Specific Families and Genera > Amaryllidaceae

Nerine 2019

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Just purchased my first ever Nerine bulbs and would appreciate some advice. I intend growing in 12 inch terracotta pots and would like to know how many Nerine bulbs to plant per 12 inch pot. I am also confused by conflicting advice regards to planting these bulbs, some say they should be planted below soil levels others say the top half of the bulb should be above soil level, is there a right or wrong way?. I would appreciate advice.  :)

François Lambert:
I have 2 pots with Nerine Bowdenii growing undisturbed since probably more than 20 years.  The only thing I did some years ago was to put the clumps in larger pots.

The bulbs are even less than half in the soil.  The pots are very crowded, but the larger bulbs flower reliably every year, I guess spacing is not important for Nerines.  They don't make many offsets, although this process has been speeded up a couple of years ago when my Nerines were in the greenhouse and received just a gentle kiss of frost (probably only -1°C).  The leaves were burned by the frost, but the bulbs resprouted and since then make more efforts to propagate themselves through offsets.

These Nerines don't need a lot of direct sun, they actually do better with some protection from the strongest sun.  I grow them in the shade of my tomato or bell pepper plants.

The only pest that really is a problem on my Nerines are snails that will graze off all the leaves (as they also eat the leaves of my crinum, sprekelia & hippeastrum) - if you grow these outside try to find a spot where there are only few snails (for me that is the part of the garden where my cats don't come too often so that birds dare to land and eat snails).

In winter I keep them cool & completely dry on the windowsill of an unheated room.  My Nerines seem to be exceptions, but with this winter treatment the seeds stay on the stalks until spring without starting to germinate (yet, the stalks dry out completely over winter), so I can always have a spring sowing of Nerines :-)

François Lambert:
Forgot that I also have anther Nerine at home : Nerine krigei.  This one has it's bulb completely under the ground, the nose is about 1 cm below the surface.  Some years ago the bulb has divided in two, but doesn't seem to produce offsets.  But it's a heavy seeder.

This one loves more sun & heat than my Bowdenii's, flowers in early summer and the seeds mature shortly after and must be sown immediately.  Germination was excellent for me.  I kept the seedlings in their first winter in the same room as my Bowdenii's with some light, but if I remember well they also went dormant later and let their leaves dry out.  Due to some 'neglect' the seedlings are however still very small now.  Something to put on my to-do list that I need to have look at them this spring.



This Nerine goes dormant quite early and I keep it in the basement during winter (depending on how cold the winter is the temps must be somewhere between 5 & 10 °C there)

Thank you Francois for your very helpful reply, It was interesting to know that you grow your Nerines in pots very successfully. As this is my first attempt at growing Nerines I will stick with N.Bowdenii to start with and if I am successful with them I will try some of the more difficult ones. Do you know if the depth of the pot is important for growing N,Bowdenii in, I have several clay pots with 30cm diameters some deeper than others so wondered which would be best. I purchased mine advertised as flowering bulbs I don’t know if I will be lucky enough to get flowers this coming season or not. Once again thank you for your help.

François Lambert:
Hello Grenadier,

I never thought of the depth of the pot, as with larger diameter also come deeper pots and I started in rather large pots immediately.  And I can't remember where the roots were when I repotted them.  The pots they are growing in are something like 23 - 25 cm deep.

Nerine Bowdenii plants have lots of similarity with crinum & hippeastrum (there is even a hybrid between Nerine & Crinum I think), so i think Nerine Bowdenii bulbs will send their roots deep in the soil, so that deep pots are better suited.

Unfortunately, deep pots with a not too big diameter are more & more difficult to find nowadays


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