31 Jan

Ornamental & Tropical Flowering Tree: African Tulip

Spathodea Campanulata, The African Tulip Tree

African Tulip Tree, Image by Ahmad Fuad Morad

These lovely flowers grow on Spathodea Campanulata which is an ornamental, evergreen tree from tropical climates of Africa. Commonly described as African Tulip tree or sometimes Flame Tree, Spathodea Campanulata makes an excellent ornamental tree for gardens and landscapes.

African Tulip is a fast growing tree that grows up to 80 feet in its natural habitat. However, in cultivation it does not grow beyond 60-65 feet. The rich scarlet flowers are very showy and appear in summer. Flowers are bell-shaped and are followed by formation of seed pods that burst to spread the seeds by wind.

African Tulip tree requires rich and moist soil where it can establish its deep roots. The plant prefers bright sunlight and protection from frost and drought. Since, it grows quite quickly, Spathodea Campanulata is an excellent choice for landscape or mass plantation projects. The tree is good for its showy flowers as well as for its shady canopy which makes it a nice shade plant in in tropical summer climates.

The tree can be propagated from seeds as well as cuttings.

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.

07 Dec

Lovely and Easy to Grow Indoor Tree: Brassaia Actinophylla

Brassaia is a popular houseplant grown for its ornamental foliage and unusual flowers. Native to tropical and subtropical regions of Australia, Asia and the Pacific, Brassaia is widely grown as small ornamental tree.

Among all known species, Brassia Actinophylla is the most popular and commercially available plant. It is also known as Umbrella Plant because of its leaves that grow in a set of leaves that actually looks like an umbrella. Brassia Actinophylla is easily propagated from cuttings rooted in summer; it requires a deep, rich and well-drained soil under sunny or semi-shaded spots. Its leaves are glossy-green and flowers are red that grown on a long stalk. The stalk appears from the crown of a mature plant. The unusual flowers are often seen in wild, however plants grown in containers rarely bloom.

Brassaia Actinophylla, The Umbrella Plant

Brassaia Actinophylla, The Umbrella Plant, Image by Ahmad Fuad Morad

Brassia Actinophylla is a perfect candidate for bonsai and an easy to maintain indoor container plant as well. Prune and pinch regularly when grown indoors to keep the plant in good shape.

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.

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.