01 Mar

Xerosicyos danguyi, the Silver Dollar Plant

Xerosicyos danguyi or Silver Dollar Plant (Buy seeds online) is an evergreen climber from arid regions of Madagascar. It is a drought tolerant and hardy succulent that can survive really high temperatures and long spells of drought. If you are new to the world of houseplants, Xerosicyos danguyi is a nice plant to start with.

Xerosicyos danguyi belongs to the family of squash, cucumber, and watermelon and shares many characteristics with its cousins. Hobbyists like the Silver Dollar Plant for its round, succulent, and silver-green leaves giving the plant its common name, ‘Silver Dollar Plant’. These unusual round leaves grow along a cylindrical stem that usually grows up to 20 inches. In wild, Xerosicyos danguyi uses its tendrils to hook up with surrounding plants to keep it from falling on the ground. Clusters of tiny flower of pale-green color appear in spring.

Xerosicyos danguyi, the Silver Dollar Plant

Xerosicyos danguyi, the Silver Dollar Plant / Image Source

How to Grow Xerosicyos danguyi, the Silver Dollar Plant

Xerosicyos danguyi can be easily grown in a well-drained soil and under sunny conditions. Being a drought-tolerant succulent, the Silver Dollar Plant requires only occasional watering. If you are growing it in a pot, water it thoroughly and then allow the soil to dry out completely before the next watering. In colder climates, Silver Dollar Plant can be grown indoors in hanging baskets. Xerosicyos danguyi can be propagated from seeds and cuttings. Plants grown from seeds tend to form caudex on maturity.

22 Dec

Lovely Flowering Vine: Lonicera sempervirens

Lonicera sempervirens is a fast-growing vine from the famous Honeysuckle family. Also known as Carol honeysuckle and sometimes as Trumpet honeysuckle because of its trumpet shaped flowers, this lovely vine can be used as a nice climber for pergolas and trellis.

Also see:

Lonicera sempervirens 06 3325

How to Grow Lonicera sempervirens

Lonicera sempervirens (Buy online) grows up to 5 feet and produces showy trumpet-shaped flowers of scarlet or red-orange color. Summer flowers are followed by red berries. Both flowers and berries attract wild birds. The vine grows in a well-drained soil under full sun. Though it can grow in shade, Lonicera sempervirens is primarily a sun loving vine. Brighter sunlight encourages abundance of ornamental flowers.

Lonicera sempervirens is a vigorous growing vine and might require annual pruning. It is evergreen in warm climates but sheds most of its foliage is colder climates. It can be propagated from layering or softwood cuttings.

20 Jun

Tecomanthe venusta: the Forest Bell Creeper

Tecomanthe is a small genus of tropical creepers and climbers known for their exotic flowers. Though hard to find, growing a Tecomanthe is rewarding. These fast growing vines grow up to 5 meters with their twinning stem that grows around anything that supports it making it a good choice for growing around pergolas and trellis.

Tecomanthe venusta

Tecomanthe venusta / Image by Cerlin Ng

The plant in picture is Tecomanthe venusta. It is a fast growing evergreen vine that produces waxy lush-green leaves that make it an attractive plant even when it is not blooming. Flowers appear in clusters. Each cluster contains multiple trumpet-shaped flowers in spring. Flowers of Tecomanthe venusta are usually rose or mauve waxy petals.

In its natural habitat, Tecomanthe venusta grows in tropical regions therefore it requires warm and moist conditions to thrive when grown in gardens. The plant benefits from rich but well-drained soil in a spot where it receives bright but indirect sunlight. Tecomanthe venusta is sensitive to frost and long spells of cold and should be grown under cover in colder climates. Tecomanthe venusta can be propagated from cuttings and seeds though the plants grown from seeds take 5 years or more to start blooming.

Tecomanthe venusta is commonly known as Forest Bell Creeper or New Guinea Trumpet Vine.

22 Apr

Lovely Tropical Climber: Ipomoea quamoclit

Ipomoea quamoclit, commonly known as Cypress Vine, is a delicate and fast-growing climber from the family of morning glory. Characterized by delicate, finely cut foliage and lovely scarlet flowers, Cypress Vine makes a good climber for growing against fences and trellises.

Ipomoea quamoclit,  Cypress Vine

Ipomoea quamoclit, Cypress Vine/ Image via flickr

Usually grown as an annual bloomer, this twining vine grows quite fast and grows up to 6 meters and produces smooth-textures foliage. Flowers of pink, red or scarlet colors appear in early summer. The fern-like foliage and small attractive flowers give a tremendous look to the plant. When in bloom, Ipomoea quamoclit attracts bees, birds and butterflies.

Ipomoea quamoclit has many common names including Cardinal Climber, Star Glory, Cypress Vine and Indian Pink.

Ipomoea quamoclit prefers partial to full sun and slightly moist soil all the time. The plant seeds itself freely and can become invasive in some climates.

11 Dec

Lovely, Tropical Flowering Vine: Tecomaria capensis

Tecomaria capensis

Tecomaria capensis/ Image by James Gaither

The lovely orange-red flowers in the picture grow on Tecomaria capensis which is an evergreen and a very versatile plant. Grown for its lovely flowers Tecomaria capensis can be grown as a shrub, small tree, or a vine growing on pergolas or arches.

Tecomaria capensis is popular among gardeners and horticulturists for its cluster of beautiful flowers that appear in autumn and winter and continue to appear for an extended period of time every season. The fiery orange-red flowers are rich in nectar and attract a lot of birds and butterflies during the flowering season.

Tecomaria capensis is a fast growing plant that can be easily pruned and trained to obtain desired shapes. The plant prefers full sun but can be grown in light shade. Propagation is done from cuttings or seeds.

A number of hybrid verities of Tecomaria capensis are also available. These hybrids vary is coloration of flowers that ranges from pink and yellow to scarlet red.

26 Oct

Unforgettably Fragrant and Lovely: Lonicera, the Honeysuckle

Lonicera is a wonderful genus of climbers, ground covers and shrubs grown for their foliage and fragrant flowers. The plants in the genus of Lonicera are usually known as Honeysuckles. The genus includes two major types of plants – bushes and climbers.

The bush type honeysuckles make decent shrubs that can be used for hedges or garden borders. The climber type honeysuckles are often grown against walls, pergolas or trellis. Both type of honeysuckles require proper pruning to keep them in good shape. Most honeysuckles would grow under bright sunlight and in a rich, moist but well-drained soil.

Honeysuckles make good ornamental plants in small gardens as well as landscape designs where they grow under little care and produce unforgettably fragrant flowers in spring.

Lonicera periclymenum, Honeysuckle

Lonicera periclymenum / Image by nicolas_gent (flickr)

Popular species of honeysuckle include:

Lonicera japonica (Japan honeysuckle) is an evergreen climber with white tubular flowers that appear in spring. A variegated variety Lonicera japonica ‘Variegata’ is also available for cultivation.

Lonicera caprifolium (Italian woodbine or goat-leaf honeysuckle) is a deciduous perennial that grows as vigorous climber (up to 8 meters). The plant produces abundance of strongly scented flowers of white and pink colors in midsummer.

Lonicera hildebrandiana (Giant honeysuckle) is an evergreen climber with large leaves and flowers. The flowers are yellow or orange that appear in spring.

Lonicera sempervirens is an excellent climber that produces decent foliage and tubular red flowers.

09 Jun

Gelsemium sempervirens: The Carolina Jasmine

Gelsemium is a small genus of evergreen climbers from Southeast Asia and eastern North America particularly Virginia, Florida, Texas and Arkansas. These fast growing climbers can be grown for profuse flowering in spring. The most popular plant from this genus is Gelsemium sempervirens; it is commonly described with various names: Carolina Jasmine, False Jasmine, Yellow Jessamine, and Evening Trumpetflower.

Gelsemium sempervirens, the Carolina Jasmine

Gelsemium sempervirens, the Carolina Jasmine, Image by Mary Keim

Gelsemium sempervirens is a fast growing climber that grows up to 20 feet. It can easily climb adjacent trees or structure, grow on fences, or form a mound when allowed to grow freely on the ground. The plant is not fussy about growing conditions and can be grow in almost any garden.

Gelsemium sempervirens produces showy, evergreen foliage of dark-green color. Yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers grow profusely in spring. These attractive flowers last long and have a hint of fragrance. Flowering is followed by formation of small red berries. Both the flowers and fruits are poisonous and can be lethal for livestock.

Apart from its horticultural use, Gelsemium sempervirens is also used as a homeopathic remedy for motor paralysis, general prostration, dizziness, drowsiness, and muscular weakness.

Gelsemium sempervirens is propagated from seeds or divisions. It requires full to partial sun and moderate watering.

23 Feb

For Every Climate, There is One Clematis

It won’t be wrong to say that there is one Clematis for every climate. Belonging to the buttercup family, Clematis is a large genus of several hundred species, cultivars and hybrid varieties from temperate regions of the world. However, there are a number of varieties available today that can grow well in other climates.

Clematis Flowers

Clematis Flowers, Image by Jonathan Moreau

Clematis are traditionally known as woody vines that bloom almost all through the year. They can be grown against trellis, fences or walls where they tend to climb up and establish themselves easily. These lovely creepers and climbers produce colorful and sometimes fragrant flowers that start appearing in late summer and continue to bloom for most time of the year. Actual petals on a Clematis flower are quite inconspicuous but these are surrounded by very colorful and attractive sepals.

Clematis can be grown from seeds or cuttings. Young plants prefer rather cool and moist conditions. Once established, they will take care of themselves. The best time to plant Clematis cuttings is late autumn or mid-spring. Established plants require bright sunlight and a slightly rich and well-drained soil. Whether you are planning to grow Clematis in containers or beds, these lovely bloomers comes in many different shapes and sizes – low growing creeping plants for garden beds to vigorous climbers for trellis, and from woody vines and mound-forming varieties to delicate hanging plants for balcony gardens. All have to do is find the right kind of Clematis for your garden.

22 Feb

Easy Growing, Ornamental House Plants: Philodendron

Philodendron is a large genus of creepers and clambering plants. Widely grown as indoor ornamental plants, philodendrons make excellent container plants for difficult (dark, shady and ignored places) spots. Native to tropical climate of the Americas, these beautiful foliage plants come in a large range of sizes, colors, and growing habits. Some are good for hanging baskets, some flourish under shady trees, and some of them server as outdoor ornamental plants.

Philodendron, Ornamental Foliage Plant

Philodendron, Ornamental Foliage Plant, Image by Ahmad Fuad Morad

In their native habitat, Philodendrons usually outgrow their neighbours however plants grown indoors or captivated in containers do not grow vigorously. In fact, they are quite easy to train when grown as indoor container plants.

Most species of Philodendron are characterized by evergreen lobbed leaves and aerial roots. They are easily cultivated from cuttings and prefer a damp and rich soil all the time. Avoid overwatering and place Philodendron plants in places where they receive indirect sunlight for some part of the day. When grown outdoors, protect them from direct, harsh sunlight and provide them with rich organic soil. As a general rules, all species of Philodendron should be provided with a warm environment (minimum 55 F).

Popular species include:  Philodendron Selloum, P. Squamiferum, P. Cannifolium, P. Scandens, and Philodendron Bipinnatifidum.

Philodendron Selloum

Philodendron Selloum, Image by Kahlil (flickr)

06 Nov

Flowering Vine for Warm Climates: Pandorea ‘Bower Vine’

Pandorea is a small genus of climbers and woody vines. These sun loving vines grow quite vigorously and serve as nice plants grown against trellis and pergolas or when grown against walls or garden screens. The most common species which is commercially sold as Bower Plant is Pandorea Jaminoides. It is a fast growing twining plant that produces showy and colorful flowers almost all through the year in warmer climates. Originally native to Australia and Malaysia, Pandorea prefers warm climate and moist conditions. It grows as high as 4 meters and produces dark green foliage. Flowers are white or pink with a dark carmine throat.

Pandorea Jasminoides, Bower Vine

Pandorea Jasminoides, ‘Bower Vine’, Image by douneika (flickr)

Bower plant can also be grown in hanging baskets or as trailing plant in balcony gardens. Provide this quick growing climber with adequate water and grow I full to partial sun.