fresh flower

limonium

Many colors and varieties make these flowers popular choices as arrangement accent options.


by Steven W. Brown, AIFD


Limonium sinuatum
Notch-leaf statice, Winged statice, Wavy-leaf sea lavender
Photo courtesy of California Cut Flower Commission


1. popular filler flowers. Commonly known as statice or sea lavender, Limonium (pronounced “lim-OH-nee-um”) is a genus comprising mainly tiny flowers in multibranched clusters, best known for their use as filler, or accent, materials.

2. floral favorites. There are about 150 species of Limonium. These 10 are commonly grown as cut flowers.
L. altaica
    Altaica statice (ex. ‘Safora’ series)
L. bellidifolium / L. caspium /
L. ferulaceum / L. reticulatum

    Matted sea lavender, Caspia
L. bonduellii - Algerian statice
L. gmelinii - Siberian statice
L. latifolium
    Border sea lavender, Broad-leaved sea lavender (ex. ‘Misty’ series)
L. perezii
    Blue sea lavender, Seafoam statice
L. sinensis / L. tetragonum
    Confetti statice (ex. ‘China’ series)
L. sinuatum
    Notch-leaf statice, Winged statice, Wavy-leaf sea lavender
L. suworowii
    syn. Psylliostachus suworowii
    Rat’s-tail statice, Russian statice, Pink pokers
L. tartaricum / L. dumosum
    syn. Goniolimon tataricum
    German statice


3. the plumbagos. The genus Limonium is a member of the small Plumbaginaceae (Plumbago, leadwort) family, most members of which are known for their medicinal properties. Close relatives include Acantholimon (prickly thrift), Armeria (thrift) and Ceratostigma.

4. eurasian descent. Limonium is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe and Eastern and central Asia. It is commonly called “sea lavender” because many species have lilac-colored flowers and grow in coastal areas. The common name “statice” is actually an obsolete botanical name once used for this genus.

5. year-round color. Limonium is available year-round from both domestic and foreign growers. Hues include lavender, purple, blue-violet, red-violet, yellow, white and pink.

6. buy right. Limonium should be harvested and purchased when about one-third of the florets on a stem are open. Watch for signs of shattering, damaged florets, rot or mold.

7. step-by-step care. Immediately upon the flowers’ arrival in your shop, remove the bunches from the shipping boxes, remove stem ties, separate the stems and let air circulate among the stems and flower heads. Next, cut the stems, and dip or place them into a hydration solution and then into a clean container partially filled with properly prepared flower-food solution. Place the containers into a floral cooler at 34 F to 36 F, and allow the flowers to hydrate for at least two hours before using them in designs or selling them.

8. extended care. Check water level daily, and add warm flower-food solution, as needed; remove any damaged or dying foliage or flowers; and recut stems every two or three days to ensure effective water uptake. With proper care and handling, these flowers easily can last seven to 10 days.

9. odor eliminators. Some Limonium species have offensive odors. Try adding a capful of chlorine bleach to each quart of nutrient solution and/or misting the blossoms with a solution of one part Listerine to 10 parts water.

10. the afterlife. All species of Limonium can be air-dried or preserved in a glycerin/water solution, for use in permanent and/or dried floral designs.

Information from:
Danziger “Dan” Flower Farm www.www.danziger.co.il
David Repetto; A. Repetto Nursery Inc.; Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Royal Van Zanten Plants B.V. www.royalvanzanten.com
Society of American Florists (SAF) Flower and Plant Care manual; www.safnow.org
Van Staaveren/Aalsmeer

Steven W. Brown, AIFD, is a professor and department chair of horticulture and floristry at City College of San Francisco with 29 years of consulting and educational experience in the floral industry. Contact him at sbfloral@aol.com or (415) 239-3140.



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