A wondrous daisy relative that warms the spirit with amazing flower colors in the purple and blue realm, cineraria is a beloved winter and spring favorite. An evergreen perennial that attains a mounding or upright shape, it is a hybrid of plants native to the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands. This heat-sensitive plant is usually regarded as an annual plant that is grown in large quantities by the florist industry for indoor enjoyment in the mid to late winter months.
The oval leaves are triangular to heart-shaped and range from medium to dark green. Typically from early winter into spring, the center of the foliage is home to a loose cluster of daisy blossoms that are singular in color or bicolored. Floral colors include purple, rich blue, white, copper-salmon, burgundy, lavender and magenta. In mild climates with cool summers, the floral display can extend across summer and into the autumn.
Grow cineraria in a fertile but moist, well-draining soil. Full sun in appropriate only in cool climates or in winter, otherwise partial shade is needed to keep these perennials protected from the melting afternoon heat. If acquired as a potted plant, it is best discarded unless you live in a cool, frost-free climate – then you could transplant to an outdoor garden bed. If grown as an annual, it will flower in spring and summer as long as the heat is not too great. Seeds will be produced, but typically this plant is propagated by cuttings. It may self-seed itself to be slightly invasive in regions with a cool, damp maritime climate, like that around San Francisco, California.
Popular as an annual crop for cool conservatory displays in winter, especially after Christmas and New Years in the Northern Hemisphere, cineraria is a breathtaking plant when in bloom. Modern hybrids are usually large-flowering dwarf selections with amazing hues of purple and blue and stunning bicolors and now even tricolored flowers. The Senetti® hybrid strain is known to have larger blossoms and smaller leaves.
Pericallis x hybrida
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