Bring the unexpected to your flower arrangements with amaryllis. With several blossoms per stem, 'Desire' is lavish and elegant.
As a wedding bloom, amaryllis is a novelty among better-known flowers like roses and peonies. But there is no end to the romance of this blossom's tale. According to Greek myth, a maiden named Amaryllis created a red bloom for her true love from her own heart's blood. In Victorian times, the flower was given as a sign of the recipient's "splendid beauty." Though the red-hued variety is a favorite during the holidays, amaryllis come in whisper-white, creamy orange, pink, or even yellow.
There are dozens of hybrids -- miniature, voluptuous, ruffly, spiky -- and since the blooms are sold from October to April, they're a lovely choice for a winter wedding. As demonstrated by New York City florist Oscar Mora, amaryllis is versatile: tied with ribbon, it makes a stunning bouquet. Displayed in a tall vase, amaryllis sings out boldly across a room. With the stem cut short, the soft petals take center stage. Since the flowers have multiple buds, just a few will go far. This is the nature of amaryllis: generosity, the perfect spirit for a day on which you give your heart.
Below, one of the most common -- and dramatic -- presentations of amaryllis is a blooming bulb in a clear glass cylinder. Placed near the entrance to a ceremony or reception, this 'Minerva,' with some blossoms unopened, celebrates its life's journey from bulb to bloom.
Sweet and Surprising
The crowning amaryllis "bows" on this trio of cakes, decorated like gifts, were actually made from sugar paste by New York City baker Ron Ben-Israel. Rolled fondant covers the cakes in coordinating pastel wrapping, which is trimmed with icing pearls; ribbons of white sugar paste complete the theme.
Often seen in tall arrangements that show off their stems, amaryllis are just as striking in flowers only displays. Here, white "Mont Blanc" join yellow tulips in a centerpiece for a formal table. The shimmer of the silver footed bowl is echoed in the place settings.
Mix and Match
A chorus of amaryllis, divided into groups and shown in different ways, appears artfully harmonious on a favor table. In the back, two full bunches of peach 'Desire' and white-and-orange-striped 'Dancing Queen' (which are double-flowered, with more than one row of petals) tower over masses of chartreuse 'Lemon and Lime.' Airy sprays of pale-green miniature 'Emerald' are staggered in the next row. All of the flowers' straight stems help define the composition's clean lines. The short front rows of amaryllis showcase only the blossoms, with the snipped stems of white 'Mont Blanc,' peach 'Desire,' and striped 'Dancing Queen' hidden in glass cubes lined with maranta leaves. Stacked favor boxes, wrapped in some of the flowers' hues, mirror the boxy shapes and arrangement of the vases.
Amaryllis blooms in an array of shapes and shades.
1. Emerald and burgundy-striped 'Lima' works especially well in contemporary settings.
2. 'Desire' has medium-to-large peach flowers
3. The chartreuse 'Lemon and Lime' is on the small side.
4. With its multiple heads and double row of white-and-orange petals, 'Dancing Queen' seems to twirl on its stem.
5. Strawberry-red 'Hercules' is one of the biggest, strongest amaryllis.