Alpine Garden Society

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Phyllodoce nipponica

Phyllodoce nipponoca May is the month to see this at its best.  A Japanese member of Ericaceae, it is the choicest of the group.  Phyllodoce, a plant I always longed to grow, eventually seeing neat plant at Cox’s Nursery.

It has neat erica like foliage with a glossy sheen, dainty white bells on slender stems, a red or green calyx make a lovely contrast.

I grow my plants in an acid bed, about ten feet from the house, facing direct north. They must be kept moist and cool at all times, with full exposure.  Feed in spring with Miracid.  After flowering, remove all flowers, care needed as the stems are brittle and easily damaged.  A few seed pods left on can be used for seed raising.  If they are removed in the autumn and placed in a bag for a few weeks, the seed (like dust) will shed.  This can be sown in small pots on the surface (no cover) of a 50/50 mix of peat and crushed perlite, kept moist.  In about ten years it could be contesting for a Farrer Medal.

Brian Russ