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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
Chiastaphyllum, What's Not to Love?
Why is this wonderful six-inch high perennial not better known? The spoon shaped, succulent, evergreen leaves look great year-round and when you view its flowers in the spring. It evokes the feeling that you just went outside on a warm spring day, after being cooped up all winter. Perhaps its because its an alpine or rock garden plant, people believe it will need to grow in a specialized rock garden. It does need well-drained soil; however, it grows quite well in regular garden soil. I grow it in sun or light shade, but prefer the way it looks and grows in the shade.
This perennial politely spreads around and is easy to pull out and transplant to other areas. My initial collection I started from seed and carried it over to a new garden ten years ago. It grows under a coral bark maple (Acer palmatum ‘Sangokaku’) mixing with baby tears (Soleirolia soleriolii). After the flowers fade, the foliage on the stem it grows on takes on tan and red hues. I pull the flower stem and the faded floret of leaves out and new green foliage takes it place.
There is more information about Chiastaphyllums in the Growing Guide.
by Debbie Teashon
Photographed in author's garden.