New for shady baskets

March 9th, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Streptocarpus 'Santiago'

You want me to do what? Put a streptocarpus in my hanging basket? Yes, but not your regular streptocarpus. This one is different.

Streptocarpus saxorum is a species from East Africa which is occasionally seen in botanic gardens and specialist collections. In the wild it makes rather a straggly plant, sprawling over the forest floor or on damp banks and producing occasional pale lilac flowers with white throats. ‘Santiago’ is a much improved version.

Firstly, it branches repeatedly and more branches mean more flowers. Secondly, the flowers are a lovely light blue in colour with a white eye and a few blue whiskers. Very pretty. Thirdly, ‘Santiago’ has a longer flowering season, May to October. And, finally, the foliage is a little neater so that the flowers are shown off more effectively.

The origins of ‘Santiago’’ seem unclear, although I found a Latvian website featuring the plant where – translated by Google – I’m assured that: “Suspended potatoes also grow stony sturgeon”!!

This is a lovely hanging basket plant for a shady place, it dislikes full sun, and it’s even more important than for other basket plants that it stays moist. I’d also suggest either growing it as a specimen, without companions, or perhaps with only white trailing lobelia for company

Either way, ‘Santiago’ is a valuable addition to the rather small selection of blue-flowered basket plants. Why not give it a try?

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Is one of our best known gardening writers. A graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Graham was previously Gardening Correspondent of The Observer.
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