Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Yellow Wax Bells

Well, a day late and a dollar short, but that's because the Phactor was on the road, on the town, and out of touch. Here's a nifty herbaceous perennial called yellow wax bells (Kirengeshoma palmata), a native of Japan. In a partially shady area, this plant forms a large clump 3-4 feet tall. The nice thing is that it produces these 3 cm long yellow flowers in the late summer when not so many other things are flowering especially in a shady border. The corolla is quite thick and fleshy, although compared to some flowers, not especially waxy looking, and although this picture doesn't show it, mostly the flowers are pendent. Hardy to zone 5, it's a nice addition to a perennial border in front of shrubbery.


Eric said...

I once saw an imposing clump of this at Longwood in Pennsylvania, so had to try it here. So far, it has been a no-show, flowerwise. Seems even if I water it, it dissipates to ugly straggliness through the summer. Seems that summer humidity does it in. Hosta, Arisaema, Dicentra, Trillium, and other shady genera do fine there. Got any hints?

The Phytophactor said...

Eric said: "it dissipates to ugly straggliness..."
Two ideas, one, it's a bit too shady and thus too long and leggy; two, try a dose of nitrogen to beef up the foliage and the plant. Mine grow taller and thinner than the catalog pictures, but it's planted a bit further back into the gardens so it's not a border plant.