Nerine sarniensis

Nerine sarniensis is without doubt one of the most stunning autumn flowering plants. Commonly known as the Guernsey Lily, it has no relation to this gorgeous island and is in fact a native to the Northern and Western Capes of South Africa. Unfortunately their warm origins mean that it is not cold hardy and will require a minimum winter temperature of between 8-10 degrees Celsius. The bulbs can survive short periods of freezing if they are planted deep enough but are likely to be damage in the process. Above all else they need as much light and heat as you can provide.

Nerine sarniensis flower
If you are growing them in a Mediterranean climate then they can be planted in any, well-drained garden soil. Set the bulbs 4 inches deep, preferably in a sharply drained, sunny border against a wall.

Leave them undisturbed until the plants become crowded and produce fewer flower stems. Lift, divide and replant the clumps, generally every four or five years.

If you are growing them in a northern European climate then plant into 6 inch pots at a rate of three bulbs per pot. Use a good quality compost such as John Innes 'No 2' with the neck of the bulbs just showing. begin watering when the flower buds appear and keep the compost just moist through the winter.

When the foliage is well developed, provide a weekly feed for about two months. Then withhold water from the time the leaves turn yellow until the next season's flowers appear. While they will need to be kept in a protected area such as a heated greenhouse over the winter, they will be quite happy outside from June onwards. Just make sure that they are positioned in a warm, sunny position.

For related articles click onto the following links:
How to Grow the Guernsey Lily
Rafflesia arnoldii
THE GUERNSEY LILY - Nerine bowdenii

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