Saponaria is a small genus of annuals and perennials from the Mediterranean climate where it is grown for its colorful flowers. Saponaria officinalis is the most popularly known species from this genus. It is a low-growing perennial that produces fragrant flowers of white and pink hues in early summer. The flowers appear in dense clusters and make a colorful impact on the background of green leaves. The best place to grow Saponaria officinalis is mixed borders where it can grow in almost any soil and tolerate long spells of cold and frost.
Most plants in the genus of Saponaria tend to becomes weedy and invasive, however Saponaria officinalis is quite easy to control with regular pruning.
Extract of the leaves of Saponaria officinalis has soapy content. It produces fine lather when rubbed, that is why it has traditionally been used as soap or luxurious shampoo especially for washing delicate surfaces. The soapy extract gives the plant its common name – Soapwort.
The lovely plant in the picture is Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’ – a perennial grass with beautifully colored and textured blades. Commonly known as Japanese Bloodgrass, this ornamental grass is an excellent choice for creating dramatic effects in any garden.
Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’ forms dense clumps of strappy leaves that grow up to 5 feet. The silvery-green foliage has margin of bright red color that make it an excellent ornamental grass for gardens and landscapes. Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’ is usually mixed borders or grown along flower beds to provide contrasting and colorful background throughout the year.
Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’ is propagated from divisions and is grown in well-drained soil. Like most ornamental grasses it should be pruned regularly to keep it in shape and under control. Without regular pruning and control Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’ tends to become invasive and hard to weed out completely.
The plant requires regular watering and good exposure to bright sunlight. In colder climates, Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’ requires protection from heavy frost.
The lovely orange-red flowers in the picture grow on Tecomaria capensis which is an evergreen and a very versatile plant. Grown for its lovely flowers Tecomaria capensis can be grown as a shrub, small tree, or a vine growing on pergolas or arches.
Tecomaria capensis is popular among gardeners and horticulturists for its cluster of beautiful flowers that appear in autumn and winter and continue to appear for an extended period of time every season. The fiery orange-red flowers are rich in nectar and attract a lot of birds and butterflies during the flowering season.
Tecomaria capensis is a fast growing plant that can be easily pruned and trained to obtain desired shapes. The plant prefers full sun but can be grown in light shade. Propagation is done from cuttings or seeds.
A number of hybrid verities of Tecomaria capensis are also available. These hybrids vary is coloration of flowers that ranges from pink and yellow to scarlet red.