Moroccan sunshine: Cladanthus arabicus

How time flies. It only seems a few weeks ago that I reached post number 100. And here we are at post number 200!

Not because I have been busy posting on here but for other reasons I have been a bit late getting some of the annuals planted out this year but I am pleased that some of them are doing well. Today the first flowers on the young Cladanthus arabicus opened and it really is a rather neglected but unusual and attractive annual.

cladanthus arabicus june 143

It is native to North Africa and is a hardy or half hardy annual that may selfseed in light, sandy soils. I started the plants by sowing a few seeds in each cell of cell trays in an unheated greenhouse and made sure there were no more than three seedlings in each when they germinated. The plants were set out in late April and the plants have grown well. The leaves are feathery and attractive and the plants are bushy and spreading.

cladanthus arabicus june 142

The flowers themselves are yellow daisies and look rather like calendulas. But what makes this a standout plant is the way the flowers and stems grow. As the buds develop new shoots grow out, like spokes of a wheel, from immediately behind the flower, much like the unusual aberrant ‘hens and chickens’ daisies and calendula. These shoots end in flowers too and the same happens to these so the plant gradually has more and more flowers. Of course it is an annual so the display won’t last for ever but watering and feeding will help keep things going.

cladanthus arabicus june 14

It can be sown as a hardy annual, where it is to bloom. It has a few common names, such as criss-cross, Palm Springs daisy and gold crown but these are not cultivar names. It would be interesting to know if there is any natural variation in the flower colour – a pale yellow or orange would be nice!

Cladanthus with asparagus pea

Cladanthus with asparagus pea

In the UK both Thompson & Morgan and Mr Fothergills offer seeds.

And here are the plants in the middle of July – looking much more colourful.

cladanthus july 14

cladanthus july 142

I know the display won’t go on for ever but at the moment it just gets better!

Geoff’s rating 9/10

Garden rating  8/10

 

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