Doronicums

Any plant which will flower early in the year is bound to be valuable. In this category comes the Doronicum, which produces its yellow, daisy-like blooms and bright green, toothed leaves very early in the spring, before the usual run of perennials, and therefore makes a welcome change from bulbous plants.

It is ideal for cutting, having long, graceful stems and bunching well. Sometimes it seems difficult for the stems to take up water; the secret is to plunge them into a deep receptacle of water immediately they are cut and before the bottoms of the stems seal.

Doronicums will grow almost anywhere, either in sun or partial shade, while they look attractive in the herbaceous or shrub border. Perhaps the best position is where the soil is on the heavy side and yet does not become wet or sour. Do not plant deeply, for the rhizomatouslike, roots prefer to be near the surface.

Doronicums

Propagation is simple, the plants being lifted either immediately after they have finished flowering or in September or October. Avoid chopping the roots with a spade, which may lead to the entrance of disease. The best method is to remove the soil from the roots and either pull the crowns apart or carefully split them with a sharp knife; alternatively, use two trowels or forks, place them back to back and lever the sections apart.

If established plants are given a few applications of liquid manure it will greatly increase their vigour.

Varieties: D. austriacum has bright golden-yellow flowers on 2-ft stems, but the best are probably D. plantagineum, 3-4 ft, and P. excel-sum, often known as `flarpur Crewe’, 2-4 ft. Both are very early, and have large bright-yellow flowers.

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