Summer treatment of Nerine sarniensis

Fri, 11 Jul 2008 13:18:06 PDT
I continue to water my Nerine sarniensis only slight'y, during the summer.
Actually, it might better be said that I run the hose overthem two or three
time during the summer. Hardly an expert, I did research a little bit by
reading some horticultural research papers a few years ago from Acta
horticulturae and switched my routine based on what commercial growers we're
discovering about these Amaryllid's which included the fact that they form
staged flower buds two or three years in advance, deep inside the bulb, and
that they actually have quite active root growth in the summer, contrary to
the belief that they want to 'go dormant', the roots seem to grow more in
this time, and I think that my bulbs actually become more turgid when
provided some rain water during the hot summer, rather than allowing the
pots to dry out. 

Last year, Mary Sue posted this fabulous article by Mr. Sloan, and it was
very helpful.

Since I have had a bit of luck with the Nerine sarniensis crosses I have, I
will share briefly, what I do.

Soil - Pro Mix ( a commercial peat/Perlite based potting mix) and Gravel
50/50 is the ratio. Lately, for gravel, I have been using a product called
Espoma Soil Perfector, which I love for alpines and other South African
Pots -  6 inch square plastic pots
I begin watering around September 1, or the first weekend that we in New
England receive a Canadian cold front, signaling the end of summer.
I await for buds, which will show by the end of the month, and by
mid-October, many will be in peak bloom.

I do fertilize, but carefully, and only about once a month with only rain
water, or I move the pots outside to enjoy the late summer and early autumn
thunderstorms. After that, until blooming, they get a weak 10.10.10 at
first, and later in the year, from February - May, with a 0.0.10, or a
0.6.10. These are the analysis of some organic fertilizers for Orchids or
Tomatoes, or root-boost/Bloom products, really, it's just a little of
whatever I can get which is low in Nitrogen. I try to stay away from salt
and soluable treatments.

The foliage dies around late May for me, and I used to move the pots up onto
a wire bench, where summer temps can reach 110 degrees F, ( like this year)
but just recently moved them onto a slightly  damp sand bed, where the
cyclamen spend the winter, It is slightly damp, and then, I splash them

The roots seem to like to delve deeper, into the damp sand bed, perhaps
looking for water, so I treat these Nerine in the same way one would treat
Cyclamen graecum, who are sharing this space....which also seem to need
water during the summer dormancy, something I learned from John Lonsdale
when I complained that my C. graecum never seemed to survive the summer in
the greenhouse, dry.

I have resisted repoting these pots on, from the 6" square plastic, and I
could use some advice. Four years ago, I repotted most of my Nerine up a few
sizes, on from the 3 inch clay pots which I used to grow them in ( as
advised by Sir Peter Smithers). One year I tried 6 inch plastic pots, and
used simply Pro Mix potting soil, and kept a few dozen  plants in a plunge
bed which was kept damp, and the result were so promising, that the
following year, I converted most of my collection over.

Now, my collection is not large, only about 70 pots, but these 6 inch pots
are not bulging, and many have four or five mature bulbs in them. Part of me
want to pot them up into larger pots, since I do have one in a 12 inch pan,
and it has magnificent foliage, but rarely blooms. I may break up some and
repot them individually again, and then I may keep some pot-bound.

If anyone has any advice, please let me know. My flowering rate did improve
with the addition of a little water in the summer, to nearly 80% last year.
But who knows, this year, I have been lazy, and it has been hotter than
usual, so many bulbs are actually smaller. But I did start splashing some
water this week, so we shall see!

Perhaps the biggest risk will be the heating costs for this coming winter. I
just had my gas tank filled for the greenhouse, and it is nearly twice what
it cost to fill in March!

Matt Mattus

Worcester, Massachusetts

Zone 5B-ish

On 7/11/08 12:59 PM, "Clayton3120" <> wrote:

> AH,
> This is a great topic.  I, also water my Nerines in the summer, lightly.
> Certainly, no fertilizer, but grow all Nerines in clay pots, so  they do NOT
> stay wet. Works for me.
> Clayton
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