May 24, 2016

For Love of Lewisias

For Love of Lewisias

Lewisia Redivia: Beautiful, pink or white.

I mentioned Lewisia redivia in my last post and waxed, if not eloquently, at least enthusiastically about it. It’s undoubtedly my favorite Lewisia but I grow at least five other species from seed, all of which have their positive attributes.

Nevadensis: Such a wonderful lightning-white blossom.

Pygmaea: Exquisite small pink or lilac flowers.

Longipetala: Pinkish blooms.

Tweedyi: Only managed to carry two plants over from last year, but stunning when in bloom (mine a creamy salmon/apricot). I’m wondering if they will bloom this year, and in fact, I seem to have misplaced one of them.

Cotyledon: Blooms in a variety of warm, even somewhat ‘garish’ colours. Much hybridized.

The biggest challenge to growing Lewisias, at least here in the northwest of the northwest, is preventing them from rotting during the winter or early spring. Germination is the easy part and I keep a healthy stock in pots which I am able to protect during the winter, but even then I loose too many. Those in the garden I consider annuals once planted out and it is a pleasant surprise when a few manage to defy our damp weather and burst into colourful song in spring.

Human nature is a fickle thing and placing a plant into a medium that is 80%, or more, grit, gravel and sand seems somehow contrary to common sense, even cruel, but that is what they need, and I suppose, enjoy. They develop a considerable carrot-like tap root to access the moisture they need from deep underground, while keeping the upper part, their succulent leafy rosettes, high and dry. Cold is not a problem, provided it is of the alpine Rocky Mountain variety - a winter land of dry powder snow, not a covering of the heavy, almost cement like stuff we often suffer through. 

For some reason the only pictures I can locate easily are of redivide and cotyledon, sorry.

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