Salpiglossis: Painted tongue, velvet flower

Height 30-60cm (12-24in)

Planting distance 23cm (9in)

Flowers mid summer to early autumn

Rich soil

Open sunny site

Half-hardy annual

The velvety funnel-shaped blooms of this Chilean half-hardy annual create a dramatic effect in the mixed border with their kaleidoscope of purples, reds, pinks, oranges and yellows. The flowers, many of which are veined in deeper or contrasting colours, are produced from mid summer to early autumn.

Salpiglossis sinuata, the species usually grown, and its hybrid varieties make good pot plants in the greenhouse and on the patio; they add a wealth of colour to summer borders and last well in water.

Popular varieties

Several seed selections are avail-able, including the following: ‘Bolero’ is a vigorous variety bearing a mixture of richly coloured flowers. ‘Casino Mixed’ has strongly veined flowers in shades of red, rose, yellow, orange and purple; good for bedding. ‘Festival Mixed’ are bushy and compact plants, only 30cm (12in) high and bear large flowers in scarlet, crimson, pink, rose, lavender and gold. ‘Splash’ is a bushy strain bearing a profusion of brightly coloured flowers. It will grow in poor soil.

Cultivation

Sow the seeds under glass in late winter to early spring at a temper-ature of 18°C (64°F). When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick out into boxes. Harden off before planting out in late spring 23cm (9in) apart, in rich soil and a sunny site.

The seeds can be sown directly into the flowering site in mid to late spring in mild areas.

Support the plants with twiggy sticks, and remove dead flower spikes to increase the size of blooms on the sideshoots.

Pests and diseases

Aphids may infest the stems. Foot rot and root rot can cause plants to collapse.

22. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Annuals, Biennials, Bulbous Plants, Featured Articles | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Salpiglossis: Painted tongue, velvet flower

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