Cor­reas for win­ter colour

Alpine Observer - - Regional Extra - with Helen van Riet, AUSTRALIAN PLANTS SO­CI­ETY (VIC­TO­RIA)

COR­REAS, some­times called “Na­tive Fuch­sias”, oc­cur nat­u­rally from Queens­land, through NSW, Vic­to­ria, South Aus­tralia and on the Bass Strait is­lands and in Tas­ma­nia.

The in­di­vid­ual cor­rea flow­ers are not big, brassy or bold, yet their ef­fect when massed in full flower is won­der­ful. They have be­come pop­u­lar gar­den plants.

There are ap­prox­i­mately 11 species, around 26 sub­species and hun­dreds of cul­ti­vars and hy­brids.

Flower colour com­bi­na­tions are shades of pink, red, or­ange, yel­low, green, pur­ple, cream or white. New dis­cov­er­ies con­tinue to be made. Forms range from ground covers to sub­stan­tial shrubs of 1–3 me­tres.

Flow­ers are usu­ally pen­dant, with the ex­cep­tion of C. de­cum­bens, which has red and green up­ward-fac­ing, tube-like flow­ers.

Cor­reas are long-lived, and will flower abun­dantly if pruned reg­u­larly.

Taller species, such as C. Mar­ian’s Marvel make at­trac­tive hedge plants.

There are va­ri­eties suit­able for every as­pect - full shade, part shade, full sun, hot and dry or cold and wet, for seaside, in­land, clay or sandy soils.

Honeyeaters and par­rots are at­tracted to their nec­tar­bear­ing flow­ers. Cor­reas are not in­va­sive. They cross-pol­li­nate read­ily and can oc­ca­sion­ally re­gen­er­ate in the home gar­den from seed.

It’s fun to make an ed­u­cated guess as to the prob­a­ble parent­age of vol­un­teer seedlings.

Such sur­prises are of­ten wor­thy of prop­a­gat­ing from cut­tings to pro­duce more of the same.

For cheery win­ter colour, cor­reas make showy pot plants. C. Dusky Bells is well-loved favourite. C. Au­tumn Blaze, C. re­flexa ‘Jetty Red’ and C. ‘Jin­gle Bells’ also do well in tubs. A cu­rios­ity is C. bauer­lenii [Chef’s Cap Cor­rea]. It has light green petals be­low darker green flat­tened sepals which form the ‘cap’. It is listed as ‘vul­ner­a­ble’ in the wild. For win­ter colour, with a de­light­ful bonus of honeyeaters flit­ting among fo­liage and flow­ers, plant a few cor­reas!

ALL FROM OUR GAR­DEN: Cor­rea pul­chella “Au­tumn Blaze”, Cor­rea bauer­lenii, Cor­rea re­flexa “Jetty Red”.

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