Limonium: sea lavender, statice

Height 45cm (18in)

Planting distance 30cm (1ft)

Flowers mid summer to early autumn

Ordinary well-drained soil

Open sunny site

Half-hardy annual

Statice or sea lavender is perhaps more often seen in dried flower arrangements than gardens, its tiny bright yellow, purple, pink, blue and white blooms providing an invaluable splash of colour indoors in winter. The individual funnel-shaped flowers are tiny, but they are clustered together in spikes at the top of 45cm (18in) high stems. Flower spikes are accompanied by small mid-green lance-shaped and stem-clasping leaves. For drying, cut the flower stems before the flowers have opened fully, tie them in bundles and hang them upside down to dry in a cool, airy and shady place.

Statice is suitable for growing in large clumps in herbaceous borders. Two species and their varieties are generally available.

Popular species

Limonium sinuatum is a tender perennial species usually grown as a half-hardy annual. The 45cm (18in) long stems carry 7.5-10cm (3-4in) long clusters of white or blue flowers surrounded by green bracts from mid summer to early autumn. This is the most commonly grown statice, and the one used for drying. Popular varieties developed from it include ‘Beider-meier Mixed’ (height 30-38cm/12-15in, white, rose, blue, apricot, yellow and purple); ‘Formula Mixture’ (pastel shades of rose, cream-yellow, light blue and white); ‘Sunburst’ (available in a mixture or as single colours of white, yellow, rose and pale and dark blue).

Limonium suworowii is a half-hardy annual grown for its cut flowers – it is not suitable for drying. The 45cm (18in) high plants carry tall thin spikes of tiny rose-pink flowers.

Cultivation

Sow the seeds thinly in pots or pans of seed compost under glass in late winter to early spring and keep at a temperature of 13-16°C (55-61°F). When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick out into boxes. Harden off before planting out in late spring.

Plant statice in ordinary well-drained soil in a sunny site.

You can sow directly in the flowering site in mid spring and thin out to the appropriate spacings; the blooms will appear later and may be damaged by autumn frosts.

Pests and diseases

Grey mould and mildew can affect the plants.

22. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Annuals, Biennials, Bulbous Plants, Featured Articles | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Limonium: sea lavender, statice

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