Hippeastrum x johnsonii
Many amaryllis perform well along the coastal regions, but few match this bulb in its ability to withstand cold temperatures and poor soils. One of the most exciting and underutilized garden bulbs is the hardy amaryllis (Hippeastrum x johnsonii). Thanks to mass marketing over the nation, most of us only think of amaryllis only as forced product for Christmas, but many Houstonians and avid gardeners are well aware of the April/May blooming red and white striped garden amaryllis found in many heirloom gardens.
It is believed to be the first hybrid amaryllis with a history dating back to the late 1700's, and gardeners in Texas who have had them form massive clumps with an explosion of red color would still say they are the best hybrid on the market. Even in such large clumps, the bloom capacity is not hindered in any way. The striking red trumpet shaped blooms with their white stripes are show stoppers in every sense of the word.
Johnson's amaryllis is another name for this bulb, in honor of the hybridizer and English watch maker, Mr. Johnson. Sometimes also known as St Joseph's lily.
Hint: if you lean in close enough, you will catch a slight spicy fragrance that is simply the icing on the cake, and makes these gorgeous blooms amazing as cut flowers.
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