Mainly Amaryllids Garden

Mainly Amaryllids Garden

Sat Jul 31, 2021 19:43:53

"A conservation garden for Amaryllid species and Hybrids"


Mainly Amaryllids Garden - A Mail Order Conservation Garden.

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Tips on Conservation

The Exquisite Griffinia

These notes will help describe the cultivation and housing requirements for bulbs that grow in their own season zone. This means that they cannot be placed into the summer or winter growing groups due to the fact they may be growing when all else has gone dormant or they start to grow at the very end of a season, appearing not to be concerned by the approaching Autumn.

Haemanthus humilis, H. humilis ssp. hirsutus, H. carneus, H. montanus These bulbs have found  niches in the environment and  weather patterns and begin to grow during mid or late summer. At this time of year we are experiencing the heat of summer and cool nights, at a time when autumn is imminent. ( Approximately a month or two away). They then grow vigorously and develop full leaves to take advantage  of the waning summer sun. By the early spring the bulbs have reached their peak in the growing season, Seed has usually been set and dispersed by this time also. During some seasons the leaves can persist until late spring or early summer. 

This image shows Haemanthus humilis in the wild growing on the East Cape in South Africa.

As you can see, the bulbs are growing in amongst rocks, tightly tucked away from predators and hooves from grazers passing by. 

This form of Haemanthus humilis pictured is the usual from associated with this species.

There are however many different forms or sub species (ssp.) of Haemanthus humilis. Some of these ssp. have very long hairs on both sides of the leaf, hairy one side and not the other, dark green, blunt rounded leaves, medium to light green large upright leaves to the giant form listed which eventually grow leaves the size of kitchen chair! Haemanthus carneus has been narrowly classed as a species closely allied to H. humilis. The flowers, in particular the length of the stamens, separates H. carneus from H. humilis. The plants themselves (in foliage) are also very much like H. humilis. 

Cultivation for Haemanthus humilis, H. humilis ssp. hirsutus and H. carneus is very easy in my humble opinion. A medium consisting of potting mix, seed raising mix, copra-peat and washed river sand (equal part and mix thoroughly) in a large pot (these species resent disturbance) of plastic or clay will be adequate. Haemanthus carneus is a small growing bulb and is an excellent patio pot plant. Of course, if you have the room, so is the H. humilis giant form. I find these plant are so interesting and create great talking points when visitors are in the garden. These bulbs prefer a shaded area like the green house or southern side of the house or garden. I have mine growing under shade cloth all year round. The medium is moist all year, dryish during the winter. 

Haemanthus montanus come from the same geographical range as H. humilis. This explains why these bulbs grow and bloom around the same time in the wild. Although it comes from the same location, H. montanus grows in the open in fields of grass, flowering before or during the leaves initiating from the season. This image below shows a form of Haemanthus montanus from the Bedford Region, South Africa.

And what a view! Haemanthus montanus blooming in the wild. The leaves on this species can be green or glaucous, upright and sometimes twisted. This species prefers to have moisture in the soil all the year round. I grow mine in the open full sun in sandy/clay (medium to heavy) loam. They receive water all year round. The soil is allowed to dry out on the odd occasion followed by a thorough watering. (not during the growing season). 


I also have other bulbs to add to this list when I have worked out their growing and dormant times,  so stay tuned..... 



A special thank you to  Cameron McMaster  for supplying such excellent images.















USDA HARDINESS ZONES:  For easy reference I have included this simple USDA Zone Chart. This should help you to know what USDA Zone you are in and if you will need to alter conditions to help maintain your bulbs. I am in Zones 9 and 10. This describes what our climate does for the year round. For example, our temperature usually does not go below minus 4 Celsius during the winter, so I grow bulbs that will fit into this USDA Zone. So my bulbs can be described as Zone 9 to Zone 10 grown bulbs.


Zone 6

Ė10 to 0 Fahrenheit,

-23 C to -18 Celsius

Zone 7

0 to 10 F, -18 to -12 C

Zone 8

10 to 20 F, -12 to -7 C

Zone 9

20 to 30 F, -7 to -1 C

Zone 10

30 to 40 F, -1 to 4 C

Zone 11

Above 40 F, Above 4 C



If you decide to grow bulbs out of the described Zone, you will need to make adjustments to the growing conditions in order for them to survive. I hope this helps in some small way to teach a more consistent knowledge of our temperatures here in Oz. Many of the locally produced magazines have different Zones and some of us donít really know where we are and in what climate we are best described as. This small chart is used around the world with good success. It will certainly put you in touch with many other gardeners around the world and in turn help us all communicate a little easier when referencing or relating our conditions to others.

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