Calocephalus

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Joanna Savage

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Calocephalus
« on: February 22, 2017, 04:49:16 PM »
These Calocephalus were lurking among a lot of cold tired plants in a local garden centre in Toscana. They look to be very interesting, something like Helichrysum, but a lighter grey, at least at this stage of their growth, and a finer more open habit. Apparently they are endemic in Victoria and Tasmania. Does anyone grow them or have any comments?

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John J

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Re: Calocephalus
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2017, 05:16:13 PM »
Joanna, I came across a batch of them in a garden centre here in Cyprus a few years ago and picked up a couple. The one I put in our garden simply died on me. I believe I took the other one to Sparoza and although I can't be certain I don't think that survived either. I hope you have better luck with yours.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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KatG

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Re: Calocephalus
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2017, 01:46:41 PM »
Joanna, I occasionally see them for sale in Kalamata. I too thought it looked interesting, and grew one in a pot for quite a while. I use the term 'grew' loosely because it never put on any significant growth, and eventually gave up the ghost. I think it probably wasn't getting as much water as it would have liked, though it looks as if it could survive without any. Hope you have better luck.
Katerina Georgi. Interior designer and Garden designer. Has lived, worked and gardened in the southern Peloponnese for the last 26 years. MGS member and head of MGS Peloponnese Branch.

Joanna Savage

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Re: Calocephalus
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2017, 07:31:05 AM »
Thanks to John and KatG for replies and somewhat sobering news.
I am guessing that my new plants have been propagated in warm temperatures,  either artificial or internationally. I am also guessing that they have been treated with flower inducing hormone. That is somewhat confirmed by finding a Dutch website which sells Calocephalus in bulk to supermarkets, along with orchids and Anthurium. Ideal plants for the pre-spring house plant market. There is stil three weeks or so before the garden centres will be selling the influx of perennials such as lavender, helichrysum and pelargonium.
My plants give no clue to the species grown. There might be taxonomic difficulties here. Calocephalus leuca  is described, in its natural habitat as being rhizomatous and occuring in mainly desert areas across the southern half of Australia. There is another plant  Leucophracta, once Calocephalus brownii which is described as bush or rounded shape which clings to the salty coastal southern areas of Australia. It seems as though this might be my garden centre plant.
So, I will cut away all the flowers, reducing the plant by about half, keep it inside at night until April then plant in a sunny place with maximum drainage. And wait to see what happens.

David Dickinson

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Re: Calocephalus
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2017, 11:19:31 AM »
Hi Joanna,

They are often seen for sale in supermarkets and, dare I confess, IKEA in Rome. However, I  rarely see them being grown. Having said that there are one or two large specimens dotted around so they obviously can be grown in this climate. Apparently they are easy to start from cuttings.

I have one which I bought last autumn which is still in its very small plastic pot waiting to be planted out in spring. It survived the very cold spell of about 10 days with nights below zero and is starting to "green up" a bit now. With some water it does become a very attractive silver with green undertones. Until last year, when I only had a balcony, I could keep them going for a couple of years at most. I am hoping that in the much larger pots that I now have Salvias and Buddleias in I will  be able to use it as an underplanting.

Best of luck and keep us updated on your success rate.
I have a small garden in Rome, Italy. Some open soil, some concrete, some paved. Temperatures in winter occasionally down to 0C. Summer temperatures up to 40C in the shade. There are never watering restrictions but, of course, there is little natural water for much of June, July and August.

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Fleur Pavlidis

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Re: Calocephalus
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2017, 02:53:35 PM »
My Calocephalus leuca planted last Noevemver has managed this much harsher than usual winter with frost and snow without any trouble whilst all around are pathetic frost-burnt specimens. I believe one plant is still growing at Sparoza.
MGS member, Greece. I garden in Attica, Greece and Mt Goulinas (450m) Central Greece