I picked up my first Leucadendron, 'Wilson's Wonder', years before we moved to our current location. My former garden was a tiny, shady space behind a townhouse, not at all suitable for this plant. I put it in a large pot in our driveway, one of the few spots we had that received a decent amount of sun. There it stayed until we moved to our current location 7+ years ago, when I finally put it in the ground.
|I planted this one elsewhere in the front garden in November 2014. It's still smaller than the first but it's working on catching up.|
|Here's a photo of the same plant back in January. Its "flowers" are actually yellow bracts surrounding central cones. The plant has radically different personalities during the winter and summer seasons, doesn't it?|
I'm not sure when I planted my first (of 4) Leucadendron 'Devil's Blush', other than that it appears to have been before I started keeping a record. I'm guessing 2011 or 2012. Some were labeled 'Blush' and others not labeled at all so my ID is a guess based on their appearance in some instances.
|Although a lot of Leucadendrons produce flower-like forms seasonally, those on 'Devil's Blush' produce the most convincing imitation in my view. They make me think of long-stemmed rose buds.|
In 2013, after clearing the northeast corner of our property of lawn, gravel, and a huge expanse of plastic buried beneath the gravel, apparently intended as a weed barrier, I planted 2 Leucadendrons there too.
|Despite its dramatically dark foliage, I almost forgot about Leuadendron 'Ebony' when I conducted my inventory. It sits next to 'Chief' but it's a significantly smaller plant and now largely obscured by the rampant growth of a Grevillea sericea.|
In 2014, after clearing more lawn in the back garden, Leucadendron 'Pisa', originally placed in a large pot, went into the ground.
|'Pisa' has lovely silvery foliage that catches the light in all seasons. Its label said it'd grow 4-8 feet tall but, despite regular tip pruning, mine's an over-achiever.|
|This is what it looks like in early spring (mid-February 2018 in this case), when it forms silver cones surrounded by luminescent bracts.|
More Leucadendron have been installed at periodic intervals since then but I won't bore you with all the details. The borders in the back garden contain several of these plants. For example, there's Leucadendon 'Jester' (like 'Ebony', a sport of 'Safari Sunset') and 'Winter Red'.
|'Jester' is the variegated Leucadendron' surrounded by 2 'Winter Red' specimens here. Both of my 'Jesters' have been relatively slow growers.|
|These are the same plants photographed at a different time of day. The comparison gives you an idea of low different the plants can appear when back-lit or, as here, not.|
And here's Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset', planted alongside another 'Devil's Blush'.
|'Safari Sunset' is on the left and 'Devil's Blush' is on the right, photographed in the morning when lit by the morning sun. 'Safari' has larger, deeper-toned "flowers" and, in time, should grow taller than 'Blush'.|
|These are the same plants, photographed in the late afternoon|
Two Leucadendron salignum 'Summer Red' occupy spots at opposite ends of the back garden border.
|As you can gather from the cultivar name, 'Summer Red' looks its best this time of year. All 3 of my plants are relatively young but this variety is among the smallest Leucadendrons I've found.|
|Here's the 'Summer Red' at the other end of the back garden|
One of my most recent additions, and the last one I'll feature in this post, is Leucadendron 'Safari Goldstrike', which sits in a sunny area of the front garden facing west.
|That's it in the background on the left. It's reportedly a compact plant that shouldn't get larger than 4-6 feet high and wide at maturity.|
|Here's the same plant photographed back in February when it was showing off its glowing bracts. It forms huge cones.|
That's it. All the plants I haven't featured in photos are duplicates of specimens I've already shown. Along the way, I count 5 losses, 2 of which succumbed quickly in an area that seems to be a dead zone. Two others, 'Jubilee Crown' and 'Little Bit' were lost when I didn't provide them the water they needed to become established. The loss of 'Rising Sun' was a mystery but I speculated that it may have been exposed to a fertilizer containing the phosphorus they can't tolerate. Will I buy more? If I find space for them! At this point, I think only conquering my hideous back slope may provide that.
All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party