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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Tradescantia 'Sunshine Charm': New from Larch Cottage Nursery

Posted by Graham Rice on 05 Nov 2010 at 01:18 PM

Tradescantia,Sunshine Charm,Terra Nova. Image ©Terra Nova NurseriesSome of the most effective plants in containers and borders in small gardens are those that feature dramatic foliage colour for a long season and are then transformed by their flowers over a shorter period.

The brilliance of the foliage of yellow-leaved perennial tradescantias has been appreciated since ‘Blue and Gold’ appeared on the scene many years ago. Then we had ‘Sweet Kate’, with yellow leaves and purple flowers, and now ‘Sunshine Charm’.

The yellow foliage is bright from spring to autumn and, in ‘Sunshine Charm’, the colour is retained right through the season; it’s not one of the those yellow-leaved plants that turns green after a few weeks. Reaching about 20in/50cm high, in summer the plant is dotted with three-petaled lavender-pink flowers. This something of a love-it-or-hate-it colour combination but it certainly is striking.

Tradescantia ‘Sunshine Charm’ is happy in full sun or in a little shade. And while the breeder says that it doesn’t scorch in full sun, as tradescantias are happy in damp spoil that’s what it should have; damp conditions will minimise any risk of scorch.

This is also a great container plant, as a specimen or in a colourful blend with other summer foliage plants like cannas and dark-leaved dahlias.

Tradescantia ‘Sunshine Charm’ was raised in the USA at Terra Nova Nurseries, from where so many new perennials have come in recent years. Look out for their next tradescantia, ‘Lucky Charm’ is a dwarf version of ‘Blue and Gold’ reaching less than 12in/30cm and should be with us next year.

You can order Tradescantia ‘Sunshine Charm’ from Larch Cottage Nurseries.

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