A unique and unmistakable red Chinese species centred on Sichuan, almost invariably monocarpic in cultivation and flowering from basal scapes. The resting bud is visible during the winter.
In cultivation this is almost invariably a biennial monocarpic species and the bigger you can get it grow in the year from seed the better it will flower and set seed the next year. Perennial plants do rarely exist but they may be hybrids. (It does look perennial in growth).
Seed appears to have a complex dormancy and needs sowing as soon as ripe (but the seed pods MUST have naturally opened) In Scotland I sow in late June thinly in a standard open compost, cover with 3 mm grit, then a layer of netting with about 5mm holes and then a deep layer of large grit 5 to 10 cms. This is placed cool out of the sun and kept just damp. Late December the coarse grit and net are removed. Germination in a mild winter may occur late January and a little underground warmth will see rapid germination and growth early February. Seedlings are not temperamental or prone to infection and need pricking and potting on as soon as ready. Ideally they will have filled the pots by mid August and need planting out into good soil in a sunny site. Winter losses here are small and no protection is needed with the plants showing a small winter rosette. Expect some losses. They often need hand pollinating and the biggest plants produce the best seed. In a dry year seed set can be very poor. Plants often look as though they will survive another year but they only have a single root system and most that survive die in autumn.
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