Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Francoa Maidens Wreath, Bridal Wreath
Francoa is a small genus of evergreen perennials native of Chile which are grown for their flowers for use in floral arrangements. The plants grow from a semi-woody stem producing several basal rosettes of wavy, lobed leaves each with a large terminal lobe.
These plans look rather attractive as ground covers in semi-shaded parts of the garden or under large trees, often looking like over-grown lettuces without a heart. They are quite hardy surviving all but the toughest frost. Flowers are borne on stems up to 1m tall. The five petaled bell-shaped flowers may be white, pink or red with darker vertical markings.
These tall spikes often produce side spikes as well to extend the flowering season. At least two species are grown in NZ. Francoa ramosa has wide basal leaves and branching flower spikes with the flowers being white marked with deep pink veins. Francoa sanchifolia has oblong-oval leaves with pink flowers marked with red, on stems which are sparsely branched.
This is an excellent plant for gardens where ground cover and colour are required in partially shaded areas. They can be easily kept in check by cutting back the basal stem encouraging more basal shoots to appear.