Hippeastrum - Give your garden a wow factor!
Thursday, 15 November 2018
By Deb Delahunty Horticulture teacher, Wodonga TAFE.
You’ve just got to love a flower that’s large, dramatic and utterly flamboyant. The Hippeastrum is a real ‘in your face’ type of flower, and most gardeners just love it. The flower is beautiful and showy and the plant itself is hardy and takes little care to look after. This plant grows from a large bulb and the flowers produced will range from 12 to 25 cm across, now that’s big. The flowers can be one solid colour or they may have stripes and other patterns. In flower now, the Hippeastrum is a winner for many gardeners.
Hippeastrums are available with red, pink, orange, salmon, pale green and white flowers. They can be single, double, broad or narrow petalled, miniature, large, trumpet shaped or wide and spreading, something for everyone.
The flowers will tolerate wind, heavy rain, hot temperatures and sun and do particularly well in areas that have regular summer rain. These flowers are often seen in neglected gardens flourishing while many other plants have long since perished and disappeared. They thrive in a sunny spot – maybe with a bit of afternoon shade and just love a soil that is well drained. If you want to encourage growth and flowering you can ensure the plants are well mulched and are in an enriched soil.
This genus of bulbs originated from Mexico, Central America and through South America to Argentina.
Propagation is usually by division which is an easy method. The bulbs are visible because they grow mostly above the soil and all you need do is dig them up and separate them out. Division is done when the plant is dormant and the bulbs are leafless. When you replant the bulbs – make sure that the widest part of the bulb is level with the soil.
Seed is readily produced on Hippeastrums. Once the plant has flowered seed pods may develop. After a few weeks the pods will go yellow and split releasing black seeds. These seeds can be collected and sown. When the seedlings emerge they are small and grass-like and within a few years they will be flowering for you.
Hippeastrums look amazing when they’re mass planted and are a perfect focal point in any garden.
Diary - The Friends of the Albury Botanic Gardens are having a plant sale on Sunday November 18th. The sale if from 11 am until 2pm at the nursery behind the curators cottage at the Albury Botanic Gardens – lots of great plants available to purchase at reasonable prices.
Photo – Growing in dappled shade – these showy Hippeastrums are a splash of colour in a garden bed at Wodonga TAFE.