Alpine Flowers for a German Wedding
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Cheryl Ziemann
Posted on: May 24, 2003

Wie gehen Sie!

I am having a traditional German wedding in September. Edelweiss growers in BC have recommended your nursery for live Edelweiss plants. When we purchase a home I will be ordering some seeds. My question is this: What is the blue flower that is depicted on so many German/Austrian items? My father can’t remember the name (born in Berlin, and came here in ‘45). Are those available?

They are called "enzian" or, in English, "gentian". There are many species (and colours) of gentian, but the one emblematic of Alps is the blue-flowered Gentiana acaulis. This species is difficult to grow from seeds as it requires a cold treatment to trigger the seeds into germinating. But some specialist alpine perennial nurseries do carry plants, so you might check local nurseries.

What about the alpine rose?

This is a species of Rhododendron, the R. ferrugineum of Europe. You can read more about it on the website of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society at http://www.spaceports.com/~rosebay/specferr.htm. Check with the ARS for sources of plants. Unless seeds are planted immediately after harvest they do not germinate readily.

We will be having an "Oktoberfest" like reception outside with geraniums in flower boxes for the centerpieces. For the wedding table I would like to have actual German flowers. Will edelweiss have already gone to seed by then? Can I still order them and use on the table? Any advice you have to offer will greatly appreciated. Bis später!

Edelweiss blooms in spring and early summer; the flowers will be long gone in September. If you order seeds now you will not see flowers until next spring at the earliest. Even if you order plants this spring, you likely won’t get any flowers until next spring. For more information on edelweiss and how it grows see http://plantsdatabase.com/go/804/.

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