St. Augustine grass for containers

Ever experience a strange coincidence? Like mine, years ago, when backpacking around Europe, I met two Australian girls who gave me that old line: Oh, you’re from Canada? We know someone from Canada. Uh huh, I thought, sure you do. Then they named my ex-boyfriend.

This week I read that, statistically, coincidences like this aren’t really that unusual. But isn’t it funny (as in peculiar) when worlds mysteriously collide?

This summer, in Atlanta, Georgia, I noticed an attractive trailing plant I’d never seen before. Witness the summery look of Exhibit A on the left below. Back in Toronto, hey, there it was again, this time in a fall container at the entry to the Toronto Botanical Garden, Exhibit B.

As is its practise, the TBG had helpfully labelled this: Variegated St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum ‘Variegatum’). Don’cha just love botanical names! Like a wizard’s spell.

Perfect topic for a post, I thought! No sooner had I thought this than I found myself hearing the TBG’s Director of Horticulture Paul Zammit include this very plant in his presentation on new or interesting plants at the TBG. Synchronicity! Now I knew for sure what the universe wanted me to post.

So watch for sources next spring when you seek spillers for your containers. St. Augustine grass isn’t new, but it was new to me – and perhaps to you, too.

In the southern U.S., its green version is actually used for lawns – the rhizomes spread quickly. But it isn’t hardy in Toronto’s climate (Canadian Z6/USDA Z5), so its tendency to be the spiller that keeps on spilling won’t likely take over our landscape if they touch the ground.

Here’s plant info from Louis the Plant Geek – check out the monster he overwinters in his greenhouse.

So, everything old is new again for those seeing it for the first time! Coincidentally.

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