Summer-blooming spiky flowering plants under three feet tall - in garden design parlance ‘the verticals’. We all need some, and there are lots of contenders, herbaceous varieties of agastache, salvia, lysimachia and veronica, but a plant that can go just about anywhere in the garden, cope with almost all situations and bloom with copious plush spikes over several weeks is a very rare treat.
Teucrium hyrcanicum 'Purple Tails' is a very elegant perennial that is long flowering and suitable for almost all situations in the garden. Long, kitten-like tails hold many tight jade green buds that open to form plush spikes of lavish purple-red shades. Blooming reliably from July to October they will fill the spike void in any garden border.
Native to the Caucasus Mountains and Iran, Teucrium hyrcanicum can be found growing on damp or dry ground in rocky habitats where it thrives in full sun and in semi-shade such as near to trees. Hardy at least down to minus 15°C (-26°F), the plants are more heat and drought tolerant than many other herbaceous plants.
The bushy aromatic sage-like green foliage forms attractive clumps 60cm (24in) tall and 45cm (18in) wide and will beautifully fill a gap in the middle of any border or for naturalising at the end of the garden amongst trees. The aromatic sage-like green textured foliage can also be pruned for an attractive, out-of the-ordinary hedge. The blooms attract passing bees and butterflies and are good as cut flowers.
Sowing: February to June or September to October.
Sow the seeds on the surface of lightly firmed, moist seed compost in pots or trays. Seeds must be sown thinly. Do not cover very small seeds, but tightly press into the compost. Water from the base of the tray, Place in a propagator or warm place, ideally at 15 to 20°C (59 to 68°F). Keep the compost moist but not wet at all times. Germination 5 to 10 days. Keep in cooler conditions after germination occurs.
Prick out each seedling once it has its first set of true leaves and transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots containing free-draining compost and grow them on in frost free conditions until large enough to plant outside.
Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out after all risk of frost has passed. Overwinter autumn sown plants in frost-free conditions before planting out the following spring. Plant 30 to 60cm apart.
The plants will grow in a shady position, near to trees or in a position with morning sun only but are denser and more free-flowering in full sun. They prefer well drained chalky soils, even limestone but will grow in damp soil so long as it is not waterlogged. They have a minimum nutrient requirements and do not need fertilising.
Although the plant is a deciduous perennial, in cold winters they will die back and re-emerge again in spring, but in areas where the winter is not too severe the plants will remain almost evergreen and flower a little earlier the next year. The bloom time varies somewhat with the weather, starting earlier in warmer zones and sometimes flowering later in cooler ones
Like most perennials that are easy to grow from seed, Caucasian germander also self-sows where happy. If new seedlings are not required, deadhead the spent flower spikes and cut the plants back after blooming. This will eliminate their winter presence but minimise self-sowing. Older plants can be divided in autumn after the last bloom has faded.
Cut when the flowers are beginning to open but before the oldest flowers on the stem start to show signs of browning.
To dry, hang upside down in a warm (not hot) place with good air circulation. Drying too fast at high temps can cause browning, but drying too slowly may result in colour loss on the stems and leaves and give a less fresh appearance.
Natural garden, Woodland edge, Bees and Butterflies. Flower Arranging. Dry or Gravel Garden. Generally too tall for the rock garden.
Native to the Caucasus Mountains and Iran, Turkey and Transcaucasia, in damp, rocky, shady habitats. It can be found on calcareous mountains and dry rocky slopes.
The genus is named by Dioscorides for Teucer, an ancient king of Troy, who was the first to discover the medicinal properties.
The species name means ‘of or from Hyrcania’ (Hircania), an ancient Persian region near present-day Iran. It is also spelled hircanicum
Pronounced hyr-KAY-nih-kum two-cree-um, it is commonly called the Caucasian or Caucasus Germander, Iranian Wood Sage and Iranian Germander.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 100mg Average Seed Count 220 seeds Family Lamiaceae Genus Teucrium Species hyrcanicum Synonym The species name is also spelt hircanicum Common Name Caucasian Germander Other Common Names Caucasus Germander, Iranian Wood Sage, Iranian Germander Hardiness Hardy Perennial Hardy Hardy to minus 15°C (-26°F) Flowers Plush spikes of lavish purple-red Natural Flower Time July to October Height 60cm (24in) Spread 45cm (18in) Position Full sun to semi shade prefered. Time to Sow February to June or September to October. Germination 5 to 10 days at 15 to 20°C (59 to 68°F).