In this article, we will be discussing how to grow Brachyscomes or Swan River Daisy in containers. Brachyscome iberidifolia or the Swan River Daisy is a plant that is native to Australia but it has been naturalised throughout the world, where it will make a colourful display.
It is a tender perennial and in areas where it does not get frosts, it will last for many years, but alas in the UK it will need to be grown as and treated as an annual. What makes it a great plant to use in bedding schemes in containers is the multitude of colours that bring much happiness in summer.
The plant has come a long way where plant breeders have produced a compact plant with a long flowering season and they can be scented too. Brachyscomes come in a wide range of colours from lavender, blue, yellow, pink and even white. The centre disk is either yellow or darker, almost black, than the petals around it.
It is not a tall plant where it can grow up to 45cm in height, where the flowers are produced en masse on top.
HOW TO GROW BRACHYSCOMES IN CONTAINERS
As with a lot of bedding plants, you can either start from seed or garden-ready specimens bought from the garden centre.
If you are planning to have blooms in successions, you will need to use the plant’s natural bloom cycle and plant seeds in phases at 2 weeks apart. In this way, as one plant blooms start to fade, another will be ready to take its place. You will always have plants in bloom throughout the summer.
GROWING FROM SEED
You can start the seeds in spring, anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks before the expected last frosts. First, fill a seed tray with seed compost and water it until it is moist. Lightly sprinkle the seeds on top and make sure that they are distributed evenly on the surface. Lightly cover the seeds with a fine layer of sieved compost and place a propagator lid on top of the tray.
Place it in a warm, sunny spot and after ten to eighteen days the seed will have started to germinate. After the seedlings are big enough to handle, you can prick them out into individual 7.5cm pots full of multipurpose compost. From late May to early June, you can start to harden off the plants before planting them in their final location.
PLANTING GARDEN-READY PLANTS IN CONTAINERS
At this stage, the plants bought from the shop and home-reared plants will be treated the same.
First, find a container that matches your plants very well in terms of design and size. Make sure it has plenty of drainage holes and fill it with moisture-retentive, multipurpose compost. Dig a hole in the compost that is slightly larger than the root ball it came in its original container. Drop a plant in, making sure that the top of the root ball of the plant is at the same level at the top of the compost. Backfill with the growing media, making sure that any gaps that remain are filled with more compost. Firm the plant in and water well.
The plants go well with geraniums, verbenas, petunias and other brightly coloured bedding plants.
Swan River daisy prefers to be grown in a sunny location as possible. They need at least six hours of light to do well. In partial shade, they will grow but produce little flowers in return.
Once established the plants will tolerate periods of drought but they will appreciate it to be watered when 5cm below the top of the surface of the compost feels dry to the touch. Overwatering can lead to root rot and fungal infections.
A plant that will tolerate a wide range of temperatures in summer, where others will start to flag.
Start to feed your plants when the flowers start to appear by using a high-potash, liquid fertilizer at the recommended dosage. Ideally, you should feed every week or two or otherwise the plant show will be a bitter disappointment.
Make sure to deadhead spent blooms to give a long period of flower over a long time.
PESTS AND DISEASES
The good news is that the plant tends not to suffer from many pests and diseases. It does not like to be overwatered as this can lead to the death of the plant.
VARIETIES TO GROW
Mixtures to grow include ‘Bravo’ that has purple-blue, violet and white daisy-like flowers with dark centres.
For single colour varieties, you can choose varieties with the colour in the name. You can choose ‘Purple Splendour’ that produces purple flowers. You can also find blue varieties such as ‘Blue Star’ or ‘Blue Zephyr’ that has vivid blue coloured flowers.
A plant that produces vivid pink flowers is ‘Strawberry Mousse’.
In this article, we have discussed how to grow Brachyscomes or Swan River Daisy in containers. As you can see it is an easy plant to grow from seed or shop-bought plants, as long as you water right, feed when required and deadheading to prolong the flowering season.
They do not readily suffer from pests and diseases, which make this an ideal plant to have as part of your summer container display.
If you have any comments or questions on growing Brachyscomes in containers, please do so in the comment box below.
Happy Brachyscome growing.
This is my last article for this year. I wish all my readers a Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Until next year.