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Haemanthus Hybrids


The only hybrid in the genus Haemanthus that I knew of for years was one sold (erroneously) as "King Alfred", a hybrid of [albiflos X coccineus]. It produces numerous offsets, hence it's occasional availablility commercially. It can also produce huge leaves, once measuring about 8 inches wide by about 16 inches long in my greenhouse. It has also bloomed for me once or twice. The umbel is smaller than those of either albiflos or coccineus, and is an off-color white, perhaps pale cream or pink. The inflorescence is not impressive.

Haemanthus [humilis hirsutus x coccineus]

In 2002, bulbs of both Haemanthus humilis hirsutus and H. coccineus bloomed for me at the same time, roughly late September or early October. I cross pollinated the two plants, and from the hirsutus I obtained 11 seeds in November. The seeds were cleaned and each was planted in a 5½ inches square by 5½ inches deep plastic pot in my Promix BX + sand (2 : 1) seed starting mix.

The seedlings that resulted have narrow, deep wine-red margins on their leaves. Some have smooth leaves, others have hairy leaves. Although not all my H. coccineus plants have leaves with red margins, the pollen-parent of these hybrids does have the red margin. None of the plants of H. h. hirsutus that I grow have any sort of colored margin on their leaves.

Haemanthus hybrid (c) copyright 2006 by Shields Gardens Ltd.  All rights reserved. Haemanthus hybrid (c) copyright 2006 by Shields Gardens Ltd.  All rights reserved.

Now one of the bulbs is about to bloom. At least, it is sending up a bud. The bracts enclosing the inflorescence have been a rich burgundy red so far, similar to the color of the narrow red line on the margins of the leaves.

Haemanthus hybrid (c) copyright 2006 by Shields Gardens Ltd.  All rights reserved.

These are all winter-growing plants, dormant and leafless all summer long. They survive the summer under a bench in the greenhouse, even though the temperatures can reach 120°F (ca. 49°C) at that time.

Haemanthus [barkerae x coccineus]

This cross and its reciprocal, [coccineus x barkerae], were made in November, 2005. The first of them started blooming in autumn, 2010, after only 5 years. The leaves are medium width, wider than those of barkerae but narrower than those of coccineus, and longer then the leaves of either. The flowers are orange to red orange and the bracts are pink-orange to red-orange. The form of the umbels is intermediate between barkerae and coccineus.

Haemanthus [coccineus x crispus]

This cross was made in October 2008. The plants are still to young to flower, but the leaves have now taken on some of the characteristic wavy form of crispus.

Jim Shields

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Last updated 16 November 2011
© Copyright 2011 by James E. Shields. All rights reserved.