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Advice on 'Maltese Cross'

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I have admired this plant in the catalogs for a long time. I have about five I started from seed this Spring. They are ready to plant in my garden. I sure don't want to put them in the wrong place. Plants are so much happier and successful if they are put in the "right" place.

I originally planned to put this plant up by our paved road on a high slope in full sun. It would have good drainage and get rather dry. It would be on the edge of our property.

Here, it rains about 45 inches a year and average temps 90's to low 20's. This summer our rainfall was half and warmer; last winter was quite warm--but that's unusual and one has to go by "average.

I "was going" to plant this plant with Red Oriental Poppies with the idea that the poppies would bloom first, then the Maltese Cross. Well, I like this plant so much, I don't want to loose it by planting it in the wrong place. I can get water to this area if need be via a sprinkler. A blue prince holly is road side and the maltese cross would be behind the holly if you were looking from the road.

Not much has ever grown in this area, because until this year, there wasn't a way to get water to it. The soil is rather poor, but have read it likes poor soil.

SO, do you think this would be an okay place to plant Maltese Cross?

And, since we're on the subject, what plants did you plant with it? I would like to have a white long blooming accent plant.

Sidney, OH(Zone 6a)

My Maltese Cross gets the hot west-side sun, and seems to do well there. I watered it occasionally during this summer's drought. It grows fairly tall (30" or more), so I support it with slightly shorter campanula in front. I deadhead it to get a second bloom and save some seeds. I love the bright, orange-red color behind the blue, but you could also try white campanula.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Thanks for your response and information. I don't "think" campanulas would make it in full sun here. We have very hot, humid summers. I am even concerned as to if the Maltese Cross will make it in full sun. I would like to put it in full sun per above description, but sure don't want to lose it.

Sidney, OH(Zone 6a)

Actually, they're pretty tough, and they reseed easily. Our last summer was one of the hottest and driest and humidest (technical term!) we've had in years. The MC bloomed like they loved it. The campanulas did ok, but I'm going to rip them out and put lupines there instead. Lupines are so easy to start from seed, and they like the same conditions as MC.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I hate to be a pessimist but lupines won't do well here--again humidity. But, thank you so much for trying to help.

Sidney, OH(Zone 6a)

It doesn't have to be lupines. Just plant something that will provide support for the Maltese Cross so they won't flop over. I received MC seeds from a friend over 20 years ago, and I never had to plant them after the first year. The plants readily reseed, and the seeds I collect are given to friends. I'm sure you'll have good luck with your MC with blue holly support. If not, I'll send you some more seeds!

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

1alh: I do appreciate your comments on the MC. I feel more confident in planting it in the originally selected location. I plan to plant a few Red Oriental Poppies with it. They will disappear, but I will get color longer and the MC will cover up the dying foliage of the poppies. I decided to put Gaura lindheimeri 'Whirling Butterflies' with it.
Thanks for the offer of the seeds if mine fails.

Sidney, OH(Zone 6a)

Good ideas. I never thought about gaura. I have ' Whirling Butterflies', too, and it loves drought, humidity, poor soil, and neglect. Make sure to refrigerate any seeds you get from MC for a few weeks before replanting. They need a cold spell to germinate well.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Thanks for the info. I have about five plants I winter sowed that I am going to plant in the next couple of days. I did not know/remember the seeds needed to be stratified.

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