Ypsilandra thibetica.

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 Pauline who writes the great blog: leadupthegardenpath  left a comment on my post about Zaluzianskya and mentioned a favourite fragrant plant which she loves. I thought I would write about it as it is an unusual winter-flowering  plant with an exquisite perfume. Ypsilandra thibetica is a clump forming perennial which is quite new to cultivation. It grows from rhizomes and has rosettes of long, thin leaves a bit like those of Lilium candidum. It is a shade loving plant and grows in forests in its native habitat in Tibet or Western China. The panicles of flowers start of white and become lilac; finally as they age they turn cream. They remind me of bottle brushes. The scent is delicious; a combination of violets and sarcococca.  This plant was new to me last year new and  that is when this photograph was taken. I was worried in case it proved not to be hardy but it seems to be fine so far,  it  survived the awful winter we had last year. It is not out yet but I think it won’t be long. It is certainly something to look forward to.

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23 Responses to Ypsilandra thibetica.

  1. mrsdaffodil says:

    It looks fantastic next to the hellebore!

  2. bittster says:

    Thanks, I always love to see plants new to me, and will keep an eye out for this and the night blooming phlox!

    • Chloris says:

      The night blooming phlox is readily available in seed catalogues but the Ypsilandra is more difficult to find. It is quite new to cultivation. I bought it from a nursery which has many unusual plants.

  3. Pauline says:

    Thanks for the mention, it is a super plant for late winter/early spring. I think we ought to start at the end of catalogues and work backwards so that we don’t miss out any interesting plants!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you for reminding me about this gorgeous plant. I have to admit I didn’t grow it from seed. I bought it last year as a flowering plant. But you have the right idea about reading seed catalogues backwards. I think I shall try it.

  4. Anna says:

    I think that I’ve seen this mentioned on Pauline’s blog in the past and it certainly looks one worth seeking out. I enjoyed your post and photo of the night scented stock plus mollusc interloper and have grown this in the past. The scent is indeed absolutely delicious. I’ve read that it’s possible to take cuttings and overwinter but have not tried. I like Pauline’s idea of reading through seed catalogues backwards 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      I didn’t take cuttings but I find it reseeds it self into the pot which is handy. I have also read that if you cut it down after flowering it will grow again and give you a new crop of flowers but I haven’t tried this.
      Ypsilandra is well worth looking out for. I bought it last January in flower and kept it inside as a pot plant for a couple of weeks. It scented the whole room.

  5. Flighty says:

    That’s an interesting, and unusual, plant. xx

  6. Chloris says:

    It is and it smells wonderful too.

  7. Annette says:

    Very interesting, haven’t come across it up to now but anything so beautiful with scent and early flowering has to be considered. It would look nice among my Ophiopogon planisc. Nigrescens 🙂

  8. Chloris says:

    You are right Annette it would look good with a black grass. It is worth seeking out.

  9. Wow! What a great plant! It’s a new one to me. Must have one! So glad it likes shade – our garden has plenty of shady areas. And, of course, it has the all-important scent. I’ve decided on its spot in the garden already – in the scented shrub border under some dormant summer flowering shrubs where there will be no competition to appreciate its lovely (sounding!) smell. I’m off now to try and track one down. Bye for now!

  10. Chloris says:

    I hope you find one, as it is quite new to cultivation I don’t think it is widely available. I got mine from The Place for Plants, East Bergholt, Suffolk. You my have to get it mail order unless you have a good nursery near you. Good luck.

    • Thank you for your response! I’ve found one listed at Stone House Cottage nursery near us, so I’m off there ASAP! And, as you say, there’s always mail order. You live in one of our favourite areas of the country. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for that nursery on our next visit. Thanks again!

  11. I just photographed this one yesterday and it’s available mail order from a nursery here in Scotland. The one I photographed was growing next to a pink corydalis though I couldn’t get up close to it to notice its fragrance.

  12. Your post tempted me, so I have just purchased three very healthy looking plants from Madrona Nursery in Pluckley, Kent. The flowers are now the colour of dried apricots and look a bit like they could belong to an orchid. Can’t wait to see them in full bloom next year.

    • Chloris says:

      It is a lovely plant, I hope it does well for you. I have recently bought Heloniopsis umbellata which is very similar. The same family, melanthiaceae.The leaves are the same but the flower looks more like a pink Muscari.

      • Funnily enough the Helonopsis was in row right next to the Ypsilandra. I wasn’t familiar with it so I decided to look it up when I got home. I think you’d really like Madrona Nursery. They have so many interesting plants.

  13. Margaret Mackenzie says:

    Is Ypsilandra chalk tolerant or should I use ericaceous compost???

    • Chloris says:

      Hello Margaret. Ypsilandra likes moist shade and would probably prefer ericaceous compost although it doesn’t get any such luxury on my neutral soil.

  14. Hi Chloris, Sorry not been blogging lately, but was just searching for Ypsilandra thibetica online and came across this post of yours. Hope all is well with you? I just purchased this plant at a sale at Cambo House near St Andrews where my daughter is thinking of getting married. The walled gardens there are magnificent and I am feeling inspired to do a blog post on them – if I can just find the time.

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