Winter Flowering Plants
Unusual Winter Plant Ideas
As temperatures drop and the weather turns right minded people's thoughts turn to Winter bedding plants and Winter bulbs. Whilst this type of planting has its place you're missing out on some great architectural, colourful and downright interesting planting that will make wintertime gardening a treat.
So instead of coming up with some Winter bedding plant ideas I've asked some passionate plants people what they would recommend to add interest to your Winter season garden. Unlike most bedding plants these planting suggestions will remain evergreen and look good all year round and some flower during the colder months.
One of the questions I often get asked is: what is the best Agave for growing outdoors in the UK? Without being too definitive about it, Agave parryi is certainly one of the best.
A remarkably tough Agave from the American southwest, it is hardy to at least -20°C but like all Agaves it needs to be kept as dry as possible during the winter months. The best way to achieve this is through drainage. In their natural habitat. Agave parryi often grows on a sloping gradient on rocky limestone and with little organic matter in the substrate. Successfully reproducing this in cultivation is the key to overwintering it outdoors. The less organic matter around their roots the better. None is ideal! In the wild, Agaves extract most of the mineral nutrients they need from the limestone itself and need little soil.
Agave parryi is a beautiful and very symmetrical Agave with a glaucous green rosette. It is a medium-sized Agave and doesn't get too big for most gardens. The biggest objection I hear to Agaves is the spikes. It might horrify the purist, but simply cutting off the terminal spines is a useful practical solution in high traffic areas or if you have young children.
Thank you for contributing John. Parry's Agave is certainly impressive when you see it fully established and certainly not a plant many would have thought they would be able to grow in the UK.
John has also published a free eBook on Agave that you can get here. It goes into much more detail about growing Agave in Britain.