Sunday, November 18, 2012

Summer Colours

Summer is within reach!  The days are longer and warmer and the first early summer flowering Leucaspermums are starting to bloom.  Leucaspermums are a species of plants within the Protea family.  They are native to South Africa, although here in Australia they are often called "natives".  They do resemble a lot of our Australian Proteaceae - they seem like a cross between a waratah and a grevillea, with a great variety of colours.  Leucaspermums usually flower in late spring and early summer.  Here at Swallows Nest Farm, we have 5 different varieties.  The one pictured is a hybrid called Mardi Gras with bright yellow stamens and red inner petals that give an overall colour of golden yellow.  

In bud form, they are silvery and hairy.  Then the bud starts to swell and out pop the stamens exposing both the yellow and the red.  It's an explosion of colour!

Mardi Gras are one of the earlier flowering Leucaspermums that we grow here.  The other is called Scarlet Ribbons.  These two are available from mid November up until Christmas, give or take a week depending on the seasonal weather.  These plants produce a large crop of flowers in a short space of time.  

Leucaspermums are long lasting flowers like most proteas, if they are handled correctly.  They must be packed carefully though, because they have a tendency to loose their heads!  The flower can easily pop off the stem if they are handled roughly.

Leucaspermums love to be pruned and will produce many more flowers next year, if this years flowers are picked.  They are ready to pick when the first yellow stamens start to emerge.  They will continue to open once they are in a vase.

I love this early flowering variety that has the colours of summer!

1 comment:

  1. Hi again from South Africa!! Most of our leucs have just finished flowering! What a good year it was! Your Mardi Gras closely resembles the Veld Fire I have though it appears they look different in bud. My Sanguines and Soleil were equally good this year. I want to plant some successions next year too.
    So nice to read your blog and experience your enthusiasm.
    Kemp Myburgh