Alpine Garden Society

Ulster Group

Plant of the Month, August 2009
Shortia x 'Leona' - by Frank Walsh
This hybrid between S. galacifolia and  S. uniflora, two very desirable plants, has been in existence since 1970. At 14cm it is taller than its parents and has the best qualities of both, with delightful light pink flowers above the foliage that takes on a mahogany colour in the autumn. It spreads by rhizomes.

My plant was purchased from Timpany Nurseries five years ago as a small rooted cutting.


Shortias are woodland plants and have very fine roots needing a humus rich soil in full or partial shade and protected from drying winds.  I used a north facing frame, open to the elements  except in severe frost or snow, with additional summer shading as required. The leaves can be damaged by hailstones.

The potting compost used throughout has been - leaf mould 1 part, peat 3 parts and sharp sand 2 parts.

(For more about S.galacifolia, known commonly as the Oconee bell, one of the rarest wildflowers in the United States, and S. uniflora, from Japan, follow the hyperlink Here)