05 Dec

Winter Flowering Miniature Succulents: Cheiridopsis

Cheiridopsis is a genus of unusual succulent plants mostly from south-western Africa. Grown this sandy soil, these succulents are perfect choice for dish gardens, as small pot plants, miniature gardens, or rockeries for because of their low growing and clump forming habits.

Cheiridopsis, Succulent Flowering Plant

Cheiridopsis, Image by Manuel M. Ramos

Almost all species of Cheiridopsis grow in pairs of thick succulent leaves of olive or pale-green colors tinged with red and pink tips. Flowers usually appear from center of leaf-pair and resemble the flowers of daisy. Mature plants would form thick clumps and flower profusely in winter when Cheiridopsis would bloom and grow vigorously after a long dormant period in summer.

Cheiridopsis can be grown from seeds and planted in sandy soil to provide very well drained soil system. Provide these plants spots where they are protected from winter frost and direct sunlight of summer. Water barely enough to keep them alive in summer. Start moderate watering in winter.

Popular species include:

Cheiridopsis Herrei: Easy to grow, clump forming plants with small green leaves tipped with shades of pink or purple.

Cheiridopsis Serrulata: Grey-green succulent leaves with bright yellow flowers in spring and winter.

30 Nov

Aromatic Tropical Tree: Vitex Trifolia ‘Arabian Lilac’

Vitex Trifolia, often described as Arabian Lilac, is a beautiful and strongly aromatic small tree from tropical regions of Australia and Asia especially Pakistan and India. The plant forms attractive accent plant for gardens both as hedge or small ornamental tree where they can be easily propagated from cuttings or layers.

Vitex Trifolia, The Arabian Lilac

Vitex Trifolia, The Arabian Lilac, Image by Ahmad Fuad Morad

The plant does not have any special requirements and would grow almost in any soil when it receives moderate water and protected from long spells of freeze and frost. Besides its ability to provide attractive and aromatic foliage and flowers, Vitex Trifolia is also used in preparation of traditional medicine for arthritis, inflammations, dysentery, and ulcers.

Depending on growing conditions, Vitex Trifolia can grow quite quickly. Young plants have bushy growth however it eventually grows into a small tree up to 6 meters. Mature plants produce fragrant spikes of yellow, white, red, blue or purple flowers in later summer. If you are looking for a small tree for shade and breaking the wind, Vitex Trifolia would perform very well with bonus of fragrant foliage and flowers. It is also a good choice for embankments or as street plant where it would last longer without requiring much care.

21 Nov

Long Flowering, Tropical Bush: Gaura, the Butterfly Bush

Butterfly bush belongs to the genus of Gaura, which grows natively in most tropical parts of Mexico and the US. These hardy annuals and perennials grow fast and produce long lasting flowers. Ideal for garden borders or as ornamental houseplants, most species of Gaura are tough and accommodating plants. The most common of them is Gaura Lindheimeri or Butterfly Bush. The plant grows as tall, evergreen shrub and produces very delightful flowers of white color with a tinge of pale pink. These beautiful flowers grow on tall stems and stand out in any background.

Gaura, Butterfly Bush

Gaura, Butterfly Bush

The plant grows up to 1.2 meters and can be propagated easily from divisions. Like other species of Gaura, Butterfly Bush is a sun loving plant and blooms in summer. The plant flourishes in a well-drained soil and is able to withstand droughts in tropical or sub-tropical climates. When in full bloom, it attracts a lot of butterflies and justifies it common name very well.

16 Nov

Lovely, Aromatic Plants for your Herb Garden: Camomile

Anthemis is a genus of annuals and perennials forming dense clumps of flowering feathery and aromatic leaves. Usually grown for summer flowering, Anthemis are nice plants for garden beds, borders or empty spaces in gardens and landscapes.

Camomile Flowers

Camomile Flowers, Image by Lynne (flickr)

Popular species include Anthemis Tinctoria which is a busy annual with golden yellow flowers and Anthemis Cupaniana which is a profuse summer bloomer with ‘cushion-forming’ white flowers. It is also known as Camomile and is used in traditional herbal medicine. The plant grows up to 1 meter and forms large clusters. Both flowers and leaves are used in herbal tea for soothing effects. Flowers can also be used in cut flower arrangements.

Most species of Anthemis grow in ordinary but well-drained soil under bright sunlight. These plants propagate from divisions and require moderate watering.

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.

07 Nov

Brilliantly Colorful Flowering Plants: Tritonia

Tritonia is a genus of brilliantly colorful flowering plants from winter rainfall regions of South Africa but grown almost in every part of the world. These low growing plants grow and spread quite quickly and easily. A number of spring and summer flowering species of Tritonia are also available. Tritonia makes good display plants in landscapes, rockeries as well as in container gardens.

Tritonia Crocata, Flame Freesia

Tritonia Crocata, Image by Eric Hunt

Easily propagates from offsets, these bulbous plants are not much fussy about soil and water. They just grow in ordinary soil under bright sunlight and moderate watering. One of the popular species is Tritonia Crocata or Blazing Start or Flame Freesia which is grown as small flowering plants in landscapes. It grows best in a sandy soil with plenty of water during the growing season. Other popular species include: Tritonia Bakeri, T. Gladiolaris, and Tritonia Karooica. A number of hybrids are also available that produce flowers of red, orange, yellow, mauve, pink, cream and white colors.

Most of these species are drought tolerant and produce nice cut flowers.

05 Nov

Easy to Grow Rockery Plant: Cotyledon ‘Pig’s Ear’

Cotyledon is a genus of wonderful succulent plants for gardens, rockeries, landscape designs or just as ornamental houseplants. These hardy succulents offer a lot of variety to choose from – small pot plants, tall leafy shrubs, evergreen ornamentals, beautiful hanging plants, and miniature plants for window gardens. Cotyledons are known for their fleshy leaves and beautiful flowers that make them stand out in any garden or landscape.

Native to South Africa and parts of Arabian Peninsula, Cotyledon require grow best in temperate and dry climates where they receive just sufficient water to survive. These plants are capable of storing enough water in their succulent leaves to survive spells of drought. Leaves of most species of Cotyledon have powdery surface that helps retain water by preventing evaporation and blocking harsh sunlight.

Cotyledon Orbiculata, Pig's Ear

Cotyledon Orbiculata, Pig's Ear, Image by Mollivan Jon

Cotyledon Orbiculata or Pig’ Ear is the most popular species of this genus which is widely grown by commercial nurseries as ornamental plant. This beautiful plant produces grey-green leaves with red or pink margins in pair. Orange, bell-shaped flowers grow in summer on long stalks.

Cotyledon Orbiculata can be grown in landscapes, rockeries or just as ornamental container plants. It propagates easy from cuttings and requires moderate watering in a well-drained soil. Protect from overwatering.

26 Oct

Aspidistra, the Cast Iron Plant for Indoor Garden

Aspidistra or Cast-iron Plant is one of the easiest and carefree houseplants to grow. It grows a bit slow but offers lovely evergreen foliage for indoor plantation. Native to Asia, Aspidistra has a large number of hybrid varieties offering variegated and multicolor foliage.

In a good soil mix with regular watering, Aspidistra would produce rich, leathery foliage. However, these plants are capable of surviving neglect and very tough conditions as well – thus earning the name: Cast-iron plant. The most popular species of this genus is Aspidistra Eliator which is grown as indoor container plant or as garden plant in dark-shady spots where very few plants would survive. Cast iron plant typically forms dense clumps of evergreen leathery leaves that grow as long as 750 mm long.

Aspidistra, The Cast Iron Plant

Aspidistra, The Cast Iron Plant

Popular varieties of Cast iron plant include: Milky Way, Lennon’s Green, White Snowy Crown, Morning Frost and ‘Bubba‘ cast iron plant.

20 Oct

Ornamental Plant for Dish Gardens: Haworthia Reinwardtii

Haworthia is a genus of compact and low growing succulent plants from South Africa. A number of species from this genus are commercially cultivated and sold as ornamental plants. Known for their dotted, mottled, striped and ridged leaves, Haworthia make excellent ornamental pot plants. When grown under suitable temperature, Haworthia can be grown in dish gardens, as ground cover, in rock gardens, as container plants or in window gardens.

Haworthia Reinwardtii

Haworthia Reinwardtii

Among common species, Haworthia Reinwardtii is perhaps one of the most popular and definitely easier to grow. It features compact rosettes of dark green leaves with white dots and reddish tips. Grown from offsets, it roots easily and forms thick clumps of leafy stems. Flowers, as of all Haworthias, are very small and inconspicuous.

Haworthia Reinwardtii grows in well-drained soil under partial sun. Propagated from divisions, this ornamental succulent should be watered only when soil is completely dry. Hold carefully during months of hot and high-humidity conditions.

Image source

17 Oct

Ornamental, Succulent Tree for Xeriscapes: Cobas

Today, I am featuring Cyphostemma Currorii commonly known as Cobas tree and grown as ornamental plant. Though it has long been in my wish list, I have not had the chance to add it to my succulent garden so far. Cobas comes from a large family of vines, ground covers, small trees and pot plants of many different sizes and shapes. Cobas, being the most popular of its family, is grown as ornamental houseplant or as foliage plant in xeriscapes.

A Cobas normally grows as a compact plant in containers but flourishes into a small tree (up to 7 meters) when planted in ground. The plant is covered with green, succulent leaves that fall in winter to expose small and thick branches of Cobas. Pale green flowers appear in spring and summer followed by grape-like bunches of poisonous fruit.

Cyphostemma Currorii, Cobas Tree

Cyphostemma Currorii in Wild, Image by Petr Kosina (flickr)

How to grow Cobas Tree

Being native to Madagascar and parts of North Africa, Cobas is a sun loving plants that does not require much care. Grow in a regular and well-drained soil mix. Allow the soil to dry completely before watering. Cobas can be grown from seeds as well as from cuttings. As with most caudex-forming plants like adenium, keep these plants dry and protected from frost and freeze in winter.

Cyphostemma Juttae is another popular species from this family of unusual plants.