Writtle present its new osteospermum to Alan Titchmarsh

Writtle College has bred a new variety of hardy Osteospermum and called it 'Little Writtle'.

John Cullum with Alan Titchmarsh
John Cullum with Alan Titchmarsh

The plant is now available from mail order website Suttons Seeds.

Horticulture students at Writtle College have bred and propagated the new plant in a five-year breeding trial. The parent plants, O. jucundum and O. Lady Leitrim, are self-sterile so they were grown close to each other so cross-pollination occurred and seeds were set. The result is a plant with a compact nature, which is less invasive than other varieties.

John Cullum, lecturer in Horticulture at Writtle College, has led the breeding trial and named the new variety 'Little Writtle'.

He said: "Breeding a new plant that is commercially viable is a great achievement for the College and for me personally. It is wonderful that it will raise the profile of the College and the area through its name Little Writtle. We have been selling the plant at Open Days and received excellent feedback as it has such a distinctive, deep pink, solid colour.

"Several garden centres and nurseries are not keen to stock hardy Osteospermums as they can grow into large clumps of plants, unsuitable for a small garden. A number of the older varieties also do not flower for very long and some gardeners dislike them for this reason. Little Writtle is a dwarf form, which means it is less invasive, and it produces an abundance of deep pink flowers throughout the season, so can bring colour to a garden from May to October."

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