19 Oct

Hardy Shrub and Ground Cover for Tropical Climate: Kennedia

Kennedia is a small genus of small shrubs and woody climbers from tropical and subtropical climate of Australia. These useful plants are grown for their lovely and unusual flowers of red color. Kennedia originates from tropical and summer rainfall regions and thus are quite hardy to heat and spells of drought. Most species grow easily in temperate climate where they spread quickly and become good choice for covering the ground, fences or hedges. Kennedias can be grown easily from seeds. Young plants require moist yet well-drained soil, however, mature plants can withstand long spells of drought.

Kennedia prostrata

Kennedia prostrata/ Image via flickr

Popular species of Kennedia include:

Kennedia prostrate: Low-growing plant suitable as ground cover or hanging plant. Propagation is easy from seed. The plant produces showy frequent red flowers when grown under bright sunlight.

Kennedia rubicunda: Twining creeper that grows up to 5 meters and produces showy red flowers in spring and summer.

16 Oct

Dierama, the Angel’s Fishing Rod

Dierama is a small genus of evergreen perennials characterized by drooping flower stems and bell-shaped flowers. The plant is known among gardeners and horticulturists for its dainty and graceful flowers that can be easily recognized by their colors and delicate formation.

Ideal for sunny borders or raised beds, plants in the genus of Dierama prefer fertile, loamy and moist but well-drained soil. The plants are easily propagated from corms planted in containers or raised beds. Most species of Dierama benefit from regular watering in summer but only moderate watering during winter. Flowers of all shades of pink, white and violet colors appear in later summer or early fall. The bell-shaped flowers grow delicately on a long, drooping stalk, thus giving the genus its common name Angel’s Fishing Rod.

Dierama, Angel's Fishing Rod

Dierama, Angel’s Fishing Rod/ Image by peganum (flickr)

Popular species of Dierama include:

Dierama pendulum (Wand Flower) – Evergreen, cormous plant forming large clusters of grass-like leaves. White, mauve or pink flowers grow on tall spikes.

Dierama pulcherrimum – Evergreen plant growing up to 1.6 meters; flowers of pink or reddish purple colors appear in summer.

14 Oct

Lovely Tropical Bloomer: Ixora coccinea ‘Jacqueline’

Ixora coccinea ‘Jacqueline’ is one of the many popular hybrids of Ixora coccinea. The plant is popular for its salmon orange blooms and evergreen foliage. Like other plants of the genus, Ixora ‘Jacqueline’ prefers a well-drained, loamy and slightly acidic soil. Suitable for outdoor plantation, this beautiful hybrid is a bit fussy about moisture and temperature. The idea place for Ixora ‘Jacqueline’ in a garden is a sunny spot where it receives bright sunlight but protection from frosty winters.

Ixora coccinea 'Jacqueline'

Ixora coccinea ‘Jacqueline’/ Image by Troy Mckaskle

Ixora ‘Jacqueline’ is characterized by glossy foliage and shrubby growth that can be easily control by regular pruning. Ixora ‘Jacqueline’ does not like being moved around and often drops flower buds when moved around. Clusters of showy flowers appear almost all through the summer. The plant benefits from general purpose fertilizer every fortnight during the flowering season.

Ixora coccinea ‘Jacqueline’ has many common names including Jungle Flame, Jungle Geranium, Flame of the Woods, Needle Flower, and West Indian Jasmine.

12 Oct

Tetrapanax papyriferus, the Chinese Paper Plant

Tetrapanax papyriferus is an evergreen shrub often growing in to a small tree (up to 6 meters). It is commonly known as Rice-paper Plant or Chinese Paper Plant because in ancient China, the plant was used in making paper. Today, it is well known as a useful plant in horticulture.

Tetrapanax papyriferus, Chinese Paper Plant

Tetrapanax papyriferus, Chinese Paper Plant/ Image by Bettaman (flickr)

Tetrapanax papyriferus is fast growing plant that can be grown in almost any soil and a wide range of climatic conditions. The plant produces large, green leaves that appear along a solitary trunk. The fresh green and prominent foliage of Tetrapanax papyriferus makes it a useful plant for landscapes and gardens. Fluffy white flowers are insignificant and appear in large clusters.

Tetrapanax papyriferus can be propagated from suckers. Since the plant is not fussy about growing conditions, it can be grown under full to partial sun with moderate watering throughout the year.

10 Oct

Eucharis grandiflora, the Amazon Lily

Eucharis is a small genus of tropical bloomers from South America – particularly from the rainforests of the western basin of the Amazon. These lovely bloomers are quite easy to grow and produce lovely flowers almost all through the year in tropical climates. The most popular species in the genus is Eucharis grandiflora which is supposed to be a cross of Eucharia moorei and Eucharia sanderi.

Eucharis grandiflora is an excellent plant for containers as well as gardens. It is suitable for growing in shaded parts of the garden where it requires filtered sunlight and moist soil. The plant is characterized by green and glossy foliage that makes this plant very attractive. Daffodils-like flowers of white color appear on long stalks. Flowers are fragrant and last long that is why, it makes an excellent choice as cut flower.

Eucharis grandiflora, the Amazon Lily

Eucharis grandiflora, the Amazon Lily /Image by Jan Smith

Eucharis grandiflora is commonly known as Amazon Lily because of its origin. In its natural habitat, it produces large clumps that are often found full of flowers. Since these plants come from tropical climate, they require protection from frost and freezing temperature.

08 Oct

Lovely and Colorful Foliage Plants: Coprosma

Coprosma is a genus of ornamental and very useful shrubs and small trees from New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. These evergreen plants are known for their glossy and leathery foliage that makes them attractive houseplants. Most species of Coprosma are quite easy to grow and maintain. Traditionally these foliage plants have been used to make effective hedges and borders. However, Coprosma offers a wide variety of small to large ornamental shrubs that can be grown as specimen plants in gardens and landscapes.

Coprosma 'Tequila Sunburst'

Coprosma ‘Tequila Sunburst’/ Image by Leonora Enking

Most species of Coprosma can be grown in poor and sandy soil though they benefit from rich and loamy soil as well. Young plants require regular watering until they are established and are ready to withstand drought. The best spot for Coprosma plants is a brightly lit corner where it can establish its roots and become a sturdy plant.

Popular species of Coprosma include:

Coprosma repens (Mirror Plant) – Grows as small tree and can be trimmed back to make an ornamental border or hedge.

Coprosma robusta – A quick growing and a sturdy, small tree that can grow up to 3 meters; good choice for creating borders and screens.

Coprosma ernodeoides

Coprosma ernodeoides/ Image by David Eickhoff

A number of hybrids and new cultivars are widely grown these days. Some of the popular cultivars are:

Coprosma ‘Pacific Sunset’, Coprosma ‘Clearwater Gold’, and Coprosma ‘Rainbow Surprise’.

07 Oct

Delicate Bloomer of Borders and Flower Beds: Ornithogalum

Ornithogalum is a large genus of bulbous perennials from southern Europe and South Africa. These striking bloomers are quite easy to grow and care under full or partial sun and a little warmth. Though the genus of Ornithogalum is not very well known but it has a great horticulture value. Suitable for borders or raised flower beds, Ornithogalums produce beautiful flowers of striking colors. The flowers range from white, orange and yellow in color. These flowers grow on long stalks and serve as long lasting cut flowers. Leaves are grassy and tender to frost (except for the European varieties).

Generally Ornithogalums requite deep and rich soil with regular watering and bright sunlight. In cold climates, they can be planted indoor where they are protected from heavy frost.

Ornithogalum kochii

Ornithogalum kochii/ Image by Amadej Trnkoczy

Popular species of Ornithogalum include:

Ornithogalum thyrsoides (Star of Bethlehem) that grows up to 50 cm and produces long lasting cut flowers of white color.

Ornithogalum saundersiae (Giant Chincherinchee) produces extra-long stalks (up to 1.5 meters) of small white flowers produced in summer.

Ornithogalum arabicum forms large clumps of grassy plants and produces very prominent and delicate flowers of white color.

06 Oct

Lovely Lycoris

Lycoris is a small genus of bulbous plants known for their colorful and exceptionally beautiful flowers of all shades of pink, orange, red, white and yellow. They are quite easy to grow plants that just require a deep, rich and moist soil, with some warmth in summer. Most species of Lycoris belong to Japan, Korea, China and northern parts of Pakistan.

Lycoris can be grown in containers but preferably in raised beds where they would often form large clumps of bulbous plants. As with other plants in the Lily family, flowers of Lycoris grown on long stalks making them good background plants in mix flower beds.

Lycoris radiate

Lycoris radiate/ Image by osanpo (flickr)

Popular species of Lycoris include:

Lycoris squamigera – A cold hardy plant with large pink flowers that appear in late summer. The plant is also known as Magic Lily, Surprise Lily or Resurrection Lily because its flowers appear after the leaves have totally disappear during the summer and flowers appear from seemingly dead bulbs.

Lycoris sprengeri – Closely resembling Lycoris squamigera, L. sprengeri has smaller leaves and flowers. Common names of Lycoris sprengeri are Electric Blue Surprise Lily because the pink flowers have prominent and rich shade of ‘electric’ blue on tips of petals.

Lycoris aurea – A popular bulbous plant with golden-yellow flowers often used as cut flowers.

Lycoris radiate – Easy-to-grow plant and prolific plant producing large clumps in natural habitats. The plant is commonly known as Red Spider Lily because of its showy red flowers.