17 Nov

D is for Delphinium

Delphinium is a genus of wonderful annuals and perennials known for their colorful and attractive flowers that grow abundantly on long stalks. Native to temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, Delphinium are easy to grow and manage. Most species grow tall with stalks full of flowers though some low-growing species are also available. Taller species are prefect for growing in the background of flower beds or landscape.

Delphinium is know traditionally for its showy flowers of strong blue or purple color, however a large number of hybridized Delphiniums have also been produced in recent years. The hybridized Delphinium produce flowers in all shades of white, blue, mauve, red and yellow.

Delphinium flowers

Delphinium/ Image by hello-julie(flickr)

Popular in traditional gardens, Delphinium has been extensively hybridized to produce long-lasting cut flowers. Some popular hybrids of Delphinium include: ‘Atlantis’, ‘Blue Dawn’, ‘Elizabeth Cook’, ‘Oliver’, ‘Summerfield Miranda’, and ‘Sungleam’.

Delphinium requires fertile and slightly soil but well-drained soil under the bright sun. The plants can be propagated from seeds as well as divisions. The flower stalks should be provided firm support of staking when the stalks reach 10 inches or more. Delphiniums can be cut back to the ground after the end of flowering season in order to encourage better growth for the next flowering season.

29 Oct

Peliospilos, the Split Rock Plant

Pleiospilos is a genus of miniature succulent plants from the family of Lithops. These interesting plants are indigenous to the semi-desert land of the Great Karoo in South Africa. Pleiospilos are widely grown as ornamental plants among container gardeners. These plants are characterized by a pair of succulent leaves that grows on the underground stem. The leaves are covered with tiny, black dots. The daisy-like flowers of Pleiospilos are orange or yellow.

Pleiospilos bolusii

Pleiospilos bolusii, Split Rock Plant/ Image by Manuel M. Ramos

Common name of Pleiospilos is Split Rock plant because of their pebble-like leaves that are split from the center. Pleiospilos grow best when planted deep in a well-drained soil under bright sunlight. These plants prefer only occasional watering and feed especially in winter.

The most popular and widely grown species is Pleiospilos nelii which is grown easily from seeds. Other popular species include P. bolusii and Pleiospilos nobilis.

19 Sep

Spiny yet Lovely Plants of Mammillaria

Mammillaria is a large genus of globular or cylindrical spiny plants from Mexico and south-western part of the USA. It is also one of the best representatives of the Cactus family because of its beautiful formation and flowering.

Mammillaria sheldonii

Mammillaria sheldonii/ Image by Manuel M. Ramos

Most species of Mammillaria have small bristles-like spines that cover the globular or cylindrical body of the plant. Flowers appear near top of the plant and form a beautiful crown of silky and sometimes fragrant flowers. Flowering is followed by formation of colorful seed capsules that can be plucked and dried to obtain tiny seeds. Mature plants produce many offsets that usually appear at the bottom of the plant.

Mammillaria geminispina

Mammillaria geminispina/ Image J Brew (flickr)

Mammillaria are quite easy to maintain as they only require bright sunlight, well-drained soil and regular watering. Since it is the largest genus of the Cactus family, Mammillaria offers a wide range of ornamental plants for container gardening. Some Mammillarias remain solitary whereas some form large clumps. Some Mammillarias grow in cylindrical shape, and some attain globular shape. Some Mammillarias have long and hooked spines whereas some have tiny bristles.

Most species of Mammillaria grow easily from seeds or offsets. Like other plants in the Cactus family, Mammillarias are quite slow growers but easy to maintain and propagate. These drought-tolerant plants only require hibernation in winter and protection from frost and high level of humidity.

Mammillaria candida

Mammillaria candida/ Image by Blossfeldiana (flickr)

 

15 Aug

Small and Beautiful Foliage Plant: Peperomia carperata

Peperomia is a genus of popular houseplants used for their ornamental foliage. These slow growing plants have bushy habit and are rather easy to grow. Originally coming from tropical forests of South America, a number of species in this genus are grown widely as ornamental houseplants such as Peperomia carperata, which is known for its lovely foliage.

Peperomia carperata

Peperomia carperata, Image by Grigoris Deoudis

Peperomia caperata grows as a dwarf plant. It is usually grown in containers or mixed with other foliage plants where it complements its companion plants with attractive and textured leaves. Peperomia caperata produces inconspicuous flowers in late spring or late autumn. The flowering period is the time when the plant requires higher level of humidity and frequent watering. Once flowering season ends, water Peperomia caperata plants only when the soil is dry.

Peperomia caperata prefers bright but indirect sunlight. The best soil mix for Peperomia caperata is loamy and well-drained soil that does not retain much water. Being humidity loving plants, Peperomias tends to drop its leaves when temperature (minimum 10◦ C) or humidity level is too low. Like other plants in the genus, Peperomia caperata prefers moderate watering in summer and barely sufficient water in winter.

Peperomia caperata can be grown from leaf cutting as well as seeds.

Other popular species include: Peperomia sandersii, Peperomia prostrate, Peperomia puteolata, Peperomia obtusifolia, and Peperomia orba ‘Variegata’.

28 Jun

Pennisetum: Ornamental Grasses for Landscapes and Gardens

Pennisetum is a genus of annual and perennial ornamental grasses from tropical and temperate regions of the world. Some popular species from this genus include millet, grain and some fodder plants. These ornamental grasses are known for their foliage and flowers that really add ornamental value to gardens and landscapes.

Pennisetum are generally tough, drought-tolerant and easily grown plants. They usually grow in small clumps and produce soft, feathery inflorescence in late summer. Most species of Pennisetum are frost hardy in tropical climates; however they need protection from long winters of cold regions. These plants prefer full sun and a well-drained soil. In their native climate, these plants can withstand drought and require only moderate watering.

Pennisetum Setaceum 'Rubrum'

Pennisetum Setaceum 'Rubrum', Image by Matt Lavin

Some of the popular species of Pennisetum include:

Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’ (Fountain Grass) – Grows up to 1 meter and produces rose-colored flowers on long spikes in summer.

Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’ (Dwarf Fountain Grass) – Relatively smaller species (50 to 75 cm) with small clumps of grassy leaves; grows in almost any soil. Prefers full sun and a little moist soil. Flowers appear in late summer.

Pennisetum orientale (Oriental Fountain Grass) – Ornamental grass with fresh green leaves that grow up to 75 cm. This species produces white, feathery flowers and prefers partial sun, moist soil and a regular soil mix with good drainage.