Nerine bowdenii

How to grow nerines

Find out all you need to know about growing nerines, in this practical Grow Guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do not Plant in September

Do Plant in October

Do Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does not flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does not flower in July

Plant does not flower in August

Plant does flower in September

Plant does flower in October

Plant does flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Cut back
Cut back

Do not Cut back in January

Do not Cut back in February

Do not Cut back in March

Do not Cut back in April

Do not Cut back in May

Do not Cut back in June

Do not Cut back in July

Do not Cut back in August

Do not Cut back in September

Do not Cut back in October

Do not Cut back in November

Do Cut back in December

Nerines put on a wonderful display of lily-like flowers in late autumn, in shades of pink and red. They work well in both borders and containers and make great cut flowers, too.

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The strappy foliage looks good in spring. Most nerines are tender and need to be grown in a greenhouse, but Nerine bowdenii is hardy in warmer areas of the UK.

Take a look at our step-by-step guide to growing nerines, below.

Nerines bring a wonderful display of lily-like flowers in pink and red to the late autumn garden.

Nerines growing in a border
Nerines growing in a border

Where to plant nerines

True to their South African origins, nerines require a dry, sunny location to thrive and are happy in poor soil. Many are tender greenhouse bulbs, but Nerine bowdenii is hardy in warmer areas of the UK. For best results grow outdoors in well-drained soil in full sun, ideally sheltered by a south-or west-facing wall. They will not flower in shaded situations, and rich soils will encourage leaves rather than flowers. They are also suitable for growing in containers.

Watering nerine bulbs in a pot
Watering nerine bulbs in a pot

How to plant nerines

Plant Nerine bowdenii bulbs in autumn or early winter. Prepare the soil by adding plenty of grit for drainage and plant bulbs just below the surface, 7-10cm apart. Mulch for the first winter until established and expect to wait a year or so for the bulbs to flower prolifically. They also grow very well in pots.

Nerines can also be grown from seed. Use a mix of seed compost and grit. Sow seeds thinly in a tray and cover lightly with compost. The seeds need heat to germinate, 10-13°C. Water and keep warm. After a year, the small new bulbs can be potted on into individual pots and will take about 3-5 years to flower.

Nerine bowdenii 'Fenwicks Variety'
Nerine bowdenii ‘Fenwicks Variety’

Looking after nerines

Cut back flower heads if you are not planning to save the seed and clear any foliage once it has died back and the bulbs go into dormancy. Nerines tend to form large clumps over time and these need to be divided periodically to maintain the flowering of the plant. The best time to do this is in spring and early summer.

Nerine bowdenii 'Patricia'
Nerine bowdenii ‘Patricia’

Propagating nerines

Nerines can be propagated by division or by collecting seed. Seed should be sown as soon as it is ripe. Lift congested clumps in early summer and divide to create smaller clumps or to separate bulbs.

Video: Lifting and dividing nerines

Nerine undulata (Flexuosa group)
Nerine undulata (Flexuosa group)

Nerines: problem solving

Nerine undulata (Flexuosa Group) are prone to weather and slug damage as flowers appear in early winter.

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Nerine bowdenii 'Patricia'
Nerine bowdenii ‘Patricia’

Five nerines to try

  • Nerine bowdenii ‘Patricia’ – with pretty pale pink blooms on sturdy stems, it looks great in a late summer border or indoors as a cut flower
  • Nerine bowdenii ‘Alba’ – crisp, pure-white, star-shaped blooms appear on sturdy stems. It makes a fantastic addition to the late summer border, or an excellent cut flower
  • Nerine bowdenii ‘Fenwicks Variety’ – the sturdy stem bear clusters of up to 12 pink blooms in autumn
  • Nerine bowdenii ‘Kathleen Pollock’ – is one of the cultivars with striking red flowers. It works well in a mixed herbaceous border and makes an excellent cut flower
  • Nerine undulata – is a species with delicate pinkish-purple flowers that appear even later than bowdenii varieties in November-December. It requires the same dry, sunny growing conditions, but due to late flowering, it’ll need protection over winter in colder regions