29 Jul

Striking, Fragrant Flowers of Monarda Didyam: Bee Balm

Monarda Didyam or Bee Balm is an excellent perennial for gardens for its aromatic leaves and fragrant flowers. These sun loving plants form large clusters and bloom prolifically in summer and autumn. Flowers are rich in nectar and attract lots of butterflies, bees and birds. Flowers of Bee Balm are scarlet-red and serve well as cut flowers in both fresh and dry arrangements. are Leaves are usually crushed to obtain a highly fragrant oil. Bee Balm is also a good companion plant in vegetable and fruit gardens for its ability to attract pollinating bees.

Fragrant Flowers of MonardaDidyam, Bee Balm

Bee Balm Flower, Image by Stephanie Wallace

How to Grow Monarda Didyam/ Bee Balm

Native to North America, Monarda is a small genus of perennial and annual plants. These fast growing plants propagate easily from seeds or divisions.  Bee Balm prefers full to partial sun. Plants grown in full shade produce dense foliage but less flowers. Almost all species of Monarda grow well in moist but well-drained soil.

20 Jul

Unusual Flowering Plant: Dicentra, Bleeding Hearts

Dicentra Spectabilis (now known as Lamprocapnos Spectabilis) or Bleeding Hearts is a perennial plant known for its ornamental and unusual flowers. As the name suggests, most species of Dicentra produce heart-shaped flowers. Petals on these unusual flowers are curved and spurred to give them the shape of bleeding hearts. These herbaceous perennials are native to North America and parts of Asia.

Dicentra Spectabilis grows up to 60 cm and bear rosy red and white flowers in spring that hang on long leafless stalks. Flowers last for several weeks when spring is cool.

Dicentra Spectabilis, Bleeding Hearts

Dicentra Spectabilis – image from Wikipedia.org

How to Grow Dicentra Spectabilis / Bleeding Hearts

Almost all species of Dicentra are grown in semi-shade. Bleeding Hearts require rich, loose and well-drained soil, and protection from frost and high winds. Propagation can be done by seeds, cuttings or divisions. Seeds can be sown in fall so that they get enough freezing spells, which is required for successful germination. Do not leave young plants dry and thirsty especially in warmer weather; a bit moist environment is perfect for Bleeding Heart plants. These plants do not require much pruning or fertilizer.

Popular Varieties of Dicentra

The name ‘bleeding heart’ is specially associated with Dicentra Spectabilis. Other popular species include: Dicentra Cucullaria (Dutchman’s breeches), Dicentra Canadensis (Squirrel Corn), and several hybrids and cultivars.

Flowers of Bleeding Heart may cause skin irritation.

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.

13 Jul

Hardy, Evergreen Flowering Shrub: Kalmia Angustifolia

Widely known as Sheep Laurel, Kalmia Angustifolia is a low growing flowering shrub suitable as ornamental plan in gardens. Native to Cuba and parts of North America, Kalmia is a good choice for gardens and landscapes both as foliage plant and flowering shrub. Leaves of Kalmia are dark and glossy green. They are known to be poisonous for sheep. Waxy crimson, white, pink and purple flowers appear in spring.

Kalmia Angustifolia, Ornamental Flowering Shrub

Kalmia Angustifolia, Image by K. A. Kron

How to Grow Kalmia Angustifolia

Depending on climate, Kalmia grows well in full or partial sun. Usually grown from seeds, It is frost tolerant and requires moderate watering and rich, acidic soil.

Other popular species are Kalmia Latifolia and K. Microphylla.

03 Jul

Colorful and Fragrant Climber for Warm Climate: Wisteria

Wisteria is perhaps one of the most beautiful flowering climbers that fill your garden with exotic colors and fragrance. Native to temperate regions of North America and Asia, it is a very fast growing woody climber. Not all species produce fragrant flowers, but all of the species in the genus are excellent bloomers.

Flowers appear in long and drooping pendulous clumps resembling the flowers of Laburnum (Golden Shower Tree). Wisteria blooms in spring and continue to bloom till late summer. Flowers are usually white, purple, pink and blue. Leaves are soft and green.

Wisteria grows vigorously and becomes a mound if not provided with a suitable support therefore it should be grown against pergola or a wall. Most species of Wisteria would climb up to 20 meters or more.  The world’s largest Wisteria grows in Sierra Madre, California spanning over 1 acre.

One of the most common and easy to grow species is Wisteria Sinensis (also known as Chinese Wisteria) which is a deciduous creeping plant growing up to 30 meters. Its violet flowers are fragrant and bloom in spring.

Wisteria Vine with Violet Flowers

Wisteria with Violet Flowers, Image from tamarynwhite.com

Wisteria grows in deep and well-drained soil under full sun. Usually it does not require much care and grows freely with just moderate amount of water. Most species can be grown from hardwood or softwood cutting, seeds or by layering.

30 Jun

Colorful, Ornamental Flowering Plants: Bellflower

Campanula or Bellflower is a delightfully attractive plant known for its colorful, bell-shaped flowers. This versatile genus comprises of a large number of annual and perennial herbaceous plants. Flowers range from many shades of purple and blue to white and pink. Excellent for flower beds, mixed borders and rockeries, Bellflower are quite easy to grow as houseplants.

The Latin name ‘Campanula’ is translated as ‘Little Bell’ because of the bell-shaped flowers.

Bellflower Plant

Bellflower Plant, Image from www.biblio.tu-bs.de

How to Grow Campanula/Bellflower

Bellflower is fairly easy to grow plant at sunny as well as shady spots in a well drained soil. Water Bellflower plants moderately and fertilize in summer. Cultivation is easy from seeds.

Popular Varieties of Campanula/Bellflower

Campanula Carpatica, also known as Tussock Bellflower, bears lilac-blue flowers in spring. This perennial species grows in clumps.

Campanula Glomerata is erect perennial plant that grows in dense clusters and bears blue or white flowers in summer. Common name is Clustered Bellflower.

Campanula Trachelium, usually called Nettle-leaved Bellflower, produces blue-purple, bell-shaped flowers in summer.

Other popular varieties include: Campanula lactiflora ‘Dwarf Pink’, Campanula x ‘Kent Belle’, Campanula ‘La Belle’, Campanula rotundifolia ‘Olympica’, and Campanula ‘Samantha’.

Campanula Bellflower

Blue Bellflower, Image from millersoap.com

29 Jun

Tropical Flowering Shrub: Hibiscus

Hibiscus is large genus of flowering bushes, small trees, herbs and shrubs from topical and sub-tropical climates. There are a number of ornamental species of Hibiscus popular among gardeners for their attractive foliage and lovely flowers.

Besides its value as ornamental flowering plant, Hibiscus is used in preparation of beverages and red tea which is rich in vitamin C and minerals. A flowering Hibiscus in your garden is bound to attract a lot of birds and butterflies.

It is also the national flower of South Korea (Hibiscus Syriacus) and Malaysia (Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis).

Hibiscus Flower

Hibiscus Flower

How to Grow Hibiscus

These sun loving, flowering plants should be pruned regularly to gain prolonged flowering. Hibiscus should be provided with well drained and mulched soil with moderate watering and regular fertilizer.

Popular Varieties of Hibiscus

Common Hibiscus can be grouped in four types: Hibiscus Mutabilis, Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis, Hibiscus Syriacus and Hibiscus Schizopetalus.

Hibiscus Mutabilis is known with many names: Persian Rose, Rose Mallow, Cotton Rose, and Confederate Rose. All of the names are given to this variety for its fairly large and attractive flowers. This shrubby plant bears dense cover of bright leaves and flushes of flowers that change many colors – white in the morning, pink in the noon, and red in the evening.

Hibiscus Sinensis grows as an evergreen shrub in almost all tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. It is widely grown as ornamental hedge that bears red, bell-shapes flowers. Some varieties also produce white, pink, orange or yellow flowers. Hibiscus Sinensis is usually known as China Rose.

Hibiscus Syriacus which is also known as Rose of Sharon is another popular variety that grows best as ornamental shrub of about 2.7 meters. Flowers are white, mauve and blue.

Hibiscus Schizopetalus also known as Coral Hibiscus or Japanese Hibiscus bears attractive and bigger flowers of red or orange-red colors. Countless hybrids of Hibiscus Schizopetalus available as houseplants.

Pink Hibiscus Flower

Pink Hibiscus

22 Jun

Decorative Flowering Plant: Gypsophila, Baby’s Breath

Gypsophila is a genus of about 100 very decorative flowering plants. A number of species are grown commercially and used as cut flowers in floral arrangements or as fillers in flower bouquets. For gardeners and landscape designers, Gypsophila are prime choice for rock gardens and borders. These herbaceous perennial and annual plants produce dense sprays of small and delicate flowers.

Gypsophila, Baby Breath Flowers

Gypsophila (Baby Breath) Flowers, Image © Petr Kocna

Popular species of Gypsophila include Gypsophila Elegans, Gypsophila Elgans ‘Grandiflora Alba’, Gypsophila Paniculata, Gypsophila Repens, and Gypsophila Pilosa.

How to Grow Gypsophila

Gypsophila are easy to grow, fast growing plants that can be propagated from seeds or divisions. Seeds germinate quickly and young plants rapidly become small flowering shrubs. As the greek name suggests Gypso (chalk) phila (to love), these plants like chalky soil, however, they can be grown in almost any well drained and fertilized soil. Gypsophila prefer bright sunlight and moderate water, and withstand frost.

Common name of Gypsophila is Baby’s Breath.

12 Jun

Beautiful Ground Cover for Landscapes: Creeping Jenny

Lysimachia or Creeping Jenny is a genus of several annual and perennial plants from temperate and subtropical regions of Asia and Europe. Usually used as border plants and ground covers, Lysimachia bear attractive yellow flowers in spring. The most popular species from of this genus is Lysimachia Nummularia (Creeping Jenny), which is suitable for growing as ground cover or in hanging baskets. When grown as ground cover, it makes a nice mat of fresh green color.

Creeping Jenny, Ground Cover Plant

Creeping Jenny, Image from 9daysqueen.blogspot.com

How to Grow Lysimachia Nummularia/ Creeping Jenny

Lysimachia Nummularia grows in full shade as well as under partial sun. It requires plenty of water and can be grown as foliage plant for hanging baskets. The plant can be propagated easily from cuttings. Lysimachia Nummularia is also known as Moneywort.