Amaryllis with no "flower flop"

master gardeners advice

By Carol Papas 2015
Penn State Master Gardener

If you are feeling adventurous or have a plant-obsessed friend who would love an unusual gift for the holidays, take a look at cybister amaryllis (Hippaestrum cybister). The bulbs are native to Bolivia and Argentina and have been hybridized into producing a wide array of graceful, spidery flowers.

Cybister amaryllis are smaller in all respects than their more common cousins, the large-flowered amaryllis from South Africa, which are often available potted and in bud around the holidays. The smaller, lighter flowers of cybister amaryllis will not need a fortress to protect them like the 6-inch-wide blooms of the traditional holiday amaryllis.

La Paz cybister amaryllis

The color range of cybisters includes lime greens, warm reds, soft pink and burgundy. They are often striped with a combination of colors and are reminiscent of orchids in their floral display.


Order cybister amaryllis from reputable online bulb vendors. Expect to pay $10-$15 per bulb, but the return is a good eight weeks of flowering. Bulbs typically ship through November and flower within 8-10 weeks of planting.

Care of cybister amaryllis is the same as any amaryllis. While the bulbs will be smaller, they should be firm and dry upon delivery.

evergreen cybister amaryllis

Three keys to growing amaryllis successfully:

Select a pot (with a drainage hole) no more than 1 or 2 inches wider than the maximum diameter of the bulb, yet deep enough to accommodate the roots at the base of the bulb

Keep one-third of the bulb above the level of the potting soil when planting.

Water upon planting without allowing the water to flow into the center of the bulb. Then water only when the soil is nearly dry

If you order multiple bulbs for continual floral display, be sure to keep the bulbs in their original mesh or paper packaging or in a paper bag. Store in a cool, dry place.

A small investment in cybister amaryllis will provide months of exotic, beautiful flowers to enjoy at close range in our otherwise dreary winter months.


Amaryllis Bulbs

Amaryllis Care

Starting Amaryllis from seed


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