Amaryllis is a trumpet shaped flower that is often seen in red and white varieties around this time of year. Beyond those colors it is also available in pink, orange, and salmon. The varieties sold during the holiday season are usually of the genus Hippeastrum.
If you are like me you may be wondering how Amaryllis is related to Christmas. For me it has never really played a role at all in the holiday season. I know I’ve seen it in the stores but my family had a tendency to stick with the classic poinsettia.
The association of Amaryllis with Christmas goes back to a legend where the Amaryllis was actually a nymph who fell in love with Alteo. Alteo was a shepherd who had the strength of Hercules and the beauty of Apollo.
The problem with this little crush is that the feelings were not mutual. Isn’t that awkward? Well, this nymph might have been shy, but she was also determined and persistent.
Amaryllis turned to the oracle of Delphi for help in winning over Alteo. He gave Amaryllis instructions to obtain a flower that was unique and beautiful, never before existing. This flower was the key to winning Alteo’s heart
The Oracle’s instructions were to go to the shepherd's door every night for 30 nights, piercing her heart with a golden arrow. On the last night a red flower sprung from the blood of Amaryllis’s heart. This has led to the Amaryllis flower representing determination, pride, and radiant beauty today.
Beyond this story there are many symbolic ties to the flower as it has many varieties named for the Christmas story of Christ’s birth, one of the most popular being ‘St. Joseph’s Staff’. Let these beautiful blooms be a reminder to you of the pride, determination, and beauty of the season, holidays, and the good in the year ahead.
Grow Your Own
- Purchase a starter bulb
- Plant with the pointed end up in a potting soil mix
- Pack the soil gently around the bulb so the top 1/3 is uncovered
- Keep well watered
After The First Bloom
- As the blooms fade, remove them
- Cut the stems within an inch of the bulb
- If you are not already growing it in soil, transplant into a pot with the top of the bulb 1/3 above the soil level
- Give it plently of light
- Treat as a houseplant for the rest of the winter and spring
- Place outside in the sun for the summer, protect from the hot afternoon sun
- Fertilise 1-2 times a month
- Stop watering in the late summer/early fall
- Let rest for 2-5 months in a cool, dry area away from bright light without watering
- Repot into fresh potting soil
- Water and place in a bright 60-65° F room
- Water sparingly until in ative growth