Plant of the Month for May 2016

Lewisia nevadensis
Lewisia nevadensis

Description and General Information:

This species of Lewisia grows in seasonally damp to wet slopes, meadows and open aspen forests, often along streamsides, in the western American states of California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Utah, Washington and Oregon.  It occurs at elevations of 1300-3200 m.

Plants produce a rosette of fleshy, narrow, strap-like leaves 2-5 inches long.  Flowers are solitary but many are produced per plant.  They sit just above the foliage.  Individual flowers have 5-10 white or pink (in the form 'Rosea') petals. They are about 1.5 inches in diameter.  Plants often go dormant shortly after flowering.

Cultivation:

This Lewisia is generally easy to cultivate.  Full sun and a well-drained site are all they require.  If grown in a rather dry climate, they will go dormant in summer.  They are not fussy about the soil pH.  Plants are hardy to at least zone 4.

Blooming Period:

As early as April in warm areas, or as late as early July in colder.

Propagation:

Easy by seed

Seeds:

Seeds require a winter period so a 8-10 week period of stratification is required.  Alternatively, sow the seeds in autumn and leave outside exposed to fluctuating winter temperatures.  They will germinate freely in spring.  If mature plants are allowed to self seed, you will find many seedlings the following spring as they are rather prolific, albeit, not invasive.

Division:

Plants are somewhat tuberous and tap-rooted therefore cannot be divided.

Cuttings:

Plants are acaulescent therefore no stems are available as cutting material.

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