Flueggea suffruticosa [15 Seeds]

$3.95

Germination Information: I recommend these seeds for experienced seed-starters only, because they require some patience. The easiest approach is to sow the seeds (just barely covered with growing medium) in fall to late winter, setting their pot outdoors in a spot protected from mice so they can get a chilling period and then germinate when conditions are right in spring.

If you sow after February, set the pot in a plastic bag in your refrigerator for about 3 months before moving it to a warm, bright place for germination. (Remove the bag if the pot will be exposed to any direct sun.)

Some of the resulting plants will be male and some will be female, but you won’t be able to tell until they reach flowering size (it took mine to the fourth year for all to flower). If you don’t care about getting seed, then it doesn’t matter whether you have males or females. If you want to be able to collect seed, I suggest growing out the seedlings in a holding area until you can tell them apart, then make sure you keep at least one male and one female. Be aware that gathering the seed is tricky because the very small pods tend to pop open and fling the tiny seeds in all directions once they are fully ripe.

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Description

This deciduous shrub is so uncommon in gardens that it doesn’t really have an English common name, apart from “fountain hardhack,” which is used by a few references. It does have a variety of botanical names, though, including Flueggea suffruticosa, Securinega suffruticosa, and Securinega ramiflora, among many others. It was long classified as part of the euphorbia family but is now included in Phyllanthaceae.

I’ve been growing this species for only a few years, originally starting from seed shared with me by a nursery in Italy. The overall appearance of this shrub is airy and elegant, with small, greenish, petal-less flowers in summer, and yellow fall foliage. Some plants are male and some are female. Where there is at least one of each, the female will produce small seed pods. The male plants produce their flowers in clusters, so they tend to be a little bit showier in bloom. The ultimate size is variable, but figure about 6 to 9 feet tall and wide.

If you enjoy growing rare and quirky plants, reading this article may influence you in its favor, as it did me: A Habit to Cultivate.

There is little information about the hardiness range in North America, but it has been fully hardy in my sunny, Zone 6/7, southeastern Pennsylvania garden.

Harvested in October 2020. At least 15 seeds.

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