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Rojasianthe superba - "White Tree Sunflower"

Superba!  Rojasianthe superba is a dramatic shrub that's new to cultivation.  It doesn't have a common name yet, so i named it the White Tree Sunflower.  This bold sunflower relative comes from the cool mountains of Guatemala and southern Mexico, where it grows 18 feet tall!  Its crisp white blooms with their dark centers appear each spring amongst oversized leaves.  This is a rare and very hard to find plant.

Rojasianthe superba - "White Tree Sunflower"

This is the only species in the genus Rojasianthe (pronounced "row-ha-see-anth-ee").  It's an evergreen shrub that forms tall, arching shoots.  The foliage looks like giant Abutilon leaves, growing to about 8 inches long.  The flowers are about 3 inches across, and appear from around February through May here in San Francisco.  They are lightly fragrant.  The plant is striking when in bloom, and it has an exotic, tropical look when not in bloom.

Rojasianthe superba - "White Tree Sunflower"

Rojasianthe comes from a mild climate, where temperatures are usually below 80 degrees F, and nights are cool and frost-free.  It's untested in warm climates, but it might not thrive if temperatures regularly get above 85 degrees (29 C), especially if nights are warm.  It probably can survive a few degrees of frost, but i recommend protecting it from freezing temperatures.  It grows well indoors in a pot, and may be pruned shorter if it grows too tall.  In the wild it grows in the forest understory, where it receives tree-filtered sunlight.  Protect it from strong afternoon sun or it may wilt.  It likes well-draining soil kept evenly moist.  Over about 40% humidity is recommended.

Rojasianthe superba - "White Tree Sunflower"

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Germination tips for this plant

 

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