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Hippeastrum Species, Amaryllis, Butterfly Amaryllis

Hippeastrum papilio

Family: Amaryllidaceae (am-uh-ril-id-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hippeastrum (hip-ee-ASS-trum) (Info)
Species: papilio (pap-ILL-ee-oh) (Info)
Additional cultivar information:(aka Papillio)
Synonym:Amaryllis papilio



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun




This plant is resistant to deer

Foliage Color:



18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Scarlet (dark red)



Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Anniston, Alabama

Gadsden, Alabama

Antioch, California

Eureka, California


Glendale, California

Los Angeles, California

Monrovia, California

Oakland, California

San Francisco, California

San Jose, California

Sebastopol, California

Fort Lauderdale, Florida(2 reports)

Fort Myers, Florida

Miami, Florida

Niceville, Florida

Ocala, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Umatilla, Florida

Broxton, Georgia

Griffin, Georgia

Hahira, Georgia


Cut Off, Louisiana

Haughton, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana

Metairie, Louisiana

Flowood, Mississippi

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Ladson, South Carolina

Aransas Pass, Texas

Brownsville, Texas

College Station, Texas

Houston, Texas

La Vernia, Texas

Missouri City, Texas

Quinlan, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Spring, Texas

Sugar Land, Texas

Winnsboro, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 7, 2018, EdAM57 from Wheeling, WV wrote:

Have had this bulb for over 30 years. In that time it has maybe bloomed 3 times. On the other hand it has produced 8 or 9 other bulbs, that don't bloom either. What am I doing wrong??


On Nov 8, 2015, WiltonManors from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

When I moved to south Florida (zone 10b) from the cold northlands (zone 5b) in 2000 I brought with me two of the papilio bulbs. I kept them in pots for seven years with no blooms. In 2008 I bought a house with a nice yard and planted the bulbs in a sunny new flower bed. I have been amply rewarded. The bulbs have multiplied prodigiously and I now have several dozen huge plants in a big clump at the border of the garden. They bloom mostly in spring, but with a smaller crop of blooms in autumn, and they put on an amazing display that always brings comments from the neighbors as they pass by.


On Nov 2, 2015, broadway1 from Hamtramck, MI wrote:

I too have had Papillo for several years but it only bloomed the first one. Some have told me to treat it like other amaryllises-- cut leaves back and let it rest for several months and others that it should be grown as a year-round house plant. Have 30 others and been successful with resting, What's the secret? ...


On Feb 14, 2013, depuy from Eureka, CA wrote:

I have had this for years. In Northern Ca. I have been growing it in the greenhouse and on a covered patio. A few months ago I put some in the ground and mulched then with fine fir bark. They are doing fine. The temperature dropped to 28 in mid January and there was not the slightest hint of leaf damage. One is sending up a flower spike. The only problem I have had with it is with snails and slugs. I was told they are epiphytic, but they probably need some detritus to root in. I may give it a try when my redwoods get a little bigger. A friend grew some in her greenhouse that were huge, a very nice strain.


On Nov 15, 2010, the_naturalist from Monrovia, CA wrote:

I have this multiplying profusely in full shade in my Southern California yard.


On Mar 2, 2010, Buttoneer from Carlisle, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I have had this plant before, many years ago and lost it, so I finally got it back again and it is everything, if not more, than the description. It bloomed 4 flowers, the first two were crossed with a white amaryllis and the last two were self-pollenated. I stuck a couple of Jobe's plant spikes in the pot and it bloomed. It is greenhouse-grown with a minimum temp of 55 degrees in winter.


On Jan 27, 2010, dfusting from Saint Thomas, PA wrote:

I m new at this what shoul I do with the bulb after it blooms? Leave in in the pot and put in garage or basement? When do I bring it out again. Thank You


On Jun 12, 2009, dwarbucks from San Francisco, CA wrote:

I was discouraged by what I felt was a small bulb when I got it 3 years ago. It bloomed that first year and each succeeding year. It is in bloom now (June 2009). The bulb has tripled in size and has two new offsets growing this year. The flowers have a more greenish cast than most photos show. Nice plant!


On Mar 19, 2008, haweha from Solingen,
Germany (Zone 7a) wrote:

The particular clone of that species knight star lily which is commercialized in The Netherlands and Germany, respectively produces flowers with particularly broad segments and - is self sterile. However, I received seeds and progeny thereof, by crossing - in both directions that is, using H.papilio as mother plant and as pollen donor - with "Pink Floyd", H.aulicum v.robustum and H.cybister "Chico". These are all DIPS like H.papilio itself. If it is dusted with pollen from TETs then it produces a nice, well-stuffed seed pod as well, but the bulk of seeds will be chaff. However, perform a careful inspection of the fresh seeds and discover the few specimens with a plump, viable embryo (if you are lucky and there are some at all) ;) Those are precious.


On Mar 15, 2007, nancyanne from Lafayette, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This plant is a natural species, not a hybrid. It *will* self-pollinate, and it *will* set viable seed.
A very arresting flower - unusual color and markings, and exceptionally tall inflorescences.