Saturday, May 14, 2016

Perfect flower on Leucospermum ‘Goldie’

It’s no secret that I love the Proteaceae family. Most of these Southern Hemisphere shrubs—think of the sugarbushes (proteas), conebushes (leucadendrons) and pincushions (leucospermus) from South Africa, or grevilleas and banksias from Australia, to name just a few—have beautiful foliage, stunning flowers or both.

The pincushions (leucospermums) aren’t all that blessed in the leaf department, but they more than make up for it with their stunning inflorescences. Just take a look at some of the images on Google to see what I mean!

Unfortunately, leucospermums have proven challenging to grow here in Davis. Unlike leucadendrons, grevilleas and banksias, with which I’ve had good luck, leucospermums seem to be more sensitive to the summer heat and winter cold (even in a mild-winter climate like ours). My beloved Leucospermum ‘Scarlet Ribbon’ died a sudden death last summer, probably because the spot it was in was too hot.

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Leucospermum cuneiforme ‘Goldie’ flower on April 21, 2016

But I have one leucospermum left. It’s a cultivar called ‘Goldie’, which I bought at the Ruth Bancroft Garden 2014 Spring Plant Sale. Plantzafrica.com says it’s a named selection of Leucospermum cuneiforme, a “stout” shrub and the “most widespread” of the pincushions. Other than that, I haven’t been able to find much information about it, especially in relation to other leucospermum species. But I remember buying ‘Goldie’ because Ryan at Ruth Bancroft Garden thought it would do well in my garden. And it has done OK, growing in a container on the backyard patio (see photo at the bottom of this post).

In early January, I noticed what I was hoping was a flower bud, its first ever. There were other nubbins I took to be flower buds, but they turned out to be new leaves. But this one bud did indeed became a flower. In the space of two weeks, it turned from what you see above into this:

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And it’s only been getting better. I cannot help but take photos of it from all angles. If you think this post has too many pictures of the same flower, rest assured I’m only showing you some of them.

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I think this flower is perfection.

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I will admit that I’m partial to the red and orange pincushions, but there’s something so cheery about this shade of yellow.

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OK, a few more photos, just because I can.

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Here is the entire plant. It’s not very large. I may move it to a larger container so it has more room to grow. But first I’ll wait until it’s done flowering.

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Note: Proteacea have very specific cultivation requirements. Here is a short and sweet introduction. San Marcos Growers has more technical information.

14 comments:

  1. Very pretty! Im glad this one decided to flower for you, and it's so cheerful too!

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  2. Sweet! Not too many photos, I would have enjoyed a few more.

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  3. Perfection indeed! The colour, symmetry....

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    1. No wonder leucospermums are so popular as cut flowers (albeit expensive).

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  4. I don't blame you for the photo frenzy Gerhard. It's just torture to go down to the central coast and see those gigantic blooming specimens everywhere- I would be thrilled to have one of my own. Did you move or cover it this past winter ?

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    1. I know! I couldn't get over the way leucospermums grow on the Central Coast. Like they're native!

      I didn't do anything special to mine. It's on the backyard patio where it gets a bit of protection from a bay tree overhead. I didn't cover it in the winter. Hoover Boo did point that the brown leaf tips might me from the roots getting too warm. I will repot it after it's done blooming and mulch it better.

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  5. 'Goldie' is very pretty! Congratulations on getting it to bloom stage. I've never been successful with these plants either but nonetheless added another ('Brandi') in late March. So far, the plant looks fine but there's no sign of any flowers yet (not that I really expected any this year). I know exactly what drives the photo extravaganza - I did the same thing with Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream' when I got my first blooms (and that plant still gets more than its fair share of paparazzi action).

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    1. 'Brandi' is orange, right? According to San Marcos Growers, it's a hybrid between Leucospermum reflexum and Leucospermum lineare. Not that I know what that means in terms of cultivation, LOL.

      My Grevillea 'Superb' has a few flower buds. Can't wait. It's been much slower to get going than 'Peaches & Cream'.

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  6. Oh, to be able to grow that - wonderful. I would have gone nuts with the camera too! :)

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    1. But all the wonderful plants you can grow in Portland...

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  7. There is nothing like a great flower to bring on a photo shoot.

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