Scutellaria longifolia 'Red Fountains'
I found this plant for sale in the "specialty annuals"
of a local area nursery this past summer. It was labeled
Scutellaria 'Red Fountains'. Realizing that some of these
so-called specialty annuals are in fact perennials, albeit
perhaps tender perennials, I bought one and planted
it in the garden. It flowered with brilliant cerise flowers
all summer, continuing into autumn. The photo above
was taken on October 4, 2001, undeterred by a half
dozen frosts. Erring on the conservative side, I dug
the plant up to overwinter it inside on a windowsill.
An internet search proves inconclusive as to which
species it can be ascribed. One site stated a USDA
Zone 5 hardiness rating and 12-18" height (outside,
the plant never grew higher than 6-7", inside it
is growing taller), but no species was given. Other
web sites give the species as longifolia and
costaricana, the latter certainly a tender species.
General consensus from credible correspondents
suggest that the species is indeed S. longifolia.
A sibling cultivar is listed, S. 'Purple Fountains',
although I haven't seen it.
A photos by Mark
Not knowing if the plant was hardy (I
suspected it wasn't), I
potted up the plant and put it on my office windowsill for the
winter. The other day as the sun streamed in the window,
I was struck by the luminous rose-red color of the hairy
flowers as the light passed through. The photograph was
taken in strong afternoon light, with a black 3-ring binder
serving as a backdrop for dramatic effect.
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page was last updated on 11/11/01