Phacelia is a genus of annual and perennial herbaceous plants from the Americas. These quick growing plants are usually used in massive plantation schemes for cover empty spaces and for their attractive spring blooms. These sun loving plants are easy to grow and require moderate watering in a well-drained soil.
One of the commonly known species is Phacelia Campanularia or California Bluebell. It is a fast growing plant with fresh green foliage and blue flowers that appear in spring or summer. Like most species of Phacelia, it attracts bees and hoverflies that kill aphids thus making it a good companion plant in vegetable gardens.
Phacelia, Image by Wayfinder_73 (flickr)
Phacelia Campanularia can be grown as ground cover or border plant near lettuce, tomatoes, roses or other flowering plants or fruit trees that are prone to aphid attack.
Ammi Majus is a delicate and ornamental plant that serves very well as border plant as well as beautiful flowering plant for container gardening. Native to the Mediterranean regions of Africa and parts of Europe, Ammi Majus is usually cultivated as small annual.
Ammi Majus is characterized by puffs of tiny white flowers, and delicate, feathery foliage that make it an ideal plant for mixed borders. It is also popular plant with florists who use it in floral arrangements and bouquets. Cut flowers last for 3 to 4 days and add dramatic effects to bouquets as well as flower arrangements. Besides horticultural use, Ammi Majus has also been in use as medicinal plant in Egypt for a long time where it is used to treat skin diseases. It also has medicinal benefits in treatment of cancer and AIDS. Commonly known as Queen Anne’s Lace or simply Lace Plant, Anni Majus is a good plant to attract butterflies and useful insects for gardens.
Ammi Majus, Lace Plant, Image by Jacki Dougan
How to Grow Ammi Majus
Ammi Majus grows fairly easily from seeds. It requires full to partial sun and grows well in a well drained ordinary soil. When grown in ordinary garden soil, it would not require extra feed.
Tagetesis one of the popular garden bloomers in most parts of the world. These versatile annuals have numerous cultivars that vary in size and flowering habits. Some of the species grow as dwarf bloomers whereas some grow into bushy plants of 1 meter or more. Yellow, orange and deep-rusted flowers are often double and bi-colored. These sun loving plants bloom in spring and summer though some species would flower in warmer winters.
Tagetes are commonly known as Marigold and grown commercially for several purposes. They are excellent insect repellent and thus grown as companion plants of tomato, potato, tobacco, pepper, and eggplant. Marigolds are source of marigold oil which is used in manufacturing perfumes. The flowers are also used in confectionary, salads, and potpourri. They are an excellent choice for mass plantation as well.
Tagetes Erecta, African Marigold
How to Grow Tagetes / Marigolds
Though native to the Americas, marigolds have been successfully naturalized in most parts of the world. These sun loving plants are quite easy to grow from seeds. They require moderate water and bright sunlight. When grown in overly rich or fertilized soil, Tagetes would grow vigorously at the expense of flowers. Removing dead flowers regularly would encourage a longer flowering season.
Popular Varieties of Tagetes
Tagetes Erecta (African Marigold), though it does not belong to Africa as the common name suggests, African Marigold is a stout flowering annual that bears orange or yellow flowers. A variety of cultivars of African Marigold are grown commercially.
Tagetes Patula (French Marigold) is a bushy annual that bears showy orange, yellow or rusty-red flowers. These plants usually grow as dwarf bloomers.