Plant Type: Perennial, Annual USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-11 Light: Partial Sun to Full Sun
I wanted to start off this blog series , Flower Focus, with an interesting and under-grown flower!
So I chose Tweedia (Oxypetalum caeruleum) . If you, like me are always searching for a light blue flower for arrangements, this is a great option! If you are a gardener, flower farmer, florist, or flower lover, you know that blue is a very rare color in nature. Aside from Delphinium and Didiscus, I haven't found a blue that really works! I'm not fond of deep dark blues or anything that is overly saturated. Forget-me-nots are blue but they shed their petals too much for me to really like them.
Tweedia is a perennial in warmer zones but can still be grown as annual in colder areas as it is First Year Flowering! Height varies but it can get up to 24 inches. However, I have only managed about 15 inches at the tallest. The stems are very sturdy with fuzzy green leaves. Buds are a soft pink color but unfurl into the perfect sky blue star-shaped flower! Some flowers make have dark blue speckles, but that is just the nature or the plant. It is related to milkweed, so it does leak a white milky and sticky sap. While that is not my favorite attribute, I think it's a small price to pay for such a beautiful flower. Just make sure you wash your hands afterwards!
I was honestly surprised by how productive they were! They were very slow to get going. But once blooms started in mid July, I've had a constant supply! The pollinators love them.
Start seeds indoors 7-10 weeks before your last frost. Lightly cover seeds and keep around 70F. Germination takes about 1-2 weeks. Heat mat and propagation lid speeds up germination.
Some suggest soaking seeds. I did not find this to be necessary.
Plant out after the last frost w/ 8-10inch spacing. I honestly think if you are growing it as an annual, you can even do 6 inch spacing. Experiment and see what works!
You can pinch, but I let first blooms come and then I cut almost to the ground leaving 2-3 sets of leaves. I cut it very similar to how you would cut phlox
Blooming Season: As an annual, it will bloom from July until frost.
How to Harvest: Make sure it is EARLY in the day and cut deep leaving 2-3 leaf sets. Plant will continue to branch. I've found having at least 3 blooms open helped to reduce wilting upon cutting. Cut and remove any leaves and place in its own container. The plant leaks a milky sap and will muddy the water, so I like to leave the flowers in their own bucket overnight.
Vase Life: Expect 7 days. Buds will still continue to open and you can discard spent ones.
Flower type: Filler Color: Light Blue Stem Length: 10-15 inches
Bouquets and Center Pieces
Despite the short stems I've had, I've found Tweedia to be a really great addition to my garden. I really love light blue and I think it goes well with pinks, peaches, whites, and yellows. It definitely works well with springy color palettes. Sometimes you just need that "something blue"!
The stems are sturdy, so I don't really worry too much about them snapping. It's important to note that if you need to edit something on it, it will leak white sap even after it is conditioned. Once the stems are hydrated, I think they hold up well in a bouquet out of water. Honestly very surprised. This would not be a good option though for a garland or a boutonniere, there's a decent chance of it wilting.
The shorter stems are perfect for the small jarred arrangements I sell at the farmers market and customers love the blue color. This also makes them excellent for centerpieces. It also would look really nice in a bud vase or en masse. If you have a favorite way to use Tweedia, let me know!
I would recommend Tweedia to anyone looking to grow something new and interesting! While a little slow to get growing, once they bloom they'll be really productive. I would even recommend these for a container for patio gardeners. I grow them in zone 6a, so they won't overwinter. This year I spaced them at 10 inches without any netting. This was too wide spacing since I am growing them as an annual. Next season I will plant them closer and definitely use netting ( I always think I can get away without netting things!). I'm hoping that the closer I plant them the longer the stems! The biggest negative is the sap, it doesn't have a great smell and it is sticky. It doesn't irritate my skin and I also haven't seen anyone reporting that it irritates theirs.
Do you grow tweedia or arrange with it, if so let me know what you think! Have more questions about tweedia? Reach out!