Floral Magazine 2: t. 97 (1862)
Amaryllis hybrida, var*
The whole tribe of Amaryllids, including Hippeastrum, Nerine, Vallotta, Brunsvigia, etc., contains flowering bulbs of great beauty: some of them, as A. Belladonna, being perfectly hardy; others, as Vallotta purpurea (a charming and most easily-grown species), belonging to the greenhouse; while others, as the one now figured, although sometimes called Stove Amaryllids, succeed best, as we were informed by Mr. B. S. Williams, the raiser of Amaryllis Unique, in an intermediate house. They are very largely used in Paris for the decoration of houses in spring; when at Messrs. Truffauts', of Versailles, in October last, we saw large pits, containing several thousand bulbs, in as many as three hundred varieties.
No one has, perhaps, been more successful in the treatment of Cape bulbs than Mr. Charles Leach, King's Road, Clapham; when visiting him during the present month, we saw some magnificent specimens of this tribe in the height of vigour. Brunsvigia Josephinae, which used to be considered an impossible plant, had immense leaves upon it, and promised well for bloom. This splendid species he flowers in the open air in summer, where it makes a most magnificent appearance; and he informed us that he had not given to any of this tribe so much heat as has been ordinarily adopted, only giving them a little when first showing flower, or leaf, and soon afterwards removing them to the greenhouse. The soil in which they best succeed is one composed of light sandy loam, leaf-mould, and rotted manure, in nearly equal quantities.
Amaryllis Unique was exhibited by Mr. B. S. Williams, of Paradise Nursery, Seven Sisters Road, Holloway, at the Hyacinth and Camellia Show of the Royal Horticultural Society, on the 19th March, when it was awarded a first-class certificate by the Floral Sub-Committee, for its general merits. It will be seen at once to be a very handsome variety of extra fine form, the petals being very broad, and preventing it from having that ragged and open appearance that those exhibited generally have. The colour is a deep, brilliant scarlet, the centre of the petals being shaded with black, and the throat having white markings. Altogether it is a very lovely variety, and well deserving the award which it received.
We have been favoured by Mr. Williams with the following notes:—"The evergreen sections require to be kept continually growing, and regularly watering throughout the season, namely, Amaryllis aulica, Amaryllis superba, longifolia, and reticulata; the rest, I believe, are better for a season of rest. First, I suppose to start by having good dry bulbs fit for flowering: they should be placed in a nice light part of the house, and gradually begin with water, say, a little every two or three days, until the leaf and flower begin to appear; after that the water should increase with the growth of the plant; but as soon as the spike is about six inches long water should be given very liberally, as the perfection of the flower entirely depends upon that. After the plants have done flowering they should be re-potted (if required) and have a more moist heat, to mature the bulbs for another season. After that, allow them to gradually go off to rest by withholding water from them. I had almost forgotten to mention that after the bulbs are dried off they should be placed in some dry back part of a cool house— under the stage, or any similar place will do—until required for starting again. The soil I use for growing them is two parts of Epping loam, one ditto leaf-mould, one ditto rotten manure, with a good sprinkling of sand. In potting, the soil should be pressed firmly in the pots, leaving the bulb about half covered."
* Described by the raiser as a seedling of A. Akermanni pulcherrima.