Which Nerine is it?

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Fri, 06 Jan 2006 08:10:22 PST
Dear Joe,

Nerine species that are winter rainfall generally bloom in the fall, 
sometimes before their leaves or at about the same time. There are four: N. 
humilis, N. pudica,  N. ridleyi, and N. sarniensis.  I grow all but N. 
ridleyi and this is how they behave for me (if my N. sarniensis hybrids 
flower).  Summer growing species, N. bowdenii, N. huttoniae, N. krigei, N. 
laticoma and N. marincowitzii are dormant in winter with flowering in 
midsummer or autumn. The other fifteen species, most which have thread-like 
leaves and flower in late summer and autumn are summer growing but 
generally evergreen when grown in temperate climates and in greenhouses. 
The way yours are behaving is very unusual, that is, blooming in winter, 
after they have had leaves for some time. That could be because you are 
treating them like they are a winter rainfall species when they are not and 
they are adapting accordingly. We have a lot of pictures of Nerines on our 
wiki.  http://pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/…
There is much variation in the leaves which helps in identification. Most 
of our wiki pictures are of the flowers however.  A helpful booklet on 
identifying Nerines is Grow Nerines by Graham Duncan.

I grow bulbs identified as a cross between N. undulata and N. flexuosa. N. 
flexuosa is now considered N. humilis. I confess when checking Duncan's 
book in order to answer your question I see that I have reported this name 
change incorrectly in the past confusing Nerine alta which is now 
considered to be N. undulata. Please note those of you I have given seeds 
of this hybrid. So what I have is a cross between a summer and winter 
rainfall species. I have some in the ground that tolerate my very wet 
winters  and remain evergreen, blooming in the fall. I have some in 
containers that often get dried out late spring and remain dormant until 
late summer and also bloom in the fall. So how I am treating this plant 
really affects how they grow and there is sometimes a difference in bloom 
time of several months between the ones that lose their leaves in 
containers and those in the ground even though they were all from the same 
parentage. And they are obviously adaptable. You can see those plants on 
the Nerine hybrids page.

What you grow may very well be a hybrid as there has been a lot of 
hybridizing of this genus and even the sarniensis hybrids often have other 
species in their mix. It would be interesting to see if you changed the way 
you are treating your plants, if it would change when they grow and bloom.

Mary Sue

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