Kochia: burning bush, summer cypress
Height 60-90cm (2-3ft)
Planting distance 60cm (2ft)
Open sunny site
Untidy forms of this intriguing foliage plant grow in the wild from southern Europe to Japan – indeed in mainland Europe it is widely regarded as a weed. But in gardens in Britain summer cypress is grown as a half-hardy annual, its mass of pale green foliage providing welcome relief in bedding schemes of brightly coloured flowering annuals.
The most commonly grown form is Kochia scoparia ‘Trichophylla’. This forms a neat, symmetrical dome and has the added advantage of gradually turning a rich crimson-purple in autumn, hence its other name, burning bush.
Sow the seeds, where the plants are to grow, in any well-drained soil in an open sunny site in. Thin the seedlings to stand about 60cm (2ft) apart.
If you want to give the plants a head start, sow seeds under glass in early spring and keep at a temperature of 16°C (61°F). Prick out seedlings into large pots and then harden off gradually before planting out in late spring.
Stake plants in exposed sites.
Pests and diseases