Promising clusters of flowers appear between the shiny dark-green leaves. The Israeli grower – who claims he is the last surviving Cestrum flower grower – waxes lyrical about the intense colours of flowering Cestrum: from dark pink to almost black. But … he prefers not to see those colours in his greenhouse. The grower cuts the flowers with the buds still closed, so that they can display their majestic colour later.
A family affair
“The dark pink Cestrum tends towards black when it gets colder. I think that’s an amazing colour,” says Moran Lev, who grows Cestrum as a cut flower together with his parents. It’s a real family business: Cestrum ‘Red Zohar’ is named after his brother, ‘Eden’ after his daughter. “She really likes that, but now my other daughter wants a flower too!”
“The winter is the best time of year here,” says Moran Lev, a Cestrum grower in Israel. “The flowers have a nice dark colour then. For six months we harvest Cestrum every two days. I really enjoy doing that.”
Cestrum is a member of the nightshade family (Solanaceae) – just like the potato, tomato and petunia. Cestrum grows wild in Central and South America. Cestrum is also known as a tub plant. The Latin name is derived from ‘kestron’, which means iron awl or point. This refers to the ‘tooth’ amidst the stamens.
Did you know?
Cestrum is particularly known as a tub plant. Cestrum as a cut flower is now only grown at one nursery in Israel.
Availability & care
Cestrum is available from October to May. The usual care tips apply to Cestrum: cut the ends off the stems, remove the bottom leaves and place the flowers in clean water with cut flower food.