This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
Haemanthus is a genus of Amaryllidaceae, and these two are very striking plants. They were introduced from the west coast of Africa, and are evergreen bulbous plants, the foliage of which, in general appearance, resembles that of Eucharis amazonica, and they throw up their flower-scapes in very much the same way as that popular plant. They produce dense globular heads of bloom on strong stems : good bulbs of cinnabarinum have heads 6 inches in diameter, and Kalbreyeri are still larger. The colour of cinnabarinum is a most brilliant cinnabar scarlet, tinted with carmine, resembling the colouring of Masdevallia Veitchii. The anthers are of a brilliant yellow, which add to its effective appearance. Kalbreyeri, of more recent introduction, produces splendid heads of bloom of vermilion-red colour, on very stout stems, that are spotted with bright claret.
These two plants should be in every plant-stove. Their flowers are very lasting, and keep fresh for a long time when cut and put in water. They are of easy culture, and, like most bulbous plants, should have small pots rather than otherwise. They do not require any peculiar treatment to make them produce their blooms annually. If grown in loam, a little rotten manure, and a dash of sand, not too far from the glass, and their foliage kept clean, these two Haemanthus will amply repay, with their long-lasting and strikingly brilliant heads of bloom, any trouble bestowed on them. R. M'C.