More Nerine coming

Hamish Sloan
Sat, 09 Aug 2003 13:48:28 PDT
Hello Paul,

You wrote:

"I am not familiar with 'Pink Triumph' so can't comment on its growing
conditions <grin>.  My hybrids have such names as  'Afterglow',  'Ancilla',
 'Bagdad',  'Coconut Ice',  'Cuckfield', 'Jill', 'Kenilworth', 'Killi',
'Knight Templar', 'Lady E. Keane', 'Lucinda', 'Old Rose' and 'Optimist' and
I know that some of these are Australian hybridised and others are UK
hybridised at least.  Not sure where they all came from though."

Pink Triumph is a hybrid N. bowdenii x another species that I do not 
remember but it is not N. sarniensis! Treat it like N. bowdenii; it is just 
as hardy or even more so and has similar growth cycle. I grow mine outside 
in a spot with good drainage - roots can reach into the hardcore under the 
greenhouse if need be. If your area is wet in winter add a sheet of glass 
leaning over the bulbs too keep off too much wetness!

 'Bagdad', 'Jill', 'Kenilworth', 'Lady Eleanor Keane', are N. sarniensis 
hybrids and I believe 'Afterglow' is too. the others I don't know. I grow 
the first four inside. They are not frost hardy but maybe you have them 
planted deep enough if outside to survive the temperatures below freezing 
for short periods. It seems necessary to prevent the roots from drying out 
and hence shrivelling in the dormant season if you are to get flower. There 
seems to be a two season cycle of bud initiation in year one, which bud 
moves towards the outer edge of the bulb base as growth progresses and the 
flower may reach the edge of the plate so as to be available for flowering 
in the second season, or sometimes it goes on into the third season before 
flowering. If the bulbs get too dry in the dormant season, roots die off 
and while the next seasons flower bud still gets through to flower, the 
following season after that will quite often give no flower. It doesn't 
always happen on this plan but it may explain why one can buy a bulb, it 
flowers the first season but not the next - the loss of root affected the 
bud growth. I have to admit this is very speculative!!!
This answers Jim's query  - high temperatures are NOT needed in the dormant 
season - I'm told that N. bowdenii in South Africa grows better on the 
south-facing slopes, i.e., the slopes facing away from the sun. (Does this 
apply to other species?) In our current heat wave - WOW - I'm having 
trouble keeping the greenhouses cooled down and am sprinkling the dormant 
nerines every day. The vital need is good drainage because too much sitting 
water readily gives bulb rot.

" It may also be just plain maturity so I am hoping
we might get some flowers this year as I repotted last season."

Take care on re-potting not to damage the roots unduly so as not to lose 
flower buds of the second season.

"I don't know exactly what the hybrids I grow are based on.  I have maybe 
different named varieties in colours ranging from whites through to dark
reds and pinks.  A couple even have a blue-mauve line on the outer tips of
the petal which has me wondering whether they have Lycoris crossed into
them or not as I cannot think of a Nerine species that includes blue?  I
sort of thought that Lycoris and Nerine were not THAT compatible though?  I
imagine Jim Waddick would know for sure though if he happens to be reading
this?  Otherwise, where does blue occur in Nerines?"

I am sure that there is no lycoris line in nerine hybrids. If I remember 
correctly, they have quite different chromosome numbers, so it would be 
very unlikely. I do remember seeing Tony Norris' collection in the 80s and 
a very FEW of his hybrids had blue stripes to them. Mauves and dirty 
purples are not uncommon and these frequently develop more darkly as the 
flower ages. These mauve/purple colourings seem to associate more with the 
dusky shaded flowers too.

Jim wrote:
"In my climate, hybrids of N. sarniensis are difficult, even in pots.  I am 
not sure how one should get them through a Midwestern summer in condition
to bloom in the Fall.  Mine rarely do bloom, and a couple die each year."

N. sarniensis has a reputation for being fickle. Although Guernsey has a 
large cut flower trade in nerine flowers, it is not N. sarniensis that is 
used in the main for this flower on the island.

Regards Hamish

Wettish zone 9 here usually, but we are in the middle of one of our rare 
heat waves at present. Reports of buckling railway lines beginning to come 

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