18 Mar

Unusual Caudiciform Plants – Fat Plants

Caudiciform plants is a large group of plants that form caudex – a fat stem or root. The caudex in most Caudiciform plants is prominent and gives these plants a uniquely unusual shape and character.

Caudiciform plants make excellent specimen plants. Take the example of Adenium obesum, Beaucarnea gracilis, Cycas revoluta, most Cyphostemmas, and Dioscorea elephantipes. Like other Caudiciform plants, these attractive plants form caudex to store water and food so that they can survive long spells of drought therefore these are generally low-maintenance plants.

How to take care of Caudiciform Plants / Fat Plants

Caudiciform plants do not require much maintenance. Because they are able to store water for dry periods, you do not need to water them regularly. During the months of active growth, water sufficiently only when the soil is completely dry. Avoid watering when the plant is hibernating.

Grow your plants is a well-drained soil and feed them when they show active sign of growth. With a little experience with caudex forming plants, you will understand that most of these plants quick adopt to the surrounding climate. You can grow them outdoors as specimen plants, indoor on a window sill, or in a greenhouse (if you live in a colder region). Generally, they prefer dry conditions and good exposure to the sunlight.

Types of Caudiciform Plants / Fat Plants

Caudiciform plants come in all sizes. Some grow into tall trees, some have shrubby growth, some of them are vines and some of them are small succulents. The size, location, and shape of caudex in most plants vary greatly. Therefore, these caudex forming plants are further grouped in four categories.

  • Phanerophytes: These Caudiciform plants form succulent base which appears prominently above the soil level. Most Adenias, Beaucarneas, and some Pachypodiums are good examples of Phanerophytes.
  • Chamaephytes are Caudiciform plants that form caudex at their base. The caudex in these plants may or may not be prominently visible. Dioscoreas belong to this group of caudex forming plants.
  • The caudex in Hemicryptophytes is usually formed below the ground but the growth is usually above the soil level.
  • Geophytes are caudex forming plants that form both their caudex and the growing point underground. Ibervillea is a good representative of this group.

Popular Caudiciform Plants / Fat Plants

Some popular species of caudex forming plants include:

Adenium obesum /Desert Rose (Buy seeds online)
Adenium obesum

Jatropha berlandieri (Buy seeds online)

Jatropha berlandieri

Jatropha podagrica (Buy seeds online)
Jatropha podagrica

Pachypodium brevicaule
Pachypodium brevicaule

Dioscorea elephantipes (Buy seeds online)

Caudiciform Plants, Dioscorea elephantipes

Gerrardanthus macrorhizus
Gerrardanthus macrorhizus (Bigfoot)

Euphorbia cylindrifolia (Buy seeds online)
Euphorbia cylindrifolia ssp. tuberifera Rauh

Yucca rostrata
Yucca rostrata-Beaked Yucca

Tylecodon paniculata
Tylecodon paniculata

10 Mar

Weekly Magazine: Garden Dispatch # 8

Welcome to this week’s Garden Dispatch.

The Garden Dispatch is a weekly compilation of landscape and garden design resources. In this issue, explore:

DIY: How to Grow Moss in Your Garden

Moss Garden

Plant Care: How to prune like a PRO

How to Prune

Great Gardens: The Biggest Rooftop Garden in the World

Rooftop Greenhouse

Plant of the Week: Cornish Lily

Cornish Lily

Garden Projects: Patio Garden make-over – New blends with Old

Patio Makeover

DIY: How to build a raised garden bed

Raised Garden Bed

Garden Birds: How to Attract Birds to Your Garden

How to attract birds to your garden

08 Mar

Why Get a Greenhouse in your Garden

There are so many reasons why you should get a greenhouse in your garden. From being able to turn your gardening hobby into a full-time passion, to looking after your wellbeing and not to mention all the nutritional benefits of growing your own food.

Here are the reasons why you should get a greenhouse in your garden:

Greenhouse for growing your favourite plants all year round

A greenhouse means you can grow plants, bulbs, vegetables and flowers all year round, whatever the weather. Despite the extreme temperatures we might be experiencing outside, inside your greenhouse you can create the perfect environment for your crops to grow and protect them from the elements. It’s important to make sure that despite your greenhouse always being warm and humid that it remains well ventilated. A great way to do this is to buy window openers for it which automatically open and close to maintain the correct temperature for optimum growth.

Greenhouse to keep yourself busy

A greenhouse creates a great hobby for a lot of people turning their interest in gardening into a profitable venture. It means people keep busy, out in the sunlight rather than sat inside and you can even sell your fresh produce for profit if you grow enough. For many younger people it’s great as it means you can start to really look after your health and care about what you’re eating and for many older people, a greenhouse is a great way to stay active and gives you a reason to get out of the house each day.

Greenhouse to provide better food for your family

The nutritional benefits of growing your own vegetables are huge. With your own greenhouse you can grow a variety of different vegetables and some many months before you could grow them outdoors. You can be sure that the food you’re eating hasn’t been in contact with harmful pesticides and be 100% sure of what your family are eating which is a very reassuring thought for most parents.

Wave Hill

Greenhouse for your own wellbeing

Greenhouses have been proven to be effective in helping those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder combat their problems. You get to spend plenty of time outside benefiting from the natural light getting all the nutrients from the diffused sunlight. Eating your own healthy produce also contributes to your physical wellbeing and encourages families to eat healthier in the long run as children grow up learning about where their food comes from and the importance of eating lots of fruit and vegetables.

01 Mar

Xerosicyos danguyi, the Silver Dollar Plant

Xerosicyos danguyi or Silver Dollar Plant (Buy seeds online) is an evergreen climber from arid regions of Madagascar. It is a drought tolerant and hardy succulent that can survive really high temperatures and long spells of drought. If you are new to the world of houseplants, Xerosicyos danguyi is a nice plant to start with.

Xerosicyos danguyi belongs to the family of squash, cucumber, and watermelon and shares many characteristics with its cousins. Hobbyists like the Silver Dollar Plant for its round, succulent, and silver-green leaves giving the plant its common name, ‘Silver Dollar Plant’. These unusual round leaves grow along a cylindrical stem that usually grows up to 20 inches. In wild, Xerosicyos danguyi uses its tendrils to hook up with surrounding plants to keep it from falling on the ground. Clusters of tiny flower of pale-green color appear in spring.

Xerosicyos danguyi, the Silver Dollar Plant

Xerosicyos danguyi, the Silver Dollar Plant / Image Source

How to Grow Xerosicyos danguyi, the Silver Dollar Plant

Xerosicyos danguyi can be easily grown in a well-drained soil and under sunny conditions. Being a drought-tolerant succulent, the Silver Dollar Plant requires only occasional watering. If you are growing it in a pot, water it thoroughly and then allow the soil to dry out completely before the next watering. In colder climates, Silver Dollar Plant can be grown indoors in hanging baskets. Xerosicyos danguyi can be propagated from seeds and cuttings. Plants grown from seeds tend to form caudex on maturity.

25 Feb

Aloe ferox: Flowering Succulent for Lovely Xeriscapes

Aloe ferox
Aloe ferox is a hardy and attractive succulent known for its lovely flowers and medicinal value of the gel extracted from its leaves. If you are planning to design a xeriscape, Aloe ferox should be on top of your plants list for many reasons. It is a hardy succulent that does not require much care. It produces very attractive flowers of red, orange, yellow-orange and scarlet colors in mid-winter. When grown in groups, spikes of attractive flowers on Aloe ferox add striking colors to the landscape.

Aloe ferox originates from rocky and tropical regions of South Africa where it receives marginal rainfall and plenty of sun. When growing it in your garden or xeriscape, you need to imitate the similar climate. You can plant this hardy Aloe in a spot where it receives good amount of sunlight in a loamy and slightly sandy soil. Aloe ferox does not require frequent watering and should survive long spells of drought.

Aloe ferox (Buy seeds online) can grow up to 3 meters though it takes many years to attain this size. The plant produces fleshy leaves of dull green color. The leaves are arranged around the stem to form a rosette. Young leaves have prominent spines along the leaf margins and smaller spines on leaf surface. As the plant matures, older leaves dry up to expose main stem of the plant. The Greek name ‘ferox’ meaning ‘fierce’ is probably because of prominent spines on the leaves.

Aloe ferox is also known as Cape Aloe.

Winter Aloe Spectacle

Flowers of Aloe ferox

Aloe ferox produces abundant flowers that attract birds and bees as pollinating agents. Mid-winter is the time when this lovely Aloe begins to send out orange, scarlet, yellow-orange and red flowers giving the plant its common name, Red Aloe.

Medicinal Benefits of Aloe ferox

Aloe ferox is grown commercially for its medicinal value. The gel derived from its succulent leaves is used in cosmetics. The hard, brown excretions obtained from the plan are used for their laxative properties.

How to grow Aloe ferox from seeds

Aloe ferox can be propagated from seeds (Buy seeds online) that easily germinate when sown in a well-drained but slightly moist soil. Young seedlings should be kept lightly moist until they are 4- 6 cm in size.

19 Feb

DIY: Home Decor with Plant Terrariums

A terrarium is a miniature garden grown in a glass container. Plant terrariums make excellent decoration pieces by adding fresh and lively colors to your home decor. Because of their miniature size, you can keep terrariums almost anywhere in your home – coffee tables, kitchen, side tables, work desk etc. The idea is to create a micro-climate in a glass container that supports growth of complementing miniature plants that require minimum maintenance.

How to Make Your Own Terrarium

You do not have to be an expert gardener to make a terrarium. With the right type of plants (usually miniature succulents, cacti, moss and ferns) and a glass container (such as a vase), you can make your own terrarium. Follow this step-by-step guide to making your own glass terrarium.

Popular Plants for Glass Terrarium

11 Examples of Beautiful Plant Terrariums used in Home Decor

Browse these beautiful examples of terrariums to decor home interior.

Plant Terrariums for Interior Decor
What a creative use of plant terrarium to beautify a small space! Image by Rikki Snyder via Houzz
Hanging Plant Terrariums
Lovely Plant Terrariums
Glass terrariums can be used to add fresh colors and life to your home decor  – Modern Spaces by Brooklyn Furniture & Accessories West Elm
Plant Terrariums
Air Plants do not require much maintenance and make excellent plants for using in a DIY glass terrarium – Contemporary Spaces by Brooklyn Furniture & Accessories West Elm
Plant Terrariums for Home Decor
Spanish Moss and small succulents can also be used to design attractive glass terrarium for your home decore scheme – Traditional Dining Room by Grayslake Kitchen & Bath Designers Tiffany Brooks, HGTV Host & Interior Designer
DIY Plant Terrariums
Just another example to prove that DIY glass terrariums can make excellent decoration pieces in a home decor scheme – Transitional Living Room by Portland Interior Designers & Decorators Garrison Hullinger Interior Design Inc.
Indoor Terrarium
DIY glass terrariums can be used anywhere – even on a dinning table – Contemporary Dining Room by Laguna Beach Interior Designers & Decorators abodwell interior design- Brittney Fischbeck
DIY Terrarium
Mosy succuents are hardy plants and easily grow in a glass terrarium – Traditional Bathroom by Melbourne Bathroom Designers & Remodelers GIA Bathroom & Kitchen Renovations
Beautiful Terrariums
Another example of lovely DIY glass terrarium to spice up your home decore – Eclectic Closet by Richmond Interior Designers & Decorators Kathy Corbet Interiors
Terrarium Plants

Buy Beautiful Plant Terrariums Online

Hanging Clear Glass Prism Air Plant Terrarium / Tabletop Succulent Planter

Hanging Clear Glass Prism Air Plant Terrarium

  • A contemporary terrarium art piece made of pieces of clear glass arranged on a pyramid-shaped metal frame.
  • Perfect for cacti, air plants, and succulents as well as candles and other decorative items you would like to display. Also great as a store or restaurant display for merchandise or decorations.
  • Features one open side for perfect airflow and easy access to the plants and other items within.
  • **Official MyGift® product includes multipurpose cleaning towel.** Plants not included.
  • Approximate Dimensions: 6″ W X 7.75″ H X 6″ D.

Modern Diamond Design Clear Faceted Succulent/ Air Plant Glass Terrarium

Modern Diamond Design Clear Faceted Succulent

  • Elegant, decorative planter display box made of panes of clear glass arranged in a faceted polygon design.
  • 1 side is open so you can easily place plants and other decorative items inside.
  • Set this decorative box on any counter, table, or other surface to bring style to any space.
  • **Official MyGift® product includes multipurpose cleaning towel.** Plants not included.
  • Approximate Dimensions: 8″ W X 3.75″ H X 4.75″ D.

Set of 2 Decorative Clear Glass Globe / Hanging Air Plant Terrarium
Set of 2 Decorative Clear Glass Globe

  • This elegant set of two globe-shaped glass terrariums helps lend a sleek, modern design to any space.
  • Thread string or fishing line (not included) through the small round hole near the top to hang each of these glass globes wherever you wish.
  • Fill with small plants, candles, or other decorative objects and use as an eye-catching decorative accent or centerpiece for any space.
  • **Official MyGift® product includes multipurpose cleaning towel. Plants and shells are not included.**
  • Approximate Dimensions (each globe): 5.5″ H X 4.75″ Diameter.

7″ Large Clear Glass Hanging Air Plant Terrarium

7" Large Clear Glass Hanging Air Plant Terrarium

  • Display this beautiful 7″ glass globe terrarium to instantly change the look of any room.
  • Add a little green to your indoor space with an eye-catching terrarium displaying air plants, sand and moss. Also ideal for tea light or votive candles.
  • Use a single terrarium or arrange a group along your wall or hang to create an amazing garden or illuminating light display.
  • Official MyGift® product, includes microfiber glass spot-removal cloth. Plants and candles not included.
  • Approximate Dimensions: Overall – 7.1″ L x 7.5″ H x 6.9″ W.

Charming Clear Glass Hanging Planter Terrarium Globe

Charming Clear Glass Hanging Planter Terrarium Globe

  • Clear glass hanging globe with black metal stand makes a perfect decoration or centerpiece accents idea.
  • Filled it with small air plants, tea light candles, and other small decorative items.
  • Suspended from a black metal stand with a round base that keeps it steady.
  • **Official MyGift® product includes multipurpose cleaning cloth.** Plants not included.
  • Approximate Dimensions: Overall – 6″ W X 9.25″ H X 4.5″ D; Glass Globe – 5.25″ H X 4.5″ in diameter.

Square Glass Plant Terrarium Container

Square Glass Plant Terrarium Container

  • Entire glass terrarium top lifts off and includes brass filagree trim and brass finial. Perfect size for the office, desk, apartment, home accent, even as a centerpiece. Create a miniature fairy garden.
  • Base is metal with a dark gray powdercoat finish, ball feet and plastic liner. Terrarium glass is 3 mm thick and has lead-free solder to protect you and the environment.
  • If ordering H Potter’s terrarium kit please choose a Small size. Find terrarium planting instructions below under the product description. Planting instructions also included with your terrarium.
  • Enclosed to use as a terrarium once it is sitting on soil (soil not provided). Props and plants are not included. Approximately: 5.5 inches square x 8.25 inches high.
  • Designed and Manufactured by H Potter. Professionally packaged.

Hanging Birdhouse Clear Glass Mini Succulent Greenhouse Planter Terrarium

Hanging Birdhouse Clear Glass Mini Succulent Greenhouse Planter Terrarium

  • Decorative, house-shaped glass box is versatile: hold air plants, votive candles, and other decorative items. Also serves as a beautiful modern centerpiece.
  • Features an elegant and minimalist birdhouse shape with glass walls and a convenient opening on the side for placing items inside. Metal ring on top allows for easy hanging.
  • Perfect as a store or restaurant display for merchandise or decorations. Used as a terrarium for cacti, succulent plants or air plants.
  • **Official MyGift® product includes multipurpose cleaning towel.** Plants pictured not included.

Freestanding Wardian Case Terrarium

Freestanding Wardian Case Terrarium

  • Metal Terrarium with charcoal brown powdercoat finish, a perfect gift. Stands 12 inches square by 58 inches high. Perfect for any location. Your only limitation is your imagination.
  • Miniature garden is created when glass slides into place on all walls and roof.
  • Wardian Case has 3 sections: table with plastic planting liner, house and roof.
  • Easy to assemble, stacks like a lego. Props not included.
  • Designed and Manufactured by H Potter. Professionally packaged.
15 Feb

Lovely Ground Cover: Moss Phlox

Phlox subulata (Buy online), also known as Moss Phlox, is an excellent ground cover for low-maintenance landscapes. Known for its ability to survive under various conditions, Moss Phlox makes an excellent plant for covering unsightly patches. It can be grown as a bordering plant, as a ground cover in rock gardens, as cascading plant against walls, or as a charming creeper in gardens and landscapes.

Moss Phlox

How to Grow Moss Phlox

Consider Moss Phlox when you are looking for a ground cover that does not require much care and performs well in a sandy, rocky or low-fertility soil. Phlox subulata is propagated from seeds, layering or stem cuttings (cuttings especially shorter ones root quickly).

Young plants require moderate watering in a well-drained soil. They also benefit from a little application of fertilizer in early spring. Once established they do not require much maintenance. Except for annual pruning (preferably in winter to encourage better growth in the following season), this lovely ground cover will thrive under full sun and require occasional watering.It usually spreads 1 meter across and gain a height of up to 10 cm. Depending on the climatic conditions, a young plant may require 2 to 5 years to reach this size.

Moss Phlox bears flowers of magenta pink-purple, red, fuchsia, violet, cream and white colors appear in mid-spring.

Popular varieties include: Phlox subulata ‘Candy Stripes’, Phlox subulata ‘Snowflake’, Phlox subulata ‘Red Wings’, Phlox subulata ‘Drummonds Pink’, and Phlox subulata ‘Emerald Cushion’. Buy Moss Phlox online.

Moss phlox

27 Jan

Garden Dispatch # 7

The Garden Dispatch is a weekly compilation of useful and interesting resources for gardeners and landscape designers.

Growing vegetables in a small space garden

Growing Vegetables in a Small Garden

You do not really have to have a sprawling backyard to grow your own vegetables. You can get an impressive yield from your small space garden, all you have to do is selecting using the right techniques and selecting suitable plants. Here is a list of 9 best vegetables to grow in your small space garden.


How to rescue and repair a flooded garden

How to Rescue and Repair a Flooded Garden

Weather your garden is waterlogged or completely flooded, there are ways to rescue your garden. Start with removing silt and debris, clean up dead plants and rotting material,  condition your soil, help surviving plants thrive and then start planting new ones. See Kate Wall’s step-by-step guide on rescuing and repairing a flooded garden.

Easy Growing Orchids

6 Easiest Orchid to Grow in Your Garden

Follow this informative conversation on growing some of the easiest-growing orchids in your garden.


Growing Hepaticas for Early Spring Blossoms

Want to try something new this year? Try Hepaticas. Known for their pink, purple, blue, and white flowers, Hepaticas make excellent early spring bloomers. Though not widely cultivates in gardens, growing these lovely bloomers is rewarding when you want to try something new in your garden. See: How to grow Hepaticas.

22 Jan

How to Design a Traditional Japanese Garden

Traditional Japanese gardens are known for their unique style that combines trees, flowers, water, rocks, bridges and architectural elements in a miniature landscape. Inspired from traditional Chinese gardens, Japanese gardens have their own character formed by amalgamation of cultural elements and horticultural techniques.

Water basins, water cascades, rocks and sand, traditional lanterns, and typical cherry, ginkgo, maple, pine, and bamboo trees are basic elements of a traditional Japanese garden. You can also spot small islands, private pavilions, miniature towers and Japanese pagodas, bamboo screens, and traditional gates in a Japanese gardens. A typical Japanese garden grows moss, evergreen trees, and horticultural structures like bonsai and topiary.

Also see: How to Use Bonsai in Your Home Interior

Designing a Japanese garden requires a careful selection of all of these design elements combined in a miniature landscape that uses a lot of vertical and horizontal blank space.

Recommended Books:

13 Ideas for a Traditional Japanese Garden

Browse the following examples of traditional and modern Japanese gardens. I am sure you will find many useful ideas for your next landscape project.

Japanese Garden
17 Jan

Lovely Flowering Shrub: Cuphea

Cuphea is a genus of evergreen and perennial flowering shrubs. These lovely flowering shrubs are useful for growing in garden borders where they keep blooming almost all through the year. Native to Mexico and tropical regions of Central America, these flowering shrubs produce flowers of green, purple, pink and white. Most species start blooming as soon as winter days are gone and continue to bloom until late summer.

Cuphea cyanea "Pink Cigar Plant"

How to Grow Cuphea

Most species of Cuphea require a well-drained soil and indirect sun, and grow up to 1 feet. In colder regions, Cupheas will freeze to ground in winter but will emerge in early spring. Being excellent flowering shrubs, most species are used in garden borders, mixed with seasonal bloomers in a mixed flowering bed or grown as small container plants.

Several hybrids and cultivars of Cuphea are easily available at commercial nurseries. Most of them are easily propagated from seeds (buy seeds online).

Popular species include:

C. ignea: Also known as ‘Cigarette Bush’, Cuphea ignea grows as a small flowering shrub and produces bright red flowers in spring and summer.

C. hyssopifolia: Also known as ‘False Heather’, this small flowering shrub produces flowers of varying shades including white, green, pink and purple.
Cuphea hyssopifolia
C. micropetala is known for its bright summer flowers.