30 Jun

Colorful, Ornamental Flowering Plants: Bellflower

Campanula or Bellflower is a delightfully attractive plant known for its colorful, bell-shaped flowers. This versatile genus comprises of a large number of annual and perennial herbaceous plants. Flowers range from many shades of purple and blue to white and pink. Excellent for flower beds, mixed borders and rockeries, Bellflower are quite easy to grow as houseplants.

The Latin name ‘Campanula’ is translated as ‘Little Bell’ because of the bell-shaped flowers.

Bellflower Plant

Bellflower Plant, Image from www.biblio.tu-bs.de

How to Grow Campanula/Bellflower

Bellflower is fairly easy to grow plant at sunny as well as shady spots in a well drained soil. Water Bellflower plants moderately and fertilize in summer. Cultivation is easy from seeds.

Popular Varieties of Campanula/Bellflower

Campanula Carpatica, also known as Tussock Bellflower, bears lilac-blue flowers in spring. This perennial species grows in clumps.

Campanula Glomerata is erect perennial plant that grows in dense clusters and bears blue or white flowers in summer. Common name is Clustered Bellflower.

Campanula Trachelium, usually called Nettle-leaved Bellflower, produces blue-purple, bell-shaped flowers in summer.

Other popular varieties include: Campanula lactiflora ‘Dwarf Pink’, Campanula x ‘Kent Belle’, Campanula ‘La Belle’, Campanula rotundifolia ‘Olympica’, and Campanula ‘Samantha’.

Campanula Bellflower

Blue Bellflower, Image from millersoap.com

29 Jun

Tropical Flowering Shrub: Hibiscus

Hibiscus is large genus of flowering bushes, small trees, herbs and shrubs from topical and sub-tropical climates. There are a number of ornamental species of Hibiscus popular among gardeners for their attractive foliage and lovely flowers.

Besides its value as ornamental flowering plant, Hibiscus is used in preparation of beverages and red tea which is rich in vitamin C and minerals. A flowering Hibiscus in your garden is bound to attract a lot of birds and butterflies.

It is also the national flower of South Korea (Hibiscus Syriacus) and Malaysia (Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis).

Hibiscus Flower

Hibiscus Flower

How to Grow Hibiscus

These sun loving, flowering plants should be pruned regularly to gain prolonged flowering. Hibiscus should be provided with well drained and mulched soil with moderate watering and regular fertilizer.

Popular Varieties of Hibiscus

Common Hibiscus can be grouped in four types: Hibiscus Mutabilis, Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis, Hibiscus Syriacus and Hibiscus Schizopetalus.

Hibiscus Mutabilis is known with many names: Persian Rose, Rose Mallow, Cotton Rose, and Confederate Rose. All of the names are given to this variety for its fairly large and attractive flowers. This shrubby plant bears dense cover of bright leaves and flushes of flowers that change many colors – white in the morning, pink in the noon, and red in the evening.

Hibiscus Sinensis grows as an evergreen shrub in almost all tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. It is widely grown as ornamental hedge that bears red, bell-shapes flowers. Some varieties also produce white, pink, orange or yellow flowers. Hibiscus Sinensis is usually known as China Rose.

Hibiscus Syriacus which is also known as Rose of Sharon is another popular variety that grows best as ornamental shrub of about 2.7 meters. Flowers are white, mauve and blue.

Hibiscus Schizopetalus also known as Coral Hibiscus or Japanese Hibiscus bears attractive and bigger flowers of red or orange-red colors. Countless hybrids of Hibiscus Schizopetalus available as houseplants.

Pink Hibiscus Flower

Pink Hibiscus

26 Jun

Beautiful Summer Bloomer for Gardens: California Poppy

Eschscholzia is a genus of beautiful, low growing, and easy to grow, summer flowering plants that are a treat to watch when in full bloom. Most species are self-seeding annual or perennial with very showy flowers of orange, yellow, golden and cream colors. The most popular of all species is Eschscholzia Californica also known as California Poppy.

California Poppy, Eschscholzia Californica

California Poppy, Image from herbal-supplement-resource.com

How to Grow California Poppy

California Poppy is a bushy, low growing, annual bloomer. It is easy to grow and blooms from February to September. It is a perfect flowering plant for containers as well as gardens in warm and dry climate (it can withstand a little frost too). The plant prefers well drained soil, moderate watering and bright sunlight. Flowers are usually red, orange, yellow and sometimes bi-colored or double in summer.

25 Jun

Evergreen Ornamental Climber for Warm Climate: Epipremnum Aureum

Epipremnum Aureum (also mentioned as Pothos) is perhaps the most popular ornamental houseplant in South East Asia where it grows natively as tropical climber and creeper. As an easy to grow houseplant, Epipremnum makes an excellent foliage plant for containers in warm climates. It grows best against trellis, moss stick or any type of support as an evergreen climber or in hanging baskets.

Epipremnum is widely grown in homes, offices and shopping areas for its ability to reduce the effect of pollutants in the atmosphere. Leaves of Epipremnum are green with white or yellow variegation.

Epipremnum Aureum Growing in the Wild

Epipremnum Aureum (Pothos), Image from www.hear.org

How to Grow Epipremnum Aureum (Pothos)

Epipremnum is quite hardy and easy to grow. It requires partial sunlight in outdoor locations or bright light in indoor spots. Epipremnum should be provided with moderate amount of water and general purpose liquid fertilizer in spring. Epipremnum can also be grown hydroponically (in mineral based water solutions; without soil).

Popular species of Epipremnum are: Epipremnum Pinnatum, Epipremnum  Aureus, Epipremnum Mirabile and Epipremnum Aureum ‘Golden Ceylon Creeper’ also known as PothosSilver Vine, Devil’s Ivy or Solomon Island’s Ivy.

Epipremnum climber in indoor hanging basket

Epipremnum Growing Indoor, Image from professorspride.com

23 Jun

Evergreen Tropical Tree of Jamun: Syzygium Cumini

Syzygium Cumini or Jaumn tree has a special significance with the monsoon of the Indian sub-continent. This is the time when big old trees of Jamun whirl in monsoon winds and spread a hint of fragrance in rainy days. The purple-black fruit of Jamun ripens and is eaten very fondly.

Syzygium Cumini, The Java Plum tree

Syzygium Cumini, The Java Plum tree

Jamun (also known as Java Plum tree) is an evergreen, tall and shady tree that originally belongs to temperate regions of Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. This ornamental tree grows tall and becomes woody very fast. The timber is durable and water resistant. Because timber of Jamun is quite hard to work on, it is usually used for making planks and carts. Mature trees of Jaumn bear white and tiny flowers that are usually behind broad pendant trees. The fruit is eaten as whole or used in traditional medicine. Bark of Jamun tree is used in dyeing and tanning.

Besides its sweet, sometimes astringent, edible fruit, Jamun is grown as ornamental and shady tree. Jamun is quite hardy tree and does not require much care. It can tolerate frost as well as long spells of summer. Young plants should be provided with a well drained soil, moderate watering and bright sunlight.

Fruit of Jamun Tree

Fruit of Jamun Tree

22 Jun

Decorative Flowering Plant: Gypsophila, Baby’s Breath

Gypsophila is a genus of about 100 very decorative flowering plants. A number of species are grown commercially and used as cut flowers in floral arrangements or as fillers in flower bouquets. For gardeners and landscape designers, Gypsophila are prime choice for rock gardens and borders. These herbaceous perennial and annual plants produce dense sprays of small and delicate flowers.

Gypsophila, Baby Breath Flowers

Gypsophila (Baby Breath) Flowers, Image © Petr Kocna

Popular species of Gypsophila include Gypsophila Elegans, Gypsophila Elgans ‘Grandiflora Alba’, Gypsophila Paniculata, Gypsophila Repens, and Gypsophila Pilosa.

How to Grow Gypsophila

Gypsophila are easy to grow, fast growing plants that can be propagated from seeds or divisions. Seeds germinate quickly and young plants rapidly become small flowering shrubs. As the greek name suggests Gypso (chalk) phila (to love), these plants like chalky soil, however, they can be grown in almost any well drained and fertilized soil. Gypsophila prefer bright sunlight and moderate water, and withstand frost.

Common name of Gypsophila is Baby’s Breath.

21 Jun

Flowering Plant for Hot and Dry Landscapes: Kangaroo Paws

If you are looking for flowering plants for a low maintenance garden landscape, Anigozanthos should be on top of your list. Since they are native of south-west Australia, these hardy perennials would grow as very nice flowering plants in a dry and hot climate. Commonly known as Kangaroo Paws, Anigozanthos are popular for their nice and usual flowers that also attract flocks of birds. Most species of Kangaroo Paws bloom in spring and summer; flowers vary in size and colors and appear on a long stalk exposing the nectar in the flowers.

Anigozanthos Manglesii (Kangaroo Paws)

Anigozanthos Manglesii (Kangaroo Paws), Image © SeanMack

How to Grow Kangaroo Paws

Kangaroo Paws grow in a well-drained soil, and prefer and sunny, warm places in the garden. They need protection from frost and grow well without requiring much water. Propagation is easy from divisions or seeds sown in early spring or autumn.

Kangaroo Paws also make good cut flowers for floral arrangements. Popular varieties of Kangaroo Paws are: Anigozanthos ‘Bush Ranger‘ with orange flowers, Anigozanthos ‘Dwarf Delight‘ with apricot colored flowers, Anigozanthos Flavidus with yellow and green flowers, Anigozanthos Manglesii with red and green flowers, and Anigozanthos ‘Pink Joey‘ with Solomon pink colored flowers.

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About the Author: This guest post is compiled by Jahanzeb Nazir Malik who is an avid gardener, an environmental activist, and a lawyer by profession. He also writes his blog on food, culture, art, entertainment and architecture.