03 Nov

Evergreen Flowering Climber: Asarina

Asarina usually described as Maurandia is a small genus of climbing perennials with evergreen foliage and very attractive flowers of purple, white, blue, yellow and white colors. Flowers are trumpet shaped and bloom from late spring till late autumn.

Asarina Procumbens

Asarina Procumbens, Image from wrightmanalpines.com

Suitable for hanging baskets, balcony gardens or as climbers against trellis and walls, Asarina are quite easy to grow. They require regular watering in fertile but well-drained soil, and bright sunlight to flourish. Most of the species grow quite well in cold climates where they are provided shelter from heavy frost. Asarina can be grown from cuttings planted in summer.

Asarina is commonly known as Creeping Gloxina, Climbing Snapdragon or Mexican Twist.

29 Sep

Tropically Yours: Hawaiin Sunset Vine

Native to Africa and widely cultivated in Pacific and other tropical regions, Stictocardia Beraviensis or Hawaiin Sunset Vine has many lovely things to offer to gardeners: colorful and scented flowers, large ornamental leaves, quick growth, and ability to grow at many different locations in the garden.

Hawaiin Sunset Vine or Stictocardia Beraviensis is a fast growing tropical vine usually grown as evergreen climber in gardens. The plant closely resembles Morning Glory in habit. It bears heart-shaped leaves that usually grow wide (up to 12 inches) and fleshy, and feel velvety to touch. The trumpet-shaped flowers are quite showy and appear almost year round. These scented flowers have all the shades of the setting sun: orange, pink, yellow, red and crimson. Thus they justify the name ‘Sunset Vine’.

Hawaiin Sunset Vine

Hawaiin Sunset Vine

How to Grow Hawaiin Sunset Vine

Stictocardia Beraviensis or Hawaiin Sunset Vine is quite easy to grow. It can grow under full sun as well as shade. For prolific flowering, grow Sunset Vine under full sun. Provide ample water and a rich but well drained soil. It can be grown as container plant but the best results are achieved when it is grown in ground where it gets sufficient room to flourish.

Stictocardia Beraviensis grows easily from stem cuttings as well as from seeds. When in bloom, this lovely plant attracts a lot of birds and butterflies.

17 Sep

Tropical Flowering Shrubs for Poor Soil: Convolvulus Cneorum

Convolvulus is a genus of annual and perennial shrubs from tropical and Mediterranean regions. These easy to grow plants vary from climbers or trailing plants to shrubs and mound forming bushes. Plants and flowers also vary in size and spread. Flowers of Convolvulus plants are trumpet shaped and vary from white and pink to purple and mauve in color. These sun loving plants grow quite easily and survive very well in sandy, chalky and dry soil.

Convolvulus Cneorum, Flowering Shrub, Morning Glory

Convolvulus Cneorum, Image by Jessie Hirsch

Convolvulus Cneorum which is commonly known as Silver Bush grows as low growing plant and usually forms a think carpet of evergreen foliage. Because of its capacity to withstand drought and grow in poor soil, Convolvulus Cneorum is a good choice for rock gardens or as ground cover for sandy or poor soil. It is easy to maintain and should be pruned back after flowering.

How to grow Convolvulus Cneorum

Convolvulus Cneorum or Silver Bush grows well in sunny positions where it is protected from frost and long, dry spells of cold. These plants are easily propagated from seeds and require just sufficient water; do not over water.

Convolvulus Cneorum is generally related to the family of Morning Glory. Other popular species include: Convolvulus Mauritanicus, Convolvulus Tricolor and Convolvulus Arvensis.

24 Jul

Evergreen, Ornamental Foliage Plant for Beginners: Tree Ivy

If you are a beginner looking for some easy-to-grow plants for year round ornamental foliage, you should give Tree Ivy (x Fatshedera Lizei) a try. It is a less-demanding as well as a versatile plant that can be grown as evergreen ground cover, as climbing plant against walls and trellis, as evergreen shrub in garden or as pot plant grown both indoor or outdoor.

Tree Ivy is a hybrid between Fatsia Japonnica (a tree) and Hedra Helix (an ivy) that is why it has characteristics of both. Tree Ivy bears relatively larger ivy-like leaves and stiff, shrubby branches. The glossy green leaves appear round the year to make Tree Ivy an excellent foliage plant. Stiff branches require support for climbing against a wall, tree or trellis. A variegated variety (x Fatshedera Lizei ‘Variegate’) is also grown widely for its ornamental leaves (with white margins).

Tree Ivy, Evergreen Ornamental Plant

Tree Ivy, Evergreen Ornamental Plant, Image by S John Davey

How to Grow Tee Ivy

Tree Ivy requires a shady spot, moderate watering and protection from frost. Plants propagate from cuttings and reach about 2 meters or more in height. When pruned regularly, Tree Ivy can be grown as ornamental pot plant.

21 Jul

Black Eyed Susan in My Garden: Thunbergia Alata

Black Eyed Susan (Thunbergia Alata) is one of my favorite climbers. Fresh green leaves and bright orange and yellow flowers make it an excellent choice for gardeners as a climber of ornamental plant for hanging baskets. Native to Africa and Asia, Black Eyed Susan is easy to grow is most tropical and temperate regions of the world where it can be grown as ornamental climber. Flowers appear in summer and autumn.

Black Eyed Susan Flowers - Thunbergia Alata

Black Eyed Susan Flowers – Image by Shihmei Barger

How to Grow Black Eyed Susan/ Thunbergia Alata

Propagating from seeds and cuttings, Black Eyed Susan requires moist but well-drained soil. These fast growing climbers prefer full to partial sun and protection from frost. Black Eyed Susan is a perfect climber to be grown against fences, pergolas, trellis, and arches where it can grow up to 8 feet.

The name ‘Black Eyed Susan’ is also used for other flowering plants like Rudbeckia and Hibiscus.

03 Jul

Colorful and Fragrant Climber for Warm Climate: Wisteria

Wisteria is perhaps one of the most beautiful flowering climbers that fill your garden with exotic colors and fragrance. Native to temperate regions of North America and Asia, it is a very fast growing woody climber. Not all species produce fragrant flowers, but all of the species in the genus are excellent bloomers.

Flowers appear in long and drooping pendulous clumps resembling the flowers of Laburnum (Golden Shower Tree). Wisteria blooms in spring and continue to bloom till late summer. Flowers are usually white, purple, pink and blue. Leaves are soft and green.

Wisteria grows vigorously and becomes a mound if not provided with a suitable support therefore it should be grown against pergola or a wall. Most species of Wisteria would climb up to 20 meters or more.  The world’s largest Wisteria grows in Sierra Madre, California spanning over 1 acre.

One of the most common and easy to grow species is Wisteria Sinensis (also known as Chinese Wisteria) which is a deciduous creeping plant growing up to 30 meters. Its violet flowers are fragrant and bloom in spring.

Wisteria Vine with Violet Flowers

Wisteria with Violet Flowers, Image from tamarynwhite.com

Wisteria grows in deep and well-drained soil under full sun. Usually it does not require much care and grows freely with just moderate amount of water. Most species can be grown from hardwood or softwood cutting, seeds or by layering.

25 Jun

Evergreen Ornamental Climber for Warm Climate: Epipremnum Aureum

Epipremnum Aureum (also mentioned as Pothos) is perhaps the most popular ornamental houseplant in South East Asia where it grows natively as tropical climber and creeper. As an easy to grow houseplant, Epipremnum makes an excellent foliage plant for containers in warm climates. It grows best against trellis, moss stick or any type of support as an evergreen climber or in hanging baskets.

Epipremnum is widely grown in homes, offices and shopping areas for its ability to reduce the effect of pollutants in the atmosphere. Leaves of Epipremnum are green with white or yellow variegation.

Epipremnum Aureum Growing in the Wild

Epipremnum Aureum (Pothos), Image from www.hear.org

How to Grow Epipremnum Aureum (Pothos)

Epipremnum is quite hardy and easy to grow. It requires partial sunlight in outdoor locations or bright light in indoor spots. Epipremnum should be provided with moderate amount of water and general purpose liquid fertilizer in spring. Epipremnum can also be grown hydroponically (in mineral based water solutions; without soil).

Popular species of Epipremnum are: Epipremnum Pinnatum, Epipremnum  Aureus, Epipremnum Mirabile and Epipremnum Aureum ‘Golden Ceylon Creeper’ also known as PothosSilver Vine, Devil’s Ivy or Solomon Island’s Ivy.

Epipremnum climber in indoor hanging basket

Epipremnum Growing Indoor, Image from professorspride.com

30 May

Unusual Flowers of Jade Vine, Strongylodon Macrobotrys

Strongylodon Macrobotrys, also known as Jade Vine or Emerald Vine, is a perennial and evergreen vine from tropical forests of the Philippines. Known for its unusual flowers, a blooming Jade Vine makes a spectacular show of green and blue flowers hanging in long stalks. Flowering stalks are 5 feet in length or more and each covered by about 100 flowers.

Unusual Flowers of Jade Vine

Unusual Flowers of Jade Vine, Image from davidwyatt.me.uk

A mature Jade Vine would have bright green and soft leaves covering the woody stem. In it native rainforest, Jade Vine can grow as long as 75 feet, however, in cultivation it is pruned and trained to cover arches or grown over a pergola or display cascading stalks of it unusual flowers. Jade Vine blooms in spring and summer to attract birds. Fallen blooms change colors from emerald to blue-green and the purple as they dry out.

How to Grow Jade Vine

Being a native of rainforests, Jade Vine grows in humid and temperate zones where temperature does not fall below 15 °C. It does not tolerate frost. Grow Jade Vine is moist, fertilized and slightly acidic soil for perfect coloration of flowers; water regularly and provide it with plenty of sunshine.

Jade Vine can be grown from cuttings as well as seeds. In colder climates, Jade Vine can be grown in a greenhouse with adequate level of humidity and temperature. For pollination and seeds to produce, grow two vines side by side.

07 May

Colorful Climber: Parthenocissus

Parthenocissus is a beautiful creeper usually grown for its attractive autumn coloring leaves. The name comes from two Greek words: partheno (virgin) and kissos (ivy) – thus, Virgin Ivy.

Parthenocissus grows natively in temperate zones of Asia and North America and belongs to the grape family, Vitaceae. There are about 15 known species of this deciduous creeping plant. Parthenocissus can be used to cover sun-facing walls or as ground cover among shrubs. It can be grown from seeds as well as cuttings. It can withstand frost and needs bright sunlight with average watering.

Parthenocissus Ornamental Clilmber and Creeper

Popular Species:

Parthenocissus Quinquefolia (also known as Virgina Creeper and American Ivy): This high climbing creeper displays dense growth of leaves that turn red in autumn. Ideal as ornamental plant in landscapes and against walls.

Parthenocissus Tricuspidata (also known as Boston Ivy or Japanese Ivy): This ornamental climber bears purple fruits and dense growth of leaves that turn purple and red in autumn.