Hemanthus (Haemanthus) is a genus of bulbous plants of the Amaryllidaceae family (Amaryllidaceae), there are about 50 species.
- Family: Amaryllis (Amaryllidaceae).
- Genus: bulbous .
- Homeland: tropical Africa
- Rootstock: bulb.
- Stem: strong peduncle, sometimes false stem.
- Leaves: large, fleshy or membranous-leathery.
- Fruit: single-seeded berry.
- Reproductive ability: propagated by seeds, bulbous babies, sometimes leaf cuttings.
- Illumination: photophilous.
- Watering: moderate, limited in winter.
- Content temperature: in summer 20-23 °С, in winter 15-18 °С.
- Flowering time: Annually in spring or summer.
Bulbous plant with thick leathery leaves, oblong or elongated, sessile or on short petioles, opposite, with pubescent or smooth, sometimes sticky surface. During flowering, it produces a strong peduncle, on which unusual flowers bloom. The hemanthus flower is an umbrella-shaped inflorescence of spherical shape, consisting of many small red, white or orange flowers with long stamens. Often the inflorescence is surrounded by several leathery fleshy bracts of the same shade. Ripening flowers produce nectar with a peculiar smell, and a lot of pollen, the plant is able to self-pollinate. A round berry 1-2 cm in size, red, orange or white, is formed on the arrow.
The name “gemanthus” in Greek means “bloody flower” (haemo – blood, anthos – flower), because of the flowers, which are red in most species.
In nature, they grow on the slopes of the mountains and in the tropical forests of South Africa, cultivated in botanical gardens, greenhouses and as houseplants.
Types of hemanthus for indoor floriculture in the photo
Most gemanthus are very decorative. There are species with red and white flowers, with membranous-leather and fleshy thick leaves. Two species are grown as houseplants: Katherine’s gemanthus and white-flowered gemanthus.
Hemanthus Katherina (Haemanthus katherinae) – a plant with a bulb 6-8 cm in size, a strong false stem about 15 cm high, in the upper part of which there are 4-5 leathery long, up to 30 cm, leaves. Annually in July-August, an umbrella inflorescence appears on a peduncle spotted at the base with numerous red flowers on pedicels 3-5 cm long.
Another indoor flower, the white-flowered gemanthus, or white (Haemanthus albiflos) received the popular name “deer tongue” for the special shape of the leaves, thick, oval-oblong, ciliated at the edges. It has a bulb of thick scales, 2-4-6 fleshy leaves appear simultaneously with the peduncle, arranged oppositely. In August, on a short, 15-20 cm, peduncle, a dense round inflorescence appears, the flowers are white, small, with white stamens and yellow anthers, partially surrounded by 5 greenish-white bracts.
Care and reproduction
Indoor hemanthus is unpretentious, but in order for the plant to develop well and bloom regularly, you need to know how to properly transplant the hemanthus, how to care for it.
In rooms, most often they grow Katherine’s hemanthus and white-flowered hemanthus. Caring for them is easy. Plants prefer bright, diffused light, east and west windows are suitable for them, on the south – shading is required at noon. The soil is light, nutritious, from equal parts of leafy, soddy, and greenhouse lands with the addition of peat. Watering is moderate, rare during the dormant period. Hemanthuses easily tolerate dry air, you just need to regularly wipe the leaves with warm water. They are fed only during the period of growth and flowering, once every 2 weeks, with organic or liquid mineral fertilizer. The optimum temperature is 20-23 °C in summer, 15-18 °C in winter. After flowering, flower stalks are removed.
Sometimes flower growers are interested in why the hemanthus does not bloom. There may be several reasons: overdrying of the soil, warm wintering, or lack of a dormant period.
Plants are transplanted every 3-4 years in the spring during the dormant period, leaving the upper part of the bulb above the soil surface and trying not to damage the roots. Propagated by children, formed next to the mother’s bulb.
Seeds ripening on a hemanthus flower can also be used for propagation, but freshly harvested, as they quickly lose their germination capacity.
Species with fleshy leaves are propagated by leafy cuttings. Cut sheets are treated with crushed coal, dried for a day and planted directly into the ground. The sprouts appearing at the cut points are planted.
Plants grown from baby bulbs and leaf cuttings will bloom in 3-4 years, and from seeds – in 5-6 years.