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Heterocentron elegans 'SPANISH SHAWL'


Carpet forming ground cover with tiny dark-green leaves is native to Central America. Blooming heavily all summer with bright, cyclamen like, magenta to mauve flowers, making a beautiful display. Or, use in a container on the deck and have bright colorful flowers over several months. In the garden, plant every 3 ft for good coverage. The mat produced will keep weeds out and only attains a height of 2 inches.

This sweet little groundcover looks simple and refined when not in bloom, like a larger-leaved, deeper-green version of Baby’s Tears. But once it comes into bloom, it is a serious showstopper, with red hairy bracts holding disproportionately large fuchsia blooms. It flowers during the entire growing season, spring to fall, and the cheery red bracts persist even after the petals fall off.

It makes a vigorous carpet wherever it gets water. Gardens that are watered by hand or by overhead sprinkler soon end up with Spanish Shawl filling every bit of available space, while in gardens where it is watered more sparingly with drip irrigation, it tends toward neat clumps. I find it easy to remove if it spreads beyond where I like it. (

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