31 Mar

Zamia Palm: Zamia furfuracea

Zamia furfuracea is a genus of cycad and belongs to the Zamiaceae family. It is considered one of the oldest surviving genus on our planet.

The name Zamia is derived from the Greek word azaniae meaning “a pine cone”. Zamia  furfuracea is a slow growing plant and makes an unusual foliage of thick and hard texture, that is why, it is also called Cardboard palm. Zamia furfuracea likes bright sunlight, moderate watering, and some fertilizer in Spring. The color of leaves ranges from olive green to dark green.

Zamia Palm

Zamia Palm, Image by Mike Gray

Zamia furfuracea can grow quite well in large containers. A mature plant can grow as large as 3-4′ in height and 6′ in diameter with a heavy trunk that acts as water reservoir during drought. It is quite a hardy plant and makes a good choice for landscapes because of its hardy,  drought tolerance nature.

Both male and female plants produce cones. The female cones contain red seeds. The seeds are reported to be poisonous and must be kept away from pets.

Zamia furfuracea is grown from seeds and is usually attacked by Mealy bug or scale.

Origin: Coastal plains of Mexico

30 Mar

Agave Bracteosa

Agave Bracteosa forms a beautiful fountain of spineless and flexible lime green leaves. It is also known Squid Agave because of its shape.

Agave Bracteosa

Agave Bracteosa, Photo © The Lovely Plants

Agave Bracteosa is hardy but slow growing plant. As it rarely grows larger than 1′ in height and 2′ in diameter, it is a perfect container plant for patios.  It tolerates borad spectrum of  temprature too and does not require much watering. The plant can be propagated from seeds or off-shoots of older plants.

Origin: Coahuila, Nuevo Leon

29 Mar

Ceropegia Woodii

Ceropegia belongs to Apocynaceae family. It has quite unusual leaves and flowers. Ceropegia is often called by interesting names like lantern flower, parasol flower, parachute flower, bushman’s pipe, string of hearts, snake creeper, wine-glass vine, rosary vine, necklace vine and condom flower. The hairy flowers of Ceropegia trap flies are insects that act as pollinators.

Ceropegia Woodii

Ceropegia Woodii, Photo © The Lovely Plants

The plant in this picture is Ceropegia Woodii.

Ceropegia makes beautiful hanging pots as the stems usually reach two to four feet in length. Grow in bright light and full to partial sun but keep it in a cooler place in winter. Water ceropegia carefully as its tubers are prone to rot in wet soil. As a rule of thumb, water your plant well and allow the soil to completely dry before next watering. Fertilize generously in summer and grow it in a porous and well-drained soil.

Some species form tubers at nodes. These tubers eventually form roots and can be used to produce new plants. The plant is this picture is Ceropegia Woodii.

Origin: Madagascar, Arabia, Canary Islands, Africa, India, Sri Lanka, southern China, Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea and Queensland.

20 Mar

Stapelia Gigantea

Stapelias are perennial succulents. It usually makes a bunch of erect, succulent stems of green to reddish, depending on exposure to the sun. The plant in this picture is Steplia Gigantea grown outdoor.

Stapelia Gigantea

Stapelia Gigantea, Image © The Lovely Plants

Stapelias are usually known for star-shaped flowers. Flowers of certain species like Stapelia Gigantea can grow as big as 41 cm when in full bloom. These hairy and foul-smelling flowers attract insects especially flies that act as pollinators.

Stapelia Gigantea Flower

Stapelia Gigantea Flower, Photo © The Lovely Plants

There are more than 70 species of Stapelia each having different coloration and flowers. Stapelia are good container plants and can grow well under full sun and light to moderate watering. Plant them in well-drained compost becuase as the stems are prone to rotting if kept moist for long.

Origin: South Africa