Clianthus: Greenhouse Plants
FF – frost free only/C – cool, minimum of 7°C (45°F)
Australasia and Far East
Clianthus puniceus from New Zealand makes a very useful shrub for the frost free house. The only two drawbacks are that red spider mite are partial to it and it needs a wall or trellis to lean against. The strangely shaped red flowers produced in spring and summer have earned it the names Lobster Claw and Parrot’s Bill. There is a white-flowered form, C.p. ‘Albus’. Provided the mites are kept at bay it is an easy plant to grow and propagate by seed or. The same cannot be said of C. formosus, sometimes known as C. dampieri. This is the Glory Pea of Australia and it really is difficult to grow. They will germinate quite well from seed but quickly go into a decline. I did see a batch brought on to flower at 30 cm (1 ft) high but they very shortly died. The solution is to graft them on to a close relative, Colutea arborescens or Bladder Senna, when both are at seedling stage. Good seed firms will sell both seed as a ‘kit’ with full instructions. This species will also need warmer conditions.