SCHIZANTHUS Poor Man’s Orchid (half hardy annual)

The Poor Man’s Orchid or Butterfly Flower is a popular pot plant which can be used as a summer bedder outdoors. There are both tall and dwarf varieties which bear miniature orchid-like flowers above the ferny leaves. The petals are streaked and spotted in a wide variety of colours and patterns – a truly exotic plant for British gardens. Pinch out the tips of young plants to induce bushiness and support the stems with twigs.

VARIETIES: There are several named varieties of S. pinnatus and its hybrid S. wisetonensis. The best of the tall ones (3 ft) are the ‘Magnum Hybrids’ but the dwarf types are usually preferred. ‘Hit Parade’ (1 ft) is the one you are most likely to find but there is now an even more compact one – ‘Star Parade’ (6 in.).

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained garden soil will do – thrives best in full sun.

PLANT DETAILS: Height 6 in.-3 ft.

Spacing: 9 in.-1/2 ft.

Flowering period: July-August.

PROPAGATION: Follow the Half Hardy Annual technique . Alternatively in mild areas sow seeds outdoors in late April.

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