The Q&A Archives: Leptodermis Oblonga

Question: We bought a plant named Leptodermis oblonga. We were told it was hardy only to zone 7. What is best way to care for this plant through the winter? We have a heated, enclosed porch. What is its common name and light requirements?

Answer: The plant you have is quite unusual, and has no common name. Leptodermis oblonga is a member of the Rubiaceace family (Madder family), is a deciduous shrub that will grow 3'-4' high, likes moist soil, and will grow in part shade to full sunshine. It's native to N. China and flowers in late summer and autumn, with showy violet-purple funnel-shaped flowers. The plant is hardy to about -10F, so you may be able to plant it in a protected garden spot and further protect it with some sort of enclosure during the coldest months of winter. I wouldn't advise keeping it in a heated area during the winter because it has some chilling requirements in order to bloom. (Winter heat would keep the plant from forming flower buds.)

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