The Hippeastrum Genus (Amaryllis)

Hippeastrum is often confused for amaryllis, as they are part of the same plant family, and the name amaryllis is usually used interchangeably.

Hippeastrum is the genus which has at least 90 different species, and more than 500 different hybrids.

In contrast, the amaryllis genus only has two species, Amaryllis belladonna, and Amaryllis paradisicola.  

At A Glance: What You Should Know About Hippeastrum

You can easily recognize a hippeastrum, as they bear huge, trumpet-shaped blooms, typically in shades of white, pink, red, orange, or a combination of these.

Before the 1800s, the plants belonging to the Hippeastrum genus were part of the Amaryllis genus.

While both look similar, you can tell them apart by the stem, as the plants belonging to the Hippeastrum genus have a hollow stem.

Hippeastrum plants can range from 1 foot to 3 feet high.


The bulb of the Hippeastrum plant is, unfortunately, toxic. It contains several dangerous alkaloids which are harmful to animals and humans, so keep these plants away from both.

However, these plants also have some uses, too.

Hippeastrum Uses

Often grown as a beautiful houseplant, these plants also have their uses in both traditional medicine and in pharmaceutical applications. 

Some of those toxic alkaloids have formed part of modern drugs, such as antiparasitic drugs, and antidepressants, too.

Hippeastrum Symbolism And Meaning

For an in-depth look at the meaning behind Amaryllis, head on over to our Amaryllis Flower Meaning And Symbolism Guide

Hippeastrum Growing Guide

These plants are very low maintenance, and are hardy in USDA zones 2 through to 10, making them a versatile plant.

Depending on the species and when they are planted, Hippeastrum may flower in winter, spring, or summer.

These plants aren’t fussy about the soil type, as long as it drains well, and gets enough water.

They will grow happily in full sunlight or dappled shade, whichever you happen to have.

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