Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Colocasia gaoligongensis

One plant that has really come into its own for us this year is Colocasia gaoligongensis, which despite the tongue twister of a name really is an essential hardy plant for an exotic garden. It is often reported to be the hardiest Colocasia available, and can survive temperatures as low as -10C. It dies back to the ground in winter, only to re-emerge in the spring. We had one survive through the spate of bad winters the UK had from between 2009 and 2011. To be safe it is worth giving it a thick layer of mulch over winter. It likes to be in a moist soil with some shade. We actually lost a plant to drought that had survived the bad winters but was in a very dry spot.

This plant is in the raised bed next to the filter house, and as a very small plant in a pot survived being frozen solid last winter. It really is quite a tough plant.


Colocasia gaoligongensis, Alternative Eden
Colocasia gaoligongensis in our garden
As you can see the leaves are quite a bright green with an almost black dot in the centre of the leaf plus quite a pronounced veining to them. It produces surface runners (stolons) that will spread out quite some distance from the mother plant that will grow "pups" (new plants) at the end when they anchor themselves into the soil. We have had it flower but somehow have managed to not take any photos of it before, however it produces a fairly typical aroid flower. 


Colocasia gaoligongensis flower illustrated on http://www.hort.net






Colocasia gaoligongensis can also be propagated by cutting off the stolons, these can be cut into sections between the nodes. Once cut they should be allowed to dry off slightly, for about a day before placing them horizontally in seed trays with a good quality multi purpose compost. They should be given a light covering of compost and kept moist but not waterlogged. If you can give them a little bit of bottom heat them they will respond well.  Once the plants sprout, allow them to grow on until late the following spring when they can be divided and potted on. It will grow reasonably quickly so small new plants will get to a good size quite quickly if kept moist and well fed. 

I'm really hoping this bulks up nicely next year and gives us a number of spare plants to put in other places in the garden.

Gaz

14 comments :

  1. Those are some really big leaves. Of course I realize that numerous exotics have large leaves but I really like this one. You definitely could not walk by it and not see it.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Hi Cher, it is a real head turner isn't it!

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  2. Hi guys. Just wondering where you get c.g. From please? I've not been able to find it. Interestingly enough I had a pink china survive through last winter. I wond if that was because it was in a drier spot

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    1. Hi, we were given this by a fellow gardener. Pink China is on our list of plants to try for next year, so will have to find one for ourselves.

      I believe that Constantine nursery in Cornwall stocks c.g. and does mail order.

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  3. Impressive leaves, what a beauty!

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    1. Hi Martin, they do produce impressively big leaves especially the growth on late summer :) I wish I've taken this pic now with my hand for scale...

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  4. Any colocasia is a great plant to have in the garden. Of course, we have no problem with the cold so they're virtually indestructable here.... Oh and I spy an interesting looking ginger behind it in the last photo I think.

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    1. Totally agree Missy! You guys are so lucky to be able to grow lots of varieties in your location. I think the ginger at the background is Cautleya spicata :)

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  5. I am always amazed when something that appears to be so tropical is actually really hardy. And new plants for free is a great bonus.

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    1. Always a bonus Janet, when you discover plants that looks so tropical yet are actually hardy. There are more colocasias coming up that are proving to be hardy too. Hopefully will get hold of them soon :)

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  6. Hmm. Wish I'd bought this variety of colocasia now boys - didn't know there was such a hardy one! Dave

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    1. Hi David, one to add to the list!

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  7. Mark and Gaz, you don't half come away with some crackers of plants. This one today had me googling it and as I expected you are on the first page. I expect you guys already know all about SEO and all that stuff, although your posts get high ranking on their own merit you may be interested in looking at the plugin Wordpress seo yoast. I sing its praises in an upcoming post.

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    1. Hi Alistair, its well worth looking out for, will look out for your post :)

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