04 Dec

Exotic and Colorful Foliage Plants: Neoregelia

Neoregelia is a genus of beautiful foliage plants from the Bromeliad family. Native to the South America especially Brazil, these tropical plants are grown for their colorful foliage. The genus comprises of more than 100 species and many cultivars and hybrid varieties that make exotic specimen plants.

Neoregelia foliage

Neoregelia/ Image by Eric Hunt

Like most Bromeliads, Neoregelia are not difficult to grow or propagate. These are quite hardy plants that grow under filtered sunlight and do not require much water. Most species of Neoregelia would grow easily in a regular soil mix and under moderate temperatures. The coloration, however, varies according the exposure to the sun.

Neoregelia bromeliad

Image by Adam Fagen

The inflorescence of Neoregelia plants is inconcpicous as compared to the showy and colorful foliage of the plant itself.

Neoregelia plants

Image by Christoph Diewald

25 Nov

Ornamental Miniature Aloe – Aloe descoingsii x hawothioides

Aloe haworthioides as it is commonly known is a beautiful and miniature variety of Aloe. The plant is a hybrid of Aloe descoingsii and A. hawothioides.

Aloe haworthioides is an easy and fast growing plant that produces large clumps of miniature plants that grow very well in pots. The plant characterizes fresh green leaves marked with white spots and tiny bristles on their margins.

Aloe haworthioides

Aloe haworthioides

Aloe haworthioides is good as pot plant as well as an excellent choice for miniature gardens. It requires slightly moist but well drained soil. The plant can be grown propagated from divisions or seeds that germinate easily and form miniature plants quickly. Aloe haworthioides does not require much care and grows well under partial sun. Water generously when soil is completely dry in summer. In winter, keep these miniature plant protected from heavy frost and water barely sufficient to protect them from rot.

Like other species of this genus Aloe haworthioides produces small tubular flowers on a long stalk. Spring flowers are orange-pink that attract a lot of birds to the garden.

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)