Senecio x hybridus

Cineraria
ASTERACEAE, The Aster family

I’ve been having the worst work dreams. It’s like I don’t even go to sleep, I just go to work and have to endlessly rearrange plants and find plants for customers. And then there are just long scenes of workscapes, like everything I’ve looked at there is burned into my brain. I think back to other places I have worked and yes, every detail of the scene is there, all the hours compressed into one long, wandering shot encompassing everything I laid eyes on there.

Ok, so there does have to be a plant today despite the floral carnage of last night’s somnuculture. (Gardening in one’s sleep?)

Cineraria is very sensitive to frost. The large, rough leaves get dry, light brown patches after a light frost and wither immediately if exposed to serious cold. They also cannot tolerate hot sun, though bright light is recommended. The numerous cultivars produce quantities of daisy-like flowers in shades of pink, red, purple, lavender, mauve, blue and white. Grown in greenhouses for the decorative potted plant industry, they are in league with poinsettias, azaleas, hydrangeas, cyclamen and Easter lilies. All of these plants are grown to be enjoyed for a brief period then discarded. People often feel like they have a black thumb when they bring home these blooming beauties only to have them languish. They are bred only for ease of production and take-me-now appeal. After being heavily fertilized in a high humidity environment with carefully controlled light, moisture and temperature, they are stuffed into boxes and shipped cross country to grocery stores and big boxes where they are abused. Seasonal plants like rosemary topiaries and little Norfolk island pine christmas trees are sprayed with green paint and/or antitranspirants, so they look perky, but are just waiting to loose all their leaves and fall over. So don’t feel bad, it’s not you, it’s them.

Cineraria is very difficult to get to rebloom, or even to live a day beyond it’s short shelf life. The ones at the nursery came in pretty annual combination bowls and were the first thing to go when the temperatures dropped. I pulled them out and replaced them with Pansy ‘Purple Rain’ and lobelias to extend the life of the planters.

About Mulysa

I love my work as a landscape designer and artist. When I'm not planning homesteads or working in the studio, you'll find me hiking, photographing, gardening, baking, cooking vegetarian meals with friends, reading and working on sustainability issues...with my baby on my hip in Portland, Oregon.
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