Summer treatment of Nerine sarniensis

Jim McKenney
Fri, 11 Jul 2008 08:10:35 PDT
I’m still feeling my way with Nerine sarniensis. Last year I nearly dried
the bulbs to death: they survived as a narrow column of viable tissue buried
deep within the dry tunics of the much shriveled bulb. It was interesting to
see that they plumped up almost immediately when I finally watered them. But
only one plant (of three original plants) bloomed. This is the old cultivar
'Corusca Major'.

Meanwhile I had read Matt Mattus’s comments to the effect that he thinks a
bit of water during the summer is good for them. So this year, although I’ve
let them dry out, I have watched the bulbs carefully (they are near the
surface and plainly visible – and they spend the winter outside but in a
protected cold frame this way. They are not in pots, they are planted in the
soil of the floor of the cold frame). 

This year, the situation is completely different. The bulbs are plump, hard,
flushed a bright rosy red and bursting their old tunics. 

On the other hand, another pair of bulbs, this time a named sarniensis
cultivar ‘Cordora’ which got the extreme summer dry treatment again this
year, has shrunk down to almost nothing. I’m soaking it now. 

In a related note, Amaryllis belladonna died down on schedule. It too grows
right at the surface - most of the bulb is exposed, again planted in the
soil of the protected frame. I gave the bulb the squeeze test and it's still
hard and evidently not shrinking the way the Nerine bulbs do.

I also checked the Pancratium bulbs: they're firm, too.  

I’ll let you know what happens. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone
7, where a number of Tigridia which were overlooked at digging time have
survived the winter in the ground. 
My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society

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