Nicandra: Shoo-fly, Apple of Peru
Height 90cm (3ft)
Planting distance 30cm (1ft)
Flowers mid summer to early autumn
Deep moist rich
If you’re looking for an unusual plant to fill a gap in a border, Nicandra physalodes is worth considering. It is a vigorous plant, easily grown and robust, its branching growth reaching 90cm (3ft), with lush mid-green toothed leaves, small but pretty lilac-blue bell-shapedand fruits en-closed in attractive green lanternlike calyces. Another benefit is its supposed ability to repel flies, hence one of its common names, shoo-fly.
The flowers appear from early to late summer, though they open only for a few hours at midday. Expect the fruits to form between late summer and mid autumn; dried they are suitable for winter decoration.
Sow the seeds under glass in early spring at a temperature of 15°C (59°F). Prick out the seedlings into 7.5cm (3in) pots. Harden off before planting out in late spring, setting the plants 30cm (1ft) apart. Alternatively sow the seeds in the flowering position in.
Shoo-fly thrives in deep moist and rich soil in a sunny position.
Pests and diseases