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anyone growing restios/restiads (Restionaceae)

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Is anyone growing any restios or restiads? These are rush-like members of the Restionaceae Family. There are appx. 50 genera and over 500 species. Most are native to South Africa but there are some from western Australia and southeastern Asia. A few seem to be grown in southern CA but it seems like an underplanted group of plants in the US. Monrovia grows one, Chondropetalum tectorum and it grows well here. It has a rush/horsetail look but clumps and is well behaved. Some of the species are low growing and others get 6-12ft and look like horsetails crossed with bamboo. They are great architectual plants

As previously mentioned, we have been growing Chondropetalum tectorum here for several years and it has done well. I have obtained the following to try out here. All are South African natives;

Cannomois grandis

Elegia capensis

Restio festuciformis

Rhodocoma capensis

Rhodocoma gigantea

here is Chondropetalum tectorum

img_3102.jpg

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Our local (quite possibly the whole country) No. 1 Restio authority is Mr. Martin Grantham. Every March at the SF Garden Show, he would bring out several restios that are completely new to horticulture. You can see names and photos of these at California Horticutural Society's website: www.calhortsociety.org. Go to the link named "SF Flower and Garden Show New Plants" on right and you will see photos of all plants from 2001 to 2008. The Restios are all mixed in but it is quite easy to find them.

A few Bay Area wholesale nurseries do supply a growing number of Restios, including the highly desirable Cannomois grandis (C. virgata). I have one healthy Cannomois virgata in container with a special soil mix of half peat moss and half perlite, which I was told is the prefered formula. I have also tried Elegia fistulosa but lost that one through winter freeze and/or untimely pruning. Recently I saw this Ischyrolepis subverticillata (shown below) at Suncrest Nurseries and it looks very special. Since the general public are not interested in restios very much, they are not selling very well and the nurseries might not be willing to grow these much longer.

Another great source for Restios in the U.S. is Seed Hunt: http://www.seedhunt.com/restios.htm. Here you are only buying seeds, but they are properly treated with smoke and for people in Florida these might not be as restricted as California grown container plants.

IMG_3679.jpg

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Thanks Daxin.

Last year I ordered a packet of each restio seed that seedhunt.com offered. They sent me the smoke substance to treat the seeds but I only got Cannomois grandis to germinate. I will try them again in spring.

The others I ordered from Hortus Botanicus in Ft. Bragg, CA. besides the ones listed I had also ordered

Chondropetalum elephantinum, Thamnochortus insignis, and Thamnochortus spicigerus but they didnt arrive in yesterdays box so don't know if they were out or another box is on the way.

These are just a fascinating group of plants and it will be interesting to see how they grow here in FL.

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Our local (quite possibly the whole country) No. 1 Restio authority is Mr. Martin Grantham. Every March at the SF Garden Show, he would bring out several restios that are completely new to horticulture. You can see names and photos of these at California Horticutural Society's website: www.calhortsociety.org. Go to the link named "SF Flower and Garden Show New Plants" on right and you will see photos of all plants from 2001 to 2008. The Restios are all mixed in but it is quite easy to find them.

A few Bay Area wholesale nurseries do supply a growing number of Restios, including the highly desirable Cannomois grandis (C. virgata). I have one healthy Cannomois virgata in container with a special soil mix of half peat moss and half perlite, which I was told is the prefered formula. I have also tried Elegia fistulosa but lost that one through winter freeze and/or untimely pruning. Recently I saw this Ischyrolepis subverticillata (shown below) at Suncrest Nurseries and it looks very special. Since the general public are not interested in restios very much, they are not selling very well and the nurseries might not be willing to grow these much longer.

Another great source for Restios in the U.S. is Seed Hunt: http://www.seedhunt.com/restios.htm. Here you are only buying seeds, but they are properly treated with smoke and for people in Florida these might not be as restricted as California grown container plants.

IMG_3679.jpg

Wow, Ischyrolepis subverticillata is incredible !!!

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The big one almost looks like horse fennel. I never heard of this group of plants. Post more pics and tell me about them!

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I'm not familiar with these at all.

What is the significance of smoke (not fire?) in their germination?

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The other box came so now I have Chondropetalum elephantinum and Thamnochortus spicigerus to try here, also.

I'm not sure but they sent a package of "instant smoke" to help aid germination. Guess smoke aids germination in habitat. I found this;

http://www.bgci.org/congress/congress_1998.../html/brown.htm

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daxin mentioned Suncrest Nursery, the other two growers supplying these plants to So. Cal. nurseries are Monterey Bay and San Marcos Growers.

Monterey Bay has pictures and a little info on Restios and a Rhodocoma on this page. And Elegia is on this page.

San Marcos has a small Restio here, Rhodocomas here and Elegias (formerly known as Chondropetalum) here.

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Here are some photos of various restios in the Bay Area:

Cannomois virgata in Marcia Donahue's garden. It is easy to see why the young shoots of this species are popular for cut flowers in South Africa.

P1010074.jpg

Elegia capensis on right at Blue Bamboo Nursery in Santa Cruz.

PB210025.jpg

My Elegia fistulosa in 2007.

P7150186.jpg

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Here are some photos of various restios in the Bay Area:

Cannomois virgata in Marcia Donahue's garden. It is easy to see why the young shoots of this species are popular for cut flowers in South Africa.

P1010074.jpg

Elegia capensis on right at Blue Bamboo Nursery in Santa Cruz.

PB210025.jpg

My Elegia fistulosa in 2007.

P7150186.jpg

Seeing these plants blowing in the wind is one of the highlights of visiting Kirstenboch in Capetown, SA. I have vivid memories of seeing them swaying gracefully with a backdrop of colorful protea. Nice to get your experience with growing them here in the US.

Thanks!

Chip

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