If you feel like your garden or home is ready to welcome a super friendly and exotic-looking flowering plant, we have a very special ornamental that would make a perfect candidate. Meet Diascia a.k.a. Twinspur, your next plant family member!
Diascia is a somewhat underrated family is plants, but many gardeners worldwide actually know and appreciate some attractive species that belong to this family. The Diascia genus contains about 70 species of herbaceous perennial and annual flowering plants.
You should know that the species alone are not necessarily the specimens that provide ornamental interest. The most common species in cultivation are only four: D. barberae, D. integerrima, D. rigescens, and D. vigilis. These plants look absolutely gorgeous, and the good news is this is not where their glam ends.
The most interesting Diascia ornamentals are the numerous cultivars, that are mostly hybrids, and that come in lots of eye-appealing options to choose from. They have a generous colour palette and can fill any garden with joy and bring any dull corner back to life, no matter whether it is an outdoor or indoor setting.
Are you curious to learn more about this plant? Keep reading to find out everything you should know about this lovely plant! By the end of this guide, you will see that we have our reasons to think that you will fall in love with it without hesitation!
- All Diascia plants usually go by the common name Twinspur. The name refers to the two downward-pointing spurs that each flower has on its back side. This particular feature helps us distinguish the plants belonging to the Diascia genus from plants that belong to similar genera like Nemesia or Alonsoa.
- The spurs of the Diascia plant contain a unique type of oil. This substance is highly attractive to pollinators, especially the Rediviva bees which are endemic to South Africa and are a type of solitary native bees. It seems like these fascinating bees have coevolved with Diascia plants.
- Twinspur originates from different parts of the world, depending on the type of each species. While the majority of Diascia plants, around 50 annuals, are native to the winter rainfalls areas of the Western Cape and Namaqualand in Namibia and South Africa, the perennial Diascia plants typically come from summer-rainfall spots including KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg in South Africa.
- As mentioned above, Diascia plants have numerous cultivars that make amazing ornamentals. Some of our favourites are ‘Flying Colours’ series, ‘Belmore Beauty’, ‘Blue Bonnet’, ‘Jacqueline’s Joy’, ‘Katherine Sharman’, ‘Ice Cream’, ‘Whisper’ series, ‘Salmon Supreme’, ‘Little Tango’, ‘Red Ace’, ‘Ice Cracker’, and ‘Appleby Apricot’.
- The D. rigescens, D. integerrima, and D. vigilis species, along with lots of cultivars, are recipients of the Award of Garden Merit. The prized cultivars include ‘Fisher’s Flora’, ‘Blackthorn Apricot’, ‘Ruby Field’, ‘Hecbel’, ‘Dark Eyes’, ‘Elizabeth’, ‘Joyce’s Choice’, ‘Lady Valerie’, ‘Lilac Mist’, ‘Rupert Lambert’, ‘Twinkle’, and ‘Lilac Belle’.
- Diascia ornamentals became popular thanks to the breeding work carried out by the late Hector Harrison, a gardener from Appleby, North Lincolnshire, England. Starting in 1985, he focused on creating hundreds of hybrid seedlings, from which several excellent cultivars have emerged, each named based on their unique features. Harrison also strived to increase the colour range of Diascia ornamentals and successfully developed shades of apricot, red, pink, lilac, coral, lilac, and white. Building on his work, other nurseries and breeders have continued to create unique-looking Diascia varieties.
- The Twinspur plant makes for a wonderful ornamental addition to various landscape decorations, such as cottage gardens, city gardens, rock gardens, edging planting, beds, borders, and also hanging baskets, window boxes, and other types of containers.
- If you dream about the most irresistible flower arrangement, you can plant your Twinspur near other good-looking species. The most suitable companions are Achillea, Agastache, Alyssum, Catmint, Delosperma, Foxtail Lily, Gerbera Daisy, Nemesia, Pansies, Snapdragon, Stock, and other flowering annuals.
- Luckily, Diascia plants are non-toxic which makes them pet-friendly. Diascia plants are safe to grow indoors and outdoors as they won’t cause any harm if curious pets or kids touch them or munch on them. You can grow Diascia plants wherever you want without any worry about safety.
Twinspur Features: An Overview
- Diascia plants belong to the Scrophulariaceae family. They share this exciting family with other spectacular genera, such as Leucophyllum, Buddleja, Alonsoa, Nemesia, Barthlottia, Verbascum, Scrophularia, Eremophila, or Selago.
- Diascia species are herbaceous perennial or annual flowering plants. Depending on the cultivar, the plants can reach from 8 to 18 inches (20-45 cm) in height and about 10 to 12 inches (25-30 cm) in width.
- Some specimens will exceed the usual size of most Diascia plants. For example, the D. rigescens species may grow as tall as 24 inches (60 cm). Likewise, the D. personata will reach a height of approximately 47 inches (120 cm).
- Diascia plants are generally spreading and semi-evergreen species. They have a sprawling overall growth habit and form mats through their foliage, which consists of several heart-shaped leaves.
- The twinspur plant blooms throughout the summer months and can even continue blooming well into autumn if the temperatures are warm. During its flowering period, twinspur produces delicate-looking, five-lobed flowers on stiff, four-angled stems.
- The blossoms on some species may feature dark purple patched which are actually oil glands. This feature will make them appear bicoloured.
- The colour palette of Twinspur flowers is quite generous. From one cultivar to another, the blooms will exhibit various shades of white, cream, apricot, red, pink, purple, lavender, salmon, yellow, and hypnotic combinations of these colours.
As with most species that produce flowers, the Diascia plant will bloom profusely if it experiences at least six hours of full sunlight. But although this plant does love to get a lot of sunlight, it’s best to offer it some protection.
In case you live in a region with very hot weather, it would be wise to keep this buddy in a partially shaded spot. This type of lighting condition is not mandatory throughout the first part of the day. However, some shade is beneficial for your plant during the harsh afternoon light of the sun.
When it comes to temperatures, the plants that belong to the Diascia family prefer those conditions that are more on the warmer side. These ornamental plants can withstand winter temperatures but only in the USDA zones 9 to 11 where frost does not usually occur.
You can grow your Diascia plants in a container and bring them to a warmer place once the weather begins to show signs of getting cold. On the other side, when the Diascia plants receive too much heat, their flowers will be more prone to fade.
If this happens, you can cut your plant back to a few inches and spoil it with water regularly. Diascia plants benefit greatly from a wet environment. This preference makes the plant quite attractive to slugs and snails.
These pests may feed on the foliage of your plant but they are not actually as harmful as other intruders. If you want to get rid of them, the most effective and environment-friendly method is by picking them manually. You can also use salt sprays or an organic bait and you will see results over time.
- 100 Seeds Pink Queen Twinspur Diascia Barberae Flower Seeds Evergreen Houseplant edlcy (Seeds)
- Name: Pink Queen Twinspur | Scientific Name: Diascia Barberae | Color: Pink With Yellow Throats | Plant Seeds: At 65 - 75F
- Bloom Time: Summer - Fall | Hardiness Zone: 9 - 11 | Plant Height: 8 - 10" | Plant Spacing: 18 - 24"
Last update on 2024-02-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The ideal growing medium for twinspur plants is a slightly acidic one with a soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5. Moreover, since this companion thrives in damp conditions, we suggest you plant it in a fertile substrate that comes along with excellent drainage. For indoor specimens, make sure you opt for a pot that has drainage holes at the bottom.
The delicate Twinspur will appreciate a bit of attention in terms of fertilizers. For optimal growth, you should feed your plant with an all-purpose, slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of its growing period in early spring. This one application is more than enough, as too much feeding will easily result in a leggy plant.
If you find yourself in the situation of having a leggy Diascia plant, however, you don’t need to worry. The best remedy for this minor issue is generally a session of pruning which will help you keep a certain shape or size on your plant.
All you have to do is pinch back the stems to encourage new growth to show up. You can also remove the spent flowers to make your plant look more attractive and even promote new blooms.
Twinspur is a moist-loving friend but, surprisingly, it will not do very well in soggy soil. In fact, over-watering is probably the only thing that can kill this plant over time. Because of this, we recommend you water your twinspur plants only after you check the soil and notice that the top inch (2.5 cm) of it feels dry to the touch.
All twinspur cultivars are, without a doubt, great ornamental specimens to have around. If you want to fill your collection with more than one of these perfect ornamentals, propagating the one you already have is a common method among gardeners.
The best way to achieve this is by starting new plants using seeds, which you can collect from the mother plant or find in nurseries. However, you should know that seeds collected from Diascia hybrids will not grow true from seed.
Once you have the seeds, you are ready to dive deep into the process. Do not worry, as starting Diascia plants from seed is a fun and easy process. But first, you will have to wait for the right moment to do it. In general, you should start the seeds indoors about 6-8 weeks before the date of your last expected frost.
When the time is right, you can sow the Diascia seeds by pressing them firmly just above the soil without covering them with it.
This step is very important because the seeds need lots of light to germinate. Likewise, you should keep their soil constantly moist for great results. If you are doing this properly, you can expect signs of germination after two weeks or so.
You can also successfully propagate Diascia from cuttings and if you choose this fast propagation method keep in mind that it’s best to do it in spring or fall. All you have to do is to collect 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) long cuttings from your mature flowers.
It’s best to take the cuttings from stems that are not bearing any flowers at the moment. Next, remove the lower leaves and only keep those at the top. Dip the cuttings in a rooting hormone, if you happen to have it at hand, and plant them in a well-draining soil mix.
Water the cuttings regularly and don’t let the soil dry too much. Keep the cuttings in a warm location with a temperature between 50 and 60°F (10 and 15°C).
We hope our article convinced you of the charming and low-demanding nature of Diascia a.k.a Twinspur plants. If so, do not hesitate to come back and share which cultivars you decided to plant in your garden. Share your experience with Diascia plants with us and with other gardeners by leaving a comment!