Torenia wishbone flower
Height 10-30cm (4-12in)
Planting distance 15-23cm (6-9in)
Flowers mid summer to early autumn
The wishbone flower (Torenia fournieri) takes its common name from the shape of the stamens in the throat of the trumpet-shaped. These are borne in such profusion throughout summer as to almost hide the pointed and finely toothed, pale green leaves. The flowers are bicoloured, with violet-purple lips and throats of lilac-purple with yellow splashes.
The wishbone flower is valued by gardeners for its exotic blooms and for its preference for shade. It is suitable for bedding schemes and also makes a fine pot plant.
A few seed varieties are available, including the small ‘Pink Panda’ which grows 10-20cm (4-8in) high; the flowers are a blend of white and cerise-pink.
Sow the seeds in early spring in pans of compost at a temperature of 18°C (64°F), just covering them. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them off singly into small pots; harden them off’ in a cold frame before planting out in early summer.
Wishbone flowers thrive in any good, moist soil and need a sheltered and shaded site. Pinch out the growing tips on the young plants to encourage bushy growth.
Pests and diseases