Centratherum punctatum

Centratherum punctatum

This is a rather unusual short-lived perennial (ht 50 cm) that flowers most of the year, though it seems to be particularly good in winter. A member of the Asteraceae family of plants, it has flowers like fluffy round purple buttons opening from quaint buds, held above interesting leaves that look like they have been cut with pinking shears. The plants seem to last for a few years and then fade away but they do self-seed and I now make sure that I always have a few coming on to replace the older specimens. It is said to come from tropical places, including the Philippines and possibly South America - there may also be an Australian subspecies? It seems to do best in a sunny, well-drained spot and genially fills in the gaps between shrubs and larger perennials, asking for no special treatment. I particularly like it associated with lime foliage, such as one of the lime-leafed forms of zonal Pelargonium. Trim back gently occasionally. Note that this plant may be a potential weed in warm areas so take care not to let it escape into bushland. I have not found it to be a problem in my own Sydney garden.

Flowers in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, December.

 Out now in my Sydney Garden.