As the temperature dropped close to zero last night, I am reminded that we don’t have long to enjoy the last few weeks of our tender summer plants in containers; they are of course at their peak right now, and I’ll be looking long and hard at the most successful combinations, maybe even taking notes so that I might use them again next year.
Helichrysum petiolare is often described as a trailing plant which clearly it is not; it’s even a little stiff, but it has a mind of its own, it weaves in and out (and skywards where there is support) and if you don’t like where it’s heading, you just nip out the growing tip. The small, silvery-grey, felted leaves are an indispensable foliage companion to the brightest of pelargoniums and almost all summer bedding plants – at once a unifier and a foil.
This vigorous sub-shrub is very drought tolerant as are most grey leaved plants, so with one eye on our rising temperatures and unreliable rainfall, this is another reason to put it at the top of the list. It is not regarded as hardy, but I do remember a friend once telling me that she had chucked it out onto a pile of debris one autumn and it lived through to the following spring to tell the tale!
I always love to read Christopher Lloyd, and he says of my pick today: ‘I shall have to reserve my main gush of admiration for Helichrysum petiolare when discussing tender plants’. Can’t say fairer than that!
NB Louise has published a beautifully produced book of her plant profiles – A Plant for Each Week of the Year. It costs £9.99 and is for sale in our online shop here.
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