06 Jul

Lovely, Summer Bloomer for Warm Climates: Petunia

Petunia is one of the most cultivated annuals for their colorful flowers and ability to grow in many different conditions and places. Petunia can be grown in raised beds, hanging baskets, window boxes and containers for colorful flowers almost all through the year. Flowers of petunia grow in all shades of red, pink, purple, white, blue, mauve and yellow. The velvety flowers can be single, double, fringed or blotched.

The most popular species of this prolific bloomer is Petunia x. Hybrida which is a mix of Petunia Axillaris and Petunia Integrifolia. Petunia x. Hybrida comes in many different varieties ranging from dwarf flowering plants to trailing bloomers and compact ground covers. Petunia flowers in spring till summer but plants in warmer climates can bloom throughout the year. Other popular species include: Petunia Alpicola, Petunia Bajeensis, Petunia Parviflora, and Petunia Pubescens.

Petunia Flowers

Petunia Flowers, Image by Harmen de Vries

How to Grow Petunia

Petunia is easy to grow and low maintenance plant. Propagation is quite easy from seeds. Keep seedlings under indirect sunlight until they are able to be transferred in pots or beds. Young plants require bright sunlight and moderate water. Petunia is self-seeding plant and should be deadheaded to prevent it from invading the entire landscape.

05 Jul

How to improve sandy soil organically?

Soil, being the basic component of your garden, determines quality, health and volume of growth you can have in your garden. Hence before you start experimenting with anything else to make your garden lush and thriving, it is a good idea to spend some time and effort to improve your garden soil. The following are a few tips to improve sandy garden soil.

Lush Home Garden

Lush Home Garden, Image from topdesigninterior.com

A sandy, light and granule soil is good for growing a wide range of plants. However, too sandy soil can make your gardening experience a tough job. It drains off moisture very quickly and forms a crusty surface preventing essential moisture from getting down to the roots. If you are living in coastal areas or near mountain range, you probably have a higher proportion of sand in the soil.

Improving sandy soil is not very difficult but it does require a lot of organic portion added to it. You can add well rotted compost and manures to correct the sandy soil. If you are preparing ground for plantation, the best way is to dig the organic matter into the soil several weeks before plantation.

If you already have an established garden with sandy soil, add gradual layers of organic matter as mulch. As a layer breaks down and becomes part of the soil, add a new layer and allow it to break down and become part of the soil. This continuous process may take some time to form a perfect soil however the results are satisfactory – lush and thriving garden.

03 Jul

Colorful and Fragrant Climber for Warm Climate: Wisteria

Wisteria is perhaps one of the most beautiful flowering climbers that fill your garden with exotic colors and fragrance. Native to temperate regions of North America and Asia, it is a very fast growing woody climber. Not all species produce fragrant flowers, but all of the species in the genus are excellent bloomers.

Flowers appear in long and drooping pendulous clumps resembling the flowers of Laburnum (Golden Shower Tree). Wisteria blooms in spring and continue to bloom till late summer. Flowers are usually white, purple, pink and blue. Leaves are soft and green.

Wisteria grows vigorously and becomes a mound if not provided with a suitable support therefore it should be grown against pergola or a wall. Most species of Wisteria would climb up to 20 meters or more.  The world’s largest Wisteria grows in Sierra Madre, California spanning over 1 acre.

One of the most common and easy to grow species is Wisteria Sinensis (also known as Chinese Wisteria) which is a deciduous creeping plant growing up to 30 meters. Its violet flowers are fragrant and bloom in spring.

Wisteria Vine with Violet Flowers

Wisteria with Violet Flowers, Image from tamarynwhite.com

Wisteria grows in deep and well-drained soil under full sun. Usually it does not require much care and grows freely with just moderate amount of water. Most species can be grown from hardwood or softwood cutting, seeds or by layering.

02 Jul

Fragrant Evening Bloomer: Mirabilis Jalapa, Marvel of Peru

Commonly known as Marvel of Peru, Mirabilis Jalapa is an easy to grow flowering perennial. The plant is quite unusual in its flowering habit and bears flowers of different colors on different stems of the same plant. The funnel-shaped flowers can be of red, purple, pink, yellow of white colors. These lovely flowers often bloom in the late afternoon (summer and autumn), that is why they are also called Four o’ Clock flowers. The phenomenon is related to drop in temperature; not to the time of the day. So you can probably spot Four o’ Clock flowers blooming on cloudy summer mornings.

Mirabilis Jalapa, Marvel of Peru

Mirabilis Jalapa, Marvel of Peru (image from floragran.com)

How to Grow Mirabilis Jalapa

Mirabilis Jalapa is quite easy to grow. It can be easily propagated form seeds is early spring and grown in almost any soil. Seeds are said to be extremely poisonous and should be kept away from children and pets.  Marvel of Peru requires ample water and a warmer spot to grow quickly and bloom profusely.