This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol2", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
At present the trade done in Nerines is confined to bulb merchants and Channel Island growers, but there is a possibility that these plants may figure more prominently in the markets in the future. There are many species and varieties and hybrids known, but the one most likely to attract the trade grower is N. Fothergilli. This is a splendid variety of N. curvifolia (fig. 286), a South African bulbous plant having large trusses of glistening scarlet flowers, each about 2 in. across, borne on stems 18 in. high. The following cultural notes from The Bulb Book will be useful to those who contemplate growing Nerines for market.
"The Nerines are all natives of South Africa, and are generally grown in pots in cool greenhouses. They like a compost of sandy loam with a little peat or leaf mould, and flower better if not given too much space. Indeed, several bulbs may be placed close together, and in this way, according to the size of the pot, a better floral display will be produced. A peculiarity about Nerines is that they vegetate during the winter months; that is, the leaves are in a growing and assimilating condition, and finish their work about April or May. During this period of activity the plants should be kept on shelves in the greenhouse close to the glass, to secure as much light as possible; and the temperature at night should not fall below 50° F., certainly not below 45° F. Plenty of fresh air should be given on all favourable occasions to avoid a "stuffy" atmosphere. When the leaves have withered, the bulbs should be given a period of rest. This is one of the most important features in the cultivation of Nerines. It will benefit the plants during this resting period to place them in a dry sunny position, and no water whatever should be given. The flower spikes begin to appear in June, and from then onwards, till October and November, and in some cases even till January, a supply of blossom may be expected during the dullest months of the year.
Fig. 286. - Nerine curvifolia.
Nerines are easily propagated by offsets from the older bulbs, detached after the flowers have faded. Seeds may be ripened in most cases, and if sown in gentle heat in spring will germinate readily in rich gritty soil. In about three years they will make flowering bulbs. The ease with which Nerines may be raised from seeds has naturally attracted the hybridist, and some very fine forms have been evolved".