GardenDrumDigiplexis sells out across USA and Europe

Digiplexis 'Illumination Flame' detail Photo Kristine PaulusDigiplexis™, a recent intergeneric hybrid of Digitalis and its kissing cousin Isoplexis (although its DNA analysis may yet put it in the Digitalis genus) bred by Thompson and Morgan UK, has sold out in both the USA and UK this summer. And you can see why…

The Digiplexis™ Illumination™ hybrids seem to combine the best of both genera – they’re long-flowering like an Isoplexis, have tall flower spikes like a Digitalis, and mix the regular cool pink and burnt orange of the two plants beautifully to produce a range of bicolors through to soft apricot. They grow vigorously into a shrubby plants about 3 feet (1 metre) high by 18 inches (500mm) wide.

Digiplexis 'Illumination Flame' at NYBC Photo Kristine Paulus

Digiplexis ‘Illumination Flame’ at NYBC Photo Kristine Paulus

Digiplexis is best suited to a Mediterranean climate as they’re not super frost hardy, and in Zones 8 or colder they are grown as a long-flowering annual. And treating it as an annual is what you’d also need to do in warmer climates as Digiplexis requires a chilling period to initiate flowering – 4-6 weeks of temperatures at least down to 38-45ºF (4-7ºC), meaning that although it will happily continue to grow, it won’t repeat flower the following year in warmer areas. Having Isoplexis, a shrub from the Canary Islands as a one of the parents, probably also means it won’t be too happy in high humidity.

But those gorgeous flowers, and blooms from mid spring until early autumn are very good reasons to give it a go. As apparently most of the USA and Europe’s gardeners have done in summer 2015, with suppliers running out of stock of all the Illumination series of Digiplexis* some time ago. As this plant is sterile and can be grown quickly from tissue culture, let’s hope we see its availability spread around the world too. (Note: Digiplexis is available in South Africa but not yet in Australia or New Zealand)

* So far, the Digiplexis Illumination series includes Flame, Pink, Raspberry and Apricot.

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6 thoughts on “Digiplexis sells out across USA and Europe

  1. Thanks for this info. I spotted the apricot form of this at Chelsea this year, and took way too many photos of it. The designer couldn’t tell me anything about it, and knew it simply as Digitalis, and confessed that he’d flown them over from Spain the day before, since the ones he’d had contract-grown had failed to bloom.
    But it’s all academic. You’re too hot where you are, and I’m too cold. ‘Not super frost hardy’ should be read as not at all frost hardy, if Isoplexus is anything to do by…

        • where’s your commitment Michael: I’ve met New Zealanders putting ice cubes on their south-side-of-house ‘chilled’ sub-Antarctic island mega-herbs to keep them alive/coax flowers. Isoplexis is worth the struggle I say. I last saw it (apart from on Tenerife) in a garden in upper Albany, SW Western Australia – where admittedly it rains most days and is cooler than WA generally but coastal, so no frosts, yes. Hot water bottles? Heating cables in the soil, crushed brick/rock mulches – come on!
          We’d not be gardeners without a bit of a stubborn ‘yes I can!’ streak, heh?

          • Call me a horticultural lightweight if you like, but I think I deserve to gain a few points given that after my wife complained about all the Salvias overwintering in the laundry last year, I was forced to dig them carefully this April, to prune them hard, to wrap them in horticultural fleece, and to locate them under the verandah in a place where they’ll get a glimpse of light, a sprinkling of water, and protection from the frost until they can be replanted in the open again in November.

  2. The RHS have announced that these plants are officially called Digitalis x valinii, honouring Charles Valin who bred them at Thompson and Morgan in the UK. This also confirms a renaming one of the parents from Isoplexis canariensis to Digitalis canariensis. The correct name announcement came from James Armitage, Principal Scientist of Horticultural Taxonomy at RHS Garden Wisley

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