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.

28 comments:

  1. Very cool. That is a "new to me" type plant. I really love the foliage. It's like fern meats cycad.

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  2. That is an amazing flower! I hope yours comes into full bloom.

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    1. Me too. I was out there looking at it again yesterday but no change, yet...

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  3. Very timely post! I was wondering about my own plant just the other day. Mine is tiny (I didn't buy it until last fall) but based on your post, I have high hopes for it.

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    1. Gerhard I can't believe how fast that thing grew! Especially if you take in to consideration that I almost killed it before I planted it (got way too dry and many of the leaves turned crispy and fell off).

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  4. There are few things as rewarding as having a plant not only live, but thrive!

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  5. Hooray! I had a couple of these, purchased while heavily budded, in my garden and LOVED them to bits one was pink like yours and another was called Cardinal Red or something like that. Anyway, PKW = DYK (dead you know.) I hope yours lives to enjoy many bloomtimes to come!

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    1. I swear you either have grown, or are currently growing, every cool plant there is! Where did you find yours? Also Annie's calls those flowers red, although I do agree they are a little on the pink side in the photo. Was yours obviously redder? I really don't need another pink flower in my garden.

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  6. Wow - it's like a really pretty Locust Tree. Even has the thorns. Hope the Hummers like it!

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    1. Hey you're right, the foliage is very Locust-esque although evergreen thank goodness (I hated cleaning up the little leaves that fell from the Locust at my last house). My photos are lying to you though...there aren't any thorns.

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  7. Ciao, mi piace il tuo blog perchè ci sono piante che qui non crescono (io sono in zona USDA 6/6.5). Ancora complimenti :)
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    Hello, I like your blog because there are plants that not grow here (I'm in USDA zone 6/6.5). Congratulations again :)

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    1. Thank you for visiting and commenting pontos!

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  8. Molly LittlejohnFebruary 27, 2013

    LOVE IT! Might have to look for that one this season.

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    1. Indeed you should, please let me know if you find one locally!

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  9. Lucky you! Not only are the flowers gorgeous and so exotic, the foliage is lovely as well!

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    1. I was thinking of buying another one from Annie's this spring...but now I see they aren't currently available. Bummer!

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  10. yes very exotic...what zone is it?

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  11. Those flowers are really awesome! No wonder you have this cool plant in your garden.

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    1. Truth be told I loved it just for it's foliage but the flowers certainly take it to another level!

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  12. Yes, I was thinking to myself "but Loree doesn't even LIKE flowers all that much". Dangling lobster claws, though, might be an altogether different story.

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    1. Exactly! Plus it's the unusualness of the thing. (I know that's not really a word but it should be!)

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  13. Mine has lots of branches and one of them is in full bloom. I'll have to have a look tomorrow to see if there are any little buds on the others. I had no idea it was going to bloom so early in the year. I agree that it is sort of a wild thing. Branches flailing around all over the place. The one that is blooming was so heavy I had to stake it up because the blooms were laying on the ground.

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    1. Good to know about the staking, I'll watch it because it might break if it bends over the edge of my retaining wall!

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  14. I'm interested to see what color yours turns out to be. I think they are quite variable. Mine is much brighter red than the picture from Annie's and I have a similar Lessertia (Sutherlandia) that bloomed too and it had red and white flowers instead of the expected deep red.

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    1. Uhm...very interesting indeed. Maybe I'm glad it's not more prominently placed in the garden.

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