Nerines Blooming

J.E. Shields
Thu, 04 Nov 2004 16:32:12 PST
Hi all,

Besides the Nerine bowdenii "Koen's Hardy" that are flowering in the 
greenhouse, the usual commercial clones of N. bowdenii are also 
flowering.  The blooms on Koen's Hardy look just like those on the other 
bowdenii (from, e.g., Potterton).  It's just that we have seen that the 
Koen's Hardy can survive outdoors in the ground here.  However, Ben 
Zonneveld did find that Koen's Hardy has about 2 pg less DNA per nucleus 
than typical bowdenii.  According to Ben, Koen's Hardy has 34.6 pg DNA per 

A hybrid that Kelly Irwin sent me a year or two ago is also flowering.  N. 
'Nikita' looks just like any bowdenii, except that the flowers are a 
beautiful pale pink!  I intend to try pollinating 'Nikita' with Koen's Hardy.

I tried pollinating N. 'Dame Alice Godman' with Koen's Hardy, but I don't 
think any of them took.  There is still a chance.....

I'm pollinating Koen's Hardy with the robust N. krigei (the one that came 
labeled "bowdenii wellsii").  N. krigei is of interest because it flowers 
in July and August, so it's hybrids with bowdenii should be bigger in 
flower and earlier than October and November to bloom.  It also is one of 
the Nerine species which require chilling to induce bloom the following 
summer.  The "robust" krigei has exactly the same DNA content per nucleus, 
according to Ben Zonneveld's measurements, as typical N. krigei.

I'm also going to try pollinating Koen's Hardy with N. platypetala.  This 
species flowers well in cultivation, just needing to stand in a pan of 
water in the summer.  It is a marsh or bog plant in habitat, and tolerates 
wet feet,  I think crossing bowdenii with platypetala should both move the 
flowering season to earlier than November, and increase the tolerance for 
wet growing conditions.

I have finally received what should be genuine N. bowdenii wellsii.  Once 
these plants acclimatize and flower, I will have a whole new set of crosses 
to try.  I can't wait!

Those of you in mild climates may not appreciate the severe disadvantage 
here of bulbs that try to flower in November.  We have normally had several 
killing frosts by now.  Increasing the hardiness of bowdenii here would be 
useless if we cannot also move the blooming season up to September or October.

If you like nerines, try to get bulbs of N. 'Nikita'.  Sorry, I only have 
the two that Kelly gave me, and they are NOT for sale!  The fact that both 
the bulbs are blooming speaks highly of the culture they received before I 
got them.

Jim Shields
in wet central Indiana

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA
Tel. ++1-317-867-3344     or      toll-free 1-866-449-3344 in USA

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