Hippeastrum Hybrids 'Minerva and Red Lion' variations are just two of the Amaryllis plants that I have had blooming in my yard this year. Hippeastrums are tropical in nature, many coming from Central and South America. Both of these bulbous plants are results of self crosses. I had so much seed produced that I decided to see if I could grow them outside in Zone 7. Since these are variations of the parents, I thought why not give them a try. That was 5 years ago and they are still surviving outside in zone 7. They have surpassed my expectations for the bulbs. This year we had a record cold spell, reaching -8°F (-22°C). I was sure that they would not survive, but by early spring, the foliage was breaking the ground and the flowers were as pretty as they have ever been. Butterflies are attracted to Hippeastrum.
Blooming: Here in Zone 7 these two variations of 'Minerva and Red Lion' bloom in mid to late spring. The 'Minerva' variation had a flower stalk 30 inches (76 cm) tall with only 2 flowers per stalk. Individual flowers where 6 inches (15 cm) across. The 'Red Lion' variation, flower stalk was 14 inches (35 cm) tall with four nodding flowers per stalk, they where also 6 inches (15 cm) across.
Culture: Hippeastrum hybrids need full sun to partial shade, with a well drained soil. We planted the bulbs in the fall in my yard, in a well protected area. The red clay soil was amended with peat moss and coarse sand. The bulbs were planted 6 inches (15 cm) deep and 10 inches (25 cm) apart. Since these seem to do very well here, I will start crossing them with the many other Hippeastrums that I have and see what we can come up with. This should be a fun experiment. Once the aboveground parts of the plants die back in fall, we mulch them.
Propagation: Hippeastrum hybrid 'Minerva and Red Lion' variations were started from seed. Fresh seed should be surface sown and germination takes place in as little as 14-30 days after sowing.
Biological note: You may have learned in biology class that sexual reproduction results in genetic recombination, so that none of the offspring are exactly the same as the parents. This is exactly what happened. By planting the seeds in his soil at home, Cal selected for those adapted for Oklahoma. The ones that were not, did not survive and that is the majority. Cal did a great job of showing the power of natural selection. Planting seeds is as old as civilization. Man planting seeds was the origin of all of our great crops. Plants, unlike animals, can mate with themselves or self-pollinate and that is really important in this experiment. It will be interesting to see how the crosses work. -SR
Hippeastrum hybrids 'Minerva and Red Lion' were featured as Co-Plants of the Week May 27-June 9, 2011.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.