How To Grow Amaryllis Belladonna

Amaryllis belladonna is a wonderful bulb but I guess the first thing we have to deal with is that those huge flowering bulbs you buy in the fall for Christmas blooming are really Hippeastrum bulbs.

Christmas bulbs are not Amaryllis.

Don't ask me why we use the wrong name – I just grow them, I don't name ‘em.

Difference Between Amaryllis and Hippeastrum

The real Belladonna Lily or Amaryllis belladonna does share some characteristics with the Hippeastrum:

Both have large bulbs – that produce lily-like flowers - on thick stems.

But you can tell them apart. Amaryllis flowers are smaller than Hippeastrum and the stems are solid while the Hippeastrum is hollow.

If you asked them, they would tell you that the "A" bulb's home is in South Africa while the "H" bulb's home is in South America. Both are southern plants and quite tender in the north.

Amaryllis belladonna 'Durban'

Amaryllis belladonna 'Durban'

Where To Grow

You can grow both outdoors in the heat of the summer but you'll most often find the Belladonna lily grown as a straight house plant in a sunny window.

Amaryllis belladonna bulb

Amaryllis belladonna bulb

Quick Plant Care Details

  • Flower colour: bright pink The flowers are fragrant!

  • Flowering period in nature: August-September

  • Average plant height: 60-90 cm

  • Planting depth to base of bulbs: neck of the bulb just above the soil

  • Spacing between bulbs: 20 cm

  • Light requirements: full sun is essential – it might grow in full hot afternoon sun with a little morning shade but don't try afternoon sun or you won't see a blossom.

  • If you put it outside for the summer - grow this plant in the warmest section of your garden.

  • Amaryllis belladonna 'Stellenbosch'

    Amaryllis belladonna 'Stellenbosch'

    Grows Differently Than Other Bulbs

    The belladonna lily produces its leaves in the spring. But the leaves die down in early summer so you think the bulb is dead.

    Even in its native habitat this is what it does. After about two months of dormancy, a flower stem and buds will appear.

    If You Grow It Outside

    If you put this bulb outdoors, it is recommended that you stake the flowers and ensure their stability in the wind – those babies are so big that a wind will knock them over and you'll be very disappointed to smash them.

    This is not an issue in the house (we hope)


    In zone 9, you can cover the bulb crown with leaves or mulch and try to get this bulb through the dormancy outside.

    In colder regions, take it indoors again. It will throw new leaves again in the early spring (indoors in a sunny windowsill) for several months before dying down and repeating the cycle.

    Storing The Bulb

    Store the bulb at around 13C to prevent the bulbs from drying out totally.

    Amaryllis belladonna

    Amaryllis belladonna variety unknown

    Book cover spring bulbs

    Shopping Resources for this Page

    A variety of Amaryllis and Hippeastrum bulbs can easily be found here in many colors

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