Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lovely Leuco's Part 3

Red Gem are a fabulous Leucadendron.  The protea books all tell you that they are unsuitable as cut flowers, because their stems aren't long enough, but here in Tassie, they are spectacular and regularly grow to 80 and 90 cm stem lengths.  These beautiful red leuco's are so versatile for so many reasons.  They have large flower bracts, tulipy in shape.  Their colour ranges from deep red, early in the season, to bronzey red, and then in winter to bright yellow, before they open to reveal their pollen presenters.  
They are a great plant to grow too - they have a special type of root system called a lignotuber, which means they can shoot stems from old wood, and even from below the ground.  In the "old days" they were regularly pruned with a chainsaw!!! I certainly wouldn't do that to them, but they do love to be pruned, and produce many new flower stems afterwards.  
We don't regularly prune our plants, but use the picking process as an opportunity to prune.  It's such a lovely job, picking these Leuco's. Not only am I rewarded with masses of lovely flowers, but i can almost hear the plants' pleasure knowing that I am also setting them up for a great crop next year.  

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