JARS v64n3 - Vireya Sun-tolerance...or Not!

Vireya Sun-tolerance...or Not!
Jane Adams
Pahoa, Hawai'i

Reprinted from the Hawai'i Chapter November 2009 newsletter

In starting beds to showcase the immense variety of blooming and habit of different vireay cultivars at our nursery, my husband Peter and I needed to clear a dense jungle of invasive species of trees and shrubs, unfortunately necessitating the creation of a full sun environment with considerable exposure of baking lava rock. In further development, we are leaving a few trees, which will likely provide us with challenges as they become ready for replacement.

In articles in the Vireya Vine , I called it "The Great Vireya Sunshine Experiment," like we'd planned it or something! In our very unscientific method of populating stock beds, we paid no attention to color, or whether a particular variety would do well in full sun. Rather, varieties to plant out were chosen because we had propagated a sufficient number and the older ones needed to get into the ground. Having topped 250 varieties planted out, the vast majority of them have done well, but there are a few notable varieties that did not appreciate such harsh treatment.

R. 'Bernadette'*:
They lasted for about six months, blooming their hearts out and then died one after another. After replanting two, with the same results, we replanted in a somewhat more shady and protected area. They are thriving and blooming nicely.

R. 'Highland Arabesque':
Same thing - happy campers once moved out of the full-sun location.

R. 'Larissa':
One has survived and is doing well in full sun after two years, but three others died. I have a large one that will get transplanted into a less stressful location. We'll get to compare them under two growing conditions.

R. 'Evita'*:
We've lost three of them out in full sun, with one just barely surviving. We've moved it!

R. 'Barum Bay'*:
Such an interesting growth habit and such a great red! However, it was extremely unhappy out in full sun. Most reds don't do as well, or take longer to adapt, but after a year or so, we gave up and moved it into a shady spot, and it's blooming now and happy.

R. 'Saint Cecilia':
While we only managed to kill one out in full sun, the rest languished, praying for kinder treatment from us. Moved this summer into a cooler spot, they are growing and thriving.

All this aside, many have gone through a year or so of adaptation, and come through stronger plants for the greater amount of sun, and are now thriving. Despite this, keep in mind that full sun in our experimental location in the Puna District of Hawai'i Island is different than in many other places, even in Hawaii. We rarely get the totally clear days that other areas get, so we're a gentler climate!

* not registered.

Jane Adams
Jane is editor of "VIVA VIREYA", the newsletter of the Hawai'i Chapter, and with her husband Peter Adams are owners of the White Cloud Nursery which has a display garden of over 250 vireya varieties.