Perennial bulb, native to South Africa, with strap-shaped leaves and umbels of up to 20 lily-like flowers. The plant is dormant during summer, sending up flower stems in early autumn, with new leaves emerging soon afterwards. The leaves are rather like those of Agapanthus. The bright reddish orange flowers are funnel-shaped with recurved petals and protruding stamens. Breeding has led to several hybrids and cultivars with flower colours ranging from white to pink, red, and purple.
It is not clear how bulbs of this South African plant ended up on the island of Guernsey more than 300 years ago, but they continue to be grown there for cut flower production.
Nerine sarniensis prefers well-draining soil and full sun or a position where it receives sunlight for at least half of the day. Plant with the top part of the bulb (neck) exposed. Keep dry during summer, but, depending on the amount of rain fall, regular watering may be required during the growing season. Careful with fertilising, in particular with fertilsers high in nitrogen; this may encourage leaf-growth at the expense of flower production. Flowering can be erratic and fluctuating from year to year, possibly due to variations in environmental conditions.Tolerates brief periods of moderate frosts. Propagate by division, detaching the new bulbs that form around the main bulb, and replanting them straight away.
Allow this beauty to be the star of early autumn and combine with plants that take over that role at other times of the year. Flowers last well on water. If you live in an area with cold winters, you can still enjoy Nerine sarniensis by growing the plant in a container and moving it indoors to overwinter in a well-lit place with good ventilation.