Friday, July 3, 2020

Oconee Bells

Shortia galacifolia
A slow growing, low mat-forming perennial that is native to wooded stream banks in just 6 counties in southern Appalachian Mountains ( from eastern Tennessee to western North Carolina; south to far northern Georgia to western South Carolina...also an isolated report from Amherst County in the mountains of Virginia ). It is critically endangered with extinction in the wild. It makes a stunning groundcover and can be used in the shady rock garden. In ideal conditions, it may form a clump up to 3 feet across.
The scalloped, rounded leaves are up to 6 inches in length The foliage is glossy mid-green turning to glossy reddish-purple during winter.
The white to pinkish-white flowers appear atop 5 to 8 inch stems during very early spring.
Hardy zones 4 to 8 in partial to full shade on moist, humus-rich, acidic, well drained soil. it requires 55 + inches of yearly rainfall. It can be propagated from division. It can also be propagated from seed however seed is only set if cross pollination occurs between plants of different clones. Oconee Bells does not enjoy transplanting and is slow to establish.

* photo taken on Dec 20 2016 in Columbia, MD

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