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Habranthus martinezii - plant of the month August 2011

There are around 10 species of Habranthus, all of which come from South America. They are closely related to Hippeastrum (Amaryllis of commerce).   Habranthus martinezii comes from northern Argentina and  is easy to grow, surviving outside in sheltered places, protected from cold winds and frosts but best kept in the Alpine house or frame for safety (shown here exhibited in the Alpine house at RHS Wisley).

Similar in overall appearance to Zephyranthes, it differs in the unequal stamen length and the fact that the flowers are held at an angle rather than pointing upwards - this can be seen in the accompanying image.

The very pale pink flowers are produced anytime from early August through till early to mid- September. Re-potting is best done in winter/early spring when bulbs become too congested and to supply off-sets for back-up pots or to give to friends. Use a well drained, ideally loam based compost and place in a sunny position for best results.

Ray Drew