Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Clianthus puniceus, my favorite plant in the garden this week...

A week, or maybe two, ago Kaveh Maguire of Plant Propaganda mentioned his Clianthus puniceus was about to bloom. Remembering that we each planted our plants at nearly the same time I felt a bit of jealousy and wished my plant was doing the same. Of course you should know Kaveh lives in Los Osos, California, a climate this New Zealand native might find a little more to its liking than Portland, Oregon. But guess what…

My plant has little buds on it!

How thrilled am I? Very. It’s extra exciting when a plant you weren't even sure would live does so AND decides to bloom. I feel like I've won the lottery! It’s not the most graceful of plants; last summer while I wasn't paying attention it flung out three long stems one of which I had to prune back. The other two are growing out in a direction that allows for limitless exuberance, we'll see where it takes them.

In case your wondering (I understand mere buds may not be enough for everyone) here's what the flowers look like, photo borrowed from Annie's Annuals (which happens to be where I bought my plant, last spring)

And if you're interested in growing it, the stats:
  • Forms an attractive, evergreen, multi-branching shrub to 4’ tall x 4’-6’wide
  • 3” long “parrot-beak” red blooms held in clusters along the branches in the spring (possible second lesser bloom in summer)
  • Prefers rich well drained soil
  • Hardy to 13° F
  • Attracts birds
  • Full sun to half day sun depending on location
  • Perennial, USDA zones 8-11
  • Water: average to moist
  • Also known as: parrot's beak, parrot's bill and lobster claw

Assuming my excitement isn't premature and actual flowers develop I will be sharing them...hopefully soon.

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