- Author: Andrea Peck
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Andrea Peck UCCE Master Gardener
Common name: Lewisia Elise
Scientific name: Lewisia cotyledon 'Elise'
Planting area: perennial in USDA zones 3-8
Size: 4”-6” tall and 8”-10” Wide
Bloom Season: spring, summer.
Exposure: full sun; in very hot climates, place in shade.
Pruning needs: none
Water needs: drought tolerant once established.
If you're looking for a prom queen for your garden, look no further than Lewisia 'Elise.' Not just a pretty face, Elise garnered the coveted Fleuroselect Gold Medal---an international award given only to high performing ornamental plants. The Elise varietal fits the bill as an all-around beautiful and sturdy perennial that gets into those dry corners of your garden and thrives. Elise blooms continually from spring to winter and comes in a mix of colors from pink to salmon, white, and rose. The bright pops of color are a sight for sore eyes—-particularly considering that the plant is often used in xeriscaping where greens and browns dominate. This plant grows slowly. Its leaves are long and thin, green in color and have a tough, succulent-type appearance.
If there is one achilles heel of this plant, and that is overwatering--clay soil or overly wet conditions will be the death of Lewisia Elise. The soil must be quick draining, even sandy or gritty, to avoid the potential for rot. Lewisia is often used in rock gardens or retaining walls. In and around rocks, bricks, or hardscaping, Elise shines. A monthly feeding of an all-purpose fertilizer should be enough to make sure it has the nutrients it needs. During that time, clip the plant of old dried leaves that tend to rest at the base of the plant---doing so will increase air circulation. Propagating Lewisia is not difficult as the plant eventually produces offshoots. Carefully clip off the offshoot from the parent plant. Pot it separately and water it in, being mindful not to overwater. Finally, enjoy your unusual little plant. It's rare to get a shock of princess colors wrapped in a drought tolerant hardy plant.
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