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Dipelta - Growing Guide
The author first came across a clump of this relatively unknown plant alongside a stream in Mound Stewart garden in Ireland. From a distance the plants looked slightly hydrangea-like and possibly a bit like a heptacodum. Both comparisons were a bit wide of the mark on closer inspection. Weigelia-like might have been a better guess.
There are four deciduous species of dipelta which all grow in the scrub and woodland of Western China. They are all fully hardy and have attractive peeling bark.
D. floribunda has scented pink flushed yellow flowers
D. ventricosa exhibits scented lilac-rose flowers
D. yunnanensis has white scented flowers with orange markings
Dipelta like an open, moist, loamy soil and do best in dappled shade rather than full sun where they can be prone to sun scorch on the new growth.
They flower in May and June and the shape of the trumpet like flowers is certainly something to puzzle those who see them for the first time.
The seeds are contained within green bracts which are also attractive in their own right.
The plant can readily be propagated from semi ripe new growths in a heated mist bench in summer.
Perhaps the only negative features of this genus of unusual plants are that they are relatively short lived (15 or so years with us) and particularly susceptible to honey fungus.