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This spectacular clump-forming perennial was named in honour of the Russian tsar Nicolas I. Its long stems and large, paddle-shaped leaves are highly ornamental. The blue and white flowers, arising from dark purple bracts, resemble the crest of a tropical bird's head, but are not as bright as those of the more familiar S. reginae. Plants will not survive harsh winters outdoors, and should be kept under glass. Grow in pots, as crowded clumps flower best. Help them along with humus-rich, moist soil and frequent, heavy feeding.
Flower colour: Blue, White
Foliage colour: Dark green
Feature: Flowers, Dramatic foliage
Sun exposure: Full sun
Skill level: Expert
Time to plant seeds: March to May
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