Eucharis grandiflora: Amazon Lily

The cut flowers of the species are often displayed in the florist’s window. Unfortunately, few people know that this plant is very easy to grow in warm and semi-warm homes and that it produces its magnificent, snow-white, delicately scented blossoms sometimes even twice in one year.

It is often encountered in collections under the name E. amazonica, which is incorrect both botanically and geographically, for this species is native to the Colombian Andes, where it is said to grow at the edges of mountain peat moors. Recently this species has been assigned to the genus Urceolina.

Eucharis is lovely even when not in flower, for its large leaves are very decorative. The blades are deep green, broadly oval tapering to a point, and about 30 cm (1 ft) long, with a firm leaf stalk of the same length. The bulb is small, globular and covered with a brown skin.

The flowers, usually six to a stem, appear in succession at the top of the firm stem. They are slightly reminiscent of narcissus with their central cup surrounded by broad spreading lobes measuring up to 12 cm (4-3/4 in) in diameter. They remain on the plant for about a month and are very good for cutting.

Eucharis is definitely an undemanding plant. The ideal growing temperature is about 20°C (68°F), but it is very tolerant of temperature fluctuations and can be grown without difficulty in most homes. What is important is plenty of diffused light, and that is something that is generally readily available. The compost should be porous; best is a mixture of good loam, sand and peat, but eucharis will grow well in any potting compost, including pure peat. It generally flowers in spring and if provided with a rest period of about a month in summer (mainly by limiting the water supply) it may have a second flowering in the autumn.

15. November 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles, House Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Eucharis grandiflora: Amazon Lily

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