Friday, January 23, 2015

My favorite plant of the week: Leucadendron salignum 'Chief'

While doing some work in our dry garden last Sunday, I suddenly noticed how nice my Leucadendon salignum 'Chief' was looking.  It's a good-looking shrub when viewed from a distance.

Photographed looking north toward my neighbor's fence

Photographed looking southeast


But, when I looked at it up close, I was surprised to see that it was blanketed in small yellow and pink "flowers."  The flowers are actually colored bracts surrounding a central yellow cone.  I don't remember it flowering like this last year.

The tag that came with the plant described the flowers as blonde and pink

It also has beautiful red stems


Like many other Leucadendrons, its winter color is dramatically different from its summer color.

Summer foliage (photograph taken in early August 2013)


Leucadendron in the salignum species or with salignum parentage seem to fare particularly well in my garden.  I planted 'Chief' in January 2013.  It's currently about 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide but it may eventually reach 6-8 feet tall and wide.  Native to South Africa, it has low water requirements but it needs full sun.  It's said to be hardy to 30F (minus 1C).

Still fixated on the "flowers," I compared it to Leucadendron Wilson's Wonder.

Current photo of Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' in my front garden


Although, at maturity, the shrubs should be roughly equivalent in size, their flower size is dramatically different, as you can see here.

A stem of 'Wilson's Wonder' is on the left and 'Chief' is on the right


Leucadendron salignum 'Chief' is my favorite plant this week (even if 'Wilson's Wonder' is one of my favorite plants of all time).  This post is offered in connection with Loree's favorites meme at danger garden.  Loree presents her monthly favorites wrap-up on the last Friday of the month.


 All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

24 comments:

  1. I am super jealous of those who can grow leucadendrons in the ground and cymbidiums on their porches (but that's another story). Beautiful!

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    1. I won't mention my Cymbidiums, then... ;)

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  2. Just love it's elegant slender leaves and of course it's colour too!

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    1. The difference between the summer and winter color of these plants always amazes me.

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  3. These are wonderful, undemanding plants and I suppose the best thing is, the more you cut the flowers for the house, the more the shrub rewards you with a longer-lived, bushier, healthier plant that flowers more often. What's not to like? :-), Matt

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    1. Leucadendrons have a mixed reputation here Matt. One (very good) local gardener I know claimed that 1 in 3 die in her experience. I'd never lost any prior to last summer when 2 relatively new plants died virtually overnight. I know that phosphorus in the soil (or fertilizers) can cause problems.

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  4. I've had a few plants that took a year to get established before blooming. Maybe your Chief was just biding its time. I honestly think I might like the smaller flowers better, but its hard to say from photos. I certainly love their coloration, summer and winter. Now I'm off to see if any of their relatives are considered native to my area!

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    1. 'Wilson's Wonder' is more dramatic in the landscape but the flowers on 'Chief' are sweeter. I think you're right that 'Chief' didn't hit its stride until this year - I can't believe I simply missed the flowers last year.

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  5. Beautiful! I'm so jealous. And glad that you're taking advantage of what you can grow...

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    1. I now have a very large number of Australian and Mediterranean plants (not to mention succulents) in this garden and I don't expect that I'm done yet...

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  6. Very cool plant! 'Blonde and pink' makes it sound a bit like a sorority girl. ;o)

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    1. Ha! Blonde and pink could also describe me (although the blonde is maintained with the assistance of my hairdresser these days) but I never belonged to a sorority.

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  7. So exciting to see all your exotic plants.
    Many of them have never seen before.
    How nice it has grown up around the stone plates.
    best regards
    Mariana

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    1. I am glad you can enjoy the photos Mariana. I realize a Leucadendron could never survive in your climate - perhaps not even in a greenhouse.

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  8. Both of these are great. I smiled at the "blonde and pink" description. I love it when I find an unexpected flower or other botanical goodie in my garden.

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    1. That Leucadendron has been in place for 2 years now but I really can't remember seeing flowers like this on it last year so it did come as a surprise.

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  9. I love Leucodendron! Loree set me onto them. I just wish I lived where I could grow them outside. It's nice to garden vicariously through your blog. I'm a big fan of Australian and Mediterranean plants in general. I like that 'Chief' changes color from summer to winter. It reminds me of my undergrad advisor and one of her favorite sayings, "Plants are dynamic!"

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    1. Within my ever-expanding collection, Leucadendron 'Chief' and "Wilson's Wonder' undergo the most dramatic summer-to-winter transitions Evan. The silvery Leucadendrons don't seem to morph as much but that's alright as they're gorgeous just the way they are.

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  10. Having been raised in southern California, I realize that I've become more of a fan of English cottage gardens now in a place where we have a lot of water—Portland, Oregon. But I recognize the Leucondendron and certainly admire its summer foliage. California seems like such a different world now. I recall—as a kid—sliding down hills of iceplant on cooking sheets because we didn't have snow. The temps were the same in summer as they were in winter, frequently. Yet, when I think of the abundance of color everywhere, no matter when, that is pretty great!

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    1. Coastal Southern California is the land of year-round gardens, Susie. I do wish we got more rain though!

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  11. I can easily understand how 'Wilson's Wonder' is one of your favorite plants of all time. For a goldish leuc, I chose 'Safari Goldstrike' and 'Golden Tip,' but why oh why didn't I just get a 'Wilson's Wonder'??

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    1. Unfortunately, I managed to kill L. 'Golden Tip' last year, which was very disappointing. I may try it again somewhere else as the spot I originally chose seems to kill one plant after another after another. I put a 2nd 'Wilson's Wonder' in when I began planting my front garden space and, although it's a fraction of the size of my established specimen, it's already blooming and looking good. If you have space, both Armstrong and Deep Roots had 'Wilson's Wonder' on hand the last time I checked...

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  12. The summer color of that plant is very striking. I like the pink and lime flowers too.

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    1. I love the fact that it's so different in appearance during our cool and "warm" (hot!) seasons too.

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