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Nerine spp. (Nur-EEN or ne-REEN)

Guernsey lily, Spider lily

Nerines’ individual flowers are composed of six ruffled, strap-shaped petals. The stems of these bulb flowers are 16 to 28 inches long and leafless.

These striking blossoms come in a wide spectrum of pink hues, from brilliant fuchsia to blush. Nerines also can be found in hues of white, reddish-orange and deep red.

Nerines can last from six to 14 days, depending upon the variety and the care they receive.

In general, Nerines are available year-round, but check in advance with your wholesaler or grower. Market prices will vary greatly depending on the source.

REFRIGERATION Nerines are somewhat chill sensitive. Keep the flowers refrigerated, but do not allow the temperature to go below 37 F.
WATER Misting these flowers frequently is beneficial.
ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY Some varieties of Nerines have been found to be sensitive to ethylene gas, which can cause the flowers to take on a crepelike appearance. Check with your supplier to make sure your flowers have been treated with an anti-ethylene agent at the grower level or during transportation.
BULB FOOD A flower food that is specifically formulated for bulb flowers is best for Nerines.

FAMILY Nerines are members of the Amaryllidaceae family, which includes about 90 genera and 1,200 species including Agapanthus (lily-of-the-nile), Clivia (kaffir lily), Hippeastrum (amaryllis) and Narcissus (daffodil). Most members of the Amaryllidaceae family are true bulbs.
ORIGINS The genus Nerine is made up of approximately 30 species of small- to medium-sized bulbous plants that are native to South Africa.
HISTORY The Rev. William Herbert, an Amaryllid expert, established the Nerine genus in 1820. It is said he named it for Nerine, the Greek mythological sea nymph, or for Nereide, the daughter of Nereus, son of Oceanus.
BLOSSOMS Bulbs can take up to two years to develop before they are strong enough to produce a blossom. Bigger bulbs can produce two stems or more when treated well.

DESIGN TIPS These blossoms create an instant focal point in any type of design. They show well in contemporary
design styles such as vegetative, parallel systems and formal-linear designs. Nerines are excellent in hand-tied bouquets, and individual florets can be used in wedding and corsage work.
CONSUMER CARE TIPS Advise customers to display their flowers in cool areas away from the sun and other heat sources including electronic equipment. The flowers shouldn’t be placed near bowls of fruit because ethylene gas can hasten development and shorten vase life.
CAUTION All parts of these bulb flowers can be mildly toxic if ingested, causing vomiting and/or diarrhea. Keep out of the reach of children and pets. These flowers also can cause contact dermatitis in some people.

BLOOMS AND STEMS Look for puffy, undamaged heads and several tight buds just opening and showing color. Avoid blossoms and stems with any brown spots or signs of mold or rot.

Some information provided by:
The California Cut Flower Commission,
The Flower Council of Holland,
Plants Africa,
Shields Gardens Ltd.,
Mainly Amaryllids,
Flower Promotion Organization,
The Chain of Life Network® ,

Photos courtesy of the California Cut Flower Commission and the Flower Council of Holland

You may reach “Cut Flower of the Month” writer Steven W. Brown, AIFD, at or by phone at (415) 239-3140.


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