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Mitraria - Growing Guide
Growing Mitraria coccinea
Commonly known as ‘Chilean Mitre Flower’
This is a slender stemmed prostrate or climbing evergreen plant from the rainforests of Chile with tubular brilliant orange, orange-red or scarlet flowers which can appear individually at odd times right through the year starting from late spring.
We have grown this attractive plant for at least 50 years against a shady and fully wind protected damp wall. Its long arching new growths need tieing into wires or a trellis to get them climbing. Otherwise the plant tries to form a low mound. Helpfully, where the long new growths touch the ground, they readily layer themselves and start new plants which can be lifted and moved. In occasional cold winters the taller more mature parts of this delicate plant have been killed (or perhaps died of old age) leaving the young layers to grow and take over. In this respect the plant is self regenerating.
M. coccinea will grow and flower perhaps better in full sun but its roots need to be in the shade and kept moist. The reference books say that it grows to 6ft but, in warmer coastal locations, it can achieve far more than this especially if growing through another plant. Ours has taken advantage of an adjacent tree heather for this purpose although deciduous hosts are easier for it to penetrate than evergreen ones.
This is an attractive and unusual plant to grow in southern counties or in cities. However it is perfectly happy in a well shaded greenhouse with its roots mulched or covered by a slab to keep them moist if grown in open ground indoors. With heat, humidity and a liquid feed this plant will romp up a trellis.
We have never noticed our plants setting seed but, layers aside, propagation from semi ripe new growths is fairly straightforward.