Nerine Is A Bulb That Will Easily Fool You Into Thinking It's Dead
Nerine, a South African native, apparently got its common name of
Guernsey Lily because a plant washed up on the island of Guernsey (in
the English Channel). Now you can believe this or not – it does make a
good story – but the fact is that this member of the Amaryllis family
is a South African native plant.
As you can see in the picture, the flower is trumpet-shaped with the
petals curling backward. What you may have trouble seeing is that each
flower will bloom on a stem that has no leaves (unlike a lot of bulbs
that have leaves on their stem). On a practical note, this means
deadheading later in the summer is simply cutting back the stem to
Nerine - a very late bloomer
Nerine is a very late blooming bulb and it could almost be put into the
fall blooming area depending on where you are growing it.
(just so you are not surprised) is that the leaves come up in the
spring and grow all summer. Then they wither away (this is where you
might think the plant has died). After this – the flowering stem is
produced. In some areas, it is produced in late September.
While N. bowdenii
(pictured) is the plant most often sold in
garden centers (some 90% of the market) the differences between it and
the second most popular variety - N. sarniensis
flowers after the foliage is done while N.
flowers first and then the foliage comes. You’ll know
which is which by this simple fact.
Not reliably hardy for the north
Our problem in the north is that this bulb is not going to be reliably
hardy – it flowers so late (frost warnings). If it is not hardy for
you, dig in the fall after the bloom has faded to store dry and cool
for the winter. Replant in the spring after all danger of frost.
white, orange, pink (main colour), red
September - October
35 - 90 cm (20-30”)
Planting depth to base of bulb:
neck just above the soil
: 20 cm or 7 inches apart
full sun or morning sun but sheltered from wind
Nerine makes an excellent cut flower as well as a container-grown plant
in mixed baskets.
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