Category Archives: Zone 9a

28 Aug

Fast Growing, Ornamental Ground Cover: Ajuga Reptans

Ajuga Reptans or Carpet Bugleweed is a quick solution if you are looking for a plant to cover wide empty spaces, beds or bare soil. As a vigorous growing groundcover, it would readily cover the ground to form a low growing thick mat of dark green or coppery leaves. Ajuga Reptans can also be used to control soil erosion as it spreads quickly via runners and grows almost in any type of soil with good drainage.

Ajuga Reptans Groundcover

Ajuga Reptans Groundcover, Image from wikipedia

Grown as ornamental groundcover, Ajuga Reptans is good for beds as well as landscapes where it provides a glossy dense mat of leaves and produces attractive flowers of blue or purple colors. Flowers grow on small stalks (up to 6 inches). These conspicuous flowers make a spectacular show in spring till midsummer. Ajuga Reptans can also be grown under tree or combined with shrubs in landscapes for a dramatic effect in flowering season. Rich in nectar, flowers of Ajuga Reptans attract birds, bees and butterflies.

How to Grow Ajuga Reptans

Ajuga Reptans is native to Europe and parts of Asia and Australia. It can be grown under shade or sun with regular watering. It does not have any special soil needs and grows in almost any soil with good water drainage. Propagation is done from softwood cuttings.

26 Aug

Lovely, Deciduous Flowering Tree: Cercis Siliquastrum

If you are looking for a tree that is unique in shape and delightful in blooms, try Cercis Siliquastrum. Commonly known as Judas tree, it is perhaps one the most beautiful species of all deciduous bloomers. It is hardy, drought tolerant, frost resistant and shaped beautifully in wild as well as in cultivation.

In it natural habitat that includes parts of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, Cercis Siliquastrum grows up to 30 meters, however, in cultivation it would rarely gain that much height because it grows quite slowly. This makes Cercis Siliquastrum as good choice for gardens where you have limited space. Though it is drought tolerant, Cercis Siliquastrum flourishes well when waters adequately.

Cercis Siliquastrum, Judas Tree

Cercis Siliquastrum, Image by Andrew Dunn

Being a member of pea-family (like Wisteria, Robinia, Cassia etc.), Cercis Siliquastrum is an excellent bloomer especially in winter and spring when it bears small yet very attractive flowers of magenta or pink colors. Flowers are borne on the trunk before leaves and are followed by seed pods that last long. The beautiful pink or magenta flowers not only add to the ornamental value of this handsome tree but are also used in salads for their tangy taste.

How to Grow Cercis Siliquastrum

Cercis Siliquastrum is propagated form softwood cuttings or seeds. Being native to temperate regions, these deciduous plants prefer exposure to bright sunlight and average water.

22 Aug

Fast Growing Ornamental Groundcover: Duchesnea Indica

Duchesnea Indica is a quick growing, ornamental plant that spreads quickly to serve as a good groundcover. Popularly known as Indian Strawberry or Mock Strawberry, Duchesnea Indica bears ornamental foliage and fruit – both resemble the foliage and fruit of real strawberry plants, however the fruit of Mock Strawberry is quite tasteless.

Duchesnea Indica grows natively in south Asia and parts of eastern Asia as a low growing perennial. The plant has been acclimatized in many parts of the worlds where it is grown as ornamental houseplant. Suitable as groundcover, for container gardening and window gardens, these low growing plants do not require special care. In fact, they can withstand neglect.

Duchesnea Indica, Mock Strawberry, Indian Strawberry

Duchesnea Indica, Image by Shihmei Barger

How to Grow Duchesnea Indica

Mock Strawberry can be grown easily from divisions or seeds as evergreen groundcover. It requires full to partial sun and tolerates drought and frost – a good choice for xeriscaping. Duchesnea Indica self-seeds in favorable conditions and becoming quite invasive.

19 Aug

Evergreen, Flowering Shrub for Tropical Gardens: Tecoma

Tecoma is a small genus of sun loving shrubs and small trees from Central and South America. Grown as popular houseplants, Tecoma produces clusters of trumpet shaped yellow and orange flowers. Evergreen in warm climates and deciduous in colder climate, Tecoma is easy to grow and attract many pollinating bees, butterflies and birds when in full bloom – adding charm to the garden.

Tecoma Capensis, Flowering Shrub

Tecoma Capensis, Image from wikipedia

How to Grow Tecoma

Most species of Tecoma can be propagated from seeds or cuttings. The best media to grow these prolific bloomers is a well-drained soil watered moderately. Provide them a sunny spot to grow and prune back after flowering season which is usually in summer.

Popular Species of Tecoma

Tecoma Alata: Evergreen shrub that tends to form a small tree. Bears showy yellow flowers in summer.

Tecoma Grandiflora: A vigorous climber and produces orange or scarlet flowers during all months of the year.

Tecoma Radicans: A perfect flowering shrub for covering walls or old trees because of its climbing habit. Bears scarlet, tubular flowers.

Tecoma Jasminoides: Evergreen climber with shiny, dark green foliage and wide open trumpet flowers of white or pink colors.

17 Aug

Lovely Flowering Plant for Rock Gardens: Gaura Lindheimeri

Gaura commonly known as Beeblossom is a genus of annuals and perennials from North America where it grows natively as summer bloomer. These hardy and drought tolerant plants produce long and delicate spikes of conspicuous flowers. The most popular species of the genus is Gaura Lindheimeri which is grown commercially as popular garden plant. Suitable for borders or as background filler in landscape, Gaura Lindheimeri grows into dense clusters and bears ornamental flowers from midsummer till early fall. Flowers are white with a touch of pink and appear in frequent sprays.

Gaura Lindheimeri is a good choice for xeriscaping or rock gardens because of its capacity to withstand drought.

Gaura Lindheimeri, Beeblossom

Gaura Lindheimeri, Image by Søren Holt

How to Grow Gaura Lindheimeri

Gaura Lindheimeri performs good at both sunny or partial shady garden locations. Being a hardy plant, it requires moderate watering but protection from strong winds. Propagation is easy from divisions.