A Nerine Experience

ConroeJoe@aol.com ConroeJoe@aol.com
Mon, 27 Sep 2004 15:19:04 PDT

About 18 months ago I traded some daylilies for some bulbs of Nerine 
sarniensis from a South African expatriate.   She sent me the bulbs in late spring and 
I planted them in sparse soil, watered them a bit, and they put out leaves.  
There were 4 big bulbs (duck egg-sized) and some smaller ones.  

Then, in July, with the onset of really sticky weather, I dried down the pot 
and brought the bulbs indoors till October.  They sat quiet and I was sure 
they were dead even though they were firm.  In October, with the return of cooler 
nights and days, I put the pot outside in a sunny spot.  I watered it about 
every 2 weeks if it didn't rain, and fertilized it twice over winter with fish 
emulsion (1/2 strength as recommended for house plants).  

This year I brought the pot in to dry in mid-June.  The leaves of the big 
bulbs were dying back and nights were warm.  It was a rainy month and I didn't 
want problems for my precious Nerine sarniensis.  The pot has sat indoors all 
summer, in semi-dark corner of the laundry room-in air conditioned comfort.  The 
odd thing is that the leaves on the small bulbs (1 inch or so diameter) did 
not die back-no water since mid-June.  They have stayed green and have tried to 
grow a bit-even in the dim light.

On October 1 I'll put the pot back out and hope it performs as before.  Last 
January the big bulbs produced splendid flowers-pink or pink-lavender.  The 
plant tolerated frosts to 25 F, but I did protect it from frost when it was in 
flower.  I figured the blossoms would be the first things to get nipped.  Each 
flower stalk lasted 2-3 weeks-maybe Nerine flowers are long lived or maybe it 
was the cool nights (near 30-35 F) that helped the flowers last so long.

So, are all Nerines so well behaved if you can protect them from the rot of 
Houston summers?


Conroe Joe (89 F today, lows near 60 F, no rain for 2-3 weeks)

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