20 Feb

Sweet, Lovely and Ornamental: Persimmon Tree

Japanese Persimmon or sometimes called Kaki Persimmon is large deciduous tree from the family of Diospyros. It is a large genus of evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs from tropical climates of Asia, some parts of Africa and major parts of Japan and China. Listed as Diospyros Kaki, this tropical tree has been in cultivation since many hundred years in China where it is largely grown for its edible fruit. In fact, more than 90 percent of its total production comes from China. Other species from the genus of Diospyros are also useful trees and are grown for their timber or as ornamental plants. The timber is collectively known as ebony.

Persimmon Tree

Diospyros Kaki, Persimmon Tree, Image via wikipedia.org

The sweet and slightly tangy fruit of Persimmon is quite attractive itself and makes this tree very ornamental. Pulp of ripe fruit is soft and jelly-like substance. Immature Persimmon is, however, has a bitter taste because of high amount of tannin acid. Creamy yellow flowers of Persimmon are inconspicuous.

Persimmon tree can be grown in sunny locations where it receives rich loamy soil and moderate watering. The tree is frost tender and sheds most of its leaves during the months of winter. A mature tree of Persimmon can grow up to 15 meters.

08 Jan

Ornamental Autumn Tree for Cold Climates: Betula Pendula

Betula is a genus of deciduous trees from mountainous regions of Europe and Eurasia where they grow as ornamental trees. These beautiful trees are known for their lovely foliage, drooping branches and slender trunks of white or silver color.

Betula Pendula Tree

Betula Pendula Tree, Image by Iain Turner

Most of the species are suitable for growing in cold climates only where they produce beautiful pale-green leaves that turn yellow in autumn and add a cheerful color to the surroundings. Betula Pendula is one of the most commonly grown species which is a deciduous tree that grows up to 20 meters and produces attractive foliage. The trunk is usually found covered with layers of silver-white flaky bark, which is why it is also known as Silver Birch. Suitable for gardens and landscapes, these trees have good growth rate and can be used for the purpose of forestation as well.

Like most trees of Betula family, these ornamental trees have shallow roots that require regular supply of water under bright sunlight. Propagation is usually done from seeds or grafting.

06 Dec

Colorful, Tropical Garden Shrub: The Mickey Mouse Plant

Mickey Mouse plant is common name of Ochna Serrulata because of its beautiful shiny black and berry-like fruits. Ochna Serrulata produces narrow, elliptic leaves of glossy green texture enriched with new leaf growth of bright red color making it a nice ornamental plant. Mickey Mouse plant grows as shrublet sometimes growing into a small tree and performs very well as flowering hedge.

Ochna Serrulata, The Mickey Mouse Plant

Ochna Serrulata, The Mickey Mouse Plant

Ochna Serrulata like most of species of its genus produces bright yellow flowers in spring followed by fruition. Most of the species are deciduous plants and prefer sunny spot where they are protected from heavy frost. Though not fussy about soil, Mickey Mouse plant produces rich foliage and blooms when fed properly in a sunny or semi-shaded spot.

Fruit of Mickey Mouse plant is known to be used for medicinal purposes by Zulu people.

Another popular species is Ochna Pulchra which is known for its yellow, fragrant flowers and lovely growth of new foliage that changes colors from pink, red and green.

13 Nov

Lovely Pompon Tree for Gardens and Landscapes

If you are looking for an easy-to-maintain ornamental tree with fragrant flowersPompon Tree should be on top of your list. Though it is suitable for tropical and sub-tropical regions only, it is undeniably the best candidate for landscaping in large or small gardens as well as for container gardens or as street tree.

Dais Cotonifolia, Pompon Tree

Dais Cotonifolia, Pompon Tree

Popmpon Tree or Dais Cotonifolia grows as a small tree and can be pruned or shaped easily to flourish in small spaces as well. Mature trees produce a decent crown which is covered with abundance of fragrant flowers in spring making it a highly decorative tree. Leaves are smooth and dark-green that fall in autumn. Globose flowers are pink, cream or mauve and emit lovely fragrance especially at dusk.

Dais Cotonifolia is quite easy to grow from seeds or cuttings. Young plants require moderate watering in a well-drained soil. Mature plants are capable of resisting some frost and periods of drought. Best suited for sunny or semi-shaded areas, Pompon Tree can be grown easily in containers, patios, lawn, garden landscapes or as part of massive street plantation schemes.

11 Nov

Lovely Flowering Bush for Beginners: Forsythia x Intermedia

Forsythia is a small genus of deciduous shrubs known for their spectacular golden flowers. These sun loving shrubs are a must for beginners and expert gardeners alike for its ability to produce abundance of lovely flowers in early spring when very few plants would bloom.

Forsythia is grown for many purposes – garden hedge, border plant, garden screens or as solitary ornamental shrub. Forsythia x Intermedia is perhaps the best representative of its genus. Usually known as Golden Bells, Forsythia x Intermedia grows as woody bush or sometimes as a small tree with many arching branches. It is quite a quick growing bush and requires regular pruning.

Forsythia x Intermedia, Golden Bells

Forsythia x Intermedia, Image by Maja Dumat - flickr.com

Forsythia x Intermedia produces sheds almost all of its leaves in autumn followed by abundance of bright yellow flowers in late winter or early spring. It is quite hardy plant and grows in almost any soil with good drainage. Water moderately and provide it with plenty of sunlight. Forsythia x Intermedia also tolerates frosty and windy conditions.

The best way to propagate this lovely bush is from softwood cuttings planted in summer.

29 Aug

Ornamental, Indoor/Outdoor Plant: Pedilanthus Tithymaloides

Pedilanthus is a genus of ornamental shrubs and bushes grown for their foliage. Most of the species have succulent leaves and stems with milky sap. Originally native to tropical regions of America, Pedilanthus grows easily in most parts of the world as ornamental foliage plants for outdoor as well as indoor houseplant. The most popular species is Pedilanthus Tithymaloides mostly grown as indoor foliage plant.

Pedilanthus Tithymaloides, Slipper Plant

Pedilanthus Tithymaloides, Slipper Plant - Image by douneika (flickr)

Pedilanthus Tithymaloides is commonly known as Jacob’s Ladder or Slipper plant because of its ‘zig zag’ stem and symmetrical patterns of leaves alongside the stem. Both glossy green and variegated varieties of this lovely foliage plant are available. Variegated leaves usually have a touch of pink in winter. Pedilanthus Tithymaloides can be grown in containers as well as in rock gardens or as border plant in gardens. Flowers of pink and reddish-pink color appear on stems.

How to Grow Pedilanthus Tithymaloides

Pedilanthus Tithymaloides is not fussy about food and light. It is quite hardy plant that would withstand some neglect, however, for healthy foliage plants, provide Pedilanthus Tithymaloides with a warm and bright spot to grow. Water only when the soil is dry.

26 Aug

Lovely, Deciduous Flowering Tree: Cercis siliquastrum

If you are looking for a tree that is unique in shape and delightful in blooms, try Cercis siliquastrum. Commonly known as Judas tree, it is perhaps one the most beautiful species of all deciduous bloomers. It is hardy, drought tolerant, frost resistant and shaped beautifully in wild as well as in cultivation.

In its natural habitat that includes parts of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, Cercis siliquastrum grows up to 30 meters, however, in cultivation it would rarely gain that much height because it grows quite slowly. This makes Cercis Siliquastrum as good choice for gardens where you have limited space. Though it is drought tolerant, Cercis siliquastrum flourishes well when waters adequately.

Cercis Siliquastrum, Judas Tree

Cercis siliquastrum, Image by Andrew Dunn

Being a member of pea-family (like Wisteria, Robinia, Cassia etc.), Cercis siliquastrum is an excellent bloomer especially in winter and spring when it bears small yet very attractive flowers of magenta or pink colors. Flowers are borne on the trunk before leaves and are followed by seed pods that last long. The beautiful pink or magenta flowers not only add to the ornamental value of this handsome tree but are also used in salads for their tangy taste.

How to Grow Cercis siliquastrum

Cercis siliquastrum is propagated form softwood cuttings or seeds. Being native to temperate regions, these deciduous plants prefer exposure to bright sunlight and average water.

19 Aug

Evergreen, Flowering Shrub for Tropical Gardens: Tecoma

Tecoma is a small genus of sun loving shrubs and small trees from Central and South America. Grown as popular houseplants, Tecoma produces clusters of trumpet shaped yellow and orange flowers. Evergreen in warm climates and deciduous in colder climate, Tecoma is easy to grow and attract many pollinating bees, butterflies and birds when in full bloom – adding charm to the garden.

Tecoma Capensis, Flowering Shrub

Tecoma Capensis, Image from wikipedia

How to Grow Tecoma

Most species of Tecoma can be propagated from seeds or cuttings. The best media to grow these prolific bloomers is a well-drained soil watered moderately. Provide them a sunny spot to grow and prune back after flowering season which is usually in summer.

Popular Species of Tecoma

Tecoma Alata: Evergreen shrub that tends to form a small tree. Bears showy yellow flowers in summer.

Tecoma Grandiflora: A vigorous climber and produces orange or scarlet flowers during all months of the year.

Tecoma Radicans: A perfect flowering shrub for covering walls or old trees because of its climbing habit. Bears scarlet, tubular flowers.

Tecoma Jasminoides: Evergreen climber with shiny, dark green foliage and wide open trumpet flowers of white or pink colors.

10 Jun

Kerria Japonica: Lovely Flowering Shrub for Beginners

If you are a beginner looking for an ornamental shrub with plenty of attractive spring and summer flowers, try Kerria Japonica. Also known as Japanese Rose, Kerria Japonica is a deciduous shrub from the rose family. The plant is named after William Kerr who introduced this native of Asia, China, and Koera in Europe.  Kerria bears profuse yellow flowers that start blooming in spring and last till midsummer.

Kerria Japonica Flower

Kerria Japonica Flower - Image from Wikipedia

How to Grow Kerria/ Japanese Rose

This hardy and vigorous grower prefers semi-shaded spot, well-drained soil and regular watering. Grown from cuttings, layering or divisions, Kerria soon makes dense clusters of long, arching branches requiring regular pruning. Summer is the best time to propagate cuttings or divisions.

Kerria Japonia is the only species in its genus but there are a number of cultivars including a double-flower form (known as Pleniflora) commercially available for ornamental gardens. Other popular names of Kerria Japonica are: Easter Rose and Yellow Rose of Texas.

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.