20 Oct

Lovely Border Plants: Clarkia, the Satin Flower

Clarkia is a small genus of lovely annuals usually grown as border plants for showy flowers. Native to North America, the genus of Clarkia consists of quick growing plants that grow up to 1 to 2 meters in flower borders or large containers. These plants are easily grown from seeds and require a fertile and well-drained soil under bright sunlight.

Though most Clarkias are hardy annuals but they should be protected from long spells of drought and cold. Most plants of Clarkia are eager bloomer and produce abundance of shiny purple, pink, mauve or salmon flowers in summer. The beautiful flowers of Clarkia grow on tall spikes with single or double flowers that can be used as cut flower for floral arrangements.

Clarkia concinna

Clarkia concinna/ Image by James Gaither

Common name of Clarkia is Satin flower. Popular species include: Clarkia bottae, C. williamsonii, C. breweri, and Clarkia concinna.

19 Oct

Hardy Shrub and Ground Cover for Tropical Climate: Kennedia

Kennedia is a small genus of small shrubs and woody climbers from tropical and subtropical climate of Australia. These useful plants are grown for their lovely and unusual flowers of red color. Kennedia originates from tropical and summer rainfall regions and thus are quite hardy to heat and spells of drought. Most species grow easily in temperate climate where they spread quickly and become good choice for covering the ground, fences or hedges. Kennedias can be grown easily from seeds. Young plants require moist yet well-drained soil, however, mature plants can withstand long spells of drought.

Kennedia prostrata

Kennedia prostrata/ Image via flickr

Popular species of Kennedia include:

Kennedia prostrate: Low-growing plant suitable as ground cover or hanging plant. Propagation is easy from seed. The plant produces showy frequent red flowers when grown under bright sunlight.

Kennedia rubicunda: Twining creeper that grows up to 5 meters and produces showy red flowers in spring and summer.

16 Oct

Dierama, the Angel’s Fishing Rod

Dierama is a small genus of evergreen perennials characterized by drooping flower stems and bell-shaped flowers. The plant is known among gardeners and horticulturists for its dainty and graceful flowers that can be easily recognized by their colors and delicate formation.

Ideal for sunny borders or raised beds, plants in the genus of Dierama prefer fertile, loamy and moist but well-drained soil. The plants are easily propagated from corms planted in containers or raised beds. Most species of Dierama benefit from regular watering in summer but only moderate watering during winter. Flowers of all shades of pink, white and violet colors appear in later summer or early fall. The bell-shaped flowers grow delicately on a long, drooping stalk, thus giving the genus its common name Angel’s Fishing Rod.

Dierama, Angel's Fishing Rod

Dierama, Angel’s Fishing Rod/ Image by peganum (flickr)

Popular species of Dierama include:

Dierama pendulum (Wand Flower) – Evergreen, cormous plant forming large clusters of grass-like leaves. White, mauve or pink flowers grow on tall spikes.

Dierama pulcherrimum – Evergreen plant growing up to 1.6 meters; flowers of pink or reddish purple colors appear in summer.

14 Oct

Lovely Tropical Bloomer: Ixora coccinea ‘Jacqueline’

Ixora coccinea ‘Jacqueline’ is one of the many popular hybrids of Ixora coccinea. The plant is popular for its salmon orange blooms and evergreen foliage. Like other plants of the genus, Ixora ‘Jacqueline’ prefers a well-drained, loamy and slightly acidic soil. Suitable for outdoor plantation, this beautiful hybrid is a bit fussy about moisture and temperature. The idea place for Ixora ‘Jacqueline’ in a garden is a sunny spot where it receives bright sunlight but protection from frosty winters.

Ixora coccinea 'Jacqueline'

Ixora coccinea ‘Jacqueline’/ Image by Troy Mckaskle

Ixora ‘Jacqueline’ is characterized by glossy foliage and shrubby growth that can be easily control by regular pruning. Ixora ‘Jacqueline’ does not like being moved around and often drops flower buds when moved around. Clusters of showy flowers appear almost all through the summer. The plant benefits from general purpose fertilizer every fortnight during the flowering season.

Ixora coccinea ‘Jacqueline’ has many common names including Jungle Flame, Jungle Geranium, Flame of the Woods, Needle Flower, and West Indian Jasmine.

12 Oct

Tetrapanax papyriferus, the Chinese Paper Plant

Tetrapanax papyriferus is an evergreen shrub often growing in to a small tree (up to 6 meters). It is commonly known as Rice-paper Plant or Chinese Paper Plant because in ancient China, the plant was used in making paper. Today, it is well known as a useful plant in horticulture.

Tetrapanax papyriferus, Chinese Paper Plant

Tetrapanax papyriferus, Chinese Paper Plant/ Image by Bettaman (flickr)

Tetrapanax papyriferus is fast growing plant that can be grown in almost any soil and a wide range of climatic conditions. The plant produces large, green leaves that appear along a solitary trunk. The fresh green and prominent foliage of Tetrapanax papyriferus makes it a useful plant for landscapes and gardens. Fluffy white flowers are insignificant and appear in large clusters.

Tetrapanax papyriferus can be propagated from suckers. Since the plant is not fussy about growing conditions, it can be grown under full to partial sun with moderate watering throughout the year.