FLOWER SHOW THAT GOES ON AND ON

ESTABLISH VIREYAS IN A GOOD PO­SI­TION AND BE REWARDED WITH A SPEC­TAC­U­LAR DIS­PLAY FOR YEARS TO COME

The Observer - - WEEKEND - GREEN THUMB WORDS: MA­REE CUR­RAN

Vireyas are a long-lived flow­er­ing shrub with a bril­liant flow­er­ing show year af­ter year in a semi-shaded po­si­tion. Of­ten some­what mis­lead­ingly called “trop­i­cal rhodo­den­drons”, they thrive in sub­trop­i­cal and even warm tem­per­ate cli­mates.

Vireyas are a di­verse group, rang­ing in height from 30cm–2m tall. They have deep green, leath­ery, oval-shaped leaves and clus­ters of bril­liant, some­times scented, trum­pet-shaped blooms at the ends of the branches for most of the year, peak­ing in

spring. The flow­ers range in colour from white, pink and yellow to or­ange and red.

To repli­cate the plant’s nat­u­ral habi­tat, choose a bright lo­ca­tion (but with pro­tec­tion from the burn­ing sun), a free-drain­ing plant­ing medium, and keep the root zone well mulched.

The ideal po­si­tion for a vireya would be one with three to four hours of morn­ing sun and then fil­tered light for the rest of the day.

If the po­si­tion is too dark, growth will be weak and spindly, and flow­er­ing will be im­paired.

Like other epi­phytes, vireyas grow bril­liantly in pots. Some forms make spec­tac­u­lar hang­ing bas­ket spec­i­mens.

Dead­head­ing is ad­vis­able to pro­long the flow­er­ing dis­play. Some prun­ing may be re­quired af­ter flow­er­ing to keep a tidy shape.

Vireyas are easy to grow and will re­ward you with a spec­tac­u­lar dis­play for many years.

Got a gar­den­ing ques­tion? Email ma­ree@ede­nat­by­ron.com.au

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