gentianafloverna1

gentianafolverna1

gentianaforverna1

Flower

See photo from Royal Horticultural Society

Foliage

Form

See photos from First Nature

Plant Name

Gentiana verna

Common Name

Spring Gentian or Star Gentian

Soil

Thrives on dry meadows with chalky soil and in Sand with pH 6.5 and upwards.

Sun Aspect

Part Shade

Soil Moisture

Moist

Plant Type

Evergreen Alpine

Height x Spread in inches (cms)
(1 inch = 2.5 cms,
12 inches = 1 foot
12 inches = 30 cms,
24 inches = 2 feet,
3 feet = 1 yard,
40 inches = 100 cms)

1 x 4 (3 x 10)

Foliage

Dark Green

Flower Colour in Month(s). Fruit

White-throated Sky-Blue in April-July

Comment

Mat-forming form. Suitable for Rock Garden.

The flowers attract butterflies and bees for pollination. Ants are responsible for spreading its seeds.

"Mention the word "gentian" in a gathering of gardeners and, more often than not, a frisson will go through the company. For the word conjures up images of short-lived, choice antipodean species, lovingly tended in alpine houses, or Asian species growing in carpets in the acid soils of long-established Scottish or Sussex gardens.

There are certainly some pernickety gentians, which are best-suited to the care of enthusiasts, but there are also a number that will settle down reasonably happily in most gardens, provided a few cultivation requirements are met. The spring gentian, Gentiana verna, is one of these. Native to mountainous parts of Europe, it is grown in rock beds and troughs in many parts of this country.

In 1906, an advertisement was published in the Journal of Botany extolling the virtues of Gentiana verna as "the queen of all known alpine plants in the whole world. It is the only known flower in existence that exhilarates the heart and mind of the fair sex". Leaving aside such a bizarre claim, this underlines the high esteem in which this plant has long been held, and not just by gardeners. Gentiana verna can still be found growing wild in western Ireland, and also on the calcium-rich grasslands of Upper Teesdale in County Durham. Its flowering in late spring and early summer is a great draw to wild-flower enthusiasts, although its very particular habitat and rarity mean that it is strictly protected by law.

The appeal of this plant lies in the intense ultramarine blue of the flat, star-like flowers with their five propeller-shaped petals and white throats. These flowers unfold from pyramid-shaped buds over several weeks in late April and May, and are one of the great joys of the hardy alpine garden in late spring. The flowers may be only 2-3in tall, but the quality and depth of their colour always ensures that they are noticed.

These flowers arise above tufts of mid- or grey-green pointed (lanceolate) leaves, which are mainly held in a basal rosette, although there are a few opposite leaves on the short stems. The rosettes can form small mats in time.

Gentiana verna is often found on sale as Gentiana verna subsp angulosa, although the purists consider the wild angulosa to be a synonym for Gentiana verna subsp tergestina. Dr Christopher Grey-Wilson, the alpines expert, believes that there is great confusion, and that no one knows where `Angulosa' of gardens arose. Certainly, it is a sturdier plant with longer leaves and holds an Award of Garden Merit from the RHS, and is the plant you are likely to get if you buy Gentiana verna from a nursery. It was famously grown by the late Joe Elliott, son of Clarence Elliott, at his nursery at Broadwell, Gloucestershire.

There is also the subspecies Gentiana verna subsp. balcanica, a variant from the Balkans with ovate leaves, bigger flowers and broader calyx wings than the type. In the wild, Gentiana verna differs in flower colour from white and pale violet to intense blue.

Among other reasonably straightforward gentians, there is the late-spring-flowering, trumpet-shaped Gentiana acaulis and the summer-flowering Gentiana septemfida, together with its variant lagodechiana. All are quite readily available.

The native habitat of Gentiana verna must be an indicator of how it should be treated in the garden. This plant is a lime-lover, which is suited to a soil with a pH of 6.5 or above. It is also a plant of free-draining, mountain meadows or rocky places where rainfall is high, so thrives best in a gritty soil that does not dry out for long, if at all, in summer.

Because of its diminutive size and the beauty of the flowers, it is eminently suited to being grown in a raised trough or rock bed, in a paving slot or in a pot in an alpine house. It is very hardy and its flowers are pretty weather-proof, but cultivation in a pot gives the grower the chance to examine its charms at close quarters.

Gentiana verna is best planted in either spring or autumn in a gritty mixture of loam, leaf mould, peat or peat substitute, and limestone chippings. The leaf mould or similar organic material will help retain moisture around the roots in summer. The flowers and evergreen mats of leaves are also well set off by gravel.

The problem with Gentiana verna is that it is often not long-lived. Christopher Grey-Wilson, who grows it in troughs, says: "Three years, no longer. The trouble is that as every shoot flowers, it tends to flower itself to death." This also makes propagating it by cuttings difficult.

Because this gentian is not always long-lived, it is sensible to propagate it regularly. The seed, if sown immediately it is ripe and put in an open cold frame, should germinate in the spring. Great care has to be taken, however, not to damage the roots of seedlings when they are pricked out, which should be done when they are still very small. If successfully transplanted, any seedling will flower the spring after germination.

Cuttings can also be taken in early summer, if a shoot can be found that has not flowered, but it is not wise to try to divide the plant because it dislikes root disturbance so much." from The Telegraph of 27 April 2002.

Further details from Project Gutenberg's Hardy Perennials and Old Fashioned Flowers by John Wood.

 

Available from Shoot in the UK with seeds from Plant World Seeds.

Companion Plants

"This gentian will associate with a host of spring-flowering alpines such as Edraianthus pumilio, Primula auricula and Primula marginata, Pulsatilla vernalis and Saxifraga oppositifolia. It must be said, however, that it looks glorious growing in a large group by itself."from The Telegraph of 27 April 2002.

 

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Odds and Sods*

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Topic - Wildlife on Plant Photo Gallery
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ODDS AND SODS GALLERY PAGES
Site Map of pages with content (o)

Introduction

FLOWER COLOUR
(o)Blue
Orange
(o)Other Colour
(o)Pink
Red
(o)White
(o)Yellow

FOLIAGE COLOUR
Black
Blue
Brown
Bronze
(o)Green
(o)Grey
Purple
Red
Silver
Variegated White
Variegated Yellow
White
Yellow
Autumn Colour
4 Season Colour

FORM
(o)Mat-forming
(o)Trailing
(o)Mound-forming
(o)Spreading
Clump-forming
Stemless
(o)Erect
Climbing
Arching

SHAPE
Columnar
Oval
(o)Rounded
Flattened Spherical
Narrow Conical
Broad Conical
Egg-shaped
Broad Ovoid
Narrow Vase-shaped
Fan-shaped
Broad Fan-shaped
Narrow Weeping
Broad Weeping
Single-stem Palm
Multi-stem Palm

SEED COLOUR
(o)Seed

BED PICTURES
(o)Garden

OTHER FLOWER PICTURES
(o)Cut Flower
 

Odds and Sods Height from Text Border for Odds and Sods Gallery

Blue =
0-24 inches
(0-60 cms)

Green=
24-72 inches
(60-180 cms)

Red =
72+ inches
(180+ cms)

Odds and Sods Soil Moisture from Text Background

Wet Soil

Moist Soil

Dry Soil

Click on thumbnail to add the Plant Description Page of the Odds and Sods named in the Text box below that photo.
The Comments Row of that Odds and Sods Description Page details where that Odds and Sods Plant is available from.

 

simonaandferucciobymadeleinepires1a1a

"Simona and Feruccio" by Madeleine F. Williamson Pires.

Can Simona and Feruccio (the flowers) with
Ron and Christine Foord (both deceased)
assist you in your choice of plants?
 

Plant Type in the following table is:-

  • A for Aquatic
  • An for Annual
  • Ba for Bamboo
  • Bu for Bulb
  • Cl for Climber
  • Co for Conifer
  • F for Fern
  • G for Grass
  • H for Herb
  • P for Perrenial
  • Rh for Rhododendron, Azalea, Camellia
  • Ro for Rose
  • Sh for Shrub
  • So for Soft Fruit
  • Su for Succulent
  • To for Top Fruit
  • Tr for Tree
  • V for Vegetable
  • W for Wildflower

followed by:-

  • E for Evergreen or
  • D for Deciduous or
  • H for Herbaceous

 

ODDS AND SODS INDEX

Odds and Sods Name.
 

Flower Colour

Flowering Months

Height x Spread in inches (cms)
(1 inch = 2.5 cms,
12 inches = 1 foot
12 inches = 30 cms,
24 inches = 2 feet,
3 feet = 1 yard,
40 inches = 100 cms)

Foliage Colour

Plant Type

A

Aster alpinus

Violet with Yellow (may be pink, violet/lavender, dark purple/black, or white/near white) florets

asterfloalpinus1a1

June, July

10 x 18
(25 x 45)

Mid-Green

asterfolalpinus1a1

P H

Aubrieta

Purple

aubretiaflo1a1

April, May

2 x 24
(5 x 60)

Mid Green

aubretiafol1a1

P E

B

Bracteantha bracteata

Bright White, yellow, pink or red

bracteanthaflotbracteata1a1

June, July, August, September, October

48 x 12
(120 x 30)

Grey-Green

bracteanthafoltbracteata1a

An H

C

Chrysan-themum 'Pennine Digger' and others

Golden Yellow

chrysanthemumpenninediggerflot1a1

October

48 x 30
(120 x 75)

Dark Green

P H

Cornus canadensis

White

cornusflotcanadensis1a1

May, June

5 x 12
(12 x 30)

Mid-Green

cornusfoltcanadensis1a1

P H

D

Daphne cneorum

Pale to Deep Rose-Pink

daphneflotcneorum1a1

June

6 x 72
(15 x 180)

Dark Green above, Grey-Green below

daphnefoltcneorum1a

Sh E

E

Euphorbia myrsinites

Greenish-Yellow

euphorbiaflotmyrsinites1a1

April, May, June

4 x 12
(10 x 30)

Blue-Grey

euphorbiafoltmyrsinites1a1

P E

F

Fragaria moschata Duchesne

White

June

6 x 6
(15 x 15)

Bright Green

fragariafoltmoschataduches1a

P H

G

Gentiana verna

White-throated Sky-Blue

gentianaflotverna1a1a

April, May, June, July

1 x 4
(3 x 10)

Dark Green

gentianafoltverna1a

P E

H

Helianthus annuus

Yellow ray-florets with Brown disc florets

helianthusflotannuus1a1

August, September

180 x 24
(450 x 60)

Mid to Dark Green

helianthusfoltannuus1a

An

I

Iberis umbellata

White, lavender, purple, pink, or crimson

iberisflotumbellata1a1

May, June

8 x 10
(21 x 25)

Mid Green

sellieraradicansfolt1jul71a1a

An

Impatiens glandulifera

Scented Purple, Rose-Pink or White

impatiensflotglandulifera1a1

July, August, September

54 x 36
(135 x 90)

Light Green

impatiensfoltglandulifera1a1

An

J

 

 

 

 

 

 

K

 

 

 

 

 

 

L

Lunaria annua

White to light Purple

lunariaflotannuasep78a1a

May, June, July

36 x 12
(90 x 30)

Light to Mid Green

lunariafoltannua1a1

An

Lupinus luteus 'Yellow Javelin'

Bright Golden Yellow

lupinusflotluteusyellowjavelinoct75a1a

July, August

24 x 12
(60 x 30)

Mid Green

lupinusfoltluteusyellowjavelinoct75a1a

An

M

Morus nigra

Pale Green

May, June

480 x 600
(1200 x 1500)

Mid Green

morusfoltnigra1a1

To D

N

Nicotiana alata

Greenish-Yellow

nicotianaflotalataoct71a1a

July, August, September

60 x 12
(150 x 30)

Dark Green

nicotianafoltalata1a1

An

Nicotiana x sanderae

Red, White, Rose-Pink or Purple

nicotianaflotxsand1a

July, August, September

18 x 12
(45 x 30)

Dark Green

nicotianafoltxsand1a

An

Nicotiana x sanderae Domino Series

Domino Series cultivars have upward-facing flowers in Red, White, Crimson-Pink, Lime-green, Pink with White-eyes, Purple, Purple with White eyes, Salmon-Pink, or White with Rose-Pink margins

nicotianaflotxsanddom1a

July, August, September

18 x 12
(45 x 30)

Dark Green

nicotianafoltxsanddom1a

An

Nicotiana x sanderae Starship Series

Starship Series cultivars have good all-weather tolerance with flowers in Red, White, Rose-Pink, Lime-green or Pink

nicotaniaflotxsandstar1a

July, August, September

18 x 12
(45 x 30)

Dark Green

nicotaniafoltxsandstar1a

An

O

 

 

 

 

 

 

P

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q

 

 

 

 

 

 

R

 

 

 

 

 

 

S

Selliera radicans

White

sellieraradicansflotjul71a1a

July

6 x 12
(15 x 30)

Inch long, dark Green, club-shaped leaves with silvery undersides

sellieraradicansfoltjul71flowers1a1

Su E

TUVWXYZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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