10 Jun

Kerria Japonica: Lovely Flowering Shrub for Beginners

If you are a beginner looking for an ornamental shrub with plenty of attractive spring and summer flowers, try Kerria Japonica. Also known as Japanese Rose, Kerria Japonica is a deciduous shrub from the rose family. The plant is named after William Kerr who introduced this native of Asia, China, and Koera in Europe.  Kerria bears profuse yellow flowers that start blooming in spring and last till midsummer.

Kerria Japonica Flower

Kerria Japonica Flower - Image from Wikipedia

How to Grow Kerria/ Japanese Rose

This hardy and vigorous grower prefers semi-shaded spot, well-drained soil and regular watering. Grown from cuttings, layering or divisions, Kerria soon makes dense clusters of long, arching branches requiring regular pruning. Summer is the best time to propagate cuttings or divisions.

Kerria Japonia is the only species in its genus but there are a number of cultivars including a double-flower form (known as Pleniflora) commercially available for ornamental gardens. Other popular names of Kerria Japonica are: Easter Rose and Yellow Rose of Texas.

09 Jun

Scabiosa: Lovely Pincushion Flowers

Scabiosa is a genus of prolific bloomers distributed across Asia, Europe, Mediterranean and many temperate regions of the world. They are easy to grow and fill empty spaces and borders very nicely in gardens and landscapes. Scabiosa forms low mounds of decorative leaves and bears nice flowers of creamy white, lavender and lilac colors. Flowers are borne on a long stalk.

Scabiosas are commonly known as Pincushion flowers.

Scabiosa Atropurpurea, The Pincushion Flower

Scabiosa Atropurpurea (Pincushion Flower), Image © Annie's Annuals

How to Grow Scabiosa

Scabiosa is easy to grow and requires almost in any soil but prefer well drained and rich media. Grow them in full to partial sun with regular watering though they can survive frost and drought to some extent. Propagation is easy from seeds as well as divisions.

Popular Species of Scabiosa

Scabiosa Africana: A shrubby, evergreen perennial, Scabiosa Africana bears white or mauve flowers. Flowers grow in spring and can be used as cut flowers.

Scabiosa Atropurpurea: It is an annual plant and bears flowers of white, pink, crimson and purple.

Other popular varieties and cultivars include Scabiosa Columbaria ‘Baby Blue’, Blue Diamonds, Butterfly Blue, Perfect Alba, Pincushion Pink, Pink Lemonade, Pink Mist, and Ultra Voilet.

08 Jun

Charming, Flowering Vine for Topical Climates: Mandevilla

Charming fragrant flowers, bright showy leaves, and tendency to grow beautifully against trellis and walls make Mandevilla a popular houseplant. Native to tropical regions of Central and South America, Mandevilla is an easy to grow climber. These summer bloomers bear attractive flowers of pink, white, yellow and red colors. They can be grown in hanging baskets, against fences, trellis and over pergolas.

Mandevilla Amabilis

Mandevilla Amabilis, Image from flowersofmaui.com

How to Grow Mandevilla

Mandevilla demands well drained and rich soil. For profuse flowering, provide your Mandevilla plants with bright but filtered sunlight in a warm spot. Water and fertilize them regularly; avoid overwatering and protect from frost. The easiest way to propagate Mandevilla is from softwood cuttings.

Popular Varieties of Mandevilla

Mandevilla Splendens: A beautiful summer bloomer, Mandevilla Splendens bears showy flowers of pink color. The plant grows as an evergreen creeper and can be grown in hanging baskets.

Mandevilla Laxa: Also known as Chilean Jasmine, Mandevilla Laxa grows as a deciduous vine. Growth is often vigorous and requires pruning of wood stems. Flowers are fragrant and can be used in flower arrangement to add colors and fragrance.

07 Jun

Old, Unusual Trees of Africa: Baobab

Baobab (Adansonia) is the most unusual of all the trees. Native of hot and dry regions of Africa especially in Madagascar, Arabian Peninsula and South Asia, Baobab grows as tall, voluminous and solitary tree. At first appearance, it seems as the tree has been plucked from the ground and pushed back with its head downwards and roots in the air. That is why it is also called Upside Down Tree.

Baobab Trees in Madagascar

Baobab Trees in Madagascar

Legend has it that Baobab was among the first trees on earth. When it saw tall and smart palm tree, it cried out and wanted to be taller. God granted his wish. Then Baobab wished to have beautiful flowers like the beautiful flame tree. His wish was granted. Baobab looked at the fig tree and wanted to have fruits as well. God became angry with Baobab, pulled it up by its roots and thrust its head in the ground to keep it quite.

Baobab remains leafless for most time of the year and lives on the supply of water (up to 450 liters) that it stores in its fibrous and corky trunk. This extremely drought tolerant tree can live for thousands of years. The biggest and oldest known Baobab tree is about 6000 years old and stands at Sunland Farm in Limpop province of South Africa. Popular Species of Baobab are Adansonia Madagascariensis, Adansonia Grandidieri and Adansonia Digitata.

Baobab (Adansonia) in South Africa

Baobab (Adansonia) in South Africa

Adansonia Digitata is known for its unusual flower and fruit. Typically, it bears big, white flowers that carry carrion smell. The fruit is 6 to 8 inches long and is rich in calcium, vitamin C and anti-oxidants. Seeds of Adansonia Digitata are used in Africa to extract edible oil whereas the fruit (separated from fiber and seeds) itself is used as nutritious food.

06 Jun

Evergreen Flowering Shrub for Beautiful Hedges: Hebe

Native of New Zealand, Hebe is a genus of beautiful flowering shrubs with glossy leaves and attractive flowers of purple, blue, white, pink and mauve colors. Flowers are small and appear in the form of spikes. These frost resistant shrubs are a good choice for hedging especially when used as wind breaker.

Hebe, Flowering Shrub for Hedges

Hebe, Flowering Shrub for Hedges, Image by Lindsay Smith

How to Grow Hebe

Hebe requires regular water and bright sunlight. Most species of Hebe are fast growing in coastal climates and should be pruned regularly to form neat flowery hedges. Hebe would grow almost any soil but it prefers well drained and slightly acidic soil. Hebe is propagated from seeds and cuttings.

Popular Varieties of Hebe

Hebe x Andersoni: It is a small shrub with lavender flowers and glossy leaves that often tend to variegate.

Hebe Speciosa: It is a winter flowering shrub and bears purple flowers.

Hebe Salicifolia: A summer bloomer, Hebe Salicifolia produces abundant flowers of light pink color in summer.

For further information on Hebe, the best source is The Hebe Society website.

05 Jun

Ornamental Flowering Tree: Robinia

Robinia is a genus of deciduous flowering trees and shrubs that are grown widely in North America, Central America and Europe as ornamental plants. These beautiful trees bear charming flowers of white, pink and purple shades. Flowers are often fragrant and bloom in the form of drooping sprays just like the flowers of Golden Shower tree.

Robinia Pseudoacacia, Flase-Acacia

Robinia Pseudoacacia (Flase Acacia), Image from bilisimtoplulugu.com

How to Grow Robinia

Robinia is easy to grow in almost all climatic conditions except tropical and subtropical. They tolerate frost and grow well in full sun and rich soil. Propagation is done from seeds and cuttings.

Popular Varieties of Robinia

Robinia Pseudoacacia: As the name suggests, Robinia Pseudoacacia resembles Acacia but is not related to it. A deciduous tree and spring bloomer, Robinia Pseudoacacia reaches about 6 meters in cultivation and bears white flowers in dense clusters. Branches often have small spines on them. Other names are False Acacia, Black Locust, and Valsakasia.  Robinia Pseudoacacia is prized for its hard and durable timber. Seeds are considered poisonous.

Robinia Hispada: Also known as Rose Acacia, Robinia Hispada makes a small tree up to 3 meters. It bears small rose-pink flowers in spring and summer.

02 Jun

Beautiful Autumn Foliage Plant: Rhus

Rhus is a genus of about 150 species of evergreen and deciduous plants. Distributed in North America, Africa and Mediterranean regions, Rhus includes trees, vines and shrubs. These plants are usually grown for attractive foliage and for their ability to withstand drought and resist tough wind. However, not all species of Rhus are suitable for gardens as some of the species are known for severe allergic reaction.

Rhus Glabra Tree

Rhus Glabra, Image from missouriplants.com

How to Grow Rhus

Provide Rhus plants with plenty of light and moderate watering. Most species can be grown from seeds and layers.

Popular Varieties of Rhus

Rhus Pyroides: Also known as Common wild currant, Rhus Pyroides makes a small tree up to 5 meters that bears small yellow flowers in summer. Fruits are nutritious and attract many birds and insects.

Rhus Viminalis: This is a fast growing plant that makes a very attractive small tree up to 5 meters. Rhus Viminalis is hardy and can adapt themselves to many climatic conditions. Rhus Viminalis is also known as White Karee or Wit Karee.

01 Jun

Foliage Plant for Landscapes and Indoor Gardens: Cordyline

Cordyline is a genus of more than one dozen species of colorful foliage plants. Widely grown for their ornamental foliage and colors, Cordyline are hardy plants – suitable for both indoor and outdoor gardens. They add striking colors in landscapes and produce greenish-white or yellow-green flowers. In cold climates, they can be grown indoors as patio plants.

Cordyline Australis, Cabbage Tree

Cordyline Australis (Cabbage Tree) Image © Magnus Manske

How to Grow Cordyline

Cordyline are hardy plants and grow under direct or partial sunlight. Most species love rich and well-drained soil with moderate watering. Plants can be propagated from cuttings. Protect your Cordyline plants from frost.

Popular Varieties of Cordyline

Cordyline Australis: Commonly known as Cabbage Tree, Palm Lily or Grass Palm, Cordyline Australis is usually grown as outdoor tree that grows as tall as 30 meters. It is equally suitable as container plant. The plant bears white fragrant flowers that usually appear in summer. Cordyline Australis is also grown for its medicinal benefits and commercial use of its fiber.

Cordyline Terminalis: This species grows as foliage shrub up to 3 meters. Leaves are showy and tend to produce variegation. Other names of Cordyline Terminalis are Ti Tree and Good Luck Plant.