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The Commelina

The Commelina

Grouped among the ‘spiderworts’, the Commelina was either greatly liked or disliked, depending on the gardener. Coming originally from the Americas, the perennial Commelina could be grown as an annual by sowing the seeds in heat then nursing the plants under glass until May, when they could be hardened off in cold frames before being planted out towards the end of the month.

The tuberous roots could be kept in the same manner as dahlia roots, being taken up early in October, removing the stems, and packing them away in moist sand in a large flower pot and put somewhere where no damp could get to it, which would rot the roots. Tubers could then be planted out again at the end of May when they would begin to grow immediately. Hibberd, however, believed saving the roots was a waste of time as they were so easily raised from seed.

All species of the Commelina required light, rich soil and a sunny position.

Information and image taken from F. Edward Hulme and Shirley Hibberd, Familiar Garden Flowers (Cassell, Peter, Galpin and Co.: London: c. 1890), 5 vols

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