One day while walking in my grandmother’s garden, I saw these beautiful pink flowers and asked “Grandma, what are those?” To which she replied, “Naked Ladies! Aren’t they pretty?” I must tell you, I was aghast. I think my mouth dropped open. Why would my grandma talk about naked people?? For some reason that moment lives in my memory as the day my grandmother shocked me (I think I was about 6 years old).
What are Naked Ladies?
Naked Ladies, or more officially named, Belladonna Amaryllis (Amaryllis belladonna) are a large bulb native to South Africa. The bulbs produce leaves in fall and winter, and then die back before summer. Two months later, fragrant pink flowers appear on 2-3 foot bare stalks, producing a “naked” lady.
Unlike most bulbs, amaryllis are not buried below the soil, but rather planted with the bulb necks sticking out of the ground. In my opinion, this is really nice, since I am not fond of digging deep holes for bulbs! Amaryllis bulbs multiply and create large clumps.
If you decide to divide your bulbs (in spring or fall), be forewarned that once replanted, they may not bloom for a few years afterwards. They may even look dead for a while, but don’t give up hope. Some gardeners have had them re-bloom the following year, but I have some that haven’t yet that are over a year old.
Where to Grow Naked Ladies
Grow naked ladies in zones 7a to 10b. These bulbs are not the same plants seen during the holidays that make great gifts. These plants have the common name Amaryllis, but their genus is Hippeastrum. All parts of both Hippeastrum and Amaryllis plants are toxic if ingested. Make sure children and pets are kept away from them.
July 31, 2011 at 11:22 pm
Hi Anne =) I was wondering as I was processing banana peppers yesterday if you would know how to tell when they are fully ripened? I was noticing that some of their seeds where totally white, and some had turned brown. Are there any exterior clues? Thanks! I’m a pepper growing novice as I don’t like bells and use so few jalapeno’s due to their heat that I never saw the point. I am excited to have pepperonchini’s on hand to use for sandwiches =)
August 3, 2011 at 7:54 pm
Hi Beth! Thanks for your question. Banana peppers are ripe when they reach about 4-8 inches long, depending on the variety. They should be a bright yellow color (unless you want them to turn red). I’ve heard that the flavor can be somewhat fruity if you harvest when they are orange. Also, the pepper should be somewhat firm, but not hard, and not mushy. (sounds like a Goldilocks thing!) I hope this helps! Come by and visit sometime so we can catch up and I can taste one. 😉
August 5, 2011 at 8:31 am
I think it took about 6-7 years before mine started blooming after planting. I had given up on them but two years ago I stated having blooms. ;0
August 5, 2011 at 7:18 pm
Really? That’s good to know!
September 12, 2011 at 7:16 pm
Hello Anne my name is alex and i have a question. I have some Naked ladies and after they stop blooming they produce some round ball were the petals use to be and i was wondering what those were for or what do i have to do with them. So if u have an idea please let me know thank you so much
September 20, 2011 at 9:23 pm
Hi Alex, thanks for the question. The flowers are producing seeds inside those round balls (seed pods). Once the pods are dry, the seeds are dry too. If you open up the pods, you will see the seeds. You can plant them 1/4″ deep in the ground. However, it takes several years before they get big enough to bloom. Once the stalk of the naked lady flower is dry, you can cut it off. Leave it while it is still green, because that energy will go back into the bulb to be used for next year.
March 30, 2012 at 10:34 am
How exciting for me to hear about the “Naked Ladies” Hippeastrum, About 45 years ago when my children were young we built a pool and a childhood friend’s father came over with some bulbs for me to plant, he said I must plant them around the pool, which I did. When they bloomed, he came over and started laughing and said to my husband “How do you like the naked ladies around your pool” Well, my husband and friend’s father have passed on and home was sold years ago Well, a few years ago I am visiting with my childhood friend and I see in her garden “Pink Ladies” that her father had given to her at the same time he gave me mine… I planted them about 2 years ago and nothing has happened except the leaves come out, die back and no flower! This morning I was ready to dig them out and decided to look up some info on them…Thank you so much for your info. I am going to wait a little longer…I loved those flowers and there are a lot of memories for me to enjoy… so I will wait. Is there something I can do to help them bloom?
March 31, 2012 at 10:52 pm
Thanks for your comment Kathleen! Don’t give up on them yet. Like Judy mentioned, it can take a while for them to bloom. So nice that you’ve gotten some of those original plants given to you so long ago. And what a funny story! Must have given that friend quite a kick to see them.
April 21, 2014 at 12:38 pm
Hi! I’d like to ask you a question:
My neighbor dug up a wheelbarrow full of naked ladies and handed them to me. I don’t know what to do with all of them right now… and he says he’ll dig up even more! Can I dry and save the bulbs? Or what should I do?
June 4, 2014 at 10:31 pm
Hi Nicole, sorry for the late reply. Yes, you can dry and save the bulbs and then plant in fall or spring. What did you end up doing?