Clarkia

Height 30-90cm (1 -3ft)

Planting distance 30cm (1ft)

Flowers mid summer to early autumn

Light loamy soil

Sunny site

Hardy annual

The tall spikes of clarkias provide a valuable contrast to the rounded blooms of most other annuals. They come in a range of colours — white, pink, salmon, orange, scarlet, purple and lavender – available as single colours or in mixtures. Blooming from mid summer to early autumn, the slender plants are popular for borders, though they can also be grown as pot plants and for cutting.

Popular species and varieties

Clarkia amoena, formerly listed as godetia, bears loose spikes of lilac or pink to red funnel-shaped flowers. The plants reach 60cm (2ft) high.

Clarkia elegans is one of the most popular clarkias, bearing 23-30cm (9-12in) long spikes of double flowers on erect and branching plants, from mid summer till early autumn. The plants reach 60cm (2ft) high. Several varieties have been developed from it, including ‘Apple Blossom’ (90cm/3ft, double, soft pink touched with white), ‘Love Affair’ (red, pink, purple and white double flowers), ‘Orange Queen’ (double, orange), and ‘Royal Bouquet’ (double, carnation-like flowers in mixed colours). Clarkia pulchella bears spikes of semi-double lavender flowers that form dainty sprays from mid summer to early autumn. It reaches 30-38cm (12-15in) high. Mixed seed selections are available; ‘Filigree’ has lace-like blooms in white and shades of pink, salmon and purple.

Cultivation

Clarkias like a light, slightly acid loam, slightly moist for Clarkia amoena. All need plenty of sun.

Sow the seeds in the flowering site in early spring and then thin to the required spacing when the seedlings are large enough to handle.

Do not feed the plants as this en-courages leaf growth at the expense of flowering.

Pests and diseases

Grey mould sometimes attacks the base of the stems, and foot and root rot may cause seedlings to collapse.

22. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles | Comments Off on Clarkia

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