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in Wildlife gardening
I have been trying to grow Purple Loosestrife and Ragged Robin for about ten years,I live in an area where there is heavy clay, sucessfully established Water Avens,Flag Iris,Fleabane and Greater Birds Foot Trefoil, so can't understand why I have been unable to establish those two species!
Does your heavy clay dry out in summmer?
Some plants have a very low tolerance of different soils and conditions. Ragged Robin is probably one of them, I grow it, collect its seeds and grow again and am never without it but it hasn't established itself, even by the pond. Purple loosestrife never moves far from the pond edge so I assume it doesn't like dry soil.
Flag iris seeds into some most unlikely places, eg dry shade and grows there but doesn't look great.
Both the plants mentioned need reliably moist soil, they will even grow as marginals. As Nutcutlet suggests maybe your heavy clay dries out in summer.
Peter -I had the yellow variety of loosestrife next to a pond where it was always moist so think purple one is probably the same as punkdoc says.
I had purple loosetrife on the margins of my unlined pond and have had to work hard to eradicate it. It's invasive and not especially attractive. Try growing eupatorium instead as it's excellent for insects and better behaved.
I have yellow and white (gooseneck) loosetrife growing elsewhere in dryer soil and happily expanding. I keep the yellow one under control as it's not my favourite and I regularly dig up clumps of the white to give to friends.
Obelixx I don't like loosestrife either I have to admit-especially the purple one as it reminds me of rosebay willow herb- my personal top of the 'weed hate list'! I think the previous owners of the house I was talking about thought it was a 'nice flower' . It was everywhere and I spent countless hours eradicating and keeping on top of it. The yellow one had a fair bit of competition from other things so it was ok to control.
Thank you very much for those bits of advice,I have had a lot of sucess with HempAgrimony which as Oberlixx suggested is terrific for wildlife.
Hi Peter, I got a ragged robin plant last year and it seemed to do ok in a heavy clay soil which is in partial shade so doesn't really dry out. I collected the seeds and have some more new plants planted in different parts of the garden.Not sure how they are going to perform though.
Best of luck with that Holliehock, I have some Ragged Robin plugs arriving shortly also some seeds, so I will try them probably one last time.As for others,I might try Marsh Woundwort instead of P.L or something else.