24 Sep

Lovely Shrubs for Your Garden: Euonymus

If you are looking for hardy, versatile and lovely shrubs for your garden, look no further. Try Euonymus; it is a genus of lovely and versatile shrubs and small trees. It comes in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Both evergreen and deciduous species of Euonymus are available for gardens as well as container gardening. From more than 170 species of Euonymus, there are plenty of choices. They can be grown as border plants, hedges, small foliage plants and some as ground covers.

Most species of Euonymus offer glossy evergreen foliage, conspicuous blooms and ornamental fruition. Originally native to south Asia, Australia and Madagascar, Euonymus has been successfully grown in almost all parts of the world as ornamental plants. Some of the species have medicinal benefits whereas some have been used traditionally for making wooden spindles for the textile industry. That is why Euonymus is commonly described as ‘Spindle Tree’.

Euonymus Japonica

From many popular species, Euonymus Japonica is perhaps the most popular and widely grown plant. It is quite hardy and easy to grow. This shrubby plant can be pruned easily for growing as border plant, shrub or topiary shapes. Euonymus Japonica grows as evergreen shrub up to 5 meters and bears glossy green leaves. Flowers are insignificant but fruits (showy pink berries usually produced in autumn) are attractive. There are several variegated species of Euonymus Japonica available at nurseries.

Euonymus Japonica, Evergreen Shrub

Euonymus Japonica, Spindle Tree, Image by John (Puzzler4879@flickr)

How to grow Euonymus Japonica

Euonymus Japonica is capable of growing in many different conditions without much fuss. It can tolerate poor soil and light conditions. The best place for Euonymus Japonica is a well-lit spot where it receives full or filtered sunlight for most time of the day. Water moderately; do not overwater (young plants, however, require moist soil). Propagation is easy from cuttings.

16 Sep

Cunonia Capensis: The Red Alder of South Africa

Cunonia is a small genus of flowering trees and shrubs with evergreen and ornamental foliage. Most of the species are distributed across South Africa whereas some grow towards east coast in to Natal. The most popular of all species is Cunonia Capensis which is grown as ornamental foliage plant in gardens. It bears beautiful glossy green leaves with shades of red and pink. Flowers are very showy and appear in dense spikes of cream color. These fragrant flowers attract butterflies, garden birds and honey bees that pollinate flowers and spread seeds of the plant.

Cunonia Capensis

Cunonia Capensis, Image by Tony Rodd

How to Grow Cunonia Capensis

Cunonia Capensis is an excellent choice when you are looking for a decent foliage plant for all seasons. It requires moderate water (do not over water but do not allow the plant to dry for a longer period). Almost all species of Cunonia grow under partial sunlight and bloom in mid-summer.

Cunonia Capensis is commonly known as Red Alder or Butterspoon Tree.

12 Sep

Beautiful and Unusual: Agave ‘Blue Glow’

Today I am featuring Agave ‘Blue Glow’ which is one of my favorite of all agave plants in my collection. Agave ‘Blue Glow’ is supposed to be a hybrid between Agave Attenuata and Agave Ocahui – ‘Blue Glow’ has long narrow leaves (from Agave Ocahui) with a terminal spines and almost no marginal spines (from Agave Attenuata). Dark blue-green leaves have red margins that glow when seen at eye-level with sunlight in the background. Agave ‘Blue Glow’ is relatively slow growing plant that tends to grow solitary. It forms a compact rosette of up to 18 inches in height and spreads as wide as 2 feet- suitable for growing in containers. The plant in picture is about 2 years old and was grown from a small offset.

Agave 'Blue Glow'

Agave 'Blue Glow'

 

Agave ‘Blue Glow’ prefers bright sunlight but protection from direct harsh sun of summer. It is quite hardy, easy to grow, and drought tolerant. I am growing my plant in a terracotta pot in my roof garden.

Agve 'Blue Glow' Leaves

Agve 'Blue Glow' Leaves

11 Sep

Lovely Foliage Plant for Gardens and Landscapes: Acanthus

Acanthus is a genus of perennial sub-shrubs that are grown for their ornamental foliage and flowers. They are quite showy plants and can be recognized easily in a landscape for their glossy-green leaves. Originally native to the Mediterranean region, Acanthus has inspired several architectural designs and patterns in the Greek and Roman culture. One can easily recognize and relate several architectural motifs in ancient Roman culture with beautiful foliage of Acanthus. In fact, Roman and Greeks revered this plant and used it as a decorative plant.

Flowers on Acanthus plants are borne along long stalks (up to 2 meters) that stand out in plantation. Flowers are usually white or cream with a hint of purple.

Acanthus Mollis, Ornamental Foliage Plant

Acanthus Mollis, Image by meggle (flickr)

How to Grow Acanthus

Acanthus is easy to grow and maintain. These ornamental perennials are grown best under share or filtered sunlight. Young plants requite regular watering, however, once establish they do not require much attention. Most species of Acanthus have long tap roots making it difficult to root them out. Since these plants are quiet showy in noticeable in size, it is recommended that you do not grow them near low growing plants. Acanthus is best grown as border plants or as background foliage plants in a landscape. These shrubby plants can be propagated from cuttings. Among all species, the most cultivated is Acanthus Mollis, which is also known as Bear’s Breeches. Other popular species are: Acanthus Spinosus and Acanthus Hungaricus.

Acanthus Spinousu is recipient of Award of Garden Merit by The Royal Horticultural Society.

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.