What is Tweedia?
We thought that this week we would give a little extra information about one of our flowers - Tweedia. We have had Tweedia Heavenly Blue in our catalogue for some time - it is such a pretty addition to the garden.
Tweedia (Oxypetalum caeruleum) has gorgeous, sky blue star-shaped flowers and green/grey felted leaves. (The genus Oxypetalum means sharp petal.)
Tweedia is lovely as a cut flower but is also a useful food plant for butterflies, so much so that we have included it in our new selection called Butterfly Beauties - a selection of varieties you can sow to attract butterflies to your garden.
Tweedia originates from South America, where it grows as a tropical vine or subshrub. In our temperate climate, Tweedia is more commonly grown as an annual, tolerating a wide range of growing conditions, but preferring full sun and moist soils.
You could consider planting Tweedia in a sheltered location away from heavy wind and rain if you would like to protect its delicate flowers. It can be supported with stakes or supports if you like.
Why are we talking about Tweedia now? Well, like most of you, we read the Get Growing newsletters from NZ Gardener magazine, and a recent edition mentioned that there is a proposal to introduce an insect to combat the spread of the dreaded Moth Plant,an invasive weed which you can see pictured below.
Research on the beetle, which attacks the roots of the plant, has been completed - it has shown that the beetle poses no risk to native plants. Swan plants are closely related to the Moth Plant but research found that they are immune to attack. However Tweedia is another close relative and tests show that the beetle is likely to attack Tweedia.
Richard Hill at Plant and Food Research will be writing an application to the Environmental Risk Management Authority, on behalf of Landcare Research (the science advisers to Environment Waikato), presenting the case for and against introduction of this beetle as a biological control agent to attack Moth Plant and to help control it. He would like to know whether the New Zealand gardening public would be concerned at the possible damage to Tweedia. If you would like to have your say, email Richard directly at Richard.Hill@plantandfood.co.nz with Tweedia in the subject line.
We hope you have a great week. Time to get planning for your Spring sowing. Things are getting busier now at Kings Seeds as we head into our (very) busy Spring season. Don't forget that we are on Facebook - we would love to see you there (you could be our 500th person!)