Correa 'Dawn in Santa Cruz'

Spotlight on Correa

The genus Correa was unknown to me before last year. Then a chance find at a local nursery changed all of that. It was an unlikely find given that most of the plants they stock are very run of the mill. The little pink tubular flowers of Correa pulchella ‘Pink Eyre’ flare at the end and had a little yellow/green cap on the base of the flower is so charming. The foliage also is quite attractive, with a slight fuzziness to the small grey/green almost oval leaves.

Correa pulchella 'Pink Eyre'
Correa pulchella ‘Pink Eyre’

It sat in its pot for quite some time before I have finished constructing Gondwana – the garden area dedicated to plants that originated on that great ancient super continent. I may be cheating a little by placing this here because all Correa are endemic to Australia, and are in the Rutaceae family, most of which come from Australia and Africa, but I have not determined when the plant family evolved. The best known Gondwana family are the Proteas.

Pink Eyre finds its home

It got planted in October of 2020. It was blooming at the time and here we are in March 2021 and it hasn’t stopped blooming once during that period. The bottom of the garden has also had a couple of touches of frost and it hasn’t phased it. They are hardy down to zone 9a, which is down to 20 F, so they should do well in most parts of Portland.

Of course, success with that first plant meant that I wanted more, but amazingly, these plants do not appear to have found their way into American gardens yet. They really should if they live up to Pink Eyre. I was happy to find that University of California – Santa Cruz has a number of them, as well some mature plants in their arboretum.

Correa 'Strawberries & Cream' growing at UCSC Arboretum
Correa ‘Strawberries & Cream’ growing at UCSC Arboretum

New additions to the collection

I had selected a few plants for purchase, primarily based on the range of colors they had available. Color range is restricted with the body of the tube being white through red. Most of them being pink. Then there is the choice of solid color tube with a different color trumpet. Tube colors range from white to green through yellow.

I selected the following three to come home with me: Pink tube, yellow trumpet – ‘Dawn in Santa Cruz’; Pink tube, white trumpet – ‘Strawberries & Cream’; Solid pink tube and trumpet but variegated foliage – ‘Wyn’s Wonder’.

Correa 'Dawn in Santa Cruz'
Correa ‘Dawn in Santa Cruz’
Correa 'Strawberries & Cream'
Correa ‘Strawberries & Cream’
Correa 'Wyn's Wonder'
Correa ‘Wyn’s Wonder’

Some of these plants will certainly get bigger than ‘Pink Eyre’. Mature size is defined as 3′ X 3′. The other ones have a greater spread, with ‘Strawberries & Cream’ potentially spreading to 10′. I have a feeling that they respond well to pruning, so it may be possible to keep it more contained. I will certainly start trying to propagate them this spring. March and April appear to be good months for that, but indications are that they are not fussy. Several sources suggest not doing it in winter or when it gets too hot in summer.

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