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Do you love Tweedia?

Written by Carolyn on July 14th, 2011.      9 comments


1700A-954
 

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!)

 

Topics: flowers
 

9 Comments

Joan Bracken says ...
I love Tweedia both for its flowers and as alternative for Monarch butterflies. I do not want to lose this plant. Biological control has already attacked the hybrid Buddlieas I have. I have been spraying constantly. I have found that Neem Granuals scattered near the Buddlieas are looking a lot better. Maybe Neem will also save the Tweedia plants. I hope.
Lynn says ...
I had tweedia in my bridal bouquet and have had it in my garden ever since as its the most amazing blue. I would love to see the moth plant eradicated but not Tweedia
Anne Bell says ...
After three years of just having two tweedia last spring about 14 seedlings popped up. Have transplanted them and they have been beautiful this summer. Question are they annuals?
Julia says ...
My ancestor was John/James Tweedie and he "discovered" Tweedia when he lived in South America some time between 1825 and 1862. I was excited to see that Kings sell the seed so this year I tried growing it and have given some seedlings to family members for Christmas and told them about our ancestor. He began life as a humble Ayrshire gardener and finished it as a respected collector of exotic seeds.
Maggie Frmer says ...
My grandfather grew Tweedia in Levin in the 1960s- my Dad followed in the 1980s, in memory of his dad. I guess. The blue stars in soft grey foliage are a stunningly sweet combination which reminds me of new born grandchildren - so gorgeous gentle and unique.
I have been enjoying a small patch of this precious plant in my small Tauranga city garden since my dad died.

Katherine says ...
Hi
Interesting topic. Have been controling the moth plant round our boudary in Glendowie for 30 years now with some success, but have seen how it gets away if not properly controlled, nasty stuff.
Mixed feelings about the 'beetle control' though as I love Tweedia and always keep it in my garden. Currently have a punnet full of lush seedlings from last years seed ready to plant out. Would be interested to know if Richard from Plant and Food could provide us with a recommended control for the beetle for my Tweedia should it be released as a comtrol measure?

sue falloon says ...
I have been giving a tweedia cutting from a friend - what is the best way to get it to bush out
Trish says ...
Hi
I am about to plant some Tweedia but have loads of the pest some moth plant (also known as bladder plant because of the way the seeds disperse then self seed from the pods) not sure how I feel here? Would love the insect to kill the moth plant because the ACk Council will not help to get it under control!! Frustrating.....
Melissa says ...
I'm a new fan of Tweedia - was given a little cutting from the ladies at Te Puke Lions. The appeal for me is that it attracts bees and is easy to grow. Would be very disappointed if I lost it to a predator bug!