Plant Collector: Nerine pudica

Nerine pudica

Nerine pudica

How pretty is little pudica? This is the first season I have seen it flower and it is a delight. The pointed bells are mainly white with a pink stripe down the centre of each petal and each stem has up to six flowers on it. It is a nerine which makes it a bulb, but it is a much smaller one than the more common sarniensis and bowdenii types. The foliage is also much finer and narrower. It looks more a mondo grass or liriope leaf.

N. pudica is a species, hailing from the western side of South Africa. The ever-useful reference “Bulbs for NZ Gardeners and Collectors” by Terry Hatch and Jack Hobbs tells me that it is one of the original parents of many of the modern hybrids. While showy hybrids have their place, there is often a simple charm in the original species. The ones in the photograph are still in pots. It will take several years before we can comment on how reliable they are as garden plants in the rockery but the requirements are the same as for other nerines – excellent drainage and full sun. I am hoping they will do well because it makes a pretty addition to the autumn bulb display.

First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.

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