Sunrose

'Wisley Pink' Sunrose;
aka, 'Rhodanthe Carneum'


"Come, we'll scatter roses
and pour wine in cups;
We'll burst heaven's roof
and lay a new foundation."

-Hafiz
(1325-1389)

   

Sun Roses (Helianthemum nummularium) are from the Mediterranean region hence tolerate dry heat & maritime conditions, but do not do well in wet or shady locations. They prefer poor soil, as humusy soil increases legginess & leaf growth without inducing any better flowering.

Too much waterings will blacken the lower leaves, as might a long patch of excessive rainfall. If the problem of wetness can be corrected, these mat-forming shrubs can be pretty severely pruned to get rid of any damaged appearance, & it will grow back quickly & restored.

SunroseMany mat-forming evergreens have small or unimposing flowers or limited color range, but sunroses make a powerful impact in an intense variety of colors. Their crepe-papery single blossoms come in everything from white to yellow to copper to apricot to tangerine to red & just about any shade except among the blues.

The cultivar 'Wisley Pink' is also known as 'Rhodanthe Carneum' (sometimes spelled Rodanthe). It has soft, pale, pink single blossoms, with bright yellow centers. The primary bloom period is May & June, but rebloom in August is possible if it is sheered a bit when its first flush of flower is finished.

Though flowers are individually shortlived, new buds are continuously opening day after day after day in late spring & early summer.

Bluish silvered foliage is evergreen, extremely cold-hardy & heat-hardy, holding its leafy beauty year-round. It will spill over a rock wall, or hump over rocks, or spill out of the garden edge onto a street margin or sidewalk, dense enough to smother the majority of weeds.

When planting a variety of sunroses for their varied flowers, contrasting effects can be had from foliage too. Some cultivars have shiny sea-green leaves, others like 'Wisley Pink' have silvery blue leaves, others are a flatter plain green. So even in seasons without blossoms, there remain subtler color shifts.

Unlike most heavily blooming flowers, Sun Roses don't demand much in the way of fertilizer. None at all is better than too much, as they thrive in poor, light soil. Usually not more than a foot high even at its mounded center, a single clump can spread two feet wide. It could spread even further, but tends to get straggly & dead in the center if not cut back periodically to preserve a tight compact mound.

The cultivar series 'Wisley Pink,' 'Wisley White,' 'Wisley Orange,' 'Wisley Supreme,' & 'Wisley Primrose' are named for Wisley Garden of the Royal Horticultural Society. It was founded in Sussex by inventor & gardener George Ferguson Wilson, initially as The Oakwood Experimental Garden.

   



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