Higgledy Flower School 2016. #14. Didiscus caerulea.
The first time I grew Didiscus back in yonder olden days before the invention of pies, I was totally smitten…and that pre pie, smittenness is still hanging about. Didiscus produces the most delicate looking blue umbels…sometimes also found in creams and pinks. (The pink is a bit trailer trash and shouldn’t find a place in the cutting gardens of the classy.)
Didiscus isn’t widely grown…in fact it’s not easy to find very much information on it…in my modest library I can only find two mentions of it…and on the internet I can only seem to find articles written by myself! However, let this not detract from the fact that Didiscus is a simple to grow, beautiful annual.
I grow ‘Madonna and Lacy Mix’ this is a great mix as you will be growing the splendid blue flowers and also the incredibly beautiful cream ones (but not the trashy Barbie doll pink ones)…you’ll get 100ish seeds in a packet for £1.95.
For the cut flower garden these flowers are a true gem….I use them in loose arrangements with other country style flowers such as Scabiosa, Cornflowers and Corncockles…and something citrus green to cool it down…Dill ‘Mammoth’ or Nicotiana ‘Lime Green’ will do the job rather well. Also adding something with some height improves your chances of impressing the vicar…Godetia ‘Crown’ works in this regard.
Top Tips or Growing Didiscus From Seed.
*I start mine off undercover from late March…or April. You can direct sow into the soil from May but sowing in pots seems to work better, for me at least
*Sow into modules or pots using a light soil or some good quality compost…or a mixture of both. I find 3 inch square pots are ideal and use them for most of my undercover sowing.
*Keep your Didiscus seeds damp whilst they are getting jiggy with the germination thing…usually this will take about three weeks…this year they took much longer however…fickle critters.
*Germination can be erratic…so I tend to sow three or four seeds into each pot. Bare in mind you will only need nine plants per square meter.
*Don’t plant out your Didiscus seedlings until all threat of frost has gone…probably towards the end of May.
*I plant out a foot apart…but you could go a little less if the mood takes you.
*Plants can get to two foot and sometimes will be grateful for a little support if your plot is exposed…a few twigs spiked in the ground is usually enough.
*(This is a little geeky…) Didiscus flowers are what we call Ethylene sensitive…ethylene is produced from leaves that are below the water line in a vase…it is a by-product of the decomposition process and will make flowers fade more quickly…so remove leaves that would otherwise be under water….this is a good practice with all arrangements. As with all flowers…changing the water everyday will SUBSTANTIALLY prolong the life of your flowers…yes…I know it’s a faff…but just do it and stop moaning.
Previous posts in Higgledy Flower School 2016:
*Mina lobata #13
*Ammi majus #12
*Biennial Flowers #6