Friday, 19 January 2024, 17:52
In its native environment it is found in large clumps growing in moist, humus-rich soil on the forest floor but it will tolerate some drought and dry soil.
The genus Uvularia has five species and U. grandiflora is the most commonly grown as a garden plant. It is a long-lived perennial in the Liliaceae family (lily) and spreads by short, fleshy rhizomes. Each stem produces a raceme of up to four nodding, yellow blooms. The buds look twisted but as they open the six narrow petals flare at the ends. They attract bees, bumblebees and butterflies as they are rich in nectar and pollen. During flowering the whole plant can look a little wilted as its leaves and flower stems sag but after flowering, the whole plant becomes more erect.
The three-capsuled fruits lie on top of the leaves as they ripen. Each capsule contains up to three brownish-red seeds. These attract ants which help with the seed dispersal and it can self seed in ideal conditions.
Propagation can be carried out by seed or by root division in autumn. Keep in mind that a clump may take years to re-establish once it has been split. A well established plant can grow to 60cm high by 45cm wide but it does need plenty of shade and a rich and free-draining soil.
A suitable location for Uvularia grandiflora would be under trees as a woodland plant, in a wild or cottage garden style planting, a shady border or in a large pot on a patio, wherever it will receive some shade throughout the day.
The native Americans used extracts of the leaves and roots to treat swellings and a salve made from the root mixed with fat was said to relieve aching muscles. The dried root was taken to cure chest ailments.
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