Before the 1930swere nothing special, but the introduction of the Russell Hybrids changed all that. They are now amongst the most popular of all perennials, their large pea-like crowded on to stately spires in a vast range of colours. They are accommodating plants – quick-growing, tolerant of light shade and town conditions, but they are also short-lived. Add peat (not ) before planting and cover the crowns in winter if your garden is in a frost pocket. unfortunately have a number of enemies – virus (mottled and brown ), slugs and .
VARIETIES: The usual practice is to buy a mixture of Russell Hybrids of L. polyphyllus which have been raised from. The basic details are height 3-4 ft. Spacing 2 ft.
Flowering period: June-July (and September if the first flush is removed when blooms have faded). Named varieties are available – some are a single colour, such as ‘Lady Fayre’ (pink) and ‘Time’ ( ), and others are bi-colours, like ‘Blue Jacket’ (blue/white) and ‘Mrs Micklethwaite’ (pink/gold).
SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained garden soil will do – acid land is preferred. Thrives in sun or light shade.
PROPAGATION: Sowunder glass in spring or plant basal (with a few attached) in March.