Friday, September 2, 2016

Plant profile: Limonium

Nearly always flowering!
Latin name: Limonium perezii ("lim-OH-nee-um per-EZ-ee-eye")
Common name: Statice, Sea Lavender, Marsh Rosemary
Originally from: Tenerife, The Canary Islands
Blooms: All. The. Time.
Light: Full sun
Water: Survived severe drought! Occasional summr water is appreciated.
Drainage: Excellent
Height x width: 2-3' tall and wide
USDA Zones: 9a-11
Where to find in P. Garden: In the front border there are three.
Limonium is a genus of 120 flower species from many areas of the world - Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and North America; there's even a California native one - and several of them are popular in the garden. The majority though come from the Mediterranean, and the one we have is L. perezii and it's a tough, xeric plant!

Considered to be a rare and vulnerable species in its native habitat on one small part of the island of Tenerife, it's conversely very common in the garden trade and you can pick these up cheaply at Home Despot et al anytime.

Beautiful purple flowers
The name for the genus comes from the Latin word limonion used by Pliny for a wild plant which came from the Ancient Greek word "leimon" meaning "meadow". This plant was originally named Statice perezii by Otto Stapf, an Austrian botanist, presumably to honor Dr. George V. Perez, a medical doctor who sent seed of several different Statice species to Kew in 1902. These plants were changed to Limonium by Harvard University botanist Frederic Hubbard in 1916. 

They are grown both for their flowers and for the appearance of the calyx, which dries up and remains on the plant after the true flowers have fallen, and are known as "everlasting flowers."

This plant has been doing great in the very dry, hot front border. It also tolerates salt spray and desert heat so an excellent plant for seaside plantings and also in dry gardens. It will occasionally seed around but not much.

Little maintenance is required other than to remove dead flower stalks and to divide the plants every 2 to 3 years in the spring to freshen them up.

I recommend 'em!

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