Cineraria - a splash of garden colour!
Tuesday, 11 September 2018
Written by Deb Delahunty, Horticulture teacher
When I first started working in retail nurseries the Cineraria was one of the most popular bedding plants for late winter and spring. This plant's popularity has waned a bit but it definitely deserves a spot in most gardens - mainly for the splash of colour it brings when most other plants are still dormant.
Cineraria is nothing more than a common name, some gardeners may know it as Senecio x hybrida but its accepted name is Pericallis x hybrida. The Cineraria is a member of the Asteraceae family (Daisy family) which is a huge family with over 20,000 species.
The Cineraria’s flowers come in pink, blue, purple, magenta, white and other shades and are great in shady protected locations or even in pots on the verandah. They grow to about 60cm tall and produce large clusters of daisy-like flowers during the end of winter and throughout the spring. I know it’s too late to get them in now – unless you can buy advanced plants of instant colour, but it’s certainly a plant to put on your list for next year.
This plant needs a well-drained soil and a shady spot. You can grow it in a more open location but the summer heat in our region might just finish it off. If you prune your plants back by about half when the winter/spring flowers have finished you might be rewarded with more blooms during the summer. The Cineraria isn’t drought hardy and needs to be well watered during hot weather.
If you want Cineraria to brighten your garden next winter the work begins mid-summer. Sow seeds at this time until early autumn. The seed is very fine and needs to be scattered over trays or punnets of fine seed raising mix. Cover with a very thin layer of soil or other topping such as vermiculite or sand and water with a fine spray nozzle. Keep the trays or punnets warm to help with germination.
If you’ve never grown Cineraria before, give it a go – they are definitely worth garden space.
Spring is always a great time to buying a plant or two. The Friends of the Albury Botanic Gardens are having a plant sale on Sunday 16 September from 11am to 2pm at their nursery at the Albury Botanic Gardens – near the curator’s cottage.
Remember to mark your calendars for Saturday 29 September – this is when Jindera’s 150th celebrations includes open gardens, entry is by gold coin donation. More details to come closer to the date.
Photo: The flowering head of a Cineraria in the grounds of Wodonga TAFE, definitely worth garden space.