Yellow Sisyrinchium

Rodger Whitlock
Sun, 23 Jun 2013 14:12:18 PDT
On 22 Jun 2013, at 12:03, James Waddick wrote:

> Over the years I have tried a few yellow flowered Sisyrinchium with very
> mixed to poor results. 

S. californicum has bright chrome-yellow flowers (that is, with an orange tinge 
to them). Drawback: it seeds like crazy, every seed germinates, and you have an 
exciting new weed in your garden.

It's one of the very low sisyrinchiums, about the scale of Sisyrinchium 
"macounii album" or the newish cultivars 'Devon Skies', 'Sapphire', and 
'Californian Skies'. Hardy? I don't know; as soon as I recognized its weedish 
propensities, I got rid of it.

S. patagonicum I only got last summer. Contrary to James's description, I'd 
call the flowers small, but not "extremely tiny". Its growth habit is grassy, 
on a scale much like that of 'Quaint and Queer' and 'Raspberry'. I notice that 
its seed capsules are swelling, a sign it may turn out to be weedy. Can't speak 
to hardiness, as last winter was fairly mild and didn't test anything's 

S. striatum 'Aunt May' I don't grow, and I don't know anyone who does now. I 
think it's more tender than the species and even in Victoria's rather mild 
climate you need to overwinter it in a pot protected from serious cold. I would 
describe its flowers as cream or ivory, rather than yellow.

This last year I've been running a home brew trial of various sisyrinchiums on 
the local market, and the winner is the cultivar 'E K Balls'. Violet-blue 
flowers in great profusion, grassy growth habit but shorter than S. patagonicum.

'Sapphire' has the pleasant habit of the flowers opening purple and fading to 
sky blue. The mix of colors that results is very attractive, but it's one of 
those plants you need a fairly extensive sweep of to make any kind of decent 

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Z. 7-8, cool Mediterranean climate

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