The Q&A Archives: How To Get Nerine Lilies To Bloom

Question: I have nerine lillies that I can't get to flower. I have had them for about 10 years. The bulbs are large and produce lots of foliage, however they will not flower. I feed them with bulb and flowering plant fertilizer, still no flowers. Is there a cycle to follow or are they just difficult to get to bloom?

Answer: Nerine usually bloom in August-September-October. You didn't say whether you have them in the ground or in pots, but I'm going to assume pots as they are usually not hardy in your winters. Also, the bulbs don't like to be moved or disturbed, so rather than planting and digging in the fall, it might be better to grow them in pots.

Bulbs should be planted in spring in a sunny site. They like a well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter. They are usually dormant during the summer and do better if kept somewhat dry. They do need warm summer temperatures during their dormancy to flower at their best.

Bulbs should be planted about 3 inches deep, with about 1/3 of the bulb showing above ground. Water and fertilize only when leaves are actively growing, usually winter and spring. Reduce watering when leaves start yellowing, which means dormancy is approaching. For Nerine bowdenii, gradually dry off in early summer and let it go completely dry from summer until it blooms

If you have not already done so, try using a fertilizer that is only phosphorous, such as bone meal, or 0-45-0. Phosphorous promotes bloom over foliage. If overly fertilized with nitrogen, nerine has a tendency to produce lots of strappy leaves. I hope this info helps!

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