Brazilian Snapdragon-Otacanthus Azureus

Maryl zone 7aJanuary 10, 2009

Does anyone have any experience with this blue flowered plant? I'm thinking it might make a good outdoor "annual" for my garden. Anything you can share will be appreciated.


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Boca_Joe(zone 7A)

Very small flowers, does not produce a big show- really neat blue color though
Boca Joe

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 6:34PM
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Maryl zone 7a

Thank you so much Joe. A flower that looks good up close and personal is not what is needed for this area. Something a bit more showy is in order. Rather tired of the same-o same-o mart store annuals every year. Just trying to branch out a bit. Thanks again........Maryl

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 3:37PM
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the flowers are small compared to a hibiscus but there are so many that it is well worth growing. I have seen it making quite a show. If you are looking for something unusual I guess it would fit the list in Oklahoma. chris

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 10:19PM
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Maryl zone 7a

Appreciate your additional input Chris. By unusual I don't mean strange, just something other then the tried and true Bigonias,Periwinkles, marigolds etc. Those plants are showy and do a fine job, but they just get boring after awhile. Perhaps your success with Brazilian Snaps has to do with your growing conditions as they obviously are not some shy flowering exotic for you. I may have to try them myself to find out. Thanks for taking the time to comment........Maryl

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 8:25PM
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I grew them when I lived in Oklahoma and even brought a few with me when I moved to the east coast. They bloom late in the summer on through the fall so they don't do much during peak bloom (if you were hoping for spring flowers). Very easy from cuttings and easy to overwinter inside as houseplants. You could grow them in dense clusters so that they make more of an impact. The flare of the lower petals is not even an inch across and usually only a few flowers are open at one time, at least in my yard. The photos online often show them with full heads of open flowers, mine never did that.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 12:45PM
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Maryl zone 7a

There's nothing like information straight from an ex-Okie. So how tall did they get for you John and did you have them in full Oklahoma sun? And if you don't mind another question, where did you buy your plants?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 2:40PM
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They were kinda lanky and slayed over other plants. I guess the stems were between 2 and 3 feet long, the ones that stood straight up were shorter, maybe only a foot and a half. They form a clump with 6 to 12 stems coming out of the center.

I grew them in a busy cottage style flower bed so they were shaded by some taller plants. So I would call it full sun but not exposed out in the open. I think they can grow in semi-shade to full sun. Out here in NC they were in half day sun and did the same. I eventually let them die out so I don't have them anymore. Folks have told me of them being sold as a hanging basket, which I guess would make them stay shorter.. but I've never seen them that way. I grew them in rich compost-y garden soil that I kept watered. I left OK at the end of 2000 when the big droughts were just starting so I could keep things well watered back in those days.

I believe I bought mine from Kartuz greenhouse in CA. I've seen them available in a few online catalogs.

The color is a nice rich purple/blue. The same as the intense blue of Dutch Iris in the spring or any of the other low growing iris'.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 11:27AM
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Maryl zone 7a

Thank you John for taking the time to answer all these questions. I was thinking about Kartuz to order from myself, but to be quite frank after all this information I think I will wait until I see them available locally as opposed to going to the expense of mail order. The blue color you describe is one of my favorite shades of blue though. I'm not into blues all that much, but that shade of dutch Iris blue is right up there for me like the electric blue of the annual Lobelia (you know the one they always sell in early spring in hanging baskets)....Thanks again......Maryl

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 2:27PM
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The only problem with buying from Mr Kartuz is that he is a small operation and he often goes out and takes the cuttings and starts propagating AFTER he receives your order - so things can take a while to get mailed. On top of that he is so busy that it takes a while for him to respond to email pleas for plants.

If you like that color - check out Bustani Plant Farm in Stillwater OK ( Steve Owens' place. He sells a double butterfly pea that is the most intense blue ever and it's very easy to grow. Its a vine but not a huge or long vine. It kinda peeks in and out of other plants. He might have some Otacanthus also. He always has cool plants and its worth the drive.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 10:35AM
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Maryl zone 7a

I'd read about Mr. Kartuz's company on the Garden Watch dog and he got favorible reviews for the most part with the caveats being just as you stated. One of the problems for me is I don't have a clue how much lead time he would need to grow a cutting on. I know it would depend on the plant, but surely there is a bare minimum needed.....And I'm sorry to keep repeating this but thank you. You reminded me of Steve Owens site. When he first left Oklahoma Gardening I visited his "store" and most of his plants were for xeriscaping or the "natural" look. Not what I need/want really. But after you mentioned it again, I pulled it up and WoW has he expanded his collection. I will need to get out my plant books on some of them. Exciting considering the lack of nurseries in my area......Hope you are enjoying the gardening in NC and that the weather is appreciably better. We've got an ice storm threatening us as I type. No fun at all.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 11:16PM
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The Kartuz style of business is my favorite type of nursery to deal with but the draw back is the time lag in my order getting shipped and the lack of response when I start to panic after 3 months of hearing nothing. I still order from him, but only small amounts and nothing crucial. He, like Steve is very involved in all things horticultural in addition to running a business so he gets a bit of my money every year. Steve always has a couple of oddball plants hanging around or in trial for future catalogs so you might contact him or plan a visit to an open house to see if he has anything else you might want. He has plants that I can't find anywhere else.

The best thing about Raleigh (besides the lack of wind!) is that it is on I-40 and a straight shot to OKC with only a few stoplights in the cities in between.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 9:49AM
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