Photographer : James Cobb
A distinct polycarpic species with pale to deepest purple flowers from a restricted area in Yunnan. It flowers on basal scapes with mid green glabrous foliage which can be lightly bristly and it is deeply tap-rooted. The seed pod is long and narrow and the seeds are large.
Comes from a limestone area and possibly lime may be necessary. It germinates quickly and easily from spring sown seed with a little under warmth and quickly produces large seedlings. The problems start here since they are prone to a fungal infection which turns the leaves black and the infection gradually enters the growing bud – often fatally. A dilute fungicide applied does bring this under control but it can re-occur and vigilance is needed. It is clear that the best way of growing seedlings is to sow just 3 or 4 seeds in small pots and NOT prick them on. Growth is rapid and the fungal infection less deadly (though still present). Plants produced like this are much bigger by the autumn and may even flower the next year. This plant has been grown very successfully in northern Norway (where much of the seed we have lately had has come from) and this clearly indicates that this plant does not like hot summers. Here in Scotland best to plant out in light shade or where it will only get a few hours or so of sun. Will come from root cuttings (it is clearly eaten down in the wild and this may account for very multi-rosetted plants) but this is not a technique to use unless desperate or with plenty of material to play with. A lovely species worth a lot of effort.
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