Fringed Loosestrife.... ciliata 'Firecracker'

StashBC(z3NWBC)July 1, 2005

Has anyone overcome the ' vaunted loosestrife reputation' for aggressive invasiveness and planted Lysimachia ciliata 'Firecracker'? Did you plant it in some kind of container corral? How stunning are the 'rich bronze-purple' leaves? And do the nodding yellow flowers contrast in a major way? Where have you placed them in your gardenscape?

Ron.... a real sucker for purplish foliage...;o)

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cailinriley(z3 Calgary AB)

I love my 'Firecracker', although it's not the most behaved plant in the garden. I don't find it extremely aggressive, but it does wander in my relatively unamended clay soil. I originally planted it in the centre of a sunny bed. It's no longer there, but it has "travelled" to one edge. (In other words, I don't have an excessive amount of it...but it's not where I originally put it. It's my fault, really; I haven't done enough maintenance on my beds over the last couple of years.) I have removed some of the plants to share, and have found the roots easy to pull out. When this rainy period finally ends, the soil dries out a bit, and the flowers quit blooming, I'll be transplanting the stems back where they belong. The leaves are gorgeous, and the flowers make a wonderful contrast.

I love interesting foliage too, and I don't obsess about having a completely tidy garden.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 1:24AM
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Doris.... thanks.... it is interesting how one gains knowledge and guidance from the anecdotal experiences of others such as you..... my soil is naturally clay but because my gardenscape is one massive and ever-spreading rock garden I amend the soil I wonder if my ciliata Firecracker will be able to jump free of its rock pocket.... lol

I am beginning to understand Calgary's and southwestern Alberta's particular weather/climate challenges..... if it is not excessive rain which,of course the farmers covet, especially the dry-landers down south.... it is the hail... or the shock of freeze--thaw--freeze via chinooks...yikes, it is simply amazing you guys triumph..... bet you employ quite an arsenal of tricks and techniques!


    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 11:39AM
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cailinriley(z3 Calgary AB)

Ron, gardeners here are probably more fiercely dedicated to their yards because of the challenges. And you should see some of the results. My own flower beds are a bit of a mess, at the moment (see comment about lack of mainenace, above!!), but I've been on many garden tours and have seen jaw-dropping that's even more precious knowing it could be decimated in one 5 minute hail storm. Calgary has a very active Horticultural Society (over 6000 members) to get advice from, and a long winter to research, dream and plan. And a plant that doesn't survive our Chinooks just creates room to try something new!

As for your situation, I'd hesitate to let Firecracker loose among rock garden plants, especially if any are delicate or hard to weed between. You could try to corral its wandering tendencies in a large, bottomless container. The roots don't appear to be very deep, and shouldn't escape out the bottom.

My Firecracker, which is currently in bud but not flower, is making a dramatic foreground for the Bowl of Beauty peony blossoms that are dangling above the purple foliage. (I really must learn how to post photos.) I wouldn't be without it, but it's not near anything fragile. Good luck with your decision.

PS It's raining, again, today. Will I ever have the chance to redo the flower beds this year??


    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 4:42PM
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Thanks,Doris..... the Calgary horticultural scene sounds positively exciting and challenge-ready.... so much so that it has and continues to spawn a fiercesome warrior class of horticultural nothing like being chinook-ered and hailstoned,eh!

I have to one day tour Calgary's hidden garden gems!

Too much of any of the weather elements certainly does damper down even the most resolute and resourceful gardener for sure..... hang in there..... meteorlogical clemency is surely just around the corner!

Good tips on ciliata 'Firecracker'.....Ron

    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 12:03PM
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I have this Lysmachia Firecracker in my garden. The contrast of the bronze leaves is quite attractive next to other green or silver leaved plants. I would grow it even if it didn't flower. The flowers are attractive yellow maybe about the size of a dime for each. They are not all that prominent but noticeable. My plants have donuted on me dying out in the center but I transplanted some from outer edges back in the middle and they filled out fine. As with most lysmachias, this plant is a spreader but doesn't seem as rampant as some (stay away Oenethera speciosa or gooseneck loostrife). Note Firecracker is on the taller side perhaps >36" but it can be pinched back.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 12:02AM
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