Wishing you could capture the beauty of Christmas amaryllis flowers in your garden? You can, with hardy amaryllis. These bulbs are perennials in warmer regions, forming the familiar amaryllis-type strappy leaves topped with trumpet-shaped blooms. Hardy amaryllis flowers include the well-known St. Joseph’s lilies (Hippeastrum x johnsonii), along with a variety of other amaryllis flower hybrids.
St. Joseph’s lily is the oldest hybrid amaryllis. It has a rich history, having been developed in 1799 by an English watchmaker, Arthur Johnson. Johnson crossed two South American amaryllis species to yield this sterile hybrid. St. Joseph’s lily, or hardy amaryllis, unfurls rich red flowers with a splashy white stripe down the center of each petal.
These amaryllis flowers appear in late spring above bright green leaves. The leaves on this amaryllis plant offer a beautifully balanced proportion to the upright flower stems. A hardy amaryllis clump usually measures 18 to 24 inches tall—with flower stems typically topping out at the 2-foot mark.
This amaryllis plant grows from a bulb. A single bulb usually produces a plant 6 to 9 inches wide, but it’s rare that just one bulb is present when this beauty is growing in a garden. Hardy amaryllis readily multiplies, forming thick clumps comprised of many bulbs. St. Joseph’s lily flowers strongly as clumps become packed with bulbs, instead of tapering off, like many other lilies.
St. Joseph’s lily is one of the hardiest amaryllis. Most sources state this amaryllis is hardy in Zones 7 to 10, but gardeners in Zone 6 have reliable success overwintering this perennial bulb. There are even reports of this amaryllis flower surviving Zone 5 winters when snow cover is consistent.
Plant this amaryllis in a part- to full-sun setting, although in warmest regions full sun demands regular watering. High, bright shade is probably a better option for low-maintenance care.
Hardy amaryllis grows in thick Alabama clay and also survives in poor Texas soils. Hardy amaryllis is a classic passalong plant. Most folks get St. Joseph’s lily at local plant swaps or from friends who have them. You can also order hardy amaryllis from specialty bulb companies. Before adding this bulb to your garden, you might want to know what the language of flowers says about amaryllis meaning. It’s all good. Common amaryllis meanings are radiant beauty, determination, pride and success won after a struggle.
Amaryllis can be one of the more confusing plant groups to dig into. Why? The common plant name of Hippeastrum is amaryllis. But there’s also another botanical group that goes by the genus name Amaryllis. This group includes the plants known as naked ladies or belladonna lilies (Amaryllis belladonna), which produce leaves in spring and leafless flower stalks in late summer to early fall. This beauty is hardy in Zones 7 to 10.
To mix things up a bit more, there’s a favorite southern lily known primarily as oxblood lily with some amaryllis tendencies. It has other names, too, including hurricane lily and schoolhouse lily. Oxblood lily has survived four botanical name changes, including its first, Hippeastrum advenum and third, Amaryllis advena. This bloomer resembles a short-stemmed red amaryllis when in bloom. It’s hardy in Zones 7a to 10b and is popular in Texas and other parts of the Deep South.