Alonsoa mask flower

Height 30-60cm (1 -2ft)

Planting distance 38cm (15in)

Flowers mid summer to mid autumn

Rich well-drained soil

Sunny site

Half-hardy annual

Alonsoa warscewiczii is the only member of this Peruvian genus grown in Britain, though several varieties have been developed from it. A compact bushy plant reaching 30-60cm (12-24in) high, it has glossy dark green oval leaves and red stems. The brilliant scarlet flowers with their yellow centres appear from mid summer till mid autumn, adding colour to formal beds, borders and containers. The plants are half-hardy perennials, but flower in their first year from seed.

Popular varieties ‘Compacta’ has scarlet blooms and reaches 45-60cm (l1/2-2ft) high. ‘Firestone Jewels Mixed’ grows to 30cm (12in) and comes in mixed colours of pink, red, amber and pure white. Excellent for cutting.

Cultivation

Sow seeds in covered seed trays in late winter and early spring, keeping them at a temperature of 15°C (59°F). Prick out, and harden off in a cold frame before planting out in late spring. Set the plants 38cm (15in) apart in rich well-drained soil in a sunny position.

When the plants are 5-7.5cm (2-3in) high pinch out the growing tips to encourage bushy growth.

Pests and diseases

Aphids may infest the stems and leaves.

21. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Annuals, Biennials, Featured Articles, Plants & Trees | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Alonsoa mask flower

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