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Bright ground covers from Europe ... the sunroses.

Bright ground covers from Europe . . . the sunroses

Bright and cheery, sunroses are adaptableplants from Europe that are showing up in more and more Western nurseries. April is a good month to plant them.

Usually sold as Helianthemum nummularium,many are actually hybrids between two or more species or forms, so they vary somewhat in habit. Most are low-growing evergreen shrublets that rise 6 to 12 inches and spread 2 to 3 feet.

All cover themselves with 1-inch single ordouble flowers in many shades of yellow, orange, pink, or red. The individual flowers last only a day, but they're quickly replaced with new ones, so you get a solid flush of bloom for at least one to two months from late spring into summer. Leaves are small and narrow, and usually fuzzy gray.

Useful as bright ground covers, particularlyon dry, low-maintenance hillsides, sunroses are also naturals in rock gardens or cascading over rocky walls.

Plant in full sun. Sunroses perform bestin full sun and sandy, fast-draining soil on the alkaline side. Once established, they can get along with very little water, but are short-lived in wet soils.

If sheared after first bloom, plants oftenbloom again in fall. In cold climates, cover them with a light mulch of evergreen boughs to ensure survival until spring.

You can buy sunroses (they're not relatedto true roses) in flats and 1-gallon cans. To use as a ground cover, space them 2 to 3 feet apart.

Sunroses can also be grown from seed,and they root quickly as cuttings.

Photo: Late spring bloom of sunroses lasts abouttwo months on 6- to 12-inch-tall plants. This five-petaled single is salmon pink
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Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Apr 1, 1987
Words:273
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