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Hippeastrum 'Red Lion'. With its extremely large, ridh-red flowers, this hippeastrum from the Galaxy Group is a real show stopper. The largest bulbs can produce three or sometimes four stems, each with four or five blooms. 60cm. AGM.

Amaryllis: how to care for them, and keep them flowering year after year

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bulbs bring a welcome burst of bold colour to our homes in winter and early spring. Here's how to care for them – and encourage them to reflower. Words Richard Wilford, bulb expert. Photographs Jason Ingram.

What Large-flowered bulbs, commonly grown indoors in the UK and often known as amaryllis. Origins Tropical and subtropical regions of South America. Season Flowering in winter and spring. Size 40-60cm tall but can be taller in poor light. Conditions Frost free but good light, ideally 15-21oC. Hardiness RHS H2, USDA 8a-10b.

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Hippeastrums are giants among indoor bulbs. Their sturdy, leafless stems, more than half a metre in height, are topped with blaring trumpets of rich colour or cooler hues.

Easy to package and simple to coax into flower, amaryllis bulbs make popular gifts. Many of us will have received one, maybe for Christmas, because they can be forced to bloom early. They can be ordered from summer onwards for planting any time from October to January. They take around six to eight weeks to flower indoors.
Read more about planting amaryllis bulbs.

After flowering, we usually consign our amaryllis bulb to the compost bin. However, if it is kept somewhere frost-free, it may flower again, this time in spring or early summer. This is the plant reverting to its normal behaviour, showing signs of its origins. These showy plants have come from species that grow wild in the tropics and subtropics of South America. There are about 100 species of these mostly tender or half-hardy plants but the large, extravagant bulbs you can buy now are the result of over 220 years of breeding.