Let there be light with the beauty of hippeastrums

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Hippeastrum or amaryllis? It doesn’t matter to most folk; they just like the look of the flowers. Which is why – at this time of year – they start to appear in the windows of homes throughout the country.

The secret to successfully growing amaryllis year on year is to keep the plants growing after they have finished blooming. After the flowers have faded, cut them off to stop them producing seed. And leave the flower stalk until it has turned yellow.

Hippeastrums are plants of the light, so after they have finished blooming, pop them in the brightest possible location indoors. Water the plant from the top of the container and continue to feed it to help it build up its strength for next year.

When all danger of frost is past, give the plant a taste of the outdoors by first placing it in shade or indirect light. Gradually move it to a bright garden or bed where it will receive full sun for at least six hours daily.

Sink the pot into the soil and fertilise with a balanced houseplant fertiliser monthly.

Propagation by offsets will produce a flowering bulb in three to four years, which will be identical to the parent plant.

Separate offsets from the main bulb when repotting (January to March). Look out for offsets with their own roots and pot them in individual containers in a free-draining compost. Keep at a temperature of 21C (70F).