Gossip in the Garden

Harmony in the Garden's Chattier Side

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My Francoa’s got some Funk…

 

I have a new favorite plant that I’ve been using in my designs now for the past few years – it’s Francoa Ramosa and I just adore it!

It’s categorized as a perennial, but in our Zone 9 climate, it’s evergreen. The snails pretty much leave it alone, it grows like mad making it easy to divide and give away to friends, and as if it needed anything else in it’s favor, it seems to be fairly un-thirsty (even though it’s supposed to love a moist environment).

The common name for Francoa is ‘Bridal Wreath’, as the tiny light pink flowers grow prolifically along a tall flower stalk and in the past these were actually used as bridal wreaths – now how cute is that!
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One thing I’ve noticed, though, is Francoas can sometimes become infected with a weird little virus that turns their normally pencil thin flower stalks into twisted, funky, flattened flower ‘bands’. It doesn’t seem to hurt the plant in the least, and in fact, if you were inclined to make a wreath for your head out of it, it would work even better, but it’s definitely weird!

If you’re looking for a reliably tough perennial for your shade garden, then this plant’s for you.  It can be a little hard to find in retail nurseries, but just ask them and they’ll probably be able to order one for you.  Or, if you live in my area stop by and I’ll be happy to give you a cutting!
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4 Responses to My Francoa’s got some Funk…

  1. Rebecca, this is such a great plant that I’ve tried countless times to make happy here in zone 10. The last one I tried was the ‘Rogerson’s Form,’ supposedly with pinker flowers? I wouldn’t know because I’ve never had a francoa flower! So I’m glad to hear this beautiful plant thrives somewhere, for somebody!

    • I’m so sorry Denise! I can’t believe you haven’t been rewarded with tons of flowers! Mine gets morning sun, then bright shade the rest of the day (if that’s any help for you….)

  2. The Sunset Western Garden Book describes Francoa as being passed over more garden fences than sold at nurseries. I was just talking with a client about it this morning, because right now I’d say they qualify as an underutilized plant, but the “passed over the fence” comment in Sunset makes me think they used to be much more common.

    I love them, I have ramosa and sonchifolia (white and pink shades) and use them both liberally in my designs, when I can get ahold of plants! They can be hard to find sometimes… I sure like them better than Astilbes and other commoners. They last longer than Heucheras, fill in fast, bloom all year practically, and are evergreen. What’s not to love?

    • Hi Gen – Oh how I wish we lived next to eachother! We seem to have so much in common – I can see us ripping down the fence and having one big giant garden…

      I first found this plant at my favorite wholesaler (never in a retail nursery has this gem been spotted!) and they can always order it for me. Give yours a try – if they’re stumped, tell them to call Capitol Wholesale in San Jose to ship some up to you! p.s. I had to laugh when you mentioned ‘underutilized plants’….I think we might be thinking the same thing re: GDRT posts, huh? 😉