02 Mar

Santolina chamaecyparissus: the Cotton Lavender

Santolina is a genus of dwarf and evergreen shrubs known for their aromatic summer flowers. Originally native to the Mediterranean climate, most species of Santolina can be grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

Among many cultivate species; S. chamaecyparissus is more popular because of its attractive silvery foliage and button-like yellow flowers. The plant is commonly known as Cotton Lavender or Ground Cypress.

Santolina chamaecyparissus

Santolina chamaecyparissus/ Image by Manel (flickr)

Santolina chamaecyparissus is an easy-to-grow plant that prefers in hot, sunny, and well-drained sites. The plant grows as a dwarf (up to 1 to 1.5 feet high) and dense shrub ideally suited to small dividers or hedges in landscape designs schemes. Santolina chamaecyparissus performs well in sandy and loamy soil with average watering. Generally, it is a low-maintenance plant that should be trimmed after each flowering season to keep it compact and in good shape.

18 Feb

Zaluzianskya capenis: the Night Blooming Phlox

Zaluzianskya is a small genus of flowering annuals and perennials grown for their lovely flowers. Native to South Africa, most plants in the genus of Zaluzianskya are drought-tolerant and low growing plants that can be grown in containers or in the ground.

Among many popular species, Zaluzianskya capensis is grown widely for its lovely and fragrant flowers. In fact, the plant is known for intoxicating and potent fragrance that its flowers emit. Flowers of Zaluzianskya capensis start blooming early in the day and the fragrance becomes stronger and stronger with the passage of time. As the night approaches, the small white flowers emit a potent and somewhat addicting fragrance that reminds of vanilla or almonds. That is why the plant is commonly described as Midnight candy or Night Blooming Phlox.

Zaluzianskya capensis

Zaluzianskya capensis/ Image via flickr

Zaluzianskya capensis is quite easy to grow from seeds that germinate easily when sown in early spring. Young plants require average watering and partial sun. Mature plants can be grown under shade or full sun. However, it should be protected from frost and long spells of cold.

Generally Zaluzianskya capensis benefits from a rich soil that is moist during the summer but well-drained in winter.

14 Feb

Lovely Flowering Shrub for Sandy Soil: Chamelaucium uncinatum

Chamelaucium is a genus of evergreen shrubs from semi-arid regions of Australia especially the Western Australia. Several species of this genus are however grown as cut flowers in many tropical and subtropical regions of the world. These evergreen shrubs are known for their small and beautiful flowers. One of the widely known species is Chamelaucium uncinatum or Geraldton Wax Plant.

Chamelaucium uncinatum

Chamelaucium uncinatum/ Image by Arthur Chapman

Chamelaucium uncinatum is characterized by needle-like waxy foliage and small white flowers that usually have a touch of pink or lilac. The shrub grows up to 5 meters and serves as an easy to maintain hedge or screen. As it is native to semi-arid climate, Chamelaucium uncinatum prefers a well-drained soil and occasional watering. The best place for Chamelaucium uncinatum is a garden is a bright lit spot where it is protected from over watering and long spells of cold. Besides Chamelaucium uncinatum, many hybrids and cultivars are also sold commercially. Most of these varieties share common characteristics and grow easily from woody stem cuttings.

12 Feb

Hedychium, the Ginger Lily Plant

Hedychium is a genus of tropical rhizomatous plants with dense foliage and clusters of beautiful, fragrant flowers from the family of common ginger, turmeric and cardamom.

Hedychium gardnerianum, Kahili Ginger

Hedychium gardnerianum / Image by Eric Hunt

The genus of Hedychium is represented by many popular species and their hybrid varieties. These easy to grow plant make beautiful foliage plants for gardens and landscapes. Most species grow as clumps of large green and glossy leaves. The lance-shaped leaves grow on long stalks that appear from thick rhizomes. These long stalks bear clusters of conspicuous flowers in midsummer. Flowers of Hedychium emit lovely fragrance especially in the evening making it an excellent houseplant.

Hedychium prefer rich and moist soil. The best place to grow them is a semi-shaded spot in the garden where they get ample amount of water but protection from frost in winter. Hedychium can be grown easily from rhizomes.

Popular varieties include:

Hedychium ‘Carnival’ – glossy green leaves with fragrant flowers of orange or yellow color.

Hedychium densiflorum ‘Assam Orange’ – hardy and easy to grow plant with lovely pinkish-orange flowers.

Hedychium ‘Elizabeth’ – beautiful hybrid variety with delicate flowers of salmon color.

Hedychium gardnerianum – commonly known as Kahili Ginger, this plant produces very fragrant and lovely yellow flowers.

Hedychium ‘Slim’s Orange’ – narrow, glaucous foliage and small orange-red flowers.