Nerine Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Nerine plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Guernsey Lily, Jersey lily, & Cape Flower: Cultivation & Garden Use

Nerine are usually grown as half hardy bulbs in the garden. Plants can reach heights of 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 inches).

They bloom from summer to the autumn with flowers that look like small lilies atop stiff stems.

Nerine picture by wallygrom.

They do not have very pretty foliage. This makes them good to grow in the middle of borders.

Common names for Nerine include Guernsey Lily, Cornish lily, Blue Nerine, and Cape flower.

Nerine bowdenii
Nerine bowdenii photograph by Just chaos.

Commonly Grown Nerine Species

Nerine bowdenii

Nerine bowdenii
Nerine bowdenii (Cornish lily / Cape flower / Guernsey lily / Bowden lily), photograph by Tom Parnell; CC.

Nerine sarniensis

Nerine sarniensis
Nerine sarniensis (Guernsey lily / Jersey lily), picture by Wilferd Duckitt; CC.

Nerine undulata

Nerine undulata
Nerine undulata (Cape flower), Image by Maria R; CC.

Nerine masoniorum

Nerine masoniorum
Nerine masoniorum (CommName), photograph by sunoochi; CC.

Nerine humilis

Nerine humilis
Nerine humilis (Dwarf Nerine), photograph by KENPEI; GNU Free document license 1.2.

Nerine Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Guernsey Lily, Cornish lily, Jersey lily, Cape flower
  • Life Cycle: Half hardy bulb. Perennial, often evergreen.
  • Height: 12 to 24 inches (30—60 cm).
  • Native: South Africa
  • Growing Region: Zones 8 to 10.
  • Flowers: Deciduous varieties bloom in summer through autumn before leaves appear.
  • Flower Details: Lily-like. Small. White, red, pink. Clustered, as an umbel atop a leafless stem.
  • Fruit: Small red berries. Summer through autumn.
  • Foliage: Deciduous or Evergreen. Linear. Flat. Stiff stems. Larger plants may develop two stems.
  • Sow Outside: Usually grown from bulbs as seed grown Nerine typically take four to five years to bloom.
    Seeds: Surface. Autumn using fresh ripe seed.
    Bulbs: 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm). Beginning of autumn. Spacing 5 to 8 inches (12.5—20 cm). Bulb grown Nerine usually bloom in the second year.
  • Sow Inside: Autumn using fresh ripe seed. Germination time: 1—3 weeks. Temperature: 65 to 70°F (18—21°C). Transplant outdoors following the last frost or in autumn.
  • Requirements and care: Full sunlight or slight shade. Good drainage. Moist soil. Regular watering during dry periods to keep soil moist during growing season, but do not overwater. Do not water at the start of blooming. Resume watering once all flowers are in bloom. Crowd plants for best results. Propagate: by dividing bulbs in the autumn.
  • Family: Amaryllidaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Amaryllis plants.
  • Miscellaneous: Makes a great cut flower for a vase, as it is able to survive for up to two weeks (in water).

How to Grow Nerine

Guernsey, Jersey lily, and other Nerine members can be grown from seeds or bulbs.

The bulbs should be planted about 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) deep and about 12 to 20 cm (5 to 8 inches) apart at the start of autumn.

Nerine seeds should be sown on the surface using fresh seed as soon as it is produced in the autumn.

Nerines can grow in sunny or lightly shaded areas that have good drainage. Though the soil should be kept moist.

If starting indoors then sow Guernsey lily seeds using fresh seed as soon as available. Itwill take around two to three weeks to germinate at 18 to 21 degrees centigrade (64 to 70°F).

Once plants are growing well, transplant the Nerine seedlings into the garden the following spring, after the last frost has occurred. It should take about five years for seed grown Guernsey lilies produce flowers.

Caring for Guernsey Lily and other Nerine plants

Not the easiest of plants to look after, Guernsey lily and other Nerine plant genus members require watering regularly until they start to bloom. Stop watering while they are blooming, but resume once flowering has finished. Watering should continue even after the leaves have died back.

For best results grow the plants close together.

If you require more Nerine lily plants then propagate by dividing the bulbs in late autumn.

Common Questions

How many members does the Nerine genus contain?

The Nerine genus has approximately 30 species. These plants are native to South Africa, and are known for their showy, lily-like flowers.

Do Nerine members make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Nerine species are excellent for adding late season color to the garden. Their vibrant, star-shaped flowers are perfect for borders and containers.

Which Nerine species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The most frequently grown species is Nerine bowdenii, known for its beautiful pink flowers that bloom in the fall.

Are Nerine plants fragrant?

While the flowers of Nerine are striking, they are typically not fragrant.

What is the perfect location to grow Nerine?

Nerine prefers a sunny location with well-drained soil. It's also beneficial to provide shelter from harsh winter conditions as they are somewhat tender.

Is Nerine invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Nerine species are not currently listed as invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Nerine plants from my garden?

Nerine bulbs can be dug up when the plant is dormant. Ensure you get the entire bulb to prevent regrowth.


Nerine is a genus within the Amaryllidaceae family that is known for its vibrant, lily-like flowers. They are mostly autumn-flowering bulbs and their stunning blooms make them an attractive addition to any garden.

Nerine plants prefer a sunny position with well-drained soil. Bulbs should be planted in the spring or early summer, with the neck of the bulb above the soil surface. These plants are hardy and, once established, require very little maintenance, adding a splash of color to borders or containers in the cooler months.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Nerine plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Allium schoenoprasum, Persimmon, Helictotrichon sempervirens and Sprekelia plants.