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Products > Luculia gratissima
Luculia gratissima - Luculia

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Rubiaceae (Madders)
Origin: Himalaya Mountain Region (Asia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Pink
Bloomtime: Fall/Winter
Height: 8-12 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Luculia gratissima (Luculia) - This medium to large shrub has attractive long leaves but is primarily grown for its 8-inch wide, fragrant pink flower heads that bloom fall to winter (on into early spring in Santa Barbara). It is a semi-evergreen to evergreen shrub from the lower elevations of the Himalayas and into Yunnan Province where it has be known to grow to 20 feet tall. In cultivation, the largest plants are usually around 8-10 feet tall. It needs a near frost-free winter and cool summer climate and can have trouble with root rot, particularly Phytophthora, if there is poor drainage. If it is damaged by frost, the plant can be cut back to a pair of healthy leaves or buds in late winter to early spring after the chance of frost is past. Pruning to remove old spent flowers will also help to keep this plant bushy, otherwise it gets a little lanky. It is also a host for Greenhouse thrip which can stipple the foliage. The genus name, Luculia, is the a Latinized word from the Nepalese name, Luculi Swa and the species name 'gratissima' is Latin for "most pleasing". This is not a plant for the amateur gardener or the wrong location, but when it is happy, it is sensational. It seems to do best in the San Francisco Bay area but there have been old plants in Santa Barbara Gardens as well and we have a beautiful large shrub in our garden. Will Riedel notes in his "Plants for Extra-Tropical Regions" (1950) that many plants were distributed in Southern California in the 1930's but few have survived .  This description is based on our research and observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We will also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information about this plant, in particular if this information is contrary to what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Luculia gratissima.