Wigandia...the giant Campanula or stinging Nettle?

Discussion in 'BIG LEAF TROPICALS' started by Stan, Jun 12, 2014.

  1. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member

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    This had been on my bucket list ever since seeing the huge clump at UC Berkeley,in bloom yet, many years ago. It took a few years later to finally get one...from the BBG of course. They don't seem to do well in pots..I got it into the ground as fast I could seeing it just become stressed in a pot. After a 4 more years,it bloomed on a small tree with some leaves being over 2',although most are about half that as the summer goes on. Later about that.
    Wigandia urens is related to the Campanula's..has beautiful blue flowers like the temperate little perennial. It also has been called something like Malo Madre- lol- in South America because some clones,strains, have a wickedly powerful sting. The leaves are covered in hairs. I understand that most of Florida gardens have the stinging Wigandia. Now,somehow for whatever reason,the BBC clone has no sting. So,its safe and no more prickly then a Zucchini leaf. EXCEPT,I learned when you prune and leave cuttings to dry. Come back a few days later and grab with bare hands? WOW..then its like hypodermic needles. I didn't get any rash though,something that the South American and Florida clones also can deliver. You couldn't lift up a Wigandia dried stem bare handed. Impossible.
    Another positive aspect- back to those- is that it looks water needy and yet needs very little. Its even had the good taste to naturalize in the Santa Monica Mountains in soucal. I water it when I remember. It does send out runners..but that's one or two at a time. I'm sure you can give those away very easily
    The plant sort of has a large leafed Ficus that has purple Jacaranda like flowers vibe to it. It does need a freeze free winter to bloom. My best years were when we never went below 35f. My worst was this year. Only a single bloom because of a bad week in December.
    So ,what more can you ask? Big leaves- silver on the undersides I should note,cool tolerant, colorful flowers,and doesnt ask for much in water. I like it.
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  2. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

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    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    That's a new one for me - I think. If you have chance, and are able to a good angle, can you get a shot of the whole tree?
     
  3. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member

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    This best for now..I have a vacant lot next to my home so that explains the chain link and the dry grasses. And the gardersnakes,the fence lizards..raccoons..I get many visitors.
    But anyways one evening shot is what you see when the typical San Francisco bay breeze kicks in..the silver- whitish undersides of Wigandia are shown best then. Also,I have pruned off lowest branches. Wigandia is really a huge (30') shrub..it prefers to have leaves right to the ground. It does fine if pruned though. No problems. And the newest leaves are the largest reaching over 2'. As summer goes on they reduce a bit.[​IMG]
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  4. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

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    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Thanks Stan - very nice looking tree - good choice.
     
  5. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member

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    Lol,well I'm about ready to cut it down Dean. See,it used to be a bucket list plant. Now that its grown up and maybe overgrown..I decided to cut it to stumps,because a shoot of Wigandia sprang up in my side yard THERE, its as perfect a spot for it as I have right now. So,sort of a long range transplant. I miss that in summer,pre Wigandia,the Iochroma would be showing its bloom to the street. Now,things should blend better.
     
  6. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member

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    It's done. Its been cut and removed. Took me a half hour. Soft pulpy wood,easy for an electric chainsaw. Save the gas one for the Ash tree.
    Not only is it not missed as the Iochoroma fills the background with big leafs and flowers,my Aloe barbarea can be seen again.
    And like I said..I still have that plant,only where it should have been planted to begin with. And hey,I got years of watching it grow nice and bushy,with flowers and huge leafs. It did its purpose for then.
     

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