04 Dec

Exotic and Colorful Foliage Plants: Neoregelia

Neoregelia is a genus of beautiful foliage plants from the Bromeliad family. Native to the South America especially Brazil, these tropical plants are grown for their colorful foliage. The genus comprises of more than 100 species and many cultivars and hybrid varieties that make exotic specimen plants.

Neoregelia foliage

Neoregelia/ Image by Eric Hunt

Like most Bromeliads, Neoregelia are not difficult to grow or propagate. These are quite hardy plants that grow under filtered sunlight and do not require much water. Most species of Neoregelia would grow easily in a regular soil mix and under moderate temperatures. The coloration, however, varies according the exposure to the sun.

Neoregelia bromeliad

Image by Adam Fagen

The inflorescence of Neoregelia plants is inconcpicous as compared to the showy and colorful foliage of the plant itself.

Neoregelia plants

Image by Christoph Diewald

01 Dec

Lovely and Fragrant Flowering Shrub: Murraya paniculata

Murraya is a small genus of flowering shrubs and small trees from south Asia especially from subtropical plains of Pakistan and India. Several species of Murraya are grown as houseplants and shrubs because of their beautiful foliage and sturdy structure that makes then useful for creating hedges and screens.

The most popular species is Murraya paniculata. It is a fast growing shrub that often grows in to a small tree up to 3 meters or more. Locally it is known as Kamini and grown for lovely foliage and flowers. The glossy, white flowers of Murraya paniculata are strongly fragrant. The plant produces abundance of small and white flowers that add to the beauty of fresh green foliage and spread their fragrance all around. The flowers are followed by formation of small, oval fruits of red or orange color. The fruit serves as food for many birds.

Murraya paniculata, Kamini flower

Murraya paniculata/ Image by Tim Waters

Murraya paniculata has been acclimatized in many parts of the world where it grows in tropical and subtropical plains. The plant requires bright sunlight, regular watering and occasional pruning. It is quite easy to prune and train in to favorite shapes and topiary designs.

Murraya paniculata can be propagated from seeds or cuttings. Other popular names are Chinese box and Orange Jasmine.

28 Nov

Fragrant and Winter Flowering Shrub: Luculia gratissima

Luculia gratissima

Luculia gratissima/ Image by James Gaither

The plant in picture is Luculia gratissima – an excellent bloomer and ornamental shrub from south Asia particularly from the Himalayas. Luculia gratissima belongs to the family of popular flowering shrubs and trees including Ixora, Gardenia and Hamelia. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree (up to 5 meters) that bears beautiful glossy leaves and produces abundance of fragrant flower in fall and winter. The masses of pink flowers spread delightful and jasmine-like scent.

Luculia gratissima is a bit difficult to grow in garden in garden as it thrives in a very limited spectrum of day and night temperature (between 28 to 80 F). It also requires long exposure to indirect sunlight, higher level of moisture and well-drained soil.

Though a bit difficult to grow, Luculia gratissima is a very rewarding plant that produces long lasting and fragrant winter flowering. It is usually propagated from seeds or hardwood cuttings. Other popular species include: Luculia grandiflora and L. intermedia.

27 Nov

Ornamental Shrub with Fragrant Flowers: Elaeagnus pungens

Elaeagnus is a genus of ornamental shrubs, small trees and flowering plants from subtropical and temperate regions of Europe and Asia. Majority of the species are very adaptable plants that can be grown outdoors in almost every garden. Generally, the genus of Elaeagnus comprises of sun-loving plants that prefer fertile soil and regular watering. However, they can withstand long spells of drought too.

The genus of Elaeagnus is better known for its fragrant flowers of silvery white color. Flowering is followed by formation of red berries that add to the beauty of these ornamental plants. Most species of Elaeagnus are used as specimen pot plants, as flowering shrubs or in hedges. Some of the popularly grown species include: Elaeagnus commutata (American silverberry), Elaeagnus multiflora (cherry silverberry or goumi) and Elaeagnus pungens.

Elaeagnus pungens

Elaeagnus pungens

Elaeagnus pungens has various popular varieties characterizing variegated and colorful foliage. Commonly known as ‘Silverthron’, Elaeagnus pungens grows as a spiny shrub. It is a fast growing and evergreen shrub that produces dense foliage, white flowers and reddish-brown berries. The fragrance of white flowers is reminiscent of Gardenia. It is an adaptable plant that tolerates varied climatic conditions.

Elaeagnus pungens is easily propagated from cuttings.