The amaryllis belongs to the amaryllidaceae family, which also includes other well-known bulbous plants such as daffodils and snowdrops. The official Latin name for the amaryllis as we know it is Hippeastrum. This name was given to this crop by the botanist Herbert in 1821 and means ‘knight star’.
The amaryllis has its origin in South America, and more than 80 different species have been described. In the nineteenth century the crop was brought to Europe and North America and the first breeding activities were also started in various places. In the second half of the last century, breeding continued in an increasingly professional manner, resulting in a large number of new varieties in different colors and shapes.
A lot of important cultivation research has also taken place since the 1970s, as a result of which the cultivation of amaryllis has been professionalized and expanded at a rapid pace.
In the past two decades, a large part of Dutch bulb cultivation has been moved abroad, especially Brazil and Peru.
The cut flower cultivation of amaryllis grew strongly in the 1990s and has now stabilized on an area of approximately 100 hectares. The majority of these are grown in trays with clay granules or perlite.