11 Jun

Fragrant, Winter Flowering Shrub for Beginners: Iboza Riperia

Iboza is a very versatile but usually unappreciated winter flowering shrub. It is easy to grow, blooms in late winter when very few plants flower, has aromatic leaves, and grows in almost any soil. The only cultivated species is Iboza Riparia that grows natively in South Africa. The name Iboza comes from the Zulu people of Africa who revere this plant very highly and use it for many medicinal purposes.

Flowers of Iboza are borne on bare branches in late winter when the plant has shed most of it leaves. Flowers are usually white, pink or mauve. Leaves are dense and bright green in color. Iboza is also known as Ginger Bush.

Iboza Riparia, Fragrant and Winter Flowering Shrub

Iboza Riparia, Fragrant and Winter Flowering Shrub

How to Grow Iboza Riparia/ Ginger Bush

Iboza is fairly fast growing and takes up empty spaces quickly. It prefers well drained soil, bright sunlight, regular watering in summer and barely necessary watering in winter. If you are grown Iboza is hot regions, provide it a partially shaded spot. Propagation is very easy from cuttings. Being a fast growing shrub, Iboza should be pruned after each flowering season. Iboza can be grown as pot plant or as ornamental shrub in gardens.

Other names of Iboza are Musk Bush, Misty Plume Bush and Vleisalie/Watersalie.

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.

06 Jun

Evergreen Flowering Shrub for Beautiful Hedges: Hebe

Native of New Zealand, Hebe is a genus of beautiful flowering shrubs with glossy leaves and attractive flowers of purple, blue, white, pink and mauve colors. Flowers are small and appear in the form of spikes. These frost resistant shrubs are a good choice for hedging especially when used as wind breaker.

Hebe, Flowering Shrub for Hedges

Hebe, Flowering Shrub for Hedges, Image by Lindsay Smith

How to Grow Hebe

Hebe requires regular water and bright sunlight. Most species of Hebe are fast growing in coastal climates and should be pruned regularly to form neat flowery hedges. Hebe would grow almost any soil but it prefers well drained and slightly acidic soil. Hebe is propagated from seeds and cuttings.

Popular Varieties of Hebe

Hebe x Andersoni: It is a small shrub with lavender flowers and glossy leaves that often tend to variegate.

Hebe Speciosa: It is a winter flowering shrub and bears purple flowers.

Hebe Salicifolia: A summer bloomer, Hebe Salicifolia produces abundant flowers of light pink color in summer.

For further information on Hebe, the best source is The Hebe Society website.

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.

28 May

Lovely, Fruity Trees and Shrubs: Syzygium

Syzygium is a large genus of evergreen, ornamental trees and shrubs. Widely grown for their beautiful foliage, fluffy flowers and edible fruits, the genus of Syzygium comprises of some 1100 species. Most species grow natively in tropical regions of Asia, Africa, Australia and the Pacific. Fruits of some species are edible and are used in preparation of salads, jams and jellies. Growing conditions vary among species. Although most species would grow in tropical climate, there are some species of Syzygium that grow in temperate zones.

Syzygium Luehmannii, Leaves and Fruits

Syzygium Luehmannii, Image from SydneyGreenRing blog

How to Grow Syzygium

Syzygium makes robust trees and shrubs that require pruning to make good ornamental plants. They can be propagated from seeds and softwood cuttings. These plants require constantly moist soil and bright sunlight. With suitable climate provided, Syzygium can be grown outdoor as well as indoors. Grown outdoors in gardens, Syzygium attract bees, butterflies and birds. They are good candidate for bonsai experiments.

Popular Species of Syzygium

Syzygium Paniculatum: Commonly known as Bush Cherry, Syzygium Paniculatum makes a nice ornamental tree that bears glossy green leaves and very attractive edible fruits of pink color. Young leaves are red and flowers are very attractive. With regular pruning, Bush Cherry can serve as an excellent hedge and neat specimen plant in lawns with regular pruning.

Syzygium Malaccense: Native to Asia, Syzygium Malaccense is a nice ornamental tree that grows as tall as 5 meters. Commonly known as Malay Apple or Rose Apple, this specimen plant bears large edible fruits that resemble the fruits of pear. It bears very attractive purple-red flowers in spring.

Syzygium Aromaticum: Known as Clove plant, Syzygium Aromaticum is grown commercially for its flower buds that are dried and use for culinary and medicinal purposes. Dried buds are known as Clove. The plant grows natively in Pakistan, Zanzibar, Madagascar, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Local name of Clove in Pakistan is Laung where it is used as spice and as cure of dental pain.