Colocasia also known as Elephant Ears Plant are attractive foliage plants that add a lot of character to a garden landscape. Their bold foliage also makes them excellent indoor foliage plants. If you are looking for nice foliage, rich colors and a low-maintenance plant for your garden landscape or indoor décor, Colocasia should be on top of your list.
Image by F.D. Richards via Flickr
Colocasia or Elephant Ears Plant (Buy Colocasia online) produces prominently large heat-shapes foliage. The attractive large leaves grow on a 2 to 3 feet long stalk. Different varieties Elephant Ears Plant offers colorful foliage that varies from green to dark purple. Some varieties produce green leaves with prominent white variegation. Elephant Ears plant can grow from 3 to 5 feet and it does not take it much time to attain this size. In fact, Elephant Ears is a rather fast growing plant. When grown under right conditions, a plant from tuber can easily grow up to 3 feet in a year.
How to Grow Colocasia / Elephant Ears Plant
Colocasia or Elephant Ears Plant is grown from tubers. Weather grown in the ground or container, provide them with moist, rich and slightly acidic soil. When grow indoors, make sure that they are placed near a window where it receives bright sunlight. Because of the large size of its foliage, plants grown indoors should be provided with sufficient room to grow. Elephant Ears plants grown indoors also require higher level of humidity.
Colocasia can be easily grown in poolside gardens where they provide nice foliage and lush colors to the landscape.
When grown outdoors, Elephant Ears Plant should be placed in a spot where it gets plenty of sun in the morning and partial shade for the rest of the day. Plants under partial shade usually grow large foliage than those placed under sun during most part of the day. Colocasia / Elephant Ears Plant should be protected from strong winds, frost or freezing winter temperatures. If you are living in a colder climates, move your plants indoors or trim the foliage completely and tubers for the next season.
Popular varieties of Elephant Ears Plant (Buy online) include:
- Colocasia ‘Black Magic’, a 3-5 foot specimen with dark burgundy-black leaves.
- C. ‘Black Stem’ grows black stems with burgundy-black veins on green foliage.
- Colocasia ‘Green Giant’ gets its name because of extra ordinary large foliage (up to 5 feet).
- Colocasia ‘Nancy’s Revenge’ grows up to 5 feet and produces dark green leaves with creamy centers.
Cotinus coggygria or Purple Smoke tree as it commonly known is a wonderful ornamental shrub. I love it for its colors, and ability to grow in almost any soil and survive drought or a little neglect.
Cotinus coggygria is recognized by its purple leaves that change many colors throughout the fall season. While the season changes from summer to fall, you can spot purple, red-orange and scarlet colors in foliage. The beauty of this wonderful shrub is enhanced when its flowers pop to produce plum-like clusters of seeds. These plumes give this beautiful shrub a hazy look (and of course the common name, Purple Smoke Tree) that adds charm to its colorful foliage.
How to Grow Cotinus coggygria
Cotinus coggygria can be grown as a hedging plant or a specimen plant in garden. It is usually propagated from softwood cuttings taken in summer or seeds sown in fall. The plant does not require much care and only requires a regular or slightly fertile soil under bright sunlight. It is a drought-tolerant plant and can easily survive long spells of drought making it a good choice when you are designing a xeriscape.
Cotinus coggygria usually grows up to 4 meters but it can be easily pruned in early spring to keep it in desired shape and size. To encourage flowering, it is advised that you prune it in late spring.
Popular varieties of Cotinus coggygria include C. coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ and C. coggygria ‘Velvet Cloak’. A number of other hybrids varying in size and foliage colors are also sold commercially.
Alternanthera is a large genus of usually low-growing annuals and perennials. Mostly evergreen most species of Alternanthera are grown for their attractive foliage. These lovely plants are ideal for growing along garden borders, as ground covers or in formal bedding.
Most species of Alternanthera do not require special care. A balanced soil, moderate watering and a sunny spot will keep them healthy. Some species of Alternanthera can be invasive and should be trimmed regularly to keep them in shape.
Alternanthera ficoidea, commonly known as ‘Red Carpet’, is a better known species from the genus of Alternanthera. Known for its colorful foliage, Alternanthera ficoidea is a low-maintenance plant that makes a good choice for both indoor (ornamental houseplant) and outdoor (ground cover) usage. It is grown from both seeds and cuttings and requires moderate watering in summer and protection from frost and overwatering in winter.
Alternanthera ficoidea is a fast growing plant and can be used to fill garden borders or empty spaces in landscapes and rock gardens. It grows from 6 to 12 inches in height and form mounds of attractive foliage.
Chamaecyparis obtusa, also known as Hinoki cypress, is an evergreen ornamental tree from the cypress family. This slow growing tree is used in gardens for their ornamental value. In its natural habitat in Japan, Chamaecyparis obtusa can grow up to meters though it takes much time for a plant to reach this size. Many dwarf cultivars are grown and sold commercially as ornamental trees. Chamaecyparis obtusa is characterized by dense scale-like foliage that varies in colors from blue-green to bronze and from yellow to gold.
Chamaecyparis obtusa grows as an erect evergreen tree and eventually assumes a pyramidal or columnar shape. Many cultivars of Chamaecyparis obtusa vary in size and shape. Most of them can be easily trained to make excellent bonsai. Attractive reddish-brown and nicely textured bark, and irregular branching add beauty and personality to these bonsai specimens.
Besides its ornamental value, Chamaecyparis obtusa is grown for it valuable timber. The fine grained wood from Chamaecyparis obtusa is highly resistant to rot. In Japan, this high quality, aromatic timber is used in construction.
Chamaecyparis obtusa can be grown easily in slightly moist and fertile soil under full sun.
Popular cultivars of Hinoki cypress include:
Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Aurea’: Grows upright and produces attractive yellow foliage.
Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Baldwin Variegated’: Grows as a dwarf ornamental tree with green and yellow foliage.
Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Butter Ball’: Grows as a dwarf ornamental tree with globular growth and produces dense foliage with yellow tips.
Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Dainty Doll’: A slow growing dwarf cultivar producing rich-green lacy foliage.
Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana’: Known for its dark-green, dense and very attractive foliage. This slow-growing variety tends to natural form a miniature shape.
Loropetalum chinense / Image by tk78000u
Loropetalum chinense is an evergreen shrub from the family of Witch Hazel. It is also known as Chinese fringe-flowers because of its fringe-like flowers that appear in spring and summer.
Loropetalum chinense is grown for its colorful foliage and prominent but unusual flowers. Commonly available species include a green-leafed variety that produced white flowers and burgundy-leafed variety that bears pink blossoms. Loropetalum chinense is a low-maintenance plant that does not require much attention. All it needs is a rich but slightly acidic soil, moderate watering and protection from extreme cold. Generally it would grow well in USDA zone 7 – 10. In colder climates, Loropetalum chinense should be moved to a greenhouse or provided with an indoor spot where it receives sufficient sunlight and hydrated only when the soil is completely dry.
Chinese fringe-flowers / Image by Scott Zona
Gardeners and horticulturist use Loropetalum chinense as a colorful hedge that produces abundance of nice and colorful foliage. It can also be used to build privacy screen or to fill empty spots in large landscapes. With proper pruning, Loropetalum chinense can be grown into a small ornamental tree.
Flowering season begins as early as mid-March and lasts till summer. During this season, you can see Loropetalum chinense laden with eye-catching flowers that appear in small clusters. Each flower consists of ribbon-like, wavy petals that give it an unusual formation.
Besides popular green and burgundy-leafed varieties, a number of cultivars are easily available in market. These cultivars vary in flower size, and colors of leaves and flowers. Commonly grown cultivars of Loropetalum chinense include:
Loropetalum chinense ‘Blush’, L. chinense ‘Purple Diamond’, ‘Burgundy’, ‘Little Rose Dawn’ and Loropetalum chinense ‘Carolina Moonlight’.