Saturday, July 14, 2012

Springstar flower. Ipheion uniflorum

The opening bud of a Springstar flower showing the distinctive deep maroon marking on the back of the petals. The common pale mauve form, pictured above, fades as it ages and looks as if the colour has been painted on by a watercolour brush.

 First year plants in production are just starting to flower but will take another two years before they reach a well developed clump and a saleable size.

 Cultivar 'Bright Star' starts off as milky blue with a thin blue line down the centre of each petal before changing to snow white after a few days
Cultivar 'Froyle Mill' is a dark purple mauve and the largest type.
Spring Starflowers or Ipheion are in the family Liliaceae and hail from Argentina and Uruguay. At various times they have been included in the Genus' Brodiaea, Milla and Triteleia. They are one of the easiest and most reliable winter flowering bulbs to grow and are tolerant of a wide range of climatic conditions, flourishing in a full sun or shade position. They form a small clump of grassy garlic scented leaves, about 15cm long, and are not fussy as to soil type as long as it is free draining. They make an attractive edging plant or look good when mass planted under deciduous trees or mixed with shade loving perennials such as Helleborus or other winter flowering bulbs such as Cyclamen. As with many bulbs, foliage remains until early summer and then dies off. During that summer holiday they take it is important not to let some other more vigorous ground cover plant take over their spot or they may struggle to push up new leaves the following autumn.  Bulbs can always be lifted and stored if this is likely to be an issue but you miss out on their natural habit of producing lots of offset bulbs and increasing in clump size.

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