Nerines in November

My zone 10, winter wet/summer dry climate makes it possible to grow nerines in the ground, and they start blooming late October/early November. These stems were cut about two days ago. Nerine bulbs are never offered for sale locally but can be had from specialty bulb growers. All of my bulbs were generous gifts a few years back from Matt (Growing With Plants), who grows them superbly in his greenhouse in Massachusetts, alongside an astonishing array of rarities, many of which he grows from seed and/or hydridizes. Matt’s nerines are blooming now, too, and come in a wide variety of colors. My bulbs bloom in this pale pink and a dark orange, which I understand to come from N. sarniensis input. Past photos show a dark pink that hasn’t bloomed yet. I really think growing them in pots, with or without a greenhouse, is the way to go for best display. These South African bulbs loathe wet, cold, heavy winter soil and need a dry patch of sunny ground to thrive. This means that patch of sunny ground will therefore be bare all summer. I can’t abide bare patches of ground in my tiny garden in summer. In fall, slender stalks lengthen. The stunning, shimmering flowers are barely a foot above ground. Mine grow in the front gravel garden, a few feet away from the boundary fence, among aloes and agaves, which gets minimal irrigation all summer. They grow and bloom unseen unless you know to look for them when the days begin to shorten. I think kinder treatment and better soil would improve flowering. That they flower at all in these awful conditions is simply amazing.


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The east-facing window ledge in the bathroom is my favorite spot for cut flowers. The opaque window glass gives a greenhouse-light effect, and the cool temperature lengthens the display much longer than in the main rooms of the house.

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More information on nerines can be found on the Pacific Bulb Society’s site here.
Also informative is this article from The Telegraph by Alun Rees from 2007.
I previously wrote about my nerines here.

When my bulbs thicken up, I will pass along offsets, just as Matt did, a great way to introduce more gardeners to these beautiful bulbs.

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6 Responses to Nerines in November

  1. gardenbug says:

    I’ve seen Nerines in catalogues….but never considered them here in Ontario. Your photos are a fabulous advertisement!

  2. Linda says:

    Beautiful …another bulb to look out for.
    Off on another subject, I forgot to recommend ‘Spirl’ a french crime tv series…very good as you like Wallander

  3. Denise says:

    @’bug, as soon as they bulk up I’ll send some along to play with if you’re interested.
    @Linda, thanks for the Spirl recommendation, and I see that it streams, and is based in the “underbelly of Paris” too! Sounds perfect. We found Branagh’s Wallander at the library, and it doesn’t hold a candle to the Swedish version.

  4. Deanne says:

    How gorgeous. I’ve never heard of these before.

  5. gardenbug says:

    Can’t send them to Canada no doubt. They wouldn’t care for it anyway I’m afraid. Thanks for the sweet thought.

  6. Kelly says:

    My nerine bulb keeps getting larger. The root system is very healthy. Alas, no flowers. Two years in a pot of well drained soilless mix. Last summer, I thought I would torcher it, in the ground. Again, well drained. I dug it up to bring in and was amazed at the roots!
    I am gardening in zone 4. I have other tender bulbs I am experimenting with. This dude will not perform but I will not give up. Suggestions!
    Thank-you, and yours are beauty!

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