Or at least that's the pronounciation I know!!
|Leucothoe keiskei 'Royal Ruby'|
flowering May 2012
Producing small white flowers on the underisde of new shoots in May, a shade lover and can also be used as groundcover. I have read that providing the soil is moist enough it is tolerant full sun. I did not find this the case, it suffered badly before it went to the giant compost bin in the sky! Now I would not exactly describe the sun here in Scotalnd exceptionally strong! If you have found different I would like to hear about it as it could also be that my soil was perhaps too moist!
You will generally find a good selection of these plants for sale in nurseries or GCs in Autumn and Springtime - when the shelves are bursting with 'winter interest' plants. More often than not - overlooked it seems - I found that my local GC (national chain) had an excess of these plants on special offer last summer. That could be the best time to bag a bargain if you fancy giving these a try. Leucothoes have a few common names: Dog Hobble, Fetterbush, Switch Ivy and Drooping Laurel.
Here's a look at the Leucothoe that grow quite happily in my garden......
Leucothoe keiskei 'Royal Ruby'
|Leucothoe keiskei 'Royal Ruby'|
Colour at the beginning of Autumn
|Leucothoe axillaris 'Red Lips'|
Rhododendron Goldfimmer and
Euonymus fortunei Harlequin
As temperatures were very low this year it has kept it's red colouring all year! Seen here in the border grouped together with Rhododendron and Euonymous this little shrub is ideal for the front of a shrub border. Growing to a maximum height of 30cm with a spread of not much more. It is also extremely hardy. Disappointingly this shrub has failed to flower in my garden, it's going into it's 3rd year in my garden, so maybe it was just settling in!! This dense form will also keep weeds at bay, which is a bonus! If your soil is alkaline - then this one would make an ideal candidate to keep in a container on the patio - but you will need to make sure it gets the conditions is needs.
Leucothoe fontanesiana 'Whitewater'
Leucothoe fontanesian 'Whitewater' is the newest addition to my collection. I just could not resist this standing proudly on a shelf in the nursery. Seen here before it has found a home in the garden. Just where on earth I'm going to put it, goodness only knows!! I'm sure you all know that feeling!! Described as Hillier nurseries and 'Handsome' and apparently will grow quite happily in a pot. I might find it easier to find a home in a container rather than in a border at this moment in time. Another consideration would be to try train this against a trellis - it kind of has that sprawling growth that may lend itself to being grown against a structure.
I will not make a quick decission on where to put it - but will update here as soon as I do!
Reaching a height of around 90cm and a spread of 120cm it will be the largest of my Leucothoe. Just like it's companions above it's described as hardy to -29 or Zone 5.
As close up of the leaves shows of it's creamy margins. I think I'm going to like this one!!
Propogation of Leucothoe is in the form of semi-hard wood cuttings. Something I have yet to make an attempt to do and just what would I do with them! Very few of my family and friends are keen gardeners.
Leucothoes are said not to enjoy a mulch but more of a 'top dress' which is what I do in springtime and give them a liquid feed of Seaweed with sequestered iron mid summer.
As my shrub border is due to be widened this year - I'm on the lookout and open to suggestions for some perennial planting companions.
The fact that these shrubs like an acid soil, can cope with shade and prefer moist soil makes them an ideal plant for my garden. These low maintenance shrubs come highly recommended by me if you can give them their ideal growing conditions.
I hope you found this interesting and inspiring! Do let me know :)