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Products > Leucospermum 'Blanche Ito'
Leucospermum 'Blanche Ito' - Blanche's Sky-rocket Pincushion

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Leucospermum 'Blanche Ito'
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Proteaceae (Proteas)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Orange Red
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Synonyms: [Leucospermum 'Blanchito']
Parentage: (Leucospermum 'Hybrid 29' x Ls. reflexum 204)
Height: 4-5 feet
Width: 4-5 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Leucospermum 'Blanche Ito' - An evergreen shrub that will grow upwards of 7 feet tall but can be maintained at 4 to 5 feet tall by as wide if stems are cut for floral arrangements. It has upright stems holding lance-shaped 2-inch-long gray-green leaves that are tipped with red teeth that are crowned from December through April with beautiful pincushion flowers that emerge from a tight cone as a rounded yellow dome and broaden to 6 inches wide while darkening from the bottom up to a dark salmon pink then red color with orange styles truly sensational.

This plant was new to cultivation in California in 2013 but based on what is known about its parentage, standard cultural practices used on other pincushions should apply; we recommend planting in full sun in a well-drained soil with only occasional irrigation once established and mulched to keep the soil cool and retain moisture. It should prove drought tolerant once established and cold hardy to about 25 degrees F. A general preference of this group for acidic soils may justify amending the soil or the application of soil sulfur. Fertilizers should be time release and very low in phosphorus but contain the trace elements Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, Manganese and Copper. This dramatic-looking plant should make a dramatic focal point in the gardens and the flowers, with 30-inch stems, would be great in arrangements with a vase life of up to 16 days.

The influence of the one parent, Leucospermum reflexum, a plant commonly called the Rocket Pincushion or Sky-rocket Pincushion, can be seen with the way the flower styles broaden, however they do not fully reflex back down as they do with this species. The name for the genus comes from the Greek word 'leukos' meaning "white" and and 'sperma' meaning "seed" in reference to the white fleshy skin, called a elaiosome, that covers the seeds. 'Blanche Ito' was a selected seedling in 2000 that was the result of a cross done by Pam Shingaki at the Maui Agricultural Research Center, University of Hawaii in Kula, Hawaii. The parents were Leucospermum University of Hawaii 'Hybrid 29' and Ls. Reflexum '204' and it was registered in 2007 with the description in the Protea Registry as "Flower head red, diameter 16cm, styles orange red. December through April". It was named after Blanche Ito, the now retired secretary of the research center, who is also a wonderful photographer. Our plants from Ball Horticulture as part of their Royal Hawaiian Series. The images on our website courtesy of Pam Shingaki and Blanche Ito. 

This information about Leucospermum 'Blanche Ito' displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.