Monday 6 December 2010

Favourite from 'down under'

P. australe
 I have yet to see P. australe  growing in the wild, although I have visited Australia several times.  It grows along the Australian coast in sandy areas, and inland on acid and granite outcrops, and also parts of Tasmania.   The name 'australe' means 'southern', so could also mean from New Zealand, although records do not show that the plant occurs naturally there.

The plant has shallow lobed dark green and unscented leaves on long thin stems.  The flowers are pink or white and grow in a fairly compact inflorescence of eight to ten.   In the wild it has a quite straggly growth habit, but is fairly easy to maintain a compact plant in cultivation.  

P. australe is one plant that I would not want to be without in my collection.   I find this easy to propagate from cuttings and grow on in a John Innes No 2 compost with lots of added grit.

After a mild and pleasant weekend, the freezing conditions have returned here in the south-east.

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