17 Apr

Ornamental and Unusual Succulent Shrub: Alluaudia procera

If you are looking for a striking, unusual and low-maintenance ornamental plant, consider Alluaudia procera – a really striking succulent shrub that can be used as outdoor as well as indoor ornamental plant.

Alluaudia procera

Alluaudia procera/ Image by Natalie Tapson

Alluaudia procera or African Ocotillo, as it is commonly known among gardeners, belongs to a small genus of succulent shrubs that resemble Fouquieria and Crown of Thorns in their structure and growing habit. A typical Alluaudia produces a tall central stem covered with spines and small deciduous leaves. From the central stem appear stout vertical branches. Small white or yellow flowers grow along these branches in large clusters. Leaves usually fall in winter and come back during warm and humid summer. Alluaudia procera can grow up to 3 meters tall indoors and as tall as 18 meters in its native habitat.

Because of its unusual shape, Alluaudia procera makes a nice specimen plant especially when grown in small groups. The plant grows well when provided with bright sunlight, and well-drained porous soil. The plant does not need much watering and is able to survive long spells of drought.

Alluaudia procera is easily propagated from cuttings.

11 Apr

Compact, Evergreen Tropical Shrub: Breynia disticha, the Snow Bush

Breynia disticha or Snow Bush, as it is commonly known among gardeners, is a compact and evergreen shrub from tropical climates across the Americas, Africa, the Indian Sub-continent and Australia. However, it is easily cultivated in colder climates as well.

Breynia disticha

Breynia disticha/ Image by Forest & Kim Starr

Breynia disticha makes an excellent plant for borders where it grows as a small shrub (up to 4 feet) and produces beautiful foliage of green, white and pink colors. The colorful foliage, ease of cultivation and the ability to grow in a wide range of climates make Snow Bush a useful plant for landscapes as well as indoor and outdoor containers. It can also be used as colorful evergreen hedge or as a dwarf shrub for filling unused spaces.

Tropical Snow Bush

Snow Bush growing as hedge/ Image by Forest & Kim Starr

Breynia disticha prefers filtered sunlight, rich soil and slightly moist soil. The plant grows quickly and is cultivated from softwood cuttings or suckers. Flowers of Snow Bush are inconspicuous but the foliage is quite attractive and colorful throughout the year.

08 Apr

Spring Gardening with Carmen Johnston

As the weather starts to slowly warm up, it is time to get your gardens filled with the colorful blooms of spring. And this spring, Carmen Johnston, the Southern Living® Plant Collection’s Garden Lifestyle Expert, brings a lot of stuff to decorate your garden.

Southern Living® Designer Series Container Gardens

Southern Living® Designer Series
Container Gardens

Southern Living® Plant Collection provides gardeners with innovative new plants designed to solve specific landscape challenges and to excel in Southern gardens. Each plant in the collection is the result of years of plant evaluations, plant trials and research. You can choose from a variety of shrubs, bulbs, grasses and tropical trees for your garden or as a lovely gift to gardening enthusiasts.

Carmen will speak this Spring to audiences across the country teaching easy gardening tips for both everyday and experienced gardeners. Carmen is also doing a series of events at Home Depot demonstrating how to use the new Southern Living Plant Collection Designer Series Container Gardens.

For more information, decorating tips, and how-to-articles, visit, www.southernlivingplants.com.

08 Apr

[May 11 – May 12, 2013] WNPS Native Plant Sale and Celebration

Largest collection of native plants for sale at Mercerdale Park, Washington.  Come buy or just look and learn.

Abundant FREE parking, ask the experts, books on gardening and more, propagation workshop, talk on Native Mason bees, other environmental groups, NEW!! planted decorative containers for patios, balconies, decks, the garden and Mother’s day.

Schedule: Sat, May 11, 10:00 PM – Sun, May 12, 4:00 AM

For more information follow:

Twitter @WNPS_PlantSale,

Facebook: wnps_native_plant_sale_­news

08 Apr

Bold and Beautiful, Echium Mr. Happy

Mr. Happy’ – perfect name for a plant that blooms so generously and joyfully. A hybrid of Echium wildprettii and E. pininan, Echium ‘Mr. Happy’ is a beautiful plant that produces a large mound of lovely pink flowers in summer. When in full blooms, the plant attracts bees, birds and butterflies.

Echium wildprettii and E. pininan, Mr. Happy

Echium ‘Mr. Happy’/ Image by anniesannuals.com

When grown in the ground, Echium ‘Mr. Happy’ can grow up to 15 feet and spread across 2 feet with a large bulbous base. A mature plant often forms a group of rosettes with silvery-green foliage. Though not commonly found on local nurseries, ‘Mr. Happy’ makes an excellent accent plant in a garden or landscape design. The plant is quite easy to grow and hardy enough to survive spells of drought. Therefore, it is often found growing in xericapes and rock gardens.

‘Mr. Happy’ can be grown under full to partial sun and in almost any soil that provides good drainage. The plant, however, is not suitable for growing in containers.