It’s Thursday and that means joining up with Kimberley of Cosmos and Cleome to take a closer look at something which caught your eye in the garden this week. Hopefully you’re ready for color because his week the bright red of standing cypress (Ipomopsis rubra) is our subject.
Standing cypress is a showy wildflower native to southeastern North America and just one of many garden-worthy Ipomopsis which can be found across the Americas (at least they look garden worthy, this is the only one I’ve ever grown). These members of the phlox family are tough, drought resistant, and easy to grow and I’m surprised they’re not seen more often. This is one plant which didn’t even blink when the rain stopped and its neighbors curled up into a drought induced fetal position.
It took me years to finally find seed but admittedly I wasn’t out there every week trying to run down new sources. I received my seed via the Mid Atlantic Hardy Plant Society seed exchange but now I’ve been seeing them more frequently sold in wildflower mixes or for hummingbird plantings. The mix I planted was supposed to show a blend of red to oranges to yellows, but the speckled scarlet color is the only one I’ve seen come up.
It’s my suspicion that the natural variation across this species makes for different growing habits based on where one gets their seed from. My plants which have been selfseeding around for several years now seem to be strictly annuals but from what I found they also grow as biennials and short lived perennials in areas across the United States as far up as zone 4. Since mine have never overwintered I’m thinking it’s an annual form I’m growing.
Other confusing comments on this plant include it having a taproot (mine don’t) and it needing sandy or gravelly, well drained soil (mine tolerate heavier soil) in order to do well. I suspect some of this is from people who’s knowledge is based less on experience and more on internet searches, but since I’m not a botanist either I’ll let you decide.
The hummingbirds and I will enjoy the blooms of this wildflower for several weeks now and when things slow down I’ll just trim off the upper end of the stalk and the smaller side shoots should carry on for a few more weeks.
Standing cypress. Consider it. If your garden can handle a shot of red I think you’ll enjoy it, and I also think you’ll enjoy giving Cosmos and Cleome a visit to see what Kimberley and others bloggers are featuring this week. Enjoy!