H. albiflos is native to Cape Provinces and KwaZulu-Natal where the plant grows in shady habitats in forest and bushy vegetation or on rocky sea shores
H. albiflos is the best known of the three evergreen succulents of Haemanthus, a genus belonging to the Amaryllidaceae botanical family. The plant can reach up to 30 cm in height and 15 cm in diameter. The plant is stemless and produces an ovoid bulb from which emerge the leaves. The leaves are 2 to 6, long, elliptical, inclining, pale to dark green in color, smooth, fleshy and flat. The edges of the foliage are covered with soft whitish hairs and are more or less ciliated. Every year the plant forms a pair of leaves. Blooming occurs from late autumn to late winter but cultivated plant can flower at any time in favorable conditions. The flowers appear in dense umbels and are small and white with bright yellow to orange stamens. The inflorescence is borne by long stalks. The fruits are red, large and fleshy berries.
The plant has a slow growth rate but it easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The minimum temperatures that the plant can withstand are 12° C, below this temperature it begins to suffer so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Using a perforating pot, you can drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly in Spring and Summer: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 7 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. About fertilization, for this plant is sufficient to fertilize moderately during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for succulents and stop fertilizing during the winter. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
Propagation can be done by cutting or by seed. By cutting you can use the bulb offsets during the spring period; make the cut and place the cutting as soon as possible in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam soil and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°. After a few months will appear the first leaf.
Members of the genus are known as blood lily and paintbrush lily, for the blood red, intense colour of their flowers. The genus Haemanthus was created in 1753 by Linnaeus. The name is derived from Greek words haima and anthos, meaning “blood flower”. The specific epithet is due to the color of the flowers.
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