Diascia is an often overlooked plant on our sales table. Some are annuals suitable for tubs etc. but the two I like are perennials (at least they are frost hardy) Diascia personata, and Diascia fetcaniensis. They both need sun and soil that is not too dry.
Diascia personata came to me from one of our members. It grows tall, 3-4ft, and has semi-evergreen foliage, a must in a summer border. It has the presence of a pink Verbena bonariensis - floaty and delicate. I have it growing through a climbing rose providing lots of cover at the base where the rose is all stems, bare and leggy looking. It fills this lower space and then the rose takes over. It is easy to propagate as side shoots appear from the leaf axils. These can be removed for cutting. When the flowers fade you cut them off and it triggers lots of these side growths. My favourite method of propagation is in a polystyrene mug of water on the kitchen window sill - no problems, it roots like mint.
Diascia fetcaniensis: this one grows 10ins (25cm) tall and again is frost hardy. It is a creeping plant with masses of short upright spikes of salmon pink flowers, though it does come in shades of apricot, light ruby, and pink. Its wiry stems carry the flowers from early summer until the frosts as it creeps along the border. Again I take late season cuttings of this one just in case the winter is hard.
First published in the South Pennine Group Newsletter Autumn 2013
and subsequently in Cornucopia Issue 34.
© Copyright for this article: Janet Boulding
This article was taken from a copy of Cornucopia that was published in 2014. You could be reading these articles as they are published to a national audience, by subscribing to Cornucopia.