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Nothing's subtle about statice.

Showy blooms in vibrant colors are long-lasting in bouquets and in the garden

IN GARDENS AND IN florists' bouquets, statice (Limonium) is no shrinking violet. Its vibrant blooms announce their presence in shades of bright white to deep purple. Drifts of naturalized purple L. perezii thrive in wind and salt spray along the California coast from Monterey to San Diego, and flowers of the annual L. sinuatum are staples of florists for their long-lasting beauty in bouquets. These and the statice listed here are good for cutting, are mostly easy to grow, and air-dry well.

Appearance varies by species, but most have basal rosette-forming leaves and clusters of small papery flowers on nearly leafless stems.

Plants require excellent drainage and full sun (light afternoon shade in hot inland climates). They tolerate heat; once established, the perennials withstand some drought.

Nurseries sell a few types of statice. Seed catalogs offer the best selection; now is the time to order. Since seeds are slow to germinate (two to three weeks), it's best to start them indoors about eight weeks before planting outdoors. Transplant them in April in mildest climates, May elsewhere.

ANNUALS FOR QUICK COLOR

L. sinuatum (also sold as L. sinuata) has deeply lobed leaves. Flowers open in flat clusters atop rigid, branching stems; they come in white, yellow, pink, apricot, blue, and lavender, and seeds are available in mixed or individual colors. Most of these plants reach 24 to 30 inches tall; dwarf strains are 10 to 12 inches. Cut flowers often to encourage more blooms.

L. suworowii (also called Psylliostachys suworowii and Russian statice) has slender 1 1/2-foot spikes of tiny lavender-pink or bright rose flowers. Stems may be single or branched, gracefully twisting and curving as they grow.

PERENNIALS FOR REPEAT PERFORMANCE

With the exception of L. sinense (also sold as L. sinensis), which blooms the first year from seed, these statices bloom in their second year.

L. latifolium develops an airy 3-foot-wide cloud of flowers over a base of 10-inch oblong leaves; flowers may be bluish or shades of pink. The plant grows to 2 1/2 feet high. It is not suitable in Sunset climate zones 11, 12, and 13. L. perezii, shown above, is a dependable plant for mild-climate California (it is damaged by temperatures below 25 |degrees~). Deep green leaves grow to 1 foot long. Purple flowers with tiny white throats bloom over a long season in clusters on stems up to 3 feet tall; flower mass can measure 3 feet across. Nursery-grown plants are readily available and fast-growing.

L. sinense grows to 1 1/2 feet with multiple branches bearing clusters of white flowers with yellow throats.

L. tataricum (also called German statice) is similar to L. latifolium, but the plant (10 to 18 inches tall) and flowers (whitish to light blue) are smaller and stems are stiffer.

CATALOG SEED SOURCES

Park Seed Co. Cokesbury Rd., Greenwood, S.C. 29647; (800) 845-3369 (free catalog).

Shepherd's Garden Seeds. 6116 Highway 9, Felton, Calif. 95018; (408) 335-6910 (catalog $1).

Thompson & Morgan. Dept. 164-4, Jackson, N.J. 08527; (800) 274-7333 (free catalog).
COPYRIGHT 1994 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1994 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:flowering plant
Author:Ocone, Lynn
Publication:Sunset
Date:Feb 1, 1994
Words:517
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