Oxypetalum caeruleum – A Good Blue Tender Perennial

Oxypetalum caeruleum - A Good Blue Tender Perennial

December gardeningOxypetalum caeruleum is a South American member of the Milkweed Household which deserves to be higher identified. A reference to it in an English gardening journal aroused my curiosity, and in the summertime I sowed a packet of seeds in a flat. They germinated properly, and within the autumn the little crops have been potted up, and positioned within the greenhouse for the winter. By April they have been ten inches excessive and had begun to bloom. Set open air in Might, in full solar, and in a. pretty wealthy sandy loam they flowered with no day’s interruption till the tip of October after they have been once more potted and brought indoors. They’ve retained all their foliage, and now (arid-January) present indicators of blooming once more. I believe it’s possible that if inspired to take action, they’d flower eight or 9 months out of the twelve.

The final word peak of Oxypetalum – my backyard, at least-is from a foot and a half to 2 toes. Though described as of trailing or twining behavior, my crops have grown upright, with neat stiff stems that want no assist. When damaged, they exude the milky juice attribute of the household, and the lengthy pointed seed pods, full of silken down, are additionally typical. The foliage is mushy grayish-green and of velvety texture. The flowers are star-shaped, an inch or extra throughout, rising in flat clusters excessive of the plant. They final for a number of days, even underneath the most well liked solar, and are the one flowers I’ve ever seen which will be in truth and precisely described as of the purest turquoise blue. This beautiful colour is retained till simply earlier than the blossoms fade after they change to a reasonably mauve.

Final summer time the a part of the border the place my Oxypetalums have been planted gave me explicit pleasure, and since its allure was largely unintentional arid owed little to any cleverness on my half, I could reward it with out undue conceit. The edging was of Convolvulus mauritanicus and the low-growing Verbena bipinnatiflda: then got here the Oxypetalum crops, with a beneficiant mass of Aster frikarti close by. Within the rear, self-sown seedlings of Salvia France got here up so quick that they have been blooming by mid-June, and subsequent to them was a big group of the ornamental Verbena bonariensis, its tall slender wands topped with helio-trope-like flowers. The silvery blue of the low-growing Verbena, Convolvulus, Aster, and Salvia, the turquoise of the Petaluma, and the mushy reddish-purple of the tall Verbena made a delightfully cool and harmonious mixture of colour, which lasted in magnificence from June till frost.

Oxypetalum caeruleum isn’t reliably hardy even within the British Isles however needs to be a very good perennial for Southern gardens. Its beautiful colour and neat development, and its freedom of bloom over so lengthy a season actually make it extremely fascinating for the summer time backyard in northern latitudes, and it has been beneficial additionally as a very good winter pot-plant for the window or cool greenhouse.

by Antoinette Dwight
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