20 Oct

Ornamental Plant for Dish Gardens: Haworthia Reinwardtii

Haworthia is a genus of compact and low growing succulent plants from South Africa. A number of species from this genus are commercially cultivated and sold as ornamental plants. Known for their dotted, mottled, striped and ridged leaves, Haworthia make excellent ornamental pot plants. When grown under suitable temperature, Haworthia can be grown in dish gardens, as ground cover, in rock gardens, as container plants or in window gardens.

Haworthia Reinwardtii

Haworthia Reinwardtii

Among common species, Haworthia Reinwardtii is perhaps one of the most popular and definitely easier to grow. It features compact rosettes of dark green leaves with white dots and reddish tips. Grown from offsets, it roots easily and forms thick clumps of leafy stems. Flowers, as of all Haworthias, are very small and inconspicuous.

Haworthia Reinwardtii grows in well-drained soil under partial sun. Propagated from divisions, this ornamental succulent should be watered only when soil is completely dry. Hold carefully during months of hot and high-humidity conditions.

Image source

18 Oct

Creeping Fig Vine: Love it or Hate it?

I have kind of love and hate relation with Creeping Fig. I love for its quick and creeping growth (good for quick results) and I hate it because when it outgrows my pruning efforts to cover almost all kinds of surfaces or objects.

Ficus Pumila or Creeping Fig is a fast growing, in fact, vigorous growing creeper which is suitable for many purposes: quick growing ground cover, evergreen creeper to cover walls and trellis, thickly leaves vine for hanging pots, nice woody and leafy plant for topiaries, and for many other purposes.

creeping fig vine

Creeping fig grows rapidly and creeps up almost all surfaces and objects via its aerial roots. Stem is covered with dense foliage which is bright green to dark green depending on light condition. Native to eastern Asia, Creeping Fig is widely under cultivation is most climates (except very cold or freezing environments). The plant requires consistently moist soil and grows well in ground as well as in containers. Older plants tend to form hard woody stem, however, new branches are quite easy to prune or train.

Cutting root quickly and are the easiest way to propagate Creeping Fig. Take cuttings in spring and plant them in a regular potting mix. Keep them under partial sunlight until new growth is visible.

17 Oct

Ornamental, Succulent Tree for Xeriscapes: Cobas

Today, I am featuring Cyphostemma Currorii commonly known as Cobas tree and grown as ornamental plant. Though it has long been in my wish list, I have not had the chance to add it to my succulent garden so far. Cobas comes from a large family of vines, ground covers, small trees and pot plants of many different sizes and shapes. Cobas, being the most popular of its family, is grown as ornamental houseplant or as foliage plant in xeriscapes.

A Cobas normally grows as a compact plant in containers but flourishes into a small tree (up to 7 meters) when planted in ground. The plant is covered with green, succulent leaves that fall in winter to expose small and thick branches of Cobas. Pale green flowers appear in spring and summer followed by grape-like bunches of poisonous fruit.

Cyphostemma Currorii, Cobas Tree

Cyphostemma Currorii in Wild, Image by Petr Kosina (flickr)

How to grow Cobas Tree

Being native to Madagascar and parts of North Africa, Cobas is a sun loving plants that does not require much care. Grow in a regular and well-drained soil mix. Allow the soil to dry completely before watering. Cobas can be grown from seeds as well as from cuttings. As with most caudex-forming plants like adenium, keep these plants dry and protected from frost and freeze in winter.

Cyphostemma Juttae is another popular species from this family of unusual plants.

13 Oct

Lovely, Evergreen Fern: Asplenium Nidus, Bird’s Nest Fern

Native to eastern Africa, Asia and Australia, Asplenium is a large genus of ferns some of which are usually known among gardeners as Bird’s Nest Fern. Most species of Asplenium are easy to grow as outdoor and indoor houseplants. The most common of all species is Asplenium Nidus.

Commonly known as Hart’s Tongue Fern, Spleenwort or sometimes as Mother’s Fern, Asplenium Nidus produces large and wide fronds that resemble banana leaves. It is a nice ornamental plant suitable for container gardening or in hanging baskets. Since it is a slow growing plant, it won’t require much care; annual mulching and prunning is usually succficient to keep the plant in good shape.

Asplenium Nidus, Bird's Nest Fern

Asplenium Nidus, Image by Ahmad Fuad Morad

How to grow Hart’s Tounge Fern

Asplenium Nidus grows as an evergreen, shade-loving plant. It can be propagated easily from divisions. Mature plants grow and divide freely and provide strikingly fresh and green foliage for a year round display. Provide regular water, well-drained and a bit boggy soil, and a damp corner in your garden to keep the plant fresh and healthy.

 

12 Oct

Lovley, Eatable, Border Plant: Amaranthus Caudatus

Amaranthus is a genus of tropical bushes and shrubs usually grown as border plants in almost all tropical regions of the world. Some of the species are grown for their colorful foliage, some for unusual spiky flowers and some for food.

Amaranthus offers a wide variety of plants that can be grown together as mixed border plants or simply as container plants for their ornamental foliage.

Amaranthus Caudatus, Image by Carl E Lewis (flickr)

Most species of Amaranthus are self-seeding and grow quite vigorously without requiring much care or any special soil requirements. In fact, plants grown in poor soil produce more colorful and vibrant foliage. Amaranthus Caudatus is the most popular of all species. It is known for its long spiky or drooping red flowers that make this plant center of attention in any summer garden or landscape. It grows as a small bush (up to 8 feet) under full sun and flourishes in both arid and humid climates. Amaranthus Caudatus is also known as Tassel Flower or Love-Lies-Bleeding. Besides its beautiful and unusual flowering, this plant is also grown as source of food in India, Thailand and other Asian countries. Almost all parts of Amaranthus Caudatus serve as food as they are a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, iron, zinc, manganese and many other useful trace elements.

It is also a major ingredient in Pak Khom, a famous Thai cuisine.

10 Oct

Evergreen, Fragrant Flowering Bush: Cheiranthus, Wallflower

Cheiranthus are flowering perennial and annual plants of wide spread origin. Usually grown as free-flowering plants, Cheiranthus can be found in Europe, Asia, the Americas and parts of Mediterranean regions. Known for their sweet scented flowers of yellow, orange, pink, blue or purple shades, Cheiranthus are good flowering plants for growing under sun or partial shade. A number of double and multi-colored flowering species of Cheiranthus are also available.

If you are growing them outdoor, Cheiranthus are good plants for flower beds as they flower in late winter and continue to bloom till early spring. One of the most common species from this genus is Cheiranthus Cheiri that grows as small bushy plant and yields yellow or brownish-yellow flowers in spring.

Cheiranthus Cheiri is usually known as Wallflower.

Cheiranthus Cheiri, Wallflower

Cheiranthus Cheiri, Wallflower, Image by David Monniaux

How to grow Cheiranthus/ Wallflower

Most species of Cheiranthus grow easily from seeds as well as cuttings. These plants can grow under sun as well as partial shade and prefer a very well drained soil. Water requirements are moderate. Pinch young plants to encourage bushy growth. Flowers of Cheiranthus Cheiri are fragrant and last long; good choice for flowering arrangement, as cut flowers or in potpourri.

05 Oct

Indoor Plants: Real or Artificial?

Being an admirer of nature, plants are one of the elements that I always miss in modern, urban lifestyle. They have been an important part of human life not only as source of food and timber but also for their serenity – serenity that we miss today in urban landscapes. There are so many shrubs, tiny flowering plants, small foliage plants, ground covers and vines that used to grow naturally around us before we started replacing them with bricks and mortar. Fortunately, there are still many ways to add greenery around us and enhance life at homes and workplaces. Of course, there are some limitations of space and climate in metropolitan areas (as you cannot grow large pines trees in your small garden or set up a roof top garden on your apartments), but you can still grow a wide range of plants in your balcony garden or set up a small window garden.

However for those who do not naturally ‘green thumbs’ or do not have time to take care of plants on regular basis, artificial indoor plants are the best way to add natural element to their workplace or apartment life.  Artificial plants, these days are made of natural fibers, real wood stems, and long lasting materials that make these plants look as natural as real plants.

If you cannot maintain natural plants or do not have sufficient space and climate for your favorite plants, getting some artificial indoor plants makes much sense. They add tranquility to the environment and do not require regular maintenance (no pruning, no watering, no insects etc.). They are cost effective too especially if you are investing in artificial office plants. They can be moved easily without the chance of damage or disturbing the plant. You can place them in any corner of your home or office. Moreover, you have  large choice of indoor as well as artificial outdoor plants to select from: trees, climbers, palms, grasses, ground covers, succulents and cacti.

Here are a few artificial indoor plants that I came across at Silk Plants Direct.

 

05 Oct

Evergreen Shrub with Lovely Fragrant Flowers: Pimelea

Pimelea is a genus of evergreen flowering shrubs from New Zealand and Australia. These herbaceous perennials are grown for their fragrant and very showy flowers. Flowers of Pimelea grow in clusters and resembles clustered flowers of Ixora. Pink Rice Flower or Pimelea Ferruginea is among popular shrubs from this genus. It grows as small (up to 1 meter) evergreen shurb with dark green and glossy leaves with rose-pink flowers in spring or summer.

Pimelea Ferruginea, Flowering Shrub

Pimelea Ferruginea, Image by Barry Michael

Suitable for both landscapes and container gardening, Pimelea Ferruginea requires regular watering and partial sunlight to flourish. It is easy to propagate from cuttings. Like all other species of Pimelea, Pink Rice Flower prefers temperate climate, however, it is equally good for cooler climates where it is protected from frost. Pimelea Ferruginea makes a good landscape or border plant in gardens.

 

02 Oct

Summer Blooming Border Plant: Ammi Majus

Ammi Majus is a delicate and ornamental plant that serves very well as border plant as well as beautiful flowering plant for container gardening. Native to the Mediterranean regions of Africa and parts of Europe, Ammi Majus is usually cultivated as small annual.

Ammi Majus is characterized by puffs of tiny white flowers, and delicate, feathery foliage that make it an ideal plant for mixed borders. It is also popular plant with florists who use it in floral arrangements and bouquets. Cut flowers last for 3 to 4 days and add dramatic effects to bouquets as well as flower arrangements. Besides horticultural use, Ammi Majus has also been in use as medicinal plant in Egypt for a long time where it is used to treat skin diseases. It also has medicinal benefits in treatment of cancer and AIDS. Commonly known as Queen Anne’s Lace or simply Lace Plant, Anni Majus is a good plant to attract butterflies and useful insects for gardens.

Ammi Majus, Lace Plant

Ammi Majus, Lace Plant, Image by Jacki Dougan

How to Grow Ammi Majus

Ammi Majus grows fairly easily from seeds. It requires full to partial sun and grows well in a well drained ordinary soil. When grown in ordinary garden soil, it would not require extra feed.