The Coral Red Lily: The Lovely Nerine

For an unusual and lovely houseplant, try this coral-red lily-like bulb. It is a near relation to the Guernsey lily of the amaryllis family. 

It is easy to grow and entirely free from insect pests or fungus diseases.

Lovely NerinePin

Unusual Shade Of Coral Red

Both corolla and stamens are an unusual shade of coral red  –  neither red nor orange  –  and the stigmas are green, as are the stems, which are smooth and shiny. 

The most exquisite appearance is in the sunlight when the corollas glisten like frostwork as though covered with pebbled glass. 

The flowers are especially fine as a table decoration as they are brilliant in artificial light.

South African Native

In keeping with other members of the amaryllis family, leaves and flowers appear at different seasons and arise from onion-like bulbs. 

This is a native to South Africa, where the seasons are the reverse of ours. Curiously enough, it persists in its southern hemisphere habit of vegetating from September to April and being dormant during our Summers.

Although I have been growing these bulbs for over 25 years, I have seen no tendency for them to adapt themselves to our way of living.

Cultivation of Plants

Cultivation is easy, but as the leaves appear in the late fall, the bulbs must grow all winter vigorously in a cool sunny situation. 

The plants can dry out in the summer after the leaves turn yellow. 

The pots containing the bulbs are then placed outdoors in a shady place under a shrub and given no water other than what they receive from rain. 

Around September, flower spikes appear, and the pots are given abundant water and placed in the sun.

Propagation Is Easy

The flower spikes last for over a month if kept cool and moist. The bulbs multiply rapidly but should be undisturbed in the pots for two or three years, even though crowded. 

The smaller bulbs may then be removed and planted several times in a pot. Tops of bulbs should not be covered with soil.

Remarkable Anatomical Feature

A remarkable anatomical feature is the spiral arrangement of the fibrils forming the tracheids in the leaves and bulbs. 

If a leaf is pulled apart carefully, these fibrils unwind exactly like a spiral spring, forming a spiderweb by meshwork joining the two separated pieces. 

The fibrils are too minute to be separately visible to the naked eye.

44659 by Harry D. Tiemann