Friday, 11 October 2013

More Autumn flowering labiates

Following on from my listings of Colquhounia, Elscholzia, Rostrinucula and Keiskea, here are a few more to look at. All have a pleasantly informal easy-going look that is perfectly in keeping with the season. They combine as well with the sunflower types (Helenium, Rudbeckia etc) as they do with the autumn flowering woodlanders such as Tricyrtis. All are ideal for covering up after the Trilliums and Erythroniums are done.

Rabdosia longituba
Isodon longitubus (aka Rabdosia longituba or Plectranthus longitubus)
Despite the indecision over the name, one of the absolute best late flowering perennials, with shoals of clear violet flowers over a long period from late summer and well into autumn.
Rabdosia longituba
The flowers really glow in the low autumn light like tiny violet blue gas flames. The camera never does it justice. Any soil in sun or semi shade. Easy but may not emerge until May or June.
sold out for now - more later in the summer

Plectranthus excisus
Plectranthus excisus
Closely related to the above, this one produces a profusion of violet flowers too, but in long slanting racemes.
Plectranthus excisus
The foliage is also unusual in shape and takes on pleasant tints as the season progresses.
May be late to appear in summer. Very few this year, but more next.
1L pots ~ £8

Chelonopsis moschata
Chelonopsis moschatus
Quite different - this one has tubular pink flowers more like a Penstemon (some of which used to be classified as Chelone - hence the name) and foliage that reminds me a bit of a Hydrangea. This is a rhizomatous perennial, spreading steadily but not in a bad way. Usually grown as a woodlander (where it is admirable) but adaptable, and flowering over a long period.
1L pots ~ £7

Leucosceptrum stellipilum formosanum
Leucosceptrum stellipilum formosanum
Mauve pink bottle-brushes and large (to 6ins) fresh pale green foliage. A lush leafy herbaceous perennial related to Elscholtzia, Agastache and Rostrinucula, and with the same late flowering season - well into November if the weather allows.
Leucosceptrum stellipilum formosanum
Possibly best in sheltered woodland to avoid hot sun and early frosts which can damage the display. Otherwise easy and adaptable.
3L pots ~ £8

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