Plant of the month October

by Jove, a bi-generic hybrid…

It isn’t something you’d expect in October – a swathe of upstanding, pink flowers growing brilliantly well outdoors in England – but that’s what we have. A newcomer to the horticultural world, × Amarine ‘Belladiva’ is a recent bigeneric hybrid between Amaryllis and Nerine.

A single Amarine flowerIt’s a what…?

….A bi-generic hybrid, which means a cross between two different genera (the plural of genus). Most hybrids or cultivars are crosses between two species, but this is between two genera, and so we put a × (multiplication) symbol in front of the combined name of Amarine – part Amaryllis, part Nerine.
Anyway, it was originally bred for the cut flower trade, which is why the stalks are tall and straight, but it has since proved to be a useful outdoor plant. It’s apt for Halloween too, because the flower shape is reminiscent of a spider.
We planted more than 2,000 bulbs in spring this year, and are overwhelmed at their success. You can find swathes of them at the top of Battleston Hill as you walk over the crest of the hill towards the Mediterranean Walk overlooking the Trials Field.  Trust me, you won’t miss them! We’re yet to see how they cope over winter but trust the conditions will suit them here and expect them to bulk up for 2016. The parents of this new hybrid are South African, so they cope well in a hot, dry, bright spot.
A group of amerine flowersAs you look across them, you can see variations in colour. They’re all pink, but some are paler, some darker, with fresh new buds coming as some of the older flowers fade. This show should go on for weeks. What a fabulous addition to the autumn garden, and best of all, Wisley Plant Centre has a few plants in stock… It’s got to be a good buy.

More information

Bulb planting

RHS Garden Wisley

What's on at RHS Garden Wisley

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.