09 Jul

Lovely Flowers from Chile: Salpiglossis Sinuata

Salpiglossis is a small genus of herbaceous plants from Chile grown for their colorful and lovely flowers. Most popular species of this genus is Salpiglossis Sinuata (also known as Painted Tongue) that bears large lovely flowers of yellow, orange, purple, scarlet and blue colors. These colorful flowers resemble closely with Petunia flowers.

Suitable for garden edges, borders, and in background of flower beds, Painted Tongue bear lovely flowers in late spring and continue to bloom last till summer. Salpiglossis Sinuata (Painted Tongue) is suitable for container gardening as well.

Salpiglossis Sinuata, Lovely Flower of Chile

Salpiglossis Sinuata, Image by Ricardo Hernández

How to Grow Salpiglossis Sinuata/Painted Tongue

Salpiglossis Sinuata requires bright sunlight and regular watering in a well-drained soil. These easy to grow plants can be propagated from seeds. Keep young plants moist and under shade until they are established and are ready to be transferred to beds or pots.

06 Jul

Lovely, Summer Bloomer for Warm Climates: Petunia

Petunia is one of the most cultivated annuals for their colorful flowers and ability to grow in many different conditions and places. Petunia can be grown in raised beds, hanging baskets, window boxes and containers for colorful flowers almost all through the year. Flowers of petunia grow in all shades of red, pink, purple, white, blue, mauve and yellow. The velvety flowers can be single, double, fringed or blotched.

The most popular species of this prolific bloomer is Petunia x. Hybrida which is a mix of Petunia Axillaris and Petunia Integrifolia. Petunia x. Hybrida comes in many different varieties ranging from dwarf flowering plants to trailing bloomers and compact ground covers. Petunia flowers in spring till summer but plants in warmer climates can bloom throughout the year. Other popular species include: Petunia Alpicola, Petunia Bajeensis, Petunia Parviflora, and Petunia Pubescens.

Petunia Flowers

Petunia Flowers, Image by Harmen de Vries

How to Grow Petunia

Petunia is easy to grow and low maintenance plant. Propagation is quite easy from seeds. Keep seedlings under indirect sunlight until they are able to be transferred in pots or beds. Young plants require bright sunlight and moderate water. Petunia is self-seeding plant and should be deadheaded to prevent it from invading the entire landscape.

03 Jul

Colorful and Fragrant Climber for Warm Climate: Wisteria

Wisteria is perhaps one of the most beautiful flowering climbers that fill your garden with exotic colors and fragrance. Native to temperate regions of North America and Asia, it is a very fast growing woody climber. Not all species produce fragrant flowers, but all of the species in the genus are excellent bloomers.

Flowers appear in long and drooping pendulous clumps resembling the flowers of Laburnum (Golden Shower Tree). Wisteria blooms in spring and continue to bloom till late summer. Flowers are usually white, purple, pink and blue. Leaves are soft and green.

Wisteria grows vigorously and becomes a mound if not provided with a suitable support therefore it should be grown against pergola or a wall. Most species of Wisteria would climb up to 20 meters or more.  The world’s largest Wisteria grows in Sierra Madre, California spanning over 1 acre.

One of the most common and easy to grow species is Wisteria Sinensis (also known as Chinese Wisteria) which is a deciduous creeping plant growing up to 30 meters. Its violet flowers are fragrant and bloom in spring.

Wisteria Vine with Violet Flowers

Wisteria with Violet Flowers, Image from tamarynwhite.com

Wisteria grows in deep and well-drained soil under full sun. Usually it does not require much care and grows freely with just moderate amount of water. Most species can be grown from hardwood or softwood cutting, seeds or by layering.

30 Jun

Colorful, Ornamental Flowering Plants: Bellflower

Campanula or Bellflower is a delightfully attractive plant known for its colorful, bell-shaped flowers. This versatile genus comprises of a large number of annual and perennial herbaceous plants. Flowers range from many shades of purple and blue to white and pink. Excellent for flower beds, mixed borders and rockeries, Bellflower are quite easy to grow as houseplants.

The Latin name ‘Campanula’ is translated as ‘Little Bell’ because of the bell-shaped flowers.

Bellflower Plant

Bellflower Plant, Image from www.biblio.tu-bs.de

How to Grow Campanula/Bellflower

Bellflower is fairly easy to grow plant at sunny as well as shady spots in a well drained soil. Water Bellflower plants moderately and fertilize in summer. Cultivation is easy from seeds.

Popular Varieties of Campanula/Bellflower

Campanula Carpatica, also known as Tussock Bellflower, bears lilac-blue flowers in spring. This perennial species grows in clumps.

Campanula Glomerata is erect perennial plant that grows in dense clusters and bears blue or white flowers in summer. Common name is Clustered Bellflower.

Campanula Trachelium, usually called Nettle-leaved Bellflower, produces blue-purple, bell-shaped flowers in summer.

Other popular varieties include: Campanula lactiflora ‘Dwarf Pink’, Campanula x ‘Kent Belle’, Campanula ‘La Belle’, Campanula rotundifolia ‘Olympica’, and Campanula ‘Samantha’.

Campanula Bellflower

Blue Bellflower, Image from millersoap.com

06 Jun

Evergreen Flowering Shrub for Beautiful Hedges: Hebe

Native of New Zealand, Hebe is a genus of beautiful flowering shrubs with glossy leaves and attractive flowers of purple, blue, white, pink and mauve colors. Flowers are small and appear in the form of spikes. These frost resistant shrubs are a good choice for hedging especially when used as wind breaker.

Hebe, Flowering Shrub for Hedges

Hebe, Flowering Shrub for Hedges, Image by Lindsay Smith

How to Grow Hebe

Hebe requires regular water and bright sunlight. Most species of Hebe are fast growing in coastal climates and should be pruned regularly to form neat flowery hedges. Hebe would grow almost any soil but it prefers well drained and slightly acidic soil. Hebe is propagated from seeds and cuttings.

Popular Varieties of Hebe

Hebe x Andersoni: It is a small shrub with lavender flowers and glossy leaves that often tend to variegate.

Hebe Speciosa: It is a winter flowering shrub and bears purple flowers.

Hebe Salicifolia: A summer bloomer, Hebe Salicifolia produces abundant flowers of light pink color in summer.

For further information on Hebe, the best source is The Hebe Society website.

30 May

Unusual Flowers of Jade Vine, Strongylodon Macrobotrys

Strongylodon Macrobotrys, also known as Jade Vine or Emerald Vine, is a perennial and evergreen vine from tropical forests of the Philippines. Known for its unusual flowers, a blooming Jade Vine makes a spectacular show of green and blue flowers hanging in long stalks. Flowering stalks are 5 feet in length or more and each covered by about 100 flowers.

Unusual Flowers of Jade Vine

Unusual Flowers of Jade Vine, Image from davidwyatt.me.uk

A mature Jade Vine would have bright green and soft leaves covering the woody stem. In it native rainforest, Jade Vine can grow as long as 75 feet, however, in cultivation it is pruned and trained to cover arches or grown over a pergola or display cascading stalks of it unusual flowers. Jade Vine blooms in spring and summer to attract birds. Fallen blooms change colors from emerald to blue-green and the purple as they dry out.

How to Grow Jade Vine

Being a native of rainforests, Jade Vine grows in humid and temperate zones where temperature does not fall below 15 °C. It does not tolerate frost. Grow Jade Vine is moist, fertilized and slightly acidic soil for perfect coloration of flowers; water regularly and provide it with plenty of sunshine.

Jade Vine can be grown from cuttings as well as seeds. In colder climates, Jade Vine can be grown in a greenhouse with adequate level of humidity and temperature. For pollination and seeds to produce, grow two vines side by side.

20 May

Ceanothus, Lovely Flowering Shrubs for Cold Climates

Ceanothus is a genus of about 50-60 flowering shrubs (up to 3 meters) and small trees (up to 7 meters) that bear fragrant blue, pink, white or lilac flowers. Both evergreen and deciduous varieties of Ceanothus are available for growing as ornamental flowering plants. Ceanothus are at their best when blooming in late spring or mid-summer. Flowers are tiny but densely clustered to form a rich display of soft and fragrant blooms.

Ceanothus 'Cynthia Postan', Flowering Shrub

Ceanothus 'Cynthia Postan', Image from cambridge2000.com

With a little effort, Ceanothus can be trained to form effective ground cover, hedge or climber. Prune only when required, the best time to prune Ceanothus is after the end of flowering spell.

How to Grow Ceanothus

Most species of Ceanothus would grow from softwood cuttings sowed in later spring or mid-summer. Propagating from seeds can be challenging. In winter, soak Ceanothus seeds in hot water for 12 hours and then store them at 1° C for three months. Sow stratified seeds when temperature is between 16-18°C. Germination may take one to three months.

Once established, Ceanothus is easy to care. It requires well-drained and mulched soil, average watering under full sun, and protection from frost. Ceanothus is not a hungry plant and can grow on nutrients available in soil and water without any extra feed.

Popular Varieties of Ceanothus

Ceanothus Concha (Californian Lilac): Suitable for alkaline soil; withstands drought, grows up to 4 feet, makes a bushy plant and blooms in late spring.

Ceanothus Delileanus (Gloire de Versailles): Another bushy variety. Gloire de Versailles is deciduous and bears pale-blue flowers from mid-summer to autumn.

Ceanothus , ‘Blue Mound’: An evergreen shrub, producing dark-blue flowers in late spring. Blue Mound can grow as tall as 5 feet and, spread up to 6 feet.

Ceanothus, ‘Autumnal Blue’: Autumn Blue is evergreen, grows upright and bears light blue flowers in late summer. It can grow as tall as 10 feet.

Ceanothus ‘Puget Blue’: One of the mostly cultivated varieties of Ceanothus, Puget Blue makes a good flowering shrub.

Ceanothus Thyrsiflorus (Skylark): Excellent climber and prolific bloomer. Skylark flowers blooms in late spring or early summer.