18 Jul

Fast Growing Flowering Plant:Lavatera

Native to Asia, Australia and Mediterranean regions, Lavatera is grown for showy, cup-shaped flowers of pink purple and white colors. The flowers of these annual and perennials are stripped with darker shades.  Most species of Lavatera are fast growing flowering plants that tend to become bushy and require annual pruning before spring.

Lavatera are nice flowering plants that offer excellent floral display in beds or along pathways and borders.

How to Grow Lavatera

Lavatera grows in rocky and poor soil in wild where it thrives on natural rainfall. Thus, these flowering plants can withstand drought. Most species are frost tender. Lavatera is easy to grow from seeds and requires a well drained soil under full to partial sun. Flowering season usually starts in early summer and lasts till mid of autumn.

Lavatera Trimestris

Lavatera Trimestris, Photo by Maja Dumat - flickr.com

Popular Varieties of Lavatera

Lavatera Trimestris, also known as Mallow, is a summer blooming species. It grows vigorously and can be as tall as 1 meter. Flowers are usually pink or white in color. Commercially grown varieties of Lavatera Trimestris include ‘Alba’, ‘Sunset’ and ‘Loveliness’.

Other popular species include Lavatera Arborea and Lavatera Thuringiaca.

14 Jul

Easy to Grow Flowering Plant for Beginners: Gaillardia

Gaillardia is a small genus of annuals and perennials from the family of sunflower and bear very colorful flowers over a long flowering season. Gaillardia is commonly known as Blanket Flower because of its colorful flowers that are reminiscent of colorful blankets of native Red Indians of Americas. They are native to Americas, and make an excellent choice for cut flower.

Gaillardia bears yellow, red, orange and sometimes bicolor flowers that bloom on long stalks. The plant itself grows up to 2 feet in height.

Gaillardia, Plants for Beginners

Gaillardia Flowers, Image by Mike Sutton

How to Grow Gaillardia

Gaillardia is quite easy to grow from seeds. It is frost and drought tolerant and well drained soil under bright sunlight. Among the most popular and commercially grown varieties Gaillardia x Grandiflora and Gaillardia Pulchella ‘Lorenziana’ are widely available as hardy plants for containers and flower beds. Gaillardia usually requires moderate watering. These self-seeding plants attract a lot of bees and butterflies to garden. Deadhead your Gaillardia plants to prevent it from becoming invasive.

12 Jul

Ornamental, Tropical Flowering Tree: Scarlet Cordia

Scarlet Cordia (Cordia Sebestena) is one the flowering trees that I would always love to grow in my garden. I just love its orange flowers that stand out against dense, dark green foliage. Scarlet Cordia is a perfect ornamental tree for tropical and sub-tropical regions where it grows into a small, compact and evergreen tree (up to 25 feet).  It is also a perfect choice for evergreen foliage in landscapes, containers or along streets or pathways.

Scarlet Cordia, Tropical Ornamental Tree

Scarlet Cordia, Image by Dinesh Valke

Leaves of Scarlet Cordia are dark green, stiff, and rough and hairy to touch. Flowers are very showy; they appear in small clusters and are followed by pear-shaped fruit of white color. Having a Scarlet Cordia in your garden not only adds colors but also ensure frequent visits of birds and butterflies.

Scarlet Cordia is also known as Geiger Tree.

How to Grow Scarlet Cordia

Scarlet Cordia is quite undemanding and easy to grow ornamental tree. It can be propagate from seeds or layering. It can tolerate drought and grows in any soil type with good drainage. Scarlet Cordia can also withstand water with higher level of salt contents. Young trees should be pruned regularly to keep them in shape. Protect Scarlet Cordia from frost.

26 Jun

Beautiful Summer Bloomer for Gardens: California Poppy

Eschscholzia is a genus of beautiful, low growing, and easy to grow, summer flowering plants that are a treat to watch when in full bloom. Most species are self-seeding annual or perennial with very showy flowers of orange, yellow, golden and cream colors. The most popular of all species is Eschscholzia Californica also known as California Poppy.

California Poppy, Eschscholzia Californica

California Poppy, Image from herbal-supplement-resource.com

How to Grow California Poppy

California Poppy is a bushy, low growing, annual bloomer. It is easy to grow and blooms from February to September. It is a perfect flowering plant for containers as well as gardens in warm and dry climate (it can withstand a little frost too). The plant prefers well drained soil, moderate watering and bright sunlight. Flowers are usually red, orange, yellow and sometimes bi-colored or double in summer.

21 Jun

Flowering Plant for Hot and Dry Landscapes: Kangaroo Paws

If you are looking for flowering plants for a low maintenance garden landscape, Anigozanthos should be on top of your list. Since they are native of south-west Australia, these hardy perennials would grow as very nice flowering plants in a dry and hot climate. Commonly known as Kangaroo Paws, Anigozanthos are popular for their nice and usual flowers that also attract flocks of birds. Most species of Kangaroo Paws bloom in spring and summer; flowers vary in size and colors and appear on a long stalk exposing the nectar in the flowers.

Anigozanthos Manglesii (Kangaroo Paws)

Anigozanthos Manglesii (Kangaroo Paws), Image © SeanMack

How to Grow Kangaroo Paws

Kangaroo Paws grow in a well-drained soil, and prefer and sunny, warm places in the garden. They need protection from frost and grow well without requiring much water. Propagation is easy from divisions or seeds sown in early spring or autumn.

Kangaroo Paws also make good cut flowers for floral arrangements. Popular varieties of Kangaroo Paws are: Anigozanthos ‘Bush Ranger‘ with orange flowers, Anigozanthos ‘Dwarf Delight‘ with apricot colored flowers, Anigozanthos Flavidus with yellow and green flowers, Anigozanthos Manglesii with red and green flowers, and Anigozanthos ‘Pink Joey‘ with Solomon pink colored flowers.

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About the Author: This guest post is compiled by Jahanzeb Nazir Malik who is an avid gardener, an environmental activist, and a lawyer by profession. He also writes his blog on food, culture, art, entertainment and architecture.

14 Jun

Wandering Jew: Colorful Ground Cover and Hanging Plant

Looking for a colorful addition to your garden beds, landscape or indoor garden? Try Setcreasea.

Setcreasea is a group of low-growing perennials plants grown for their attractive and colorful foliage. They are very versatile plants and can be grown in garden beds or rockeries, as ground cover or ornamental hanging plants, or as indoor container plants. They are quite easy to grow, in fact, hard to kill. Most species of Setcreasea produce pink and mauve flowers.

The most popular species is Setcreasea Purpurea which is commonly known as Wandering Jew, Purple Heart or Purple Queen for its purple leaves.

Wandering Jew Plant

Wandering Jew Plant, Image from rgbmail.com.br

How to Grow Wandering Jew

Wandering Jew is an excellent choice as ground cover or as a showy plant for hanging baskets. Propagated from divisions, Wandering Jew would grow in sunny as well as shady locations. It requires moderate watering and bears purple flowers throughout the year.

Wandering Jew can also be used for xeriscaping for its capacity to withstand droughts.

13 Jun

Evergreen Ornamental Tree for Arid Climates: Nymania Capensis

Also known as Chinese Lantern for its beautiful, rose-pink and papery seed pods that actually look like Chinese paper lantern, Nymania Capensis is an evergreen shrubby tree. It is native of hot and arid regions of Africa especially the deserts of Namibia. This small tree bears small but green, leathery and stiff leaves. The plant blooms in late summer and flowers continue to appear till early winter. Flowers are usually pink, red or dark-red. The real beauty of this small tree is for its attractive seed pods that hang all over the branches. They are inflated like small balls and have papery skin of pink-red color.

Seed Pods of Nymania Capensis (Chinese Lantern)

Seed Pods of Nymania Capensis (Chinese Lantern), Image © Ori Fragman

How to Grow Nymania Capensis/ Chinese Lantern

Nymania Capensis requires very well drained soil and very little amount of water or moisture to thrive. Propagation is easy from seeds. For arid climates, Nymania Capensis is an excellent ornamental tree that would grow well even if neglected. It is a slow growing plant and takes about three years to reach a length of 1.5 m. Normal lifespan of Nymania Capensis  is more than twenty five years in habitat.

Nymania Capensis is a perfect plant for xeriscaping. It is also known as Little Karoo.

07 Jun

Old, Unusual Trees of Africa: Baobab

Baobab (Adansonia) is the most unusual of all the trees. Native of hot and dry regions of Africa especially in Madagascar, Arabian Peninsula and South Asia, Baobab grows as tall, voluminous and solitary tree. At first appearance, it seems as the tree has been plucked from the ground and pushed back with its head downwards and roots in the air. That is why it is also called Upside Down Tree.

Baobab Trees in Madagascar

Baobab Trees in Madagascar

Legend has it that Baobab was among the first trees on earth. When it saw tall and smart palm tree, it cried out and wanted to be taller. God granted his wish. Then Baobab wished to have beautiful flowers like the beautiful flame tree. His wish was granted. Baobab looked at the fig tree and wanted to have fruits as well. God became angry with Baobab, pulled it up by its roots and thrust its head in the ground to keep it quite.

Baobab remains leafless for most time of the year and lives on the supply of water (up to 450 liters) that it stores in its fibrous and corky trunk. This extremely drought tolerant tree can live for thousands of years. The biggest and oldest known Baobab tree is about 6000 years old and stands at Sunland Farm in Limpop province of South Africa. Popular Species of Baobab are Adansonia Madagascariensis, Adansonia Grandidieri and Adansonia Digitata.

Baobab (Adansonia) in South Africa

Baobab (Adansonia) in South Africa

Adansonia Digitata is known for its unusual flower and fruit. Typically, it bears big, white flowers that carry carrion smell. The fruit is 6 to 8 inches long and is rich in calcium, vitamin C and anti-oxidants. Seeds of Adansonia Digitata are used in Africa to extract edible oil whereas the fruit (separated from fiber and seeds) itself is used as nutritious food.

02 Jun

Beautiful Autumn Foliage Plant: Rhus

Rhus is a genus of about 150 species of evergreen and deciduous plants. Distributed in North America, Africa and Mediterranean regions, Rhus includes trees, vines and shrubs. These plants are usually grown for attractive foliage and for their ability to withstand drought and resist tough wind. However, not all species of Rhus are suitable for gardens as some of the species are known for severe allergic reaction.

Rhus Glabra Tree

Rhus Glabra, Image from missouriplants.com

How to Grow Rhus

Provide Rhus plants with plenty of light and moderate watering. Most species can be grown from seeds and layers.

Popular Varieties of Rhus

Rhus Pyroides: Also known as Common wild currant, Rhus Pyroides makes a small tree up to 5 meters that bears small yellow flowers in summer. Fruits are nutritious and attract many birds and insects.

Rhus Viminalis: This is a fast growing plant that makes a very attractive small tree up to 5 meters. Rhus Viminalis is hardy and can adapt themselves to many climatic conditions. Rhus Viminalis is also known as White Karee or Wit Karee.