Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Leptospermum 'Dark Shadows' is my favorite plant in the garden (this week)…

For everyone who’s been frustrated by my featuring plants that aren’t hardy in your zone here’s one I love that isn’t even hardy in my own zone…Leptospermum 'Dark Shadows’

I fell hard for that foliage last spring at the HPSO Plant Sale…damn! Only hardy to Zone 9, but wow…I was in love (it was so small then!)…

Into a container it went.

Okay honestly I really wish I could put this plant in the ground, but I can’t. It spent the winter under the shade pavilion where (because I am a wimp) I did turn the heat on our coldest nights (23F), but I doubt I really needed to.

Isn’t that foliage just gorgeous?

The stats:
  • A shrub or small tree in the Myrtle family, from Australia
  • Blooms in the summer, cream colored flowers (haven’t seen them myself, couldn’t really care less)
  • Size (when set free in the ground) 12-16 ft tall, 15-20 ft wide
  • Full sun, drought tolerant
  • Hardy 20-25F

The only problem it has given me was a brief interlude last summer when I didn’t realize how dry it was and it lost a few leaves. So it might be drought tolerant in the ground but watch it if you’re growing it in a container.

All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

27 comments:

  1. Love it! It looks fantastic in that metal container.

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  2. Oh wow! Beeyootiful.

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    1. I tried to capture the way the colors of the foliage play with the Black Elderberry behind it but no go. Frustrating when you can't get the camera to see what your eye sees!

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  3. I continue to marvel at your incredible design style. It would never occur to me to use a container like that, and Gerhard is right--it looks fantastic.

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    1. You are too kind Ms. C...and should you want a container like that I believe they still have a couple at Garden Fever.

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  4. I'm always drawn to Leptospermum foliage - that one is a beautiful combination of green and red.

    Seeing it in that pot prompts me to go off-topic and ask if you'd sometime be willing to do a post on planting and watering in non-draining pots. I have very few but I know it's possible. I often don't want to have to use a saucer, but I worry about wetness, especially with those plants that require sharp drainage.

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    1. Actually Jane all of my containers have drainage. I use a ceramic drill bit for the pottery and fiberglass containers. For the metal ones just a large nail and a hammer. This particular one has a screw and wing nut that connects the top to the bottom, it drains sufficiently through that hole. I have a collection of small triangular pot "feet" that I to use on most of the larger containers to elevate them from the patio surface. The smaller ones don't get such a treatment.

      The only containers that don't have holes in them are the orange circle pot (http://dangergarden.blogspot.com/2012/04/how-early-should-you-celebrate-your.html) and the small ones that hang under the shade pavilion (http://dangergarden.blogspot.com/2012/08/thats-better.html). These I just water sparingly.

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  5. I love Jane's idea for a post. I'd like that too. You have a way to provide winter heat in your shade pavilion? Do you use a portable space heater?

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    1. Hey Alison I hope I answered your and Jane's questions above...or at least convinced you that I don't know a thing about planting and watering in non-draining pots (sorry to disappoint).

      As for the heat source yes, it's just a portable space heater. Not a terribly efficient thing but I only use it on the nights when it might get really cold. It's on a timer so it doesn't have to run all night. I try to only have plants under the pavilion that are hardy to the low 20's/upper teens.

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  6. Another completely wonderful plant! I wonder, if we lived in a warmer climate, do you suppose we'd go to this trouble to cool things like lilacs, peonies, etc?

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    1. I have wondered that myself. If I grew up on Phoenix would I long for a beautiful Rhododendron?

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  7. You took me home to my Aussie childhood with this wonderful family of plants. This indeed is a beautiful selection. I admire your resolve to get it through the winter. Now I live in the Midwest, my memories of my natives still inspire me. Good luck with this beaut. Aussie expressio.n

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    1. Glad to have taken you home for a bit Patrick, I have a sickness when it comes to overwintering non-climate appropriate plants. Thankfully this one turned out well!

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  8. Really, that plant/container combo is just perfect!

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    1. Thank you Sue! I think it was hiding up under the shade pavilion when you were here (right about the time it got really dry and dropped some leaves)...

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  9. It looks perfect in its pot Loree, and looks a lot hardier than is supposed to be as well (just by appearance, but then again appearances can be deceiving).

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    1. You know I thought the same thing when I picked it up (hardy), thinking it was something I could put in the ground. Ah well...

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  10. Leptospermum is a big favorite of mine right now. The next one in my yard will be L. grandiflorum, but I'm thinking about the right plant combos for 'Washington Park' and the silver form one too...

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    1. Pondering the possibilities is half the fun isn't it?

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  11. Lovely plant, lovely pot, lovely husband, whose shade pavilion makes it all possible.

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  12. Wow. How is it I've never seen this plant before? I might have purchased it for the name alone ('Dark Shadows' was a favorite show when I was a kid) but it's also an absolutely beautiful plant. Thanks for the introduction. The hunt now begins...

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    1. Good luck! I wish I could remember what nursery I bought it from to help point you in a promising direction.

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    2. p.s. have you seen the movie? Loved it...

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  13. Yes, the Leptos... I've been there and done that with those guys too. It hurts so bad when they die. You're smart to keep this one in the pavilion. It would be heartbreaking to lose it.

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    1. And I've suffered enough plant heartbreak! (however no doubt there will be more)

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