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Cactus SucculentConservatory Greenhouse

Doryanthes palmeri

spear lily

D. palmeri is a tender succulent up to 2.5m high and 3m wide, with rosettes of linear or lance-shaped, lush, bright green leaves, 2.5-3m long, which are upright then arching; mature plants produce stems, 3-4m long, also erect then arching, with smaller leaves and dense, oblong panicles, up to 1m long, of deep red bracts enclosing tubular flowers, 4-6cm long, rich red or red-brown outside and pale red or white inside, in late spring

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Size
Ultimate height
1.5–2.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
5–10 years
Ultimate spread
2.5–4 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Red Green
Summer Green
Autumn Green
Winter Green
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H2
Botanical details
Family
Doryanthaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Suckering
Name status

Correct

Plant range
Australia

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How to grow

Cultivation

In frost-prone areas, grow outside in full sun only in summer, and overwinter in a cool greenhouse in full light, in containers in loam-based potting compost such as John Innes No. 2; in the growing season, water freely and apply a balanced liquid fertilizer monthl, but keep just moist in winter. In frost-free areas, grow in humus-rich, well-drained soil in sun, with plenty of water in the growing season, but keep dry in winter as mature plants may withstand several degrees of frost if kept dry

Propagation

Propagate by seed sown at 10-13°C in spring, by division of mature bulbils, which are occasionally produced on flower stems, or by division, removing suckers which are produced after flowering

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Patio and container plants
  • Sub-tropical
Pruning

No pruning required

Pests

Generally pest-free

Diseases

Generally disease-free

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