Nerine

Nerine is a most useful greenhouse subject for it comes into bloom in October and must be given a little heat not so much for the production of bloom, but to enable the foliage to ripen during winter and spring. The bulbs should be potted in large-size pots early in August, the neck of the bulbs being above the surface of the compost which should be of fibrous loam, coarse sand and peat. They should not be given a rich compost, but one which is well drained and contains some humus. Unlike most bulbs, no darkened position should be given for them to root. The pots should be placed in the full sun of frame or greenhouse, sparingly watered, and by early October they will produce their leafless stems of brilliantly coloured blooms held in tight clusters.

Nerine

There are three outstanding species grown for market: Nerine Bowdeni. Which bears its lovely soft pink blooms late in September.

  • N. filifolia. Which produces its neat, rose pink flowers during November.
  • N. sarniesis. The true Guernsey Lily, grown in large quantities in the Channel Islands, the flowers being rich carmine-red.

After flowering appear the strap-like leaves, which continue to grow until early spring. From late April, all water must be withheld so that the bulbs can ripen off thoroughly. They should be left in the pots and placed in a covered, but ventilated frame so that they may remain dry and can enjoy the sunshine. Early in August they may be watered and started into growth again. No repotting is done. They like to become potbound and do not like disturbance.

GROWING OUTDOORS

In favourable districts of the south and west country, Nerines may be cultivated, as they are in Guernsey, in the open in a sheltered position under a south wall. There they will bloom during September and throughout October, the species N. Bowdeni, which is early flowering, being the most suitable. They must be given a dry, well-drained soil, one containing plenty of grit and sand and no manure. The bulbs should be left undisturbed for several years.

There is a lovely little species, ideal for a rockery or the alpine house, called N. masoniarum, which produces its clusters of small pink flowers on 6-in. stems during late summer. Given a peat mulch after flowering it will be hardy in all but the most exposed areas.

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