Lewisia in bloom is sure to please – yellows and reds predominate and so the flowers may be pink, peach or orange as well as white. The petals are frequently striped – a colourful display for early summer. Unfortunately this American plant is not easy to keep alive in the rockery. The fleshy leaves form a rosette and rotting of the crown takes place if water is allowed to stand in the heart of this rosette during winter. The answer is to plant Lewisia sideways in a crevice between rocks or in a crack between bricks.

VARIETIES: You are most likely to be offered a hybrid of the ever-green L. cotyledon – height 1 ft. spread 9 in.

Flowering period: May-June. The other species are more difficult to grow – there is the white-flowering L. brachycalyx which blooms in May; the aristocrat of the group is L. tweedyi (height 6 in., spread 9 in.) which bears 2 in. silky flowers in April and May.

SITE AND SOIL: Requires well-drained soil in full sun.

PROPAGATION: Sow seeds under glass in early spring or plant offsets as cuttings in a cold frame in early summer.

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