Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bermuda Conehead, or Persian Shield?

I never heard of Bermuda Conehead until I was searching for more information about blooms on Persian Shield. According to MoBot, "Flowers appear in short cone-shaped inflorescences, thus giving rise to the less frequently used common name of Burmuda conehead. Genus name comes from the Greek words strobilos (cone) and anthos (flower). Synonymous with Strobilanthes dyeriana."

Persian Shield is a much more dignified common name, I think, bringing to mind the lovely colors of the leaves in summer gardens. The colors are faded and the leaves are small on potted Persian Shield after a winter inside. The flowers are not significant, but are a pleasant surprise when few other blossoms are appearing in late winter.

I looked back to see earlier posts about Persian Shield. My oversized alphabetical label cloud showed only one post for Persian Shield. When I thought to look for Strobilanthes, there were a dozen more. Then I looked for more pics in my online storage:

I've started cuttings of Licorice Plant to grow with Persian Shield. 

A pot of saved lavender pentas will yield cuttings for the coming season.
The daylilies in this photo have dwarf purple blooms.

Gaudy combo: Persian Shield hides the bare stems of Lycoris, in September.
Strobilanthes dies to the ground here in winter. The Lycoris foliage is green all winter,
a good disguise for the dead stems. Below is a pic of a row of Lycoris foliage this week:

Persian Shield with \'Lullabye Baby\' daylily
In previous years, Persian Shield has returned in Spring without fail.
The freezes this winter make me fearful about their fate this year.

The little cone shaped flowers are a winter novelty. 
Persian Shield loves humidity. The leaves get crispy in low humidity.


  1. Nell, You are always introducing me to plants that I'm not familiar with. These are beauties! -Jean

  2. I have tried Persian sheild over and over with 0% success..

  3. Persian cone head! What a great name. Though I always call it Strobilanthes -- I love the way that name slips and slithers off the tongue. Whatever the name: One of the best plants ever, especially as they stay just as colorful in shade!

  4. I just love the purple shading on the green leaves. Such a beautiful color combination and it looks lovely in your garden.

  5. I'm with Darla here, I've tried it also and it croaked. I love the purple and green coloring though. You sure have a green thumb Nell.


  6. Aren't they beautiful plants? I started with a single purchased pot.

    The only secrets to Persian Shield Culture that I know are:

    * Give high humidity and ample water.
    * Grow in part to full shade in the south. Most every site I've visited says 'full sun' which has not been my experience. Full sun caused fading and crispy edges.
    * Cuttings can be rooted in soil, I've done it by putting pot and all in plastic bags to increase humidity around the cutting.
    * Easier to root in water and place in soil when roots form.

    For full sun, Alternanthera dentata 'Purple' is a better choice.

  7. It's Interesting Neil to learn about plants that I could never grow in my frigid garden. To my northern eyes your garden looks like mine does in the summer.

  8. That lycoris/Persian shield combo is pure genius! It does not look like two plants. I love it.

    P.S. Thanks for the info on the lycopodium. It was a big help.

  9. Persian Shield is so pretty. I've tried it before, with no luck. I have more shade here. So, I'm going to give it a try.

    So many little time.

  10. Persian shield did great last year here. I made quite a few cuttings to overwinter indoors and so far they are all with me. I can't wait to get them planted outside. It's way too cool for that still.

  11. I just got one of these this year. It has loved the spot I chose for it - filtered light, so that the sunshine catches the sheen on the leaves. What a surprise to see that I am also going to get flowers on it!

  12. I like Persian Shield, the foliage is just super in the summer garden.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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