Magazine article Sunset

Nothing's Subtle about Statice

Magazine article Sunset

Nothing's Subtle about Statice

Article excerpt

Showy blooms in vibrant colors are long-lasting in bouquets and in the garden

IN GARDENS AND IN florists' bouquets, statice (Limonium) is no shrinking violet. Its vibrant blooms announce their presence in shades of bright white to deep purple. Drifts of naturalized purple L. perezii thrive in wind and salt spray along the California coast from Monterey to San Diego, and flowers of the annual L. sinuatum are staples of florists for their long-lasting beauty in bouquets. These and the statice listed here are good for cutting, are mostly easy to grow, and air-dry well.

Appearance varies by species, but most have basal rosette-forming leaves and clusters of small papery flowers on nearly leafless stems.

Plants require excellent drainage and full sun (light afternoon shade in hot inland climates). They tolerate heat; once established, the perennials withstand some drought.

Nurseries sell a few types of statice. Seed catalogs offer the best selection; now is the time to order. Since seeds are slow to germinate (two to three weeks), it's best to start them indoors about eight weeks before planting outdoors. Transplant them in April in mildest climates, May elsewhere.

ANNUALS FOR QUICK COLOR

L. sinuatum (also sold as L. sinuata) has deeply lobed leaves. Flowers open in flat clusters atop rigid, branching stems; they come in white, yellow, pink, apricot, blue, and lavender, and seeds are available in mixed or individual colors. Most of these plants reach 24 to 30 inches tall; dwarf strains are 10 to 12 inches. Cut flowers often to encourage more blooms.

L. suworowii (also called Psylliostachys suworowii and Russian statice) has slender 1 1/2-foot spikes of tiny lavender-pink or bright rose flowers. …

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