inches of soil are dry. You can divide the bulbs, but they prefer to be slightly crowded. Re-planted bulbs may take several years to bloom. Amaryllis belladonna can also be grown from seed but take much longer to reach blooming age.
The amaryllis belladonna plant is easy to grow and does not require special care. It can also be planted in a pot and brought indoors during cold weather in northern regions of the country.