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Fresh or dried, statice is a long-laster.

Long-lasting flowers are annual statice's claim to fame. These agreeable bloomers (Limonium species) produce bit but airy-looking clusters on stalks that reach 2 feet in height. They make excellent cut flowers, lasting up to two weeks, and are outstanding as dried flowers.

Limonium sinuatum comes in shades of lavender blue, and rose. Limonium bonduelli produces cheerful yellow blooms. You can find both now in nurseries in 1-gallon cans, or start seed now for bloom this summer.

The plants of both species are surprisingly small, considering the flower displays they produce. Each plant consists of rosette of lobed 6-inch leaves.

You can set out plants in a sunny, fast-draining spot in your flower garden (space them 18 to 24 inches apart), then allow the flower stalks to fan out naturally. Or, if you want to produce the maximum number of flowers in a small space, set plants close together--as shown above in Kathleen Miller's garden in Woodland Hills, California--and support the flower stems with tomato cages. Once established, statice can tolerate heat and some drought.

If you start annual statice from seed this month, sow in place or indoors. Seeds are slow to germinate (they take two to three weeks), and if you start them in flats indoors, you can keep a careful eye on them to be sure the potting mix doesn't dry out. June heat may demand vigilant watering of a seed bed outdoors.

Most seeds sold will still have their papery coverings attached to you should gently separate the seeds before sowing. Sow deep enough to just cover seeds; keep soil moist but not soggy.

Once seedlings started indoors are up and growing well, transplant them to the garden. Provide partial shade for a week or two after planting to avoid foliage sunburn. Seedlings sown in place should be thinned as necessary.

After most of the flowers in a cluster have opened, you can cut them for fresh bouquets. Flowers that have been put in water tend to blacken along lower stems, so it's not a good idea to try to dry these.

For dried arrangements, cut statice clusters aftery they have opened but before the sun has had a chance to fade them. Use a rubber band to tie several bunches together by the base of the stems; the elastic will continue to hold the bunches together even as the drying stems begin to shrink. Hanng bunches upside-down in a dry spot out of brigh sun (the garage is often a good place) until flowers dry.
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jun 1, 1984
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