Sundiascias – first season’s growing experience
Many years ago I grew diascias and wasn’t hugely taken with them, but this year I spotted something advertised as “Sundiascia”, a supposed improvement on diascias in terms of both flowering and hardiness, so I thought I’d give them a whirl.
As yet I cannot vouch for the hardiness – that will be tested pretty soon! – but the flowering has been marvellous, and they’ve proven to be a valuable addition to my very small garden.
I bought them as plugs in Spring (12 plants, 4 each of 3 different colours: rose, orange and pale pink), potted them up in 9cm pots of multipurpose compost and kept them protected from frost until June when I planted them into their final positions in 12″ pots, 3 plants to a pot, placed in the sunniest spot in the garden. They were fed weekly (Miracle Gro for the first couple of weeks, then tomato food) and watered liberally, especially in the hottest weather.
They were a little slow to start flowering, as were most plants this year, but by the heatwave in July they were in full flow and have only lately begun to run out of steam, providing a solid 2.5 – 3 months of colour.
This is the rose variety:
Their continuous blooming without need of deadheading is a great attribute (the flowers are shaped in such a way that they can only be pollinated by a particular bee that doesn’t exist here, so they cannot set seed), although I found their habit a little less appealing – compact they are not! They grow to about 12″ high, then start to sprawl, so I wouldn’t recommend them for a formal bedding scheme, but if tidy mounds are not required, they definitely look good rambling through one another in a tapestry of colour.
I’ve taken lots of cuttings over the summer and they strike very easily, so I will be bringing some of those indoors to overwinter as insurance in case the parent plants are not as hardy as promised.
All in all, I would say they were an excellent buy. Given a sunny spot and reasonable care they perform very well over a long period, so a big thumbs up for the Sundiascia from my corner of Hampshire!