19 Jun

Lovely Summer Bloomer for Cold Climates: Phygelius

Phygelius is a small genus of ornamental bloomers from South Africa. These cold hardy plants make excellent border plants that grow up to 1 meter and produce and produce long spikes of fuchsia-like flowers. They can also be grown in large pots and hanging baskets in semi-shaded or sunny spots.

Phygelius

Phygelius/ Image by faroutflora.com

Phygelius are grown as evergreen shrubs or as perennials in colder climates for their ability to produce abundance of tubular flowers that usually appear in summer and stay for a long time. Flowers are orange or red.

In their natural habitat, Phygelius grow in shade near water. Therefore, they prefer slightly moist and semi-shaded spots.

Though only two species, P. capensis and P.aequalis, are found in nature, a number of interesting cultivars and hybrids of Phygelius are commercially sold. The popular varieties include:

Phygelius x rectus ‘African Queen’, Phygelius x rectus ‘Sunshine’, and Phygelius x rectus ‘Salmon Leap’. These varieties are usually easy to grow when grown in a slightly moist and fertile soil.

18 Feb

Zaluzianskya capenis: the Night Blooming Phlox

Zaluzianskya is a small genus of flowering annuals and perennials grown for their lovely flowers. Native to South Africa, most plants in the genus of Zaluzianskya are drought-tolerant and low growing plants that can be grown in containers or in the ground.

Among many popular species, Zaluzianskya capensis is grown widely for its lovely and fragrant flowers. In fact, the plant is known for intoxicating and potent fragrance that its flowers emit. Flowers of Zaluzianskya capensis start blooming early in the day and the fragrance becomes stronger and stronger with the passage of time. As the night approaches, the small white flowers emit a potent and somewhat addicting fragrance that reminds of vanilla or almonds. That is why the plant is commonly described as Midnight candy or Night Blooming Phlox.

Zaluzianskya capensis

Zaluzianskya capensis/ Image via flickr

Zaluzianskya capensis is quite easy to grow from seeds that germinate easily when sown in early spring. Young plants require average watering and partial sun. Mature plants can be grown under shade or full sun. However, it should be protected from frost and long spells of cold.

Generally Zaluzianskya capensis benefits from a rich soil that is moist during the summer but well-drained in winter.

11 Dec

Lovely, Tropical Flowering Vine: Tecomaria capensis

Tecomaria capensis

Tecomaria capensis/ Image by James Gaither

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.

29 Oct

Flowering Shrubs and Trees: Crotalaria, the Rattlepod

Crotalaria is a large genus of flowering shrubs and trees from the Fabaceae family to which popular flowering trees like Laburnum, Orchid Tree, and Wisteria belong. Most species of Crotalaria are indigenous to Africa where they grow in tropical climates as flowering shrubs or small trees.

Crotalarias are popular plants among horticulturists because of showy, yellow flowers that look like fluttering birds giving these plants their common names – Bird Flower and Canary Bird Bush. Most species bloom in spring. Flowering is followed by formation of hallow seed pods containing large seeds that rattle when dried seed pod is shaken, that is why these plants are also known as rattlepods.

Crotalaria agatiflora, Bird Bush

Crotalaria agatiflora/ Bird Bush/ Image by Erick Lux

A popular garden plant from this genus is Crotalaria agatiflora which grows as a small tree and produces large yellow flowers in spring. Crotalaria capensis is another popular species which is grown as a fast-growing and small tree.

Most species of Crotalaria prefer moderate watering, bright sunlight and a regular soil mix.