Large-flowered Collomia: Collomia grandiflora

Some annuals have such an elegance and simplicity about them that they will fit in with iny form of planting. .arge-flowered Collomia is such a plant.

This Collomia is tall and will reach up to 75cm (30in) in good conditions. It has an old-fashioned :harm and presence; the lowers being held in jomes on the ends of branching stems. Usually, one or two bands of lowers are open at any one time around the green dome. Their unusual creamy colour blends well with a wide ange of other flowers, rom bright red to yellow and blue, and can be very useful as a link between two difficult colours, especially if they are planted in a drift.

Collomia

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The flowers appear in mid Summer, but before this, the plant itself makes an attractive addition to the border The leaves are a good fresh green, which is set off by a red flush to the branching stems. When the flowers have faded, however, the plants soon become jaded and tired-looking; it is then time to remove them.

It is unusual to grow these plants in pans and then plant them out; they are normally sown where they are to flower. Whichever method is used, plant or thin them out to a spacing of about 25cm (10 in). While it is not essential to thin, if you don’t, the plants will be smaller.

Collomia prefer a sunny position, but they seem to grow well in the shade of a North-facing wall.

They are not too happy in dry Summers, which shorten their flowering period. Watering will help in such conditions.

These plants will grow in any good garden soil. They grow best if it is reasonably rich and moisture-retentive.

Being hardy annuals, any emerging seedlings will manage to cope with what remains of the Winter without any problems.

The only way to grow Collomia is from seed. This should be sown in March where the plants are to flower. They produce quite a lot of seed and self-sow quite readily. After the first year, it is rare to have to sow them again. Whether sown or self- sown, they will need thinning as mentioned.

Several other interesting annual Collomia are in cultivation: C. biflora has attractive clusters of bright scarlet flowers and sometimes is listed as C. coccinea; C. linearis is shorter with pink flowers. All the Collomia are still sometimes listed as Gillia.

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