Active during: Summer
Common Name: Guernsey lily
Type: True bulb
23 species native to southern Africa
Dense umbels of slender-petaled, re-curved and often frilly flowers, carried on slender, bare stems from 20 to 70 cm tall, most around 30cm. Most Nerines are pink but some are white and N. sarniensis is brilliant red. Leaves are narrow and strap-shaped. The most commonly available Nerine is N. bowdenii. This has umbels of seven to 12 large pink flowers. It is summer-growing and flowers in late summer on tall stems. It tolerates light frost in winter.
Most are ideal in a rock garden or an herbaceous border. Nerines grown in pots can be planted closely together. Although Nerines will tolerate poor soils, they will grow and flower better in a composted, friable soil. They prefer a lightly shaded position, but will grow in full sun. Many of the species will not flower readily after transplanting, and will take some seasons to settle in. N. sarniensis will not produce blooms regularly ever year. This species also does not adapt well to summer-rainfall areas. It can assist the flowering of N. sarniensis to burn a layer of dry material over the bulbs in early autumn.
Nerines are best transplanted only when necessary through over-crowding, about every four or five years. This should be done when they are dormant. They will tolerate watering during dormancy if the ground is well-drained. Nerines may not flower every year, so they are best planted in groups.