18 Jul

Fast Growing Flowering Plant:Lavatera

Native to Asia, Australia and Mediterranean regions, Lavatera is grown for showy, cup-shaped flowers of pink purple and white colors. The flowers of these annual and perennials are stripped with darker shades.  Most species of Lavatera are fast growing flowering plants that tend to become bushy and require annual pruning before spring.

Lavatera are nice flowering plants that offer excellent floral display in beds or along pathways and borders.

How to Grow Lavatera

Lavatera grows in rocky and poor soil in wild where it thrives on natural rainfall. Thus, these flowering plants can withstand drought. Most species are frost tender. Lavatera is easy to grow from seeds and requires a well drained soil under full to partial sun. Flowering season usually starts in early summer and lasts till mid of autumn.

Lavatera Trimestris

Lavatera Trimestris, Photo by Maja Dumat - flickr.com

Popular Varieties of Lavatera

Lavatera Trimestris, also known as Mallow, is a summer blooming species. It grows vigorously and can be as tall as 1 meter. Flowers are usually pink or white in color. Commercially grown varieties of Lavatera Trimestris include ‘Alba’, ‘Sunset’ and ‘Loveliness’.

Other popular species include Lavatera Arborea and Lavatera Thuringiaca.

15 Jul

Colorful, Fragrant Flowering Plant: Matthiola Incana

Widely grown and known for its sweet fragrant flowers, Matthiola is a genus of annual and perennial flowering plants from Asia, South Africa, parts of Europe and Mediterranean regions. Ideal for flower beds, borders and window gardens, Matthiola are easy to grow flowering plants with a number of hybrid varieties available today. These hybrid varieties include both tall and low growing plants; some of these varieties grow quite rapidly and flower within two months of germination.

Matthiola are good cut flowers and a good choice for bouquets because of their sweet fragrance.

One of the most popular specie is Matthiola Incana, which is usually known as Stock. It bears grey-green leaves and produces purple, mauve, red, pink, blue or white single or double flowers.

Matthiola Incana

Matthiola Incana, Image by douneika (flickr)

How to Grow Matthiola Incana/ Stock

Matthiola prefers bright sun with moist but well-drained soil. It can be propagated easily from seeds sown in spring for good summer flowering. In colder climates, sow seeds in summer for a good flowering season in next spring.

Matthiola Incana  is also known as Garden Stock, Ten-week Stock or Gillyflower.

14 Jul

Easy to Grow Flowering Plant for Beginners: Gaillardia

Gaillardia is a small genus of annuals and perennials from the family of sunflower and bear very colorful flowers over a long flowering season. Gaillardia is commonly known as Blanket Flower because of its colorful flowers that are reminiscent of colorful blankets of native Red Indians of Americas. They are native to Americas, and make an excellent choice for cut flower.

Gaillardia bears yellow, red, orange and sometimes bicolor flowers that bloom on long stalks. The plant itself grows up to 2 feet in height.

Gaillardia, Plants for Beginners

Gaillardia Flowers, Image by Mike Sutton

How to Grow Gaillardia

Gaillardia is quite easy to grow from seeds. It is frost and drought tolerant and well drained soil under bright sunlight. Among the most popular and commercially grown varieties Gaillardia x Grandiflora and Gaillardia Pulchella ‘Lorenziana’ are widely available as hardy plants for containers and flower beds. Gaillardia usually requires moderate watering. These self-seeding plants attract a lot of bees and butterflies to garden. Deadhead your Gaillardia plants to prevent it from becoming invasive.

13 Jul

Hardy, Evergreen Flowering Shrub: Kalmia Angustifolia

Widely known as Sheep Laurel, Kalmia Angustifolia is a low growing flowering shrub suitable as ornamental plan in gardens. Native to Cuba and parts of North America, Kalmia is a good choice for gardens and landscapes both as foliage plant and flowering shrub. Leaves of Kalmia are dark and glossy green. They are known to be poisonous for sheep. Waxy crimson, white, pink and purple flowers appear in spring.

Kalmia Angustifolia, Ornamental Flowering Shrub

Kalmia Angustifolia, Image by K. A. Kron

How to Grow Kalmia Angustifolia

Depending on climate, Kalmia grows well in full or partial sun. Usually grown from seeds, It is frost tolerant and requires moderate watering and rich, acidic soil.

Other popular species are Kalmia Latifolia and K. Microphylla.

12 Jul

Ornamental, Tropical Flowering Tree: Scarlet Cordia

Scarlet Cordia (Cordia Sebestena) is one the flowering trees that I would always love to grow in my garden. I just love its orange flowers that stand out against dense, dark green foliage. Scarlet Cordia is a perfect ornamental tree for tropical and sub-tropical regions where it grows into a small, compact and evergreen tree (up to 25 feet).  It is also a perfect choice for evergreen foliage in landscapes, containers or along streets or pathways.

Scarlet Cordia, Tropical Ornamental Tree

Scarlet Cordia, Image by Dinesh Valke

Leaves of Scarlet Cordia are dark green, stiff, and rough and hairy to touch. Flowers are very showy; they appear in small clusters and are followed by pear-shaped fruit of white color. Having a Scarlet Cordia in your garden not only adds colors but also ensure frequent visits of birds and butterflies.

Scarlet Cordia is also known as Geiger Tree.

How to Grow Scarlet Cordia

Scarlet Cordia is quite undemanding and easy to grow ornamental tree. It can be propagate from seeds or layering. It can tolerate drought and grows in any soil type with good drainage. Scarlet Cordia can also withstand water with higher level of salt contents. Young trees should be pruned regularly to keep them in shape. Protect Scarlet Cordia from frost.

10 Jul

Ornamental Houseplants: Chlorophytum Comosum, Spider Plant

Chlorophytum are evergreen ornamental houseplants for both indoor and outdoor plantation. The most prominent and commonly grown specie is Chlorophytum Comosum or Spider Plant which is grown as ornamental houseplants. Chlorophytum produces grass-like green leaves that are usually stripped with white, cream of yellow pigment. These ornamental plants are suitable as ground cover, for hanging baskets and for indoor container gardening.

While flowers appear on long stalks on mature Spider Plant. These stalks also produce tufts of small leaves that can be easily rooted to make new plants.

Chlorophytum Comosum, Spider Plant

Chlorophytum Comosum, Spider Plant

How to Grow Spider Plant

Chlorophytum is a good plant for beginners because it is easy to grow and does not require any special care. They prefer regular watering, a general fertilizer in growing season and bright filtered sunlight. Most Chlorophytum plants can be propagated easily and rapidly from divisions.

Popular Species of Chlorophytum

Chlorophytum Capenses is an evergreen foliage plant that produces dense clumps of long leaves (up to 6 cm). White, usually insignificant, flowers are borne on long spikes.

Other popular species grown as ornamental houseplants include Chlorophytum Comosum ‘vittatum’ (Spider Plant), Chlorophytum ‘Picturatum’ , and Chlorophytum ‘Variegatum’.

09 Jul

Lovely Flowers from Chile: Salpiglossis Sinuata

Salpiglossis is a small genus of herbaceous plants from Chile grown for their colorful and lovely flowers. Most popular species of this genus is Salpiglossis Sinuata (also known as Painted Tongue) that bears large lovely flowers of yellow, orange, purple, scarlet and blue colors. These colorful flowers resemble closely with Petunia flowers.

Suitable for garden edges, borders, and in background of flower beds, Painted Tongue bear lovely flowers in late spring and continue to bloom last till summer. Salpiglossis Sinuata (Painted Tongue) is suitable for container gardening as well.

Salpiglossis Sinuata, Lovely Flower of Chile

Salpiglossis Sinuata, Image by Ricardo Hernández

How to Grow Salpiglossis Sinuata/Painted Tongue

Salpiglossis Sinuata requires bright sunlight and regular watering in a well-drained soil. These easy to grow plants can be propagated from seeds. Keep young plants moist and under shade until they are established and are ready to be transferred to beds or pots.

08 Jul

Let your plants ‘tweet’ when they are thirsty

If you are worried for you lovely plant being ignored and left thirsty while you are away, give it a twitter account to tweet whenever it requires a drink. No kidding! There is actually a nifty device called Botanicalls that allows your thirsty plants to send reminders via twitter. You can watch those tweets to monitor your plant via web or have all reminders/tweets sent to your mobile phone.

Botanicalls is a simple electronic kit equipped with a moisture sensor that measures the amount of moisture present in the soil and sends reminders to owners as soon as the moisture level drops. You can choose to customize twitter messages such as: “I need a drink! Your lovely Wisteria.”, “Time to water your Jacaranda tree.”, “J’ai besoin d’un peu d’eau” or whatever you want. Check out this twitter account of a real Pothos plant tweeting for water.

Botanicalls Twitter Device

Botanicalls Sensor

Botanicalls can be purchased for $ 3.95 US at Etsy.