Amaryllis belladonna

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 Amaryllis belladonna subsp. var.  Naked Lady, Belladonna Lily
Naked ladies in bloom
Habit: bulbous
Height: to
Width: to
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Lifespan: perennial
Origin: S Africa
Poisonous: bulbs if ingested
Bloom: late summer
Exposure: sun
Water: moderate, less when dormant
Features: flowers, fragrance, naturalizes, drought tolerant
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Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: to
Sunset Zones: 4-24, 28, 29
Flower features: pink, single
Amaryllidaceae > Amaryllis belladonna var. ,

Amaryllis belladonna is the only species in the Amaryllis genus, and is also known as the Belladonna Lily or as naked ladieswp.

Amaryllis is a bulbous plant, with each bulb being 5-10 cm in diameter. It has several strap-shaped, green leaves, 30-50 cm long and 2-3 cm broad, arranged in two rows. The leaves are produced in the autumn or early spring in warm climates depending on the onset of rain and eventually die down by late spring. The bulb is then dormant until late summer. The plant is not frost-tolerant, nor does it do well in tropical environments since they require a dry resting period between leaf growth and flower spike production.

From the dry ground in late summer (August in zone 7) each bulb produces one or two leafless stems 30-60 cm tall, each of which bears a cluster of 2 to 12 funnel-shaped flowers at their tops. Each flower is 6-10 cm diameter with six tepals (three outer sepals, three inner petals, with similar appearance to each other). The usual color is white with crimson veins, but pink or purple also occur naturally. The common name "naked lady" stems from the plant's pattern of flowering when the foliage has died down. [1]

Many bulbs sold as Amaryllis and described as 'ready to bloom for the holidays' actually belong to the allied genus Hippeastrum, despite being labeled as 'Amaryllis' by sellers and nurseries. Adding to the name confusion, some bulbs of other species with a similar growth and flowering pattern are also sometimes called this plant's common name "naked ladies". Some of those species have their own more widely used and accepted common names, such as the Resurrection Lily (Lycoris squamigera).

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Amaryllis belladonna, Linn. Belladonna Lily. Fig. 186. Scape 2-4 ft., with a 2-lvd. dry spathe or involucre just underneath the umbel: fls. on short pedicels, lily-like, short-tubed, and flaring, with pointed segms. 2-3 in. long, and 6 deflexed stamens, fragrant, normally rose- red; scape solid: Lvs. strap-shaped, canaliculate and acute. B.M. 733. On. 33:268; 47, p. 46; 49, p. 276; 54, p.414. G.C. III. 24:315.—An old favorite, with many Latin-named garden forms. There are varieties ranging from white to red, and varying in shape and size of fls., many of them receiving Latin descriptive names. Var. purpurea, Hort. Fls. purple, at least on the limb. Var. pallida (A. pallida, Red.), has pale flowers. Var. blanda, Voss (A. blanda, Gawl. B.M. 1450), is a large form, with white fls., fading to blush. Var. rosea perfecta, Hort. Excellent blooms, satiny rose and white striped: fls. late, at the time the Lvs. appear; the segms. pointed. Gt. 45, p. 443. Var. spectabilis tricolor, Hort. Fls. showy, in large umbels, rose-color, white inside, highly perfumed. Gt. 45, p. 358. Var. maxima, Hort. Strong grower, with many large rose-colored fls. G.M. 45:393. Var. Parkeri (A. Parkeri, Hort.). Probably hybrid of Brunsvigia Josephinse and Amaryllis Belladonna: umbel circular, with as many as 30 blooms; fls. deep rose with white and orange at base inside, and orange on outside of tube: 3 ft., handsome: also a white-fld. form. G.C. III. 50:211. Gn. 75, p. 460.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture
Amaryllis belladonna

Amaryllis (classical name). Amaryllidàceae. Summer- or autumn-blooming bulbous plant (March and Apr. at the Cape), the leaves usually appearing later.

Plant stout, producing many strap-like Lvs. : fls. large, fragrant in a few- to several-fld. umbel; perianth with a short ribbed tube, the divisions oblong or lanceolate, the filaments distinct and no scale between them; stamens on the throat of the tube: fr. a globose caps., opening irregularly.—One species, from Cape of Good Hope. In gardens, the hippeastrums (winter and spring bloomers) are known as Amaryllis.

In dealing with the culture of amaryllis, it is customary to speak of the genus in its horticultural sense, —to include hippeastrum and related things. Such is the understanding in the following cultural directions. There are two widely differing methods of cultivating the amaryllis to produce showy flowers in the spring months,—the border method and the pot method. Any one trying both of these methods will soon come to the conclusion that they differ not only in method, but in flower-producing results. The first method is to plant the bulbs in a prepared border after they are done flowering, say about the middle of May. The border should have perfect drainage, and, if convenient, be on the south side of a house or wall, fully exposed to the sun during the greater part of the day. The bulbs are set out in rows, necessarily with as little disturbance of the roots as possible, because, if they are bulbs that have undergone similar treatment the previous year, by the middle of May they have made a considerable number of new roots; besides, the foliage also has gained some headway, and may be considered as in actual growth. In planting, carefully firm the soil around the old balls, give one watering, and on the succeeding day, after the surface of the soil has been raked over, cover to the depth of 2 inches with half- decayed cow-manure. With frequent waterings during the summer and the removal of weeds, they will need no more attention until the approach of cool weather, when they should be lifted, sized, and potted; however, at this season, I wet weather has predominated, some of the bulbs will be in a semi-dormant state, while the majority will yet be in active growth. Here is the drawback to this method : The roots are large and fleshy, they take up considerable room in a 6- or 7-inch pot, and the soil cannot be evenly distributed amongst them, neither can it be made as firm as it should be. The result is the partial decay of the roots and leaves, and in the spring, when the flower scapes appear, they are developed at the expense of the bulb, through having insufficient roots to take up nourishment from the soil. The flowers are small, few in number, and do not show what the plant is capable of. Partly to ameliorate these conditions, the bulbs in active growth at lifting time may be heeled-in on a greenhouse bench until they gradually ripen, taking care that some of the soil is retained on the roots; otherwise the ripening process is altogether too rapid, so that the roots and leaves suddenly lose their robust nature, become flabby, and eventually die. For this method, it can be said that a larger number of bulbs can be grown with less trouble than by the pot method, but neither bulbs nor flowers compare in size with those kept in pots the year round. For the purpose of merely increasing stock, the outdoor method is to be preferred.—Most of the kinds are naturally evergreen; potting under those conditions is best done either after the plants have made their growth in the fall or after they have finished flowering in April. When done in the fall, they are allowed to remain rather dry during the winter; this will keep the soil of the original ball in a sweet condition until the time arrives to start them into growth, which may be anywhere after the first of January, or even earlier if necessary. They will winter all right, and keep their foliage, in a brick frame in which the temperature is not allowed to fall below 45° F. By the beginning of February, in a structure of this sort, they will be showing flower- scapes, and should then be taken to a position in which more heat and light can be given. A weak solution of cow-manure will much help the development of the flowers. When in bloom, a greenhouse temperature, with slight shade, will prolong the flowering period. After flowering, the greatest care should be taken of the plants, as it is from that period till the end of summer that the principal growth is made. A heavy loam, enriched with bone-dust and rotted cow-manure, suits them well.—The seeds of hippeastrums should be sown as soon as ripe, covered very lightly with finely sifted leaf-mold, and, it this shows a tendency to dry too quickly, cover with panes of glass until germination takes place. As soon as the first leaves are developed, they should be potted in the smallest sized pots and kept growing.—In the propagation of varieties, it will be found that the large bulbs make two or more offsets each season; these should not be detached until it is certain that they have enough roots of their own to start with after being separated from the parent. If a well-flowered specimen clump is desired, the offsets may be allowed to remain attached to the parent; they will, in most cases, flower the second year under generous treatment.—Amaryllis Belladonna and the plant known as .A.longifolia (really a crinum) are hardy in the District of-Columbia; A. longifolia thrives even in damp, heavy soils, with no protection, and flowers abundantly each year. A. Belladonna needs a warm, sheltered spot, with deep planting. This popular autumn-blooming plant succeeds best where it can remain out-of-doors all the year. It seems to thrive in fairly rich sandy loam. A position facing south near the wall of house or by the side of a greenhouse seems to suit its requirements. In rather dry soils where frost does not penetrate deeply, it is not necessary to lift the tubers each year.

See Brunsvigia for A. gigantea and A. orientalis; Crinum for A. longifolia and A. ornata; Hippeastrum for A. aulica, A. equestris, A. fulgida, A. Johnsonii, A. Leopoldii, A. pardina, A. procera, A. Reginae, A. reticulata, A. vittata; Lycoris for A. aurea, A. Hallii, and A. radiata; Nerine for A.Nerine; Sprekelia for A. formoisissima; Sternbergia for A. lutea; Vallota for A. purpurea; Zephyranthes for A. Atamasco, A. Candida and A. erubescens. The following trade names probably belong to other genera, most likely to Hippeastrum: A. crocea, A. Graveana, A. macrantha, A. refulgens.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


The species was introduced into cultivation at the beginning of the eighteenth century. They reproduce slowly either by bulb division or seeds and have gradually naturalized from plantings in urban and suburban areas throughout the lower elevations and coastal areas in much of the West Coast since these environments mimic their native South African habitat.


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Pests and diseases

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There is an Amaryllis belladonna × Crinum moorei cross, called × Amarcrinum [2], which have named cultivars.


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