Dictamnus

Dictamnus flowers

Attractive bushy border perennials with erect stems, topped by terminal spikes of flowers in summer. On a warm still day the volatile oils can ignite producing a blue flame around the upper part of the bush.

Family: Rutaceae
Botanical Name: Dictamnus (dik-tam-nus)
Common Names: Burning bush, dittany, candle plant, fire plant, fraxinella, gas plant, spitfire plant.

Foliage: Deciduous, aromatic dark-green leaves.

Flowers: Spires of small white or purple fragrant flowers. The flowers exude a volatile oil.

Flowering Period: May-June.

Soil: Moist but well-drained or well drained, moderately fertile soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Full sun or partial shade. Can be planted in any aspect.

Habit: Bushy, upright.

Type: Herbaceous perennial.

Origin: Europe, Asia

Hardiness: Most varieties are fully hardy in the UK.

Toxicity: Contact with skin can cause photodermatitis. Wear gloves and protective clothing when handling.

Planting and Growing Dictamnus

Easy to grow. Thrives any good well-drained garden soil (preferably alkaline), in full sun or part shade.

Ideal for flower beds or a mixed herbaceous border. Dislikes disturbance once establish, so choose initial planting site well.

Taking Care of Dictamnus

Apply a general purpose fertiliser in early spring.

Pruning Dictamnus

Remove the flower heads once the blooms have faded. Cut down decaying foliage in autumn.

Pests and Diseases

Young foliage and seedlings are susceptible to attack by slugs and snails.

Propagating Dictamnus

Sow seed in pots under the protection of a frame in spring. Pot on and protect until plants are large enough to be planted out in their permanent positions. Young plants can take several years to flower.

Cuttings can be taken in September-October. Root in light sandy compost under protection of a frame.

Varieties of Dictamnus

Dictamnus albus (burning bush) is a tall perennial with aromatic, divided, dark green leaves and vertical racemes of white or purple flowers in early summer. Height 24in (60cm), spread 18in (45cm). Variety 'purpureus' has rose-purple flowers.