Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My favorite plant this week: Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder'

My favorite plant this week is one I've featured here and there in earlier posts, Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder.'  This is one of the relatively few plants I brought with me from our former home when we moved 3 years ago.  There, it was in a large clay pot in the driveway close to the front door in one of the few sunny spots we had with a Abelia 'Kaleidoscope' at its base.  I planted it in the ground here at the front of the house shortly after we moved in.  The Abelia, its roots tied almost inextricably with those of the Leucadendron, remained at its base.

Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder,' photographed in January



This plant is attractive year round.  In mid-August, I featured the new bracts, which glowed red.

The same Leucadendron, photographed in mid-August

Close-up of Leucadendron bracts in August



In winter, yellow cones form and the surrounding bracts take on a pale yellow shade.




Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder,' which hails from South Africa, grows about 6 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide.  It prefers full sun but can tolerate a little partial shade.  It likes well-drained soil and is moderately drought tolerant.  It's reported to be frost tolerant to 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-4C).  It's adapted to USDA zones 9-11 (Sunset zones 16, 17, 20-24 and H1).

The "flowers," which appear in late winter to early spring, are useful in flower arrangements.  The cones, as they mature, will turn brown.





I have a few other Leucadendrons in my garden, all newer introductions; however, none yet make the splash created by 'Wilson's Wonder.'

Leucadendron salignum 'Chief,' which was planted last January

Leucadendron 'Ebony,' acquired in September, hasn't done much since it was planted

Leucadendron 'Pisa' is in a pot for now but I have great hopes for it




L. 'Wilson's Wonder' is my contribution to Loree's weekly meme at danger garden highlighting her favorite plants.  You can see her current selection and those offered by other gardeners, here.


10 comments:

  1. Wow, wow! Yellow then red then yellow, sunshine and colour in one plant. But have to say that Ebony looks gorgeous too!

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    1. 'Ebony' certainly has dramatic color. It hasn't grown much since it was planted but, so far, it seems happy enough with its spot.

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  2. Love the look of this plant! thanks for sharing it with us, it might do well for me, the red stems are great and the purple leafed variety is fabulous too.

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    1. If you don't get cold below -4C, Christina, Leucadendron are definitely worth a try.

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  3. So so beautiful! Thank you for sharing the different stages of this plant for those of us that don't get to see them go through the bud to open "flower" stage. Someday I hope to make it to the Santa Cruz arboretum so I can be in Proteaceae heaven. Have you been?

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    1. No, I've never been to Santa Cruz but my niece lives there now so I may have reason to get up that way someday, in which case I'll check it out. Maui has some nice Protea farms you might want to visit if you get over to Hawaii.

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  4. Absolutely gorgeous! I do wish I could grow Leucodendron here. I'm not surprised you brought it with you when you moved. It would be impossible to leave such a lovely thing behind.
    Chloris

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    1. I actually wish I'd dug up a good bit of my old garden before I left, Chloris - I'm willing to bet that the new owners tore out many of my plants to put in grass.

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  5. Very pretty! It reminds me a bit of a euphorbia. I would have wanted to bring it with me, too. :o)

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    1. The coloring is similar to some Euphorbia - it's just much, much bigger...

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