A journey to exotic Thai Thai-land


‘Thai Thai’ bears narrow foliage alongside its intiguing blooms. Genetically it seems closest to ‘Trentino’ among the other Hadeco selections.

There are always photos of amaryllis cultivars floating around that stir desire among collectors, if for no other reason their lack of easy commercial availability. I’m not only talking about the countless images of cut flower varieties that are perennially pined for with little hope of aquisition (I’m looking at you ‘Hawaii’, ‘Severina’, ‘Nairobi’, ‘Passion’, ‘Pirouette’ etc., etc., etc.) save for the sporadic and limited surprises afforded us by Royal Colors the past few years.

The Hadeco varieties from South Africa are actually grown and processed by the breeding house itself rather than various licensees. Whether routed through the Netherlands, or direct shipped here, there are limited outlets via which the company’s stock can be obtained, with the exception of a few older clones like ‘Intokazi’ which probably have long expired trademarks. Read more ›

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The Postman Sometimes Rings Thrice

VKC stock images of (from top left, clockwise) Chipolata, Fledermaus, Mozaique, and Golden Daylight

Getting amaryllis bulbs through the harvesting, curing and bloom programming (cooling) stages takes time, and timing. Wholesalers now face receiving bulbs from multiple countries, and from both hemispheres. Sometimes suppliers know what they will be selling to retailers well in advance, but not always. In the hopes of securing orders (money!) as early in the season as possible, printed catalogs start going out as early as July and August here in the U.S. Those varieties appearing in catalog photos have to be pretty well set in stone for availability or sour customers begging for refunds will be the result at shipment time. Online companies that aren’t tethered to the confines of publishing those colorful paper catalogs have more flexibility. This autumn sees two companies in particular making some irresistable late additions that will have many of us ordering from them (and paying shipping again…grrrr) a second, or even third time this season.  Read more ›

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Thai Thai! C’mon C’mon!


Some eight years in the making, Hadeco’s twisty tepaled ‘Thai Thai’ finally seems on the verge of full production and availability this season. By verge, I mean not quite. Though there were rumblings of small numbers of these bulbs making their way into the U.S. last season, no photographic evidence has shown that to have been the case. Hadeco’s amaryllis website began posting promo photos around 2008, but currently shows 2017 as the first official date of availability. Certainly this means the 2017/2018 season here in Emaryllisland. Usually, as production is ramping up for major release, Read more ›

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Amadeus, Amadeus!


KAVBamadeus (1)Many months after White Flower Farm offered some new and unknown cultivars in their 2015 catalog, at least one pair of these can be properly entered into our Double Flowered photo library. Checking the KAVB registry earlier this year revealed the entry of ‘Striped Amadeus’ in April, but it wasn’t until June that its two brethren showed up. Now, N.L. van Geest has made the Amadeus trio official. ‘Amadeus Candy’ was offered as ‘Candy Amadeus’, and ‘Giant Amadeus’ got an apparent upgrade after being sold merely as ‘Big Amadeus’. Somewhat confusingly, the van Geest website lists ‘Amadeus Candy’ simply as ‘Amadeus’. If that variety becomes commercially marketed by that name next year, we may drop Read more ›

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Dark and Mysterious


Another season, and another curious “ultra” dark red cultivar offered by Royal Colors. This time it is ‘Mandela’ that makes waves here with Emaryllis by not having a KAVB registry as yet. So, this may be just a provisional name as we see from time to time (e.g. White Flower Farm’s offering of ‘Peach Parfait’ which would go on to be registered as ‘Apricot Parfait’ the following season). It seems similar to ‘Jewel of the Night’ which RC offered last season. In light of Penning’s ramping up of very dark ‘Night Fever’ for the cut flower world, alongside another unnamed “01020-D” it seems that there is a connection. While it is exciting to see a number of these new, nearly black-red forms enter the marketplace, one has to consider that they are challenging to display well in darker home environments. Add that the yellow pollen can readily stain the flowers, detracting from their overall beauty, and that this happens especially readily on first season roots (which is to say few if any) and they become more novel than anything. Still, who can resist their dark allure? Until registry is confimed, ‘Mandela’ can be found in the Lobby gallery.

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Right out of the box, not so good


Well, this was never meant to be a full-on box kit kind of season. Good thing, too. The results are in, and they do not speak well at all of the low end of the amaryllis market. So, here we go with the skinny on the results, plus just one reminder regarding the possible rewards of growing on. First up is a kit purchased at a Safeway grocery store, featuring a repackaged take on the brand of kits they have sold for several years.


No variety name, but this kit features a photo that is clearly that of old favorite ‘Minerva’, once the most overwhelmingly popular of all red-white bicolors. So, what we got was…


…’Minerva’! How ’bout that. Not a stellar performance, but clearly ‘Minerva’ lives on in the production ranges. A cheerful sight indeed!


Next up, we have the kit that dared to name names. In this case we are promised ‘Minerva’ in the shapely and stylish kit picked up at the local chain drugstore. The results, please…


Not only is ‘Minerva’ called by name, but Jumbo flowers are on tap!



Not even close! Not ‘Minerva’. Not jumbo. This is likely the Brazilian grown ‘Red Knight’ which often doesn’t make a great show on poorly rooted bulbs. Bummer!

And finally, from another grocer we have a kit featuring an older cultivar that is no longer in production yet is still to be found in name only, mostly in these lower end box kits: Read more ›

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The Thin Line


A current (and excellent) example of the ‘Picotee’ clan. It can sport narrower tepals at times and a variable red center eye. All tepals have at least some red edge; minimal spotting keeps it quite pristine and impressive.

One of the most perplexing cultivar groups in all Hippeastum-dom belong to the several selections flying under the name ‘Picotee’. Throw in a couple of other offerings  that work on similar ground (white with thin red piping) such as ‘President Johnson’ and you have confusion that borders on batty. While others were apparently breeding such types prior to the 1950’s, it was the Ludwig company that officially registered the name ‘Picotee’ in 1958. Shortly thereafter, the company released different variants as ‘Red Lining’ and ‘Picotee Petticoat’, perhaps realizing the original had some shortcomings.


This type may represent clones such as ‘Bob Ross’ or ‘Red Lining’ or even ‘Picotee Petticoat’, but it is still sold as “plain” ‘Picotee’ in the marketplace. Full and fairly large, with extra blushing of red on the flower face and backside. The lime heart is diffuse, and no red eye is present.

Currently there are probably about five amaryllis clones sporting pure white flowers edged to some extent in red, sometimes with a bit of extra red flushing, spotting or flecking. All are sold interchangeably. Read more ›

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Let there be Kit



Once again, despite being well versed in the (sometimes) wicked ways of the box kit world, Emaryllis has been weak in the face of glossy images lavished upon thin cardboard cartons. What can I say, marketing works. Ah, but this year there must be some restraint, lest Emaryllis breaks the bank; there are pricey new bulbs with expensive shipping costs to acquire for the galleries! We are testing out three kits this season, and not in the usual way; this is a check-in for the red and white bicolors only. And no, we won’t be potting them in the provided pots or media this time, as we want them to perform at their very best. True, we have coaxed some pretty nice results from some of these kits in the past, but those lightweight plastic pots often needed drain holes carefully cut or punched in. When they have prospered, they have sometimes toppled over, as the weighty flower scapes and leaves tip the balance upward and outward, leaving a mess to clean up and broken blooms. Into clay pots they go this time out!


The photo says one thing, the name another. Let’s see what really blooms from this grocery store sourced box kit.

As usual, the kits are all provided discs of compressed coconut coir, which is to be expanded in warm water. It offers a less acidic pH than sphagnum peat, which makes nutrients readily available, but also offers a more hospitable environment for harmless saprophytic fungi. Unfortunately for us, their not so lovely diners, the fungus gnats, come in the bargain-often in droves. Two of three kits are emblazoned with the (supposed) cultivar names of the respective bulbs supplied, and one is not. The ‘Star of Holland’ kit will be of interest for the absolute likelihood that it will not be the 1984 registered (as ‘Ster van Holland’) variety, as that one has not been seen by Emaryllis, ever. The photo looks much like the excellent ‘Stargazer.’ Before long, we will know just what variety was dropped into the box.


This curvaceous kit begged to be included in our evaluations!

An eye-catching kit appeared at a local drugstore chain this year, and the shape and style of it insisted that it be purchased, with or without a Box Kit Bonanza on the horizon. Its swoopy shape, vibrant colors, and labeling as old school fave ‘Minerva’ simply insisted that this kit must be put through the paces.


The “debi lilly” moniker on the kit confuses, but the bulb looks sound. Will the photo of ‘Minerva’ prove prescient?

The only kit with no cultivar label may not call out ‘Minerva’ by name, but  it certainly features a clear image of her. The thin, but somewhat stylish beaded pot included is familiar, but the packaging from this supplier has changed of late…so it seems a good time to check up on the company’s offering this season. So, get ready all ye box kit faithful, there will be some revelations early in 2016!

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More please!


Here we are in September, the month during which amaryllis fans in the Northern Hemisphere begin salivating over (and ordering in earnest!) those new varieties that companies are lining up for autumn shipment. As usual, Royal Colors of the Netherlands has some offerings that just can’t be purchased from domestic U.S. suppliers. One such cultivar that popped up quite recently is the comely double, ‘Pink Glory.’ One of the first things I do upon seeing a new variety is to check for name registry, and in this case it did bear fruit. This one is newly registered to Fa. Kwekerij Van der Ende Flowers, a company whose web presence was useful in researching the ‘LaPango’ situation. They are a prominent cut-flower producer of Hippeastrum. So, Emaryllis is thinking that maybe, just maybe Royal Colors could use their in-country connectedness to persuade the grower to spare some bulbs of their other fine new varieties this season. Last season’s limited offerings from the Berbee program were astonishing (OK, so we documented some issues, but hey). Consider this an open letter of request. Read more ›

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The internet giveth, and it taketh away

Once in a while it pays to double check the site for broken links and such; just due diligence at my own slow and steady interval. It would seem that perhaps a few questions put to Andre Barnhoorn last April about future availability of some of the varieties noted on his non-Sonatini site, Hippeastrum Breeding B.V. led to some due diligence in the land of windmills. That site hadn’t been updated in ages, but it still led to the occasional check in…just in case. So, did that little “poke” yield a newly updated site full of insights into the wondrous world of the latest in amaryllis breeding? Nope. It has been unceremoniously taken down 🙁


Found and Lost: Formerly posted to the old Hippeastrum Breeding B.V. site, Andre Barnhoorn’s ‘Night Rider.’

So, while we all know that many of the hybrids posted there (Helios, Balentino, Swan Lake and the like) did indeed make a splash in the Read more ›

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