Thursday, September 23, 2010

Alas, Poor Erysimum, I Knew Him Well...

Alas, one of my trio of Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' seems to have bitten the dust. Above you can see the sad, declining plant sandwiched between one of its fellow Erysimums and Agastache 'Golden Jubilee'. Below you can see how splendid the Erysimum looked earlier this year, when they made a stunning combination with the lovely chartreuse foliage of 'Golden Jubilee', wow, seems like forever ago, doesn't it!

I've had similar luck with Erysimum in the past, they look fabulous in cooler weather, then sulk during our hot, dry summers, but they usually perk up again in the fall. Although 2 of the 3 followed this prescribed course of action, one of them is looking decidedly the worse for wear. I'm not sure if it got too much moisture, not enough, etc. One other bonus for the Erysimum is that they are pretty much evergreen and start blooming in March or April, way sooner than most plants in my garden. Now I'm faced with a decision, do I yank it out and replace it with another Erysimum, do I adopt a wait-and-see attitude to see if it recovers, or do I replace it with something else entirely?

In all honesty, while I love Erysimum, they are fairly short-lived, at least for me. They seem to bloom insanely for a year or so, but end up blooming themselves to death, leaving me with the bi-annual task of replanting them. I'm also somewhat bad at pulling the plug. I have a tendency to keep nursing plants along far beyond what I should, only to be discouraged at a plant that denies me the satisfaction of recovery. I haven't seen them in nurseries at all this spring, which may solve the problem for me right there...has anyone had luck propagating these puppies?

Argh! What should I do????



  1. Thanks for your recent comments on my blog Scott. Sorry that it has taken me a while to visit. Isn't 'Bowles Mauve' a beauty but short lived as you have found out :( They are very easy to propagate - I took some non flowering sideshoots off my plant about a month ago and they have now rooted. Your climate may well be milder than mine and perhaps you could still get away with taking cuttings now. Don't give up on them :)

  2. That's a tough call. I had 'Bowles Mauve' last year, and just loved it. It survived the winter and I was looking forward to spring blooms when it succumbed to some bug tunnelling in the stems. I couldn't find a replacement plant. Good luck with cuttings.

  3. Can't help you with the Erysimum, but I must say that it looks fantastic paired with the Agastache 'Golden Jubilee'.

  4. Hi Scott,
    I don't grow Erysimum, but it sure does look nice in your garden. I think I would nurse it along until next spring. Maybe take cuttings like Anna suggested and plant them in a holding area so they will be ready if you need them next year.

    Goof luck!

  5. Well, I'd do the wait and see bit. It's so pretty that it would be worth giving it the benefit of the doubt. That second photo is just gorgeous...the colors are beautiful together.

  6. Erysimum is not hardy for me here, but it is so beautiful - maybe taking cuttings every year and growing as a tender perennial would work for us both...

  7. Hello Scott,

    We have had Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' for many years tucked just beneath and touching a low hanging branch of a Cedrus Atlantica Glauca (that I won't let my husband cut off), and with last years prolonged freeze, we lost them; this year I replaced it with one and it seems to be doing ok for now, and we don't do anything in particular to or for it. Actually it doesn't get much care at all because we don't water much around here.

    Your combination with the Agastache 'Golden Jubilee' is lovely! Enjoy the weekend... looks like we may be heading to the upper 70's

  8. Hi everyone...thanks for the kind words of support!

    Anna: Thanks for stopping by! It's good to know it roots easily, I'm totally going to try this, it's definitely a plant worth going to a little trouble for!

    Mr. McGregor's Daughter: Grrrrr...darn bugs. I hope you can find some more...I haven't seen them AT ALL this year in nurseries, which is so weird.

    Aerie-el: Thanks...I do love that combo :-)

    Norm: :-(

    Zoey: I think that's what I'll do...I can't ever bring myself to completely give up on a plant, it seems :-)

    CherylK: Thanks for the compliment! It's definitely worth waiting for...and I'll take cuttings just to be safe, hey, if it makes it, then I'll just have a few more plants!

    Cyndy: It's worth a grows so quickly during the spring and summer.

    Diana: Thanks for the encouragement...I hope yours make it too!

  9. A cousin brought me some wallflower seeds from Estonia. They were extremely hardy and came back year after year until I took them out for a redesign. The colors were a gaudy orangey-yellow and a deep, velvety maroon (that one, I wish I had saved). The 'Bowles Mauve' looked good for two years, limped along for another two (I share you reluctance to let go), and my supplier warned that it would be so.