Generally recognized as “amaryllis” these Hippeastrum are very popular spring blooming bulbs. Hippeastrum amaryllis are native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas from Argentina north to Mexico and the Caribbean.
According to Wikipedia “the first commercial breeders of Hippeastrum were Dutch growers who imported several species (see list at right) from Mexico and South America and began developing cultivars and hybrids from them in the 18th century; the first of these reached North America early in the 19th century. In 1946 two Dutch growers moved to the Union of South Africa and began cultivation there. Although most Hippeastrums come from the Dutch and South African sources, bulbs are now being developed in the United States, Japan, Israel, India, Brazil and Australia. The double flowers from Japan are particularly beautiful.”
Hippeastrum amaryllis are fairly easy to grow. They do best in Filtered sunlight; shade is not necessary, but they do better outside of direct, harsh sunlight. When grown indoors, give Hippeastrum amaryllis bright indirect light. Hippeastrum amaryllis bulbs require well drained soil and need to be watered well during the growing season. On the other hand, Hippeastrum amaryllis needs little water in winter when bulbs are dormant. Winter temperatures -- USDA Zones 9-11. In Zone 8 mulch well to protect bulbs from freezing. Outside of Zones 8-11, dig bulbs in fall, store in dry cool place, and replant in spring. To Propagate – plant seeds or separate and plant bulb offsets. Plant one offset in a 6 in (15 cm); pot of peat or compost with half the bulb exposed. Water sparsely until growth begins. New bulbs do not have roots, so special care is needed to develop a good root system. To encourage rooting, be certain the soil is kept damp - not wet - until roots fill the container. Avoid fertilizing. As soon as a few buds appear, water freely and feed weekly with liquid fertilizer. Plant outdoors in the garden once danger of frost has passed. Water regularly through mid-summer to nourish the bulb and then reduce watering in late summer so that foliage will die and the bulb go dormant. If you do not live in Zone 8-11 and want to force your amaryllis into bloom -- dig before frost, clean bulbs and store in a cool place until you're ready for more fabulous flowers. Interestingly, this year, my Hippeastrum amaryllis was delayed in blooming from the cold fronts we had move through South Florida. Usually they bloom mid- to late-march in the “Western Communities” of Palm Beach County.
Unfortunately Hippeastrum amaryllis are not scented. But that is fine, their beauty is incredible enough that a scent is not necessary (but it would be nice).
Below are pictures of my Hippeastrum amaryllis purchased in 2010 from Amaryllis Bulb Company, 1231 E. Magnolia St., Lakeland, FL: