Hinton Ampner Garden

Nerine bowdenii


The Terrace Borders.


There are about 30 species, but this bulb native to South Africa is only one of two that are reliably hardy outdoors. A lively addition to an autumn border it flowers outdoors from September to early November, depending on temperature and site, with stems 30cm-50cm (12in-20in) tall. The flowers with their faint musky scent carried on the autumn breeze are long-lasting with the strap-like leaves emerging after flowering and surviving the winter undamaged.

Site and Care:

A sunny spot such as the base of a south-facing wall with a well-drained coarse, not too fertile soil, low in nitrogen, is recommended for a maximum number of blooms. Don't worry if the flowering is poor in the first year after planting but try not to disturb them. The quite large bulbs should be planted with 2.5 - 5cm of soil above them in autumn or early winter, spaced 7-10cm apart. Give them a good mulch to protect from frost in the first year until they are fully established. In the wild, nerines grow in very poor soil. Plants grown in richer soil grow bigger with more leaves, but at the expense of flowers.