Lewisia is a gorgeous little plant, a member of the Portulaca family, known for the attractive, fleshy, green leaves and ease of care common to this group's members. With all the other garden chores required for a healthy garden, you can rest with Lewisia care. The succulents fend for themselves and bring astonishingly lovely flowers in late spring through early summer.
Lewisias are hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8. Several species are available, and this native of North America performs well in alpine gardens, rockeries, planters, or even along a gravel path.
This low-profile plant has a moderate growth rate and perennial status in all but the coldest and hottest zones. Some forms are deciduous and prefer bright sunlight, while the evergreen varieties thrive in partial sun. The foliage forms a rosette that rarely gets taller than 3 inches (7.5 cm) with a bloom balanced on a slender stalk that grows up to 12 inches (30 cm) high. The thick leaves have a waxy coating that helps the plant conserve moisture. Flowers are comprised of up to 9 petals, some of which have an almost feathered appearance. Blooms come in various hues, from yellow, white, and magenta to salmon and brilliant pink.
Growing Conditions and General Care
Lewisia plants produce offsets, which are the easiest way to propagate this interesting little succulent. Simply divide them from the parent plant and pot them up to grow good taproot and fleshy feeder roots.
You can also learn how to grow Lewisia from seed. The tiny plants take a couple of seasons to form a rosette but establish easily when sown in a sandy potting mixture.
Once the plants are placed in a garden situation, provide them with moderate water, excellent drainage, and a minimum of nutrients. It couldn't be simpler to grow Lewisias. The primary thing to remember is to avoid excessively fertile soil and compacted or clay situations.
Watch for slug and snail damage and avoid overwatering, as this can promote rot.
Lewisia is not susceptible to many insects or disease problems. Provided you don't give it too much water and it doesn't freeze too deeply in winter, this garden gem will be with you for a long time.
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