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It’s a Leucadendron, That’s What!

by germinatrix | February 28th, 2010

it may look like a flower, but those petals aren't petals at all...

There is a shrub in my garden – a particular shrub that I let go a little crazy. It wants to be big and lazy. It wants to lay its stems on my Agave wilmoriniana, it tries to bear hug my Aloe hybrid ‘I Don’t Know What’. for most of the year it is just a pushy, leafy thing – and then it starts to shine. Somewhere around the New Year it changes its character. The new stems are red and the leaf tips blush crimson.

the clear yellow bracts of leucandendron 'safari goldstrike' preen in front of dodonea viscosa purpurea

This year I noticed that my back yard garden is actually set up to be a winter garden!

How funny that I’d never noticed that before – since the backbone of it is succulents, grasses, and evergreen shrubs, it always looks strong. But when other people are enjoying their roses and irises, their lilies and other assorted spring and summer flowers, my garden is trucking along on it’s structure. I can get jealous. But then I think about the fall, when my giant miscanthus raises it’s feathery blooms, and winter, when the aloes start spiking, and early spring, when the leucadendron does its thing and takes my breath away.

like stars

Leucadendrons are incredibly versatile, beautiful shrubs from South Africa – they are related to Proteas, and have become just as valuable to the flower trade. I’ve said before that I am not a cutter – I rarely clip and bring things in to arrange  inside, but when I do, these are at the top of my list. (Were they at the top of my list? Because there WAS a list, in this month’s Fine Gardening magazine … yes I think these were at the top of my list, along with marjoram and Zantadeschia ‘Green Goddess’)

The fact that my Leucadendron and my hybrid aloes bloom simultaneously is a thrill – and should tell you EXACTLY what kind of flower hater I really am. Really. Who could possibly be a hater when confronted with all of THIS?

deep sigh. satisfaction.

XOXO Your Germinatrix

8 Responses to “It’s a Leucadendron, That’s What!”

  1. Gorgeous! I’ve been wanting something from the proteaceae family for a long time, but never picked one up.

  2. For once I don’t have to be jealous when seeing your fabulous garden because I just got a Leucadendron of my very own!!! Thank god for Cistus Nursery!

  3. Hi G.
    What a great combination, writes down.. hybrid aloe blooms and Leucadendron, must have! The colors pick up on each other very well and the way the Leucadendron pokes it’s nose all around your garden is great, a total rambling nosy-parker.

    That last picture is amazing.


  4. they are fabulous…. love the foliage color.

  5. Now I have to run out and get a Leucadendron…

  6. Leucadendrons and Leucospermums seem to be my passion right now.
    There are so many fantastic new introductions each year that I am running out of room in my garden to try them all.
    My absolute favorite at the moment is L. Safari Sunset. I’m using a photo of it as my banner photo on my blog, I love it so much !
    Looking forward to trying this variety in a new garden this spring.
    Thanks for the lovely photos of inspiration.

  7. Hmm, I don’t know this plant, but, boy, it’s gorgeous.

  8. Hey Megan! Do it, get one! You’ll love it – I want MORE! I am determined to get more space in my garden SOMEHOW! I just might have to construct another level – like a two story house, but the garden version!

    YAY Loree! Which one did you get? I love them all – ‘Safari Sunset’ is out of this world, and so is ‘Pisa’… haven’t met a leuc I didn’t love! I could see having a leucadendron collection, too. I need farm. This plant habit is crowding me out of my home!

    ESP!!! So glad you like my nosey-parker leucadendron! I can see them in The Patch – they have that kind of exuberance you encourage. It got bigger than I expected, but I never mind it when a plant decides to become a little bit of a monster. Monsters I can handle, stinkhorns – not so much…

    Hi Dirty Girl -aren’t they just the best? The foliage, the stems, the way the bracts look like a sprinkling of stars descending on the garden – GARDEN LOVE!!!

    Nicole! DO IT! I encourage any leucadendron love …

    Michelle D., I am WITH you – but I haven’t planted any leucospermum yet. I think I’m going to put some in my HellStrip this summer. And I LOVE love love L. ‘Safari Sunset’! That is going to look beautiful on your blog. What a wonderful plant!

    Pam sweetheart! Get to know a leucadendron today! I know you’ll love it…

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