Ceratostigma willmottianum Forest Blue ('Lice') (PBR)
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Wiry stems are topped with three of four potent-blue flowers from June onwards and these persist into early winter framed by small flaming orange-red pointed leaves
- Position: full sun
- Soil: fertile, light, moist but well-drained soil
- Rate of growth: fast-growing
- Flowering period: August to October
- Hardiness: fully hardy
This spreading, deciduous shrub brings welcome colour to the garden in late summer and early autumn when many other flowers have gone over. Masses of disc-shaped, vivid cobalt-blue flowers appear from August to October, and in autumn, the leaves turn a rich russet-red. It's best in towards the front of a sheltered, sunny border in soil that does not get too dry.
- Garden care: In early or mid-spring cut back the flowered shoots to within 2.5cm (1in) of the old growth. After pruning apply a generous 5-7cm mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure around the base of the plant.
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Comments about Ceratostigma willmottianum Forest Blue ('Lice') (PBR):
I first 'met' this plant somewhere on the edge of open woodland in Western Europe (I forget which country). And I guess this experience has conditioned the way I use it - in informal places often backed by shrubs so that it grows away from them. I therefore don't fully agree with Crocus's advice of full sun; the plant is more versatile than that.
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