31 May

Achimenes, the Hot Water Plant

Achimenes is a genus of more than 25 perennials from tropical and sub-tropical climates of central and South America. They are, however, grown widely across Europe and other parts of the world where they can be grown as indoors as well as outdoor ornamental plants. Popular for their showy flowers, some species of Achimenes produce nice, plush foliage.

Achimenes erecta

Achimenes erecta, Image by Olaf (flickr)

Achimenes are frost tender plants (the name ‘Achimenes’ is said to have been derived from Greek word ‘cheimaino’ – which means to suffer from cold) that prefer partially shady spot and a lightly moist soil all the time. Belonging to the family of African Violets, Achimenes can be grown from rhizomes in containers, hanging baskets or flower beds with a regular but well-drained soil mix. Flowers of Achimenes are quite ornamental and vary in shades of Blue, peach, pink, red, orange, white, purple, and yellow. Flowers appear in summer through fall.

Popular species include: Achimenes admirabilis, A. antirrhina, A. candida, A. glabrata, and Achimenes grandiflora.

Achimenes is also described as Hot Water Plant, Magic Flower, or Cupid’s Bow.

27 May

Lovely, Loveable Grevillea

Grevillea is a large genus of evergreen shrubs and small trees known for their spectacular flowers and foliage. In fact, plants in this genus offer a great variety of flowers, foliage, size, spread, and forms. Most plants in the genus of Grevillea are quite easy to grow as ornamental houseplants for many different purposes – hedges, topiaries, small trees, indoor houseplants, or just as specimen plants in gardens.

Grevillea jerrabomberra

Grevillea jerrabomberra, Image by Donald Hobern

Most species of Grevillea come from tropical and subtropical zones of Africa, Australia, and Malaysia where the bloom in spring. Flowers usually appear in clusters and range from red, white, cream and pink. These flowers are rich in nectar and thus attract birds and pollinating insects.

Grown from seeds or cuttings, most plants in the genus of Grevillea grow well in a regular soil mix, and under sunny or partially-shaded regions where the receive moderate water.

23 May

Brownea coccinea, the Rose of Venezuela

Brownea is a genus of flowering trees and shrubs from tropical climates of Africa and Asia. Belonging to the bean family, the plants in this genus feature rich and showy flowers, ornamental foliage and quick growing habit. Most plants in this genus prefer sunny exposure and moist soil for healthy growth.

The most popular plant from this genus of lovely bloomers is Brownea coccinea. It is an evergreen plant that grows into a small spreading tree and produces nice foliage. It prefers warm and a little humid climate to grow though it is capable of surviving brief spells of drought and dry conditions. Grown from seeds or cuttings, Brownea coccinea produces drooping branches, fresh-green leaves and clusters of showy, red flowers in spring. It is also known as Rose of Venezuela.

Brownea coccinea, the Rose of Venezulea

Brownea coccinea, the Rose of Venezulea

Another popular plant from this genus is Brownea grandiceps, which grows as a small evergreen tree and abundance of red flowers in early spring till mid-summer.

23 May

Evergreen, Tropical Shade Tree: Schinus, Pepper Tree

Schinus is a genus of ornamental trees and shrubs from tropical and subtropical climates, mainly from South America. Plants in this genus are known for their fine evergreen foliage, ability to survive drought and strong winds, and ornamental fruit.

Most species in the genus of Schinus grow into tall and shady trees which are rich in fresh-green foliage. These are quite fast growing plants (sometimes, invasive) and make excellent choice for gardens and landscapes where they can be grown for shade or breaking strong winds. One of the commonly grown plants from this genus is Schinus terebinthifolius that grows as a tall shrub and later turns into a hardy tree. It grows up to 6 meters as a self-seeding plant and produces ornamental pink berries after flowering season. The sap from its stem is fragrant and might cause irritation on skin. Schinus terebinthifolius is also known as Brazilian Pepper Tree.

Schinus molle

Schinus molle, Pepper Tree, Image by Petr Kosina

Another popular plant from this genus is Schinus molle which is usually descried as Pepper Tree because of peppery fragrance of its leaves. The plant grows up to 20 meters and provides a nice shady spot under its dense foliage. The red berries that are produced after flowering season and very attractive because of shiny red color and spicy fragrance.

Almos all species of Schinus are drought-tolerant and can be grown in a regular soil where they receive sufficient sunlight, moderate water and a rich but well-drained soil.

21 May

Lovely Flowering Shrub for All Places: Polygala myrtifolia

Polygala myrtifolia is an evergreen and easy-to-grow flowering shrub that can be grown in almost any garden – from sandy coastal soils to rock gardens, and from sunny spots to shaded spots of garden where very few plants would survive.

Polygala myrtifolia

Polygala myrtifolia

Polygala myrtifolia requires a sunny exposure and a rich loamy soil but it is hardy and often adapting to any soil type. It is often grown as nice landscape plant that fills up empty spaces with its evergreen foliage and produces abundance of mauve flowers in spring. It is quite fast growing plant that required regular pruning. Because of its erect branding habit, Polygala myrtifolia can be used as border plant, for creating hedges or just as ornamental flowering shrub.

Polygala myrtifolia grows natively in temperate regions of South Africa, however, it has been widely cultivated in Australia, Asia, and the Americas. It is usually known as September bush, or Sweet Pea bush.

Polygala myrtifolia can be grown from seeds or cuttings, and performs the best when provided with average water, sunny exposure and a well-drained but rich soil.

18 May

Lovely, Summer Flowering Shrub for Gardens: Weigela florida

Weigela is a small genus of deciduous and summer flowering shrubs from eastern Asia particularly from China and Korea . These hardy and easy-to-maintain shrubs makes excellent accent plants for gardens and landscapes because of their lovely foliage and flowers.

Most species of Weigela are frost hardy and can also withstand drought and heat, thus, making a good choice for garden hedges or mix borders. Propagated from cuttings, Weigela grows quite quickly and requires regular pruning after every flowering season. The plant usually has a long flowering season that starts in late spring and continues till the mid of summer. The flowers of white, pink or red colors are quite showy and attract birds and butterflies.

Weigela florida

Weigela florida

Ideal growing conditions for Weigela are a sunny or semi-shaded spot, well-drained soil, lightly alkaline medium, and average moisture.

One of the most popular species form the genus is Weigela florida that grows as a deciduous shrub of 1 to 3 meters. There are a lot of cultivars and verities of Weigela in cultivation, majorly grown for rich foliage. Popular varieties include:

Weigela florida ‘Candida’: Popular variety with bright-green leaves and beautiful white flowers.

W. florida ‘Polka’: Profuse bloomer with deep-pink flowers in spring and summer.

W. florida ‘Variegata’: Perhaps the most popular variety with compact and mound-forming habit; green leaves with white margins. Flowers are rose-pink.

W. florida ‘White Knight’: Compact shrub with white flowers throughout the summer.

16 May

Burchellia bubaline: The Wild Pomegranate Tree

Burchellia bubaline is an ornamental shrub that usually grows into a small tree bearing glossy green leaves and very showy flowers of orange-red color. Though slow growing, this lovely plant starts blooming quite early and thus becomes a useful flowering plant for gardens. Burchellia bubaline has a neat twiggy growth up to 3 meters and resembles the pomegranate tree that is why it is commonly described as Wild Pomegranate.

Burchellia bubaline, The Wild Pomegranate Tree

Burchellia bubaline, Image by David Midgley

Belonging to the family of Ixora and Mussaenda, Burchellia bubaline grows natively along coastal line of South Africa, and prefers rich loamy soil. When growing in your garden, provide it a sunny spot in a rich and loamy but well-drained soil mix. Protect from frost and extreme cold.

Burchellia bubaline can be grown from seeds that germinate quickly or from cuttings that usually root in three to four weeks.

14 May

Lovely and Unusual, Ornamental Plant: Boophane disticha

Boophane is a small genus of bulbous plants form South Africa where it is found indigenously in summer rainfall areas. The genus comprises of five or six species. The most popular and commonly grown is Boophane disticha which is known for its ornamental fan-shaped patterns of leaves. Almost all species of Boophane form unusually large bulbs that sprout to produce nice foliage and fragrant flowers though these plants take many years to bloom.

Boophane disticha

Boophane disticha, Image by Erick Lux

Boophane disticha, which is grown commercially, produces red or pink flowers that grow in small stalks. These attractive flowers emit strong fragrance. Flowering is usually followed by formation of grey-green leaves that are arranged in the shape of Chinese fan.

Boophane disticha can be propagated easily from bulbs that need to be sowed in a bit sandy but well-drained soil especially in colder climates.

The bulb of Boophane disticha is said to have poisonous effect on cattle. However, the plant has been used in Africa by indigenous people of Zulu in traditional medicine for inducing intoxication.

12 May

9 Examples of Beautiful, Small Space Gardens

Small Backyard Garden

Small Backyard Gardens, Image from Pinterest

Wall Garden

Wall Garden, Image from Pinterest

Brick Garden

Brick Garden, Image from Pinterest

Small Container Garden

Small Container Garden, Image from Pinterest

Plants in Dresser

Plants in Dresser, Image from Pinterest

Small Topiary Garden

Small Space Gardens, Image from Pinterest

Simple Succulent Garden

Simple Succulent Gardens, Image from Pinterest

Small Window Garden

Small Window Gardens, Image from Pinterest

Small Space Succulent Garden

Small Space Gardens, Image from Pinterest

Here is a list of some practical products that you can try in your balcony garden:

Wall Hanger:

This wall hanger has flattened metal bars which make up the entire motif of the product and give the basket a very classic, sturdy look and feel. The included coco liner prevents soil from spilling out, and the large 29 Inches long planting area offers plenty of room for flowers and vines. Included is mounting hardware which allows for easy installation.

Zinc Flower Planter:

Use this aged zinc rectangular balcony flower planter with hooks to add natural beauty to your patio or balcony.

Terrace Table:

The Terrace Table is the perfect patio table or balcony table. Its fold away design makes it a great space saver. The welded aircraft quality aluminum frame, powder coated paint, and the tempered glass makes this table suitable for all outdoor weather conditions. Get more use out of your balcony or patio with the Terrace Table. **Fits up to a 4.75″ wide top rail.