Photo by JLBG taken at Juniper Level Botanic Gdn, NC
Kalimeris mongolica 'Hortensis'
Just call me Hortense
Item #: 1219
Zones: 6a to 9b
Height: 20" tall
(aka: Asteromoea mongolica, Aster mongolicus, Kalimeris pinnatifida) It's been hard to keep up with the name changes, since this poor plant's identity has been batted around by taxonomists more than a tennis ball on Wimbledon's Centre Court. A favorite of the late garden writer Elizabeth Lawrence, Kalimeris 'Hortensis' is a wonderful, slowly spreading deciduous perennial which arises in spring to form a dense patch of 20" tall, interwoven stems, clothed with apple-green, serrated foliage, then topped with creamy white, fully double, 1" chrysanthemum-esque flowers throughout the summer...whew! If you look closely enough, you will notice a light lavender blush to the lower ring of petals...that's for you designer types. Kalimeris mongolica 'Hortensis' blends well into any perennial border by softening more dramatic color contrasts.
Kalimeris 'Hortensis' is one of those plants that is indispensable not because it is a showstopper but because it is in bloom most months of the frost free growing season (mid spring through summer into mid fall here in zone 7 NC). It is a great foil and filler for those show stopping plants that are in full bloom for just a few weeks. It will grow and bloom in full sun to quite heavy shade. It might be happiest in part day sun. It is best in soils of average moisture. Though it will survive moderately dry sites, it will not thrive.
Kalimeris 'Hortensis' is also a well behaved plant. It's rate of spread is very modest. Indeed, if one wanted additional or bigger masses of it would require dividing established clumps and spreading them out. Dig up a clump or part of a clump and divide it down to single stems, each should have a few short rhizomes, replant them about 6 to 8" apart, either extending the original mass or starting new masses. This can be done most anytime of the year. Reduce the stems by about a half if transplanting is done while in active growth.
As with many long-blooming plants, Kalimeris 'Hortensis' can be cut back hard to the ground in mid to late summer if it gets too shabby looking. It will soon be back in new growth and fresh bloom.
It also is good cut flower.
Flower Color: White/Cream
Leaf Color: Green
Bloom Time: Summer
Container Role: Fillers