Amaryllis Flower: Meaning, Symbolism, Colors & Care

Have you ever stood in a flower shop in front of endless rows of flowers of all colors and shapes, wondering where to start and which flower to choose?

Every flower is beautiful in its own way, but not every flower is suitable for every occasion or every person.

In addition, each flower has its meaning and symbolism, which largely determine when and to whom to present it.

Knowing these facts will make it easier for you to choose the right flower for your significant other, friend, or someone you hold in high esteem.

In this text, get to know the amaryllis, a magnificent flower of extraordinary beauty:

  1. Find out how the amaryllis got its name, its connection with Greek mythology, and to whom it has been given as a gift throughout history.
  2. Learn how the different colors of amaryllis change its symbolism and the best occasions to give someone a bouquet of these flowers or a potted amaryllis plant.
  3. Learn how to care for amaryllis to enjoy its exotic and elegant beauty for as long as possible.

The Origin of Amaryllis 

It may sound confusing, but amaryllis does not always refer to the same flower.

Amaryllis is the common name for flowers in the Hippeastrum genus, but about two hundred years ago, it was separated into its own genus.

Even today, this name is sometimes used for both flowers, but there is a reliable way to tell them apart.

The stem of the Hippeastrum flower is much more hollow, although the flower shapes are very similar.

Both species come from warm regions. They are native to South America, some parts of Africa, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

People use other names for amaryllis in different parts of the world, such as naked lady, Easter lily, or March lily.

The term “naked lady” is associated with sprouting a “naked” long stem without leaves and with a large flower on top in autumn.

The names “Easter lily” and “March lily” come from the tendency of this flower to sometimes bloom in March or around Easter.

However, they should not be confused with true lilies, which are only distantly related.

Amaryllis Flower – Etymological Meaning 

The name of the flower amaryllis comes from the Greek word amarullis, which means “brightness” or “to sparkle”.

Amaryllis is also associated with a Greek legend about unrequited love.

According to this legend, the creation of beautiful amaryllis flowers is due to the endless love a young maiden named Amaryllis felt for the handsome and strong shepherd Alteo.

Legend has it that the beautiful Amaryllis fell in love with Alteo, who was adorned with the strength of Hercules and the beauty of Apollo.

However, Alteo’s heart was cold to everything but the beauty of flowers. He said he could only fall in love with a girl who would bring him a flower of unusual beauty he had never seen before.

Determined to win Alteo’s heart, Amaryllis went to the Oracle of Delphi for advice.

According to the advice she received, Amaryllis, dressed in white, came daily to the house of Alteo for thirty days and pierced her heart with a golden arrow.

As a result, beautiful crimson flowers sprouted on the thirtieth day from the blood that spilled from her heart on the path.

Alteo was fascinated by the beauty of the flowers and named them after the girl who sacrificed herself to win his love.

Since then, the amaryllis flower has been considered a symbol of love, but not just any love, but sublime and self-sacrificing love.

This flower has become a symbol of deep affection. When you give it to someone, especially if it is a red amaryllis, it expresses your willingness to fight for love.

However, there is another interpretation of this ancient legend. Because of Alteo’s pride, the amaryllis flower is often considered a symbol of unrequited love.

Therefore, sometimes this flower is given as a sign that you are aware that someone doesn’t feel the same way about you but that your love is still strong and sincere.

The Symbolism of the Amaryllis Flower 

Amaryllis is a flower with multiple meanings and symbolism. In different cultures, this flower is associated with various beliefs, and therefore it is given as a gift on numerous occasions.

For example, the Greeks mostly associate the amaryllis flower’s symbolism with the legend of Amaryllis and Alteo.

Therefore, for them, this flower is a symbol of intense love, courage, and beauty.

The fact that in Greece, the name Amaryllis is sometimes given to baby girls with the desire to stand out with their beauty and determination speaks of the meaning that the Greeks attach to this flower.

For the Greeks, the amaryllis flower also symbolizes success, pride, and victory, so they often give it to the winners of various competitions.

In most of Europe and the United States, amaryllis is one of the favorite Christmas flowers. It comes as a gift during the New Year and Christmas holidays.

It symbolizes the family atmosphere, holiday spirit, and the desire to enjoy well-being and spend time with loved ones. Amaryllis blooms most often from December to March.

However, blooms can also appear throughout the rest of the year. It’s one of the reasons why it is associated with the winter holidays.

For the Chinese, amaryllis means good luck and health, especially if it is red amaryllis. Red is traditionally considered the luckiest color in China, so red flowers are also given as gifts to wish someone luck.

In addition, the Chinese often give the amaryllis flower to family members, close friends, and other people who mean a lot to them.

So in China, when you give someone a bouquet of amaryllis or potted amaryllis as a gift, you wish them good health and luck.

In Japan and other countries of the Far East, amaryllis is a symbol of beauty, elegance, peace, affection, and love.

Therefore, it is suitable as a gift on different occasions. Easterners give it as a gift when they want to express their admiration, affection, and love.

The amaryllis flower had a special meaning in Victorian England.

In the Victorian era, flowers ceased to be just a gift to be admired for their beauty.

Instead, thanks to the strict social norms that prevailed at the time, flowers became a new channel of communication and a means of conveying different messages.

In this era, special dictionaries were printed that revealed the “language of flowers” and instructed people how to subtly tell personal messages by gifting flowers.

In Victorian times, the amaryllis flower symbolized strong character and self-confidence. Men gave it to self-conscious and impressive women as an expression of deep admiration.

Also, when women or men wanted to make an impression on someone respected and powerful, they gave him amaryllis.

It was an expression of appreciation and affection at the same time.

Even today, it is considered a great compliment to receive an amaryllis flower as a gift in England.

It’s a gift for women with attitudes who stand out from the crowd thanks to their femininity and strong personality.

Amaryllis has also been a symbol of hope for centuries.

Today, the Huntington’s Disease Society of America uses it as its trademark and a symbol of hope, strength, and determination.

The symbolism of amaryllis is complex and depends on many different influences, such as cultural differences, occasions in which it is given, and the color of the flower.

Meaning of the Amaryllis Flower 

The meanings attached to the amaryllis flower mostly derive from its physical characteristics or the Greek legend of a maiden named Amaryllis and the shepherd Alteo.

Based on the appearance of the flower, amaryllis can denote extraordinary beauty and an appearance that stands out.

But on the other hand, being associated with the qualities of a girl who sacrificed herself to win the heart of a beloved young man, amaryllis can signify love, pride, and determination.

Also, there is a custom to give artists a bouquet of amaryllis or a potted plant.

Again, it symbolizes excellent success in which they invested much effort.

If you give someone an amaryllis bulb as a gift, it will be a message that you have strong feelings for them and that your love will continue to grow, just as this beautiful flower develops and blooms.

Amaryllis Flower Colors Meaning 

In addition to each flower’s symbolism, additional meanings also depend on the colors.

Colors have been given great importance in everyday life since ancient times.

In many cultures, colors are essential when choosing clothes or decorations for different occasions because they are considered to reflect feelings and somehow “call up” specific energy.

It’s the same with flowers. Not all colors of flowers are considered suitable for different occasions and people.

However, each color is believed to have a meaning that helps you express respect, love, admiration, or other emotion when giving flowers.

You can find amaryllis in white, yellow, orange, red, pink, or purple, and each of these colors carry a specific message and meaning.

Meaning of Red Amaryllis 

Red is the color of love and passion, so red flowers are best for lovers. Remember that the flowers that sprung from Amaryllis blood were also red.

Give someone a bouquet of red amaryllis if you want to show them that your love is deep and strong.

Suppose you want to send the message that your love will grow stronger daily, so choose amaryllis in a pot.

That way, the person you care about will be able to watch the flower grow and develop, just like your feelings.

The Chinese believe that the color red brings good luck, so in their culture, red amaryllis is given as a gift with the wish that whoever receives it will be accompanied by good luck.

In this country, the red amaryllis symbolizes the hope that you will achieve your goals and success.

Meaning of White Amaryllis 

The color white has several different meanings. On the one hand, it symbolizes purity and innocence, while on the other hand, it is associated with spirituality and dignity.

Therefore, according to different symbolism, white amaryllis can be appropriate in different situations.

You can give someone white amaryllis if you want to express respect and affection but not passion. It is a suitable gift for a young girl or a new mother.

Also, white amaryllis can be a symbol of platonic love. You can give it as a gift to someone you want to convey that you have deep feelings for them but are aware that your love will not become physical.

On the other hand, given the extraordinary spirituality of this color, white amaryllis is also a flower often used at funerals and left on the graves of loved ones.

Meaning of Yellow Amaryllis 

Yellow color brings cheerfulness and happiness. It is a symbol of joy and positive energy.

Give a yellow amaryllis to someone you want to brighten their day or tell them that they are the one who brings joy to your life.

Yellow amaryllis is a good gift for a friend, family member, or someone you want to thank for something.

You can also make yourself happy with yellow amaryllis! Plant it in the garden or the center of your living room and watch the atmosphere in your home change and positive energy overwhelm you. Anyone who enters your home will notice this beautiful flower.

Meaning of Orange Amaryllis 

The color orange refers to optimism, happiness, and good health. So if you want to make someone’s day better or tell them that everything will be fine, give them an orange amaryllis.

This is also a good gift for a happy event, such as a birth or graduation.

Give potted orange amaryllis to friends who have just moved into a new house to wish them a happy start to a new chapter in life.

If your friend just got a new job, a bouquet of orange amaryllis is the perfect gift for the occasion.

Suppose you have a yard or garden, plant orange amaryllis in a corner where you usually relax with a book or coffee.

You will see that seeing these beautiful flowers will bring you joy and cheerfulness every time.

Meaning of Pink Amaryllis 

The color pink is a symbol of tenderness and friendship.

Amaryllis roses are not given to someone you are in love with but to a person you value as a friend, regardless of gender and age.

Pink amaryllis is also a suitable gift for a young girl, as it symbolizes tenderness and youth.

For example, if you want to make your little niece or friend’s daughter happy with a flower for her birthday, choose pink amaryllis.

Meaning of Purple Amaryllis 

Purple symbolizes elegance and nobility and is often associated with royal families. You can give purple amaryllis to anyone whose personality you admire and who you believe is unique in some way.

You can also give purple amaryllis to a loved one, but it will not be an expression of love but admiration and respect.

If you want to tell someone they are unique and admire their features, the purple amaryllis is the right flower to say it on your behalf.

On What Occasions to Give Amaryllis Flower? 

Amaryllis can be an excellent gift for many occasions.

Considering the beauty and elegance of this flower, as well as the various symbolism it carries with it, there are many situations in which you can make someone happy with amaryllis.

Amaryllis Flower as a Christmas Gift 

The amaryllis flower is often associated with Christmas and is the most popular flower during the winter holidays, besides poinsettias.

There are two reasons why amaryllis is so commonly seen at Christmas.

First of all, red amaryllis fits perfectly with Christmas decorations.

Its crimson hue is associated with joy and well-being and blends beautifully with the Christmas tree and holiday decorations.

Another reason is that amaryllis is widely available during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Amaryllis is often considered a “winter flower”, however, this flower originates from the southern hemisphere, and its usual flowering period is from December to March.

All things considered, amaryllis makes a great Christmas or New Year gift for family members, friends, or someone you care about.

This is because the amaryllis flower symbolizes a warm family atmosphere, good energy, and a good mood.

Give someone a bouquet of amaryllis for Christmas as a wish for good health and happiness.

You can also give a planted amaryllis as a gift, which, if properly cared for, will continue to bloom for a long time.

If you give an amaryllis flower as a gift for the Christmas and New Year holidays, take care of the colors because they carry additional symbolism.

Amaryllis Flower as a Gift for Valentine’s Day 

Roses are the first thing that comes to mind when choosing a gift for Valentine’s Day.

However, if you want an alternative, the possibilities are endless, and one of the perfect choices is the amaryllis flower.

Some basic symbols of amaryllis are love, infatuation, and passion, making this flower a perfect gift for Valentine’s Day.

Red amaryllis is the best choice if you want to tell someone special that your feelings are strong.

Although most people usually opt for a bouquet or a single flower on such occasions, the planted amaryllis also carries a strong message.

Since this flower can bloom for years if properly cared for, this gift says that your love will last and grow.

For Valentine’s Day, you can also give purple amaryllis. It is a good gift for an elegant and refined person with a strong character.

With purple amaryllis, you will express not only love, but also admiration.

Amaryllis Flower as a Wedding Gift 

If you are giving amaryllis for someone’s wedding, it is best to choose yellow or orange. A bouquet of yellow or orange amaryllis signifies joy, hope, and optimism.

With this gift, you are saying that you wish the young couple a long and happy life together.

You can also choose amaryllis as decoration for your wedding, especially if you are getting married during the winter months.

Amaryllis will surely make your wedding look classy and elegant. In addition, as a symbol of deep and courageous love, this flower carries messages that everyone would like in their married life.

Amaryllis Flower as a Housewarming Gift 

When your friends start their new home, a bouquet of amaryllis or potted amaryllis is a great way to wish them a happy move.

This flower will wish them all the best in their new home on your behalf, and at the same time, it will beautify their interior.

If you’re giving someone a housewarming amaryllis, choose yellow or orange.

Both yellow and orange amaryllis symbolize cheerfulness and positive energy, making them perfect gifts for new beginnings.

But, of course, you won’t go wrong with the pink amaryllis either because it is a symbol of friendship.

Choose a bouquet in this color if your friends like soft shades and if this color fits well with their new home.

How to Care for Amaryllis Flower?

The amaryllis flower is not only beautiful but also durable.

You don’t need to do much with your amaryllis to make it last a long time, making it the perfect gift for those without much talent or time to care for plants.

Amaryllis flowers in a vase can last up to three weeks. The flowers should be cut from the bulb with a sharp knife just before they bloom.

They need lukewarm water that needs to be changed daily, plenty of sunlight, and additional nutrients.

A planted amaryllis can last long if you take good care of it.

Amaryllis usually blooms once a year (December to March), but with a little effort, it can bloom again in the summer.

After they bloom, you should let the bulbs rest and store them for ten weeks in a cool, dark room.

Ideally, this room should be between 4°C and 7°C (40°F to 45°F), but the plant should still have plenty of sunlight.

After this, it will be ready to bloom again.

Amaryllis bulbs can last for decades and delight you with beautiful new flowers every year.

In warm climates, amaryllis can also be grown in the garden.

You May Be Also Interested in These Flowers: Anemone | Begonia

Some Fun Facts About Amaryllis Flower 

The Netherlands is the center of world amaryllis production.

In this country, about 15 million bulbs are produced annually in greenhouses.

People would say that most of those bulbs are imported by the USA because this country imports about 10 million amaryllis bulbs annually!

However, not all imports to the US come from the Netherlands, but also South Africa and other countries.

Amaryllis is poisonous if eaten in large quantities.

However, this plant also has medicinal uses, and scientists are exploring its potential for treating Alzheimer’s disease.

Amaryllis can also be grown from seed, but it takes a long time, sometimes up to six years, to bloom.

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