Nerine TOW

Alberto Castillo
Thu, 01 May 2003 15:20:17 PDT
Dear all:
              Hamish’ superb introductions and others’ comments make this 
TOW one of the most interesting. What a great amount of information.
              I have grown  Nerine species for a long time and in this 
climate they are not difficult. We have lots of sun, year round rainfall 
(increasing amounts every year) and a winter with many nights of slight 
frosts. All are in pots, 4 litre pots, they are cylindrical, black plastic, 
20 cm tall and 17 cm in diameter. The mix we use is coarse perlite, 
commercial compost and crushed rock (the size of a watermelon seed) in equal 
parts in volume. Bulbs are always buried in the mix, sometimes they go deep 
in the soil themselves (mainly N. bowdeni). Our pots with Nerines are always 
in the open on concrete benches in full sun, therefore exposed to the frost 
in winter. None of them has proved really tender and there have been no 
losses to the frost so far. Flowering is very abundant, some pots looking 
like vases when in abloom, seed production profuse. As for fertilization we 
give them Phostrogen in very dilute basis once a month while in growth and 
also potassium sulphate on the same schedule. As an additional measure all 
of our bulbs are given systemic insecticide once a month particularly during 
the warm season. Comparatively they are among the reliably easy bulbs with 
              Nerine hybrids are a different matter. I try not to grow them 
as all the hybrid material I have received (mostly from Australia) was 
virused. Australians are extremely generous bulb friends and would share 
anything they have. Unfortunately and in my experience the quarantine 
authorities must not be as strict as they are supposed to be or this 
material would not be around. Recently I have received several Nerine 
hybrids from Lauw de Jager and much to my surprise the plants were free of 
virus and hence robust and vigorous. This is to be encouraged when so much 
of the Dutch trade material is infected. If others growers have the fortune 
if growing healthy hybrids I am happy for them: this has not been my case.
              And, it was fascinating to read that Peter Smithers regarded 
fertilization a source of virus. First question: fertilization with what? 
Mechanisms would be thinning of the leaf epidermis leading to easier 
infection or excessively rich sap that encouraged sucking insect attack, 
both situation linking to nitrogen abuse. Can you quote him anyone please?

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