Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chinese dunce caps, or Orostachys iwarenge...

Over the years there have been so many plants in the Annie’s Annuals catalogues which capture my attention, one such plant is the Chinese dunce cap, or Orostachys iwarenge.

Last June at the Friends of Manito plant sale in Spokane, WA, I had the chance to pick up a couple of 4” containers. Here’s what they looked like then…

As they first started to get their "cap"...

And now, as a dunce cap has truly taken shape …

Annie’s description: “Beginning as a low dense spreading mat (to 12” across) of lovely small blue-grey rosettes, it soon forms a multitude of totally cool pinkish conical spires inspiring one to imagine a little elfin cityscape. In late Summer-Fall, the spires reach 6” tall, blossoming with pink & white frilly flowers much like a miniature “Tower of Jewels”…Will die after flowering but it self-sows & makes side rosettes to repeat its magic every year!”

I only know one person who has grown this plant and she’d never had any luck with them self-sowing as Annie says they will. Have you?

Not all of the clump is forming a cap so I hope some of these will live on to entertain me next year…

29 comments:

  1. What a cool plant! I've never heard of it before. Those little ones that didn't turn into dunce caps must be the side rosettes mentioned in the catalogue. Yeah, here's hoping they live till next year.

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    1. That's what I'm hoping for! Plus I'm enjoying watching them get even taller.

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  2. I had them once and they did not re-sow for me.......but of course that would not stop me from buying them again. There are a few plants that no matter how many times I lose them I will purchase again. I love their little structures!

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    1. Bummer, that makes no Portlander's with no luck on the re-sowing!

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  3. If you broke off one of the caps and kept if from blooming would that piece stay alive?

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    1. I doubt it. Like an agave I think once it gets going it's determined, and all you'd do is end up robbing yourself of the bloom.

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  4. I think the tall ones look like pagodas they are cool

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    1. Definitely and they are even taller now!

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  5. Those are sop fun! I had not even heard of them. Definitely worth a try! I hope they self seed and live on for you.

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    1. Do you get the Annie's catalogue Louis?

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  6. Those are absolutely adorable!

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  7. I grew this a couple of years ago and loved it but some dunce let it get too wet or something during the winter after being far too dry during the summer and it went to succulent heaven. Yours looks much better than mine did!

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  8. Those are so cool! Tag says they like sun, I wonder if they can take our heat in Texas. So many hardy succulents will not grow here.

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    1. Might be worth a try, especially if you had something nearby to shade it part of the day.

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  9. This is one of the few success stories in the gravel berm that was supposed to Agave heaven. Hadn't heard the common name for them, but it fits.

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    1. So are they still growing for you? Reseeding, flowering and on and on?

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    2. Yes...they wander around that berm. Not sure if it is by seed or by rooting, but there have been a few new ones each year for about five years now, flowers and all.

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  10. Wow, this Orostachys is a new one to me. I was only familiar with Orostachys spinosa before (which I managed to kill by overwatering,oops!) and this one look entirely different (and much prefer I'd say).

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    1. I think I underwatered them a bit over the summer but they took the abuse and kept on going!

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  11. Amazing!!! What a neat group of succulents. I never get bored with all their various shapes. Nice work and have fun. I have given up with this group of plants. It's too hot here or I overwater. The only group that works for me are the Aloes.

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    1. Of all the succulents you have to stick to just the aloes??? Wow....that's too bad!

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  12. Very cool...I do remember seeing those on Annie's site as well...too cute!

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    1. I don't think she had any in the nursery when JJ and I visited otherwise I would have bought some then.

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  13. Oh my goodness, Zone 5??? I HAVE to have these. Wonderful

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    1. I thought that zone 5 bit might make a few people happy!

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  14. I'm so envious. I've always wanted to grow it, but our summers are just too hot.

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  15. I first saw these at Wave Hill a number of years ago (in their greenhouse); I stumbled across them at Annie's a few years ago and bought some and flew them back to the East - believe or not, I then couldnt decide where to put them so they've lived in their pot for at least 3 years now successfully and I've overwintered them outside in the same spot - I'm now superstitious about trying to plant them somewhere - do you ever get that way? You've managed to keep something in a temporary area or pot, but figure you'll kill it if you move them to a permanent home. I dont know frankly if they've just reseeded in the pot or not, LOL. - Cindy H.

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