10 May

Lovely and Colorful Shrub for Evergreen Gardens: Nandina domestica

Nandina domestica is an evergreen and easy-to-grow shrub that changes many colors throughout the year – green in summer, pink with new foliage in spring, and red in autumn and winter. These colorful glossy leaves really add to the ornamental value of this plant. Commonly known as Heavenly Bamboo (though it is not related to the bamboo family in any way), Nandina domestica is a popular element in Japanese and Chinese gardens.

Nandina domestica, Heavenly Bamboo

Nandina domestica, Heavenly Bamboo, Image by Kia Yan

The origin of Nandina domestica is a narrow belt of Far East where it grows as a rapid growing and erect plant. The plant does not branch much and produces tall shoots up to 2 meters. The shoots bear glossy leaves and small, inconspicuous flowers of white color followed by formation of red berries that resemble the berries of Holly.

Nandina domestica is a good choice for small gardens where it grows rapidly in well-drained soil to fill empty spaces with its decent foliage. It prefers sunny or partially sunny spot in a rich soil, and is propagated from seeds or stem cuttings.

09 May

Ornamental Plant for Mediterranean Climate: Molucella laevis

Molucella is a small genus of ornamental annuals from the Mediterranean climate of Asia Minor and in parts of Turkey and Syria. Among four known species, Molucella laevis is the most common and popular among gardeners. It is an evergreen plant that grows up to 1 meter and produces long spikes of tiny white flowers. These inconspicuous flowers are surrounded by cup-shaped calyces that give these flowers the appearance of bells or sea shells that is why the plant is commonly described as ‘Bells of Ireland’ or ‘Shell Flower’.

Moluccella laevis

Molucella laevis is quite easy to grow in moderate climates where it grows in a well-drained soil and does not require much water or fertilizer. As a general rule, grow it in a lightly sandy soil and provide good exposure to sun. In its natively climate, it can bloom almost all through the year. The plant can be grown as border plants or to form a landscape background because of its long spikes of flowers. These spikes along with flowers are usually used in fresh and dry floral arrangements.

08 May

Justicia brandegeana, The Shrimp Plant for Tropical Gardens

Justicia is a genus of evergreen and deciduous perennials mostly shrubs or small twiggy plants that grow in tropical and sub-tropical climates. These showy perennials are good plants for mixed borders and beds where they produce masses of ornamental flowers. Most species of Justicia can be grown as container plants though they would require pinching and pruning after flowering to keep them in shape.

Almost all plants in the genus of Justicia are frost tender and need to be protected completely from frost and freeze. If you are growing them in a cooler climate, it is advised to move them indoor in frosty season. When grown outdoors, Justicia plants prefer a well-drained and fertile soil under a good sunny exposure.


The genus is usually represented by Justicia brandegeana which is grown for its showy pink flower that is of the shape of a shrimp that is why it is commonly described as Shrimp Plant. It is an easy to grow plant that is resistant to pests and diseases. The Shrimp Plant grows in clumps of weak, twiggy stems that grow up to 1 to 1.5 meter. The leaves are soft, fresh and evergreen. The plant usually blooms in summer but in mild climates it can bloom almost all through the year. Propagation is easy from cuttings.

Justicia brandegeana, The Shrimp Plant

Justicia brandegeana, The Shrimp Plant


07 May

Winter Flowering, Ornamental Shrubs: Phylica

Phylica Pubescens

Phylica Pubescens - Image by faroutflora.com

These lovely and unusual flowers grow on winter-flowering plants in the genus of Phylica. Most species in this genus are small shrubs from winter rainfall areas of South Africa. However, a number of species of Phylica are grown in many parts of the world for their ornamental flowers.

Phylica are good plants to grow in landscape, as border plants or simple outdoor ornamental shrubs. Flowers of Phylica are fluffy because of dense silvery hairs that give these flowers the appearance of feathery pompons.

Phylica are drought resistant plants and thus make good choice for xeriscaping. Propagation is easy from seeds. Popular species include:

Phylica plumosa: Low growing, evergreen shrub with feathery flowers in winter.

Phylica pubescens: Small and erect, evergreen shrub. Grows up to 1.5 meter and produces yellow-green flowers in winter.

06 May

Lovely Flowering Plant for Tropical Gardens: Impatiens

Impatiens is a large genus of flowering annuals and perennials from tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. Known for their showy flowers, several species of Impatiens including many hybrids are grown both indoor and outdoor. These, usually low growing plants, grow easily and produce profuse flowers of white, pink, red, yellow purple and salmon colors. Perennial varieties grow easily from seeds whereas annuals varieties of Impatiens are usually grown from seeds.

Impatiens Walleriana, Busy Lizzie

Impatiens Walleriana, Image by Mauricio Mercadante

Impatiens offers a wide range of plants for shaded or semi-shaded spots in your garden where they would grow in a well-drained soil. These lovely bloomers usually have a long spell of flowering season before the frost season begins. Flowering is followed by formation of seed pods that explode immediately at the slightest human touch – as if they are impatient to explode. The ‘explosion’ results in distribution of seeds in all directions. For this these plants are commonly known as ‘Touch-Me-Not’.

Popular species of Impatiens include:

Impatiens balsamina: Bushy annual with white, yellow or red flowering in spring through summer.

I. wallerana: Produces white flowers almost all through the year. Grows well in as indoor flowering plant. Common name is Busy Lizzie.

I. aerocoma: Commonly found in tropical climates. Grows up to 1 meter and produces yellow flowers.

02 May

Lovely and Evergreen Ground Cover: Dichondra repens

Remember my earlier post about growing a lush green lawn and another about ornamental grasses to try in your garden? Today, I am introducing quite an unusual plant that you can use as alternative of common grasses for an evergreen and lush lawn – it is Dichondra repens.

Dichondra repens, Lovely Ground Cover

Dichondra repens, image by Javier Volcan

Dichonrda repens is a low growing, and evergreen herbaceous plant that servers very well as all-seasons ground cover. It grows quite rapidly in warmer climates and covers empty spaces very well. In fact, it forms a thick and tight carpet of small and round leaves. Leaves are of the shape of kidney, that is why the plant is usually known as Kidneyweed.

Dichonrda repens is one of the most attractive ground covers that I have seen. It can grow under full or partial sun and requires a well-drained soil. It can be easily mowed and trained to desired size and shape. Dichonrda repens grows easily from seeds and is maintained with occasionally supply of nitrogenous fertilizer.

Flowers (white or yellow) are quite inconspicuous but the plant itself is really lovely especially when grown over a large area.