Leycesteria formosa ‘Little Lanterns’ is a beautiful new compact variety of Leycesteria. The plant was originally intended to make its debut at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2020.
Leycesteria is great for smaller gardens, with its bright foliage and twisting shoots. The plant’s foliage provides a long season of interest, covering almost 10 months of the year. In spring ‘Little Lanterns’ offer luscious lime green foliage and bright red shoots; in mid-summer the foliage turns to a golden yellow with pendant racemes of white flowers. In autumn, the flowers turn to deep purple almost black ornamental berries, adding vibrance to the delicate roots.
How to grow Leycesteria
Flowering time: June to September
Sun Requirements: Full sun to light shade (the deeper the shade, the more lime the colouration of the foliage).
Location & Soil: Position in a sunny or lightly shaded spot in the border, or in a large pot with well-drained soil. Avoid planting into soil which gets very wet. Remember to add plenty of organic matter and water once planted.
Soil: Well-drained soil.
Hardiness: Fully hardy in the UK.
Size: Grows to approx. 1.25m height x 1.25m spread.
Water: Keep well-watered until established.
Care: can be pruned hard in spring as new shoots start to emerge.
Size: 1.25m x 1.25m.
How was Leycesteria formosa ‘Little Lanterns’ created?
Five years ago, this new variety was selected as a seedling by Hillier Head of Wholesale Nurseries, Charles Carr. The seedling stood out by being more freely branching than other varieties of Leycesteria. ‘Little Lanterns’ shows thick, lustrous golden foliage with a true golden metallic sheen (lime green in shade), alongside deep red colouring to the growing shoots producing an attractive, dense shrub which stood up well in garden and container trials.
Little Lanterns is ideal for wildlife-friendly gardens. Birds love the berries on this plant, while bees and butterflies adore the flowers! According to Charles, the berries are apparently edible, though he hasn’t tried them! On further research, this is actually true, and the berries are said to taste like toffee or caramel – however, we must tell you to be careful when eating any berries off plants, and do your own research to make sure that it is edible.
Where can you find the Leycesteria ‘Little Lanterns’?
At Hillier we grow on our own nurseries, giving us power to protect, nurture and provide all of our plants with the best scenario to thrive and grow. We grow around one million top-quality plants each year in our nurseries, which are sold across our 18 Garden Centres and online at hillier.co.uk, along with everything else you need for your garden.
About Hillier Nurseries
Here at Hillier Nurseries some things never change and, since 1864, growing the very best quality plants has remained at the heart of all that we do. We are immensely proud of our network of 18 Garden Centres across the south of England, where our friendly and knowledgeable staff can help you get the best from your home and garden, sharing our plant expertise. Visit us any time to browse the best plants of the season, garden accessories, home and giftware or for a freshly prepared meal in one of our Hillier Restaurants.
We know that plants bring great benefits to the environment, but we know as a business that there is always more that can be done, and we continually look at how we can make improvements. In order to better measure our environmental performance, in 2018, Hillier Nurseries joined The Planet Mark. In the second year of carbon footprint reporting and certification to The Planet Mark, we are pleased to have seen a carbon footprint decrease of 15.1% across our business. To learn all about how we strive to improve our impact on the environment, visit hillier.co.uk/environment/.