(Holmskioldia sanguinea (Chinese Hat plant)

Family: Lamiaceae | Origin: Himalayan slopes

When viewed from a distance, the large Holmskioldia bushes resemble a mature bougainvillea – long arching branches covered with a huge abundance of orange, red or yellow flowers. When you get closer, the similarity continues in the leaves, but you can also see differences – the stems are spineless and do not thicken and the color comes mainly from the flower cups (as in bougainvillea), but these are open and shaped like a plate or a hat, hence the common name in English.

The Chinese Hat plant quickly grows to a height of 2-3 meters and a diameter of 3-6 meters and thrives in full or partial sun and regular watering. At maturity it will develop some resistance to dryness. The bush is very suitable over a pergola or leaning against a wall or a fence. It is a semi-deciduous shrub and in the mountain area tends to shed its leaves in the winter. Hard pruning can be done at the end of winter in order to keep a smaller size.

Also suitable as a hedge with frequent pruning and the diligent can grow it shaped on a trunk as a standard and even in a large container.

The wild Holmskioldia has orange flowers and calyxes and blooms profusely in the autumn months until mid-winter. The two color varieties, one with red flowers and the other with yellow flowers are both similar in their other characteristics.

It is a good, non-thorny substitute for bougainvillea with a beautiful autumn-winter appearance.

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