Maiden’s Wreath

24 Sep

Maiden’s Wreath (Francoa sonchifolia) evergreen, clumping growth to 1-2 feet in height and width, branched spikes of small pale pink to white flowers in summer, full to part shade, good cut flower.

Native to Chile. This old-fashioned favorite is more often shared among gardeners than sold in nurseries. Large, wavy-edged leaves to 6 in. long growin a rosette 1–2 ft. high and wide (and spreading wider by rhizomes). Graceful, slender stems rise 2–3 ft. above the foliage in midsummer, with upper portions carrying spikes of many small white blossoms, sometimes blushed pink or marked with deep pink.

A selection sold as ‘Rogerson’s Form’ is compact, with dark pink blooms. F. sonchifolia is similar but bears light pink flowers, usually with deep pink markings. Some botanists believe that all maiden’s wreaths belong to a single highly variable species. Excellent cut flowers.

In just a few years, one plant increases sufficiently in size to let you divide and replant fresh new segments from clump’s outside edges. Needs rich, well-drained soil. Best with dappled shade all day or with sun for half the day.

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