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.