H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Tritoma Uvaria - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Tritoma Uvaria Described.
Tritoma Uvaria - Great Tritoma; Common Names, Flame-flower, Red-hot Poker; Nat. Ord. Liliaceæ-Hemero-callideæ.
This is one of our finest late-flowering plants; it has, moreover, a tropical appearance, which renders it very attractive. It is fast becoming popular, though as yet it is not very often seen in private gardens; it comes from the Cape of Good Hope, its year of introduction being 1707. In this climate, when planted in well-exposed situations and in sandy loam, it proves hardy but herbaceous; if protected it is evergreen; and I ought to add that if it is planted in clay soil, or where the drainage is defective, it will be killed by a severe winter; but when such simple precautions as are here indicated will conduce to the salvation of a somewhat doubtful plant, it may be fairly termed hardy. According to my experience during severe winters, plants in wet stiff loam were all killed, but others of the same stock, in light sandy earth, did not suffer in the least. I have also made similar observations outside my own garden.
The stout scapes or stems sometimes reach a height of 4ft., and are topped with long or cocoon-shaped spikes of orange and red flowers; the flowers are tubular and small, closely arranged, and drooping; each will be about an inch long, and the spikes 6in. to 8in. long. The leaves are narrow, 2ft. to 3ft. long, keeled, channelled, and rough on the edges, of a dark green colour and prostrate habit. Either amongst trees or in more conspicuous positions this flower proves very effective, whilst in lines it is simply dazzling; when grown in quantity it may be cut for indoor decoration, than which few large flowers are more telling.
Cultural hints have already been given in speaking of its hardiness, but I may add that where the soil is naturally light and dry a liberal dressing of well-rotted manure may be dug in with great benefit to the flowers. It is readily propagated by division of the roots every third year; the young stock should be put in rows, the earth having been deeply stirred and well broken; this may be done in late autumn or spring—if the former, a top dressing of leaves will assist root action.
This bold and brilliant flower appears in September, and is produced in numbers more or less to the end of the year, provided the season does not set in very severe.
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