Photo - Linda Ross
Description: around 30 species of Iochroma hail from Central and South America. All produce fantastic tubular flowers and have slightly sticky, hairy leaves. I. grandiflorum features deep, purple-blue flowers that birds love. Iochroma grandiflora and its close relative Iochroma cyaneum are similar to species fuchsias and angels trumpets, in the Solanaceae family. They flower throughout summer and autumn, with flush after flush of long tubular bells in blue or purple, some cherry red, orange and scarlet!
Size: They have big quite felty leaves, grow to about 3-4m and needs a sunny, warm position. They hate the cold, so find a warm semi shaded position for them to thrive
Cultivation: a frost might prune the brittle stems back to the ground, but they grow back. Iochroma strikes easily from semi-hardwood cuttings taken in summer.They'll soon start flowering again in December. Cut back hard after flowering.They like sunny to semi-shaded spots in well-drained soil and do well in pots. Keep up the organic matter.
Special comments: Iochroma are close relatives of Brugmansia. Both are poisonous. This plant sends out strong suckers so if you live in the warmer, wetter areas of Australia where it could get away, keep it in a pot.
We like it: at the back of a shrub border to add some height, and then plant other things (like Ixora) in front of it.