15 Nov

Delicate, Awesome Frangipani

Frangipani (Buy plants online) is one of the most exotic and widely grown flowering trees. Its sweet scented flowers, rich colorful blossoms and lush green leaves make it a center of attraction in any garden landscape. Originally belonging to Mexico, Jamaica and Ecuador, Frangipani can be seen is almost all tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world.

white frangipani flowers

Photo © papaija2008

Botanical name of Frangipani is Plumeria which is associated with a 17th century French botanist Charles Plumier. Other names are Jasmine Tree, Life Tree, Pagoda Tree, Crimson Temple Tree and Gulcheen.

How to Grow Frangiani

Almost all varieties of Frangipani (Buy plants online) are easy to grow and bloom. All they require is a warm and bright spot in a rich soil. It grows well when watered moderately and fertilized generously. It is an ideal plant for container gardening as well as low maintenance garden landscape. It rarely grows taller than 6 meters and blooms most time of the year. The tree sheds its leaves in winter to reveal its fat limbs. Therefore, landscape experts use companion plants with Frangipani to conceal its pale, ugly limbs during the winter. Smart gardeners provide it with the background of bright and showy walls to display its leafless structure as interesting sculpted form.

Because of its extra ordinary ability to produce leaves and flowers after it has been lifted from the soil, Frangipani is usually related to immortality. For this reason, it can be commonly seen growing in graveyards and temples in India and Pakistan. Its flowers are also used during worship at temples in Sri Lanka and India.

Leaves and Flowers

Frangipani produces large green leaves (up to 30 cm in length). The leaves usually grow at the ends of branches. They are smooth and narrow with distinct parallel veins running from the mid-rib towards edges of the leaves.

Frangiani flowers are usually white with a deep yellow throat and tinge of pink on outer edges. Hybrid varieties produce flowers in many different shades of crimson, pink, yellow and white. Each flower has five waxy petals.

plumeria leaves

Photo © J.M. Grag

Medicinal Use

Frangipani has many medicinal benefits. The milky sap from its trunk is used in the treatment of rheumatism. When used with sandalwood oil and camphor, the milky sap relives itching. The bark is used in relieving fever, healing sores and reducing tumors. However, self medication and diagnoses should always be avoided.

Propagation

Frangipani cuttings up to 60 cm are the best and easiest way to propagate Frangipani. Cuttings should be allowed to wilt and dry out for a few days before planting.

Varieties of Frangipani

Plumeria rubra ‘Rubra’ is a smaller species with leaves not longer than 22.5 cm. Flowers are scarlet red and emit intoxicating perfume.

Plumeria rubra ‘Acutifolia’ bears white flowers with deep yellow throat. The leaves of this species are long and smooth.

Plumeria alba produces white flowers and bears long leaves which do not have the typical marginal vein. Stems and buds are greenish white.

Plumeria obtusa is an evergreen species with large, dark leaves. The pure white flowers are much larger than any of the other species.

15 Jul

Ixora – growing from a bush to a tree

The Ixora Parviflora growing in my lawn is sprawling in all directions, these days. Previously it has flowered abundantly.

ixora flowering bush

Photo © The Lovely Plants

It produces bunches of creamy white flowers with a hint of fragrance. This year, it is producing more leaves than it had produced ever. The lime-green leaves are covering the entire plant to form a nice canopy. Today, I also noticed some fresh bunches of flowers appearing here and there. Seems this Ixora will soon transform itself from a flowering bush in to a tree.

04 Jun

Ixora – flowering bush for gardens and hedges

Ixora is an evergreen flowering bush and belongs to the Rubiaceae family, which is one of the most important families of the plant kingdom because of its commercial, medicinal and ornamental use. Two species from this family, Coffea canephor and Coffea Arabica, are used for the production of coffee. The bark of trees of Cinchona is used to extract quinine which is widely used for the cure of malaria. Similarly, Psychotria Ipecacuanha is used to produce Ipecac syrup used for emetic purposes.

Photo © The Lovely Plants

Characteristics of Ixora

As a flowering bush, Ixora grows in to a dense and well branched shrub, commonly reaching 4 to 6 feet in height though some species can grow as tall as 12 feet. The size and color of leaves and flowers vary across 400 species. Plants have glossy leaves of dark green color and large clusters of tiny star shaped flowers of white, red, yellow or orange color that usually bloom in summer. It is also known as West Indian Jasmine, Jungle Geranium, and Flame in the Woods.

ixora flower bunch

Photo © The Lovely Plants

Ixora as a Flowering Bush

Shrubs and bushes can add a strikingly effect to your garden or indoor landscape. However, the requirements and growing habits of flowering bushes can be a little different from most of the flowering or ornamental plants. Like other flowering bushes, Ixora require a little attention, pruning to become a nice flowering bush or container plant for your home.

Though Ixora is not a popular houseplant, it can be a good candidate as a container plant in shaded porches, patios or pool sides for ornamental purpose or as a flowering bush in gardens. IxoraNora Grant‘ and ‘Super King’ are perfect as flowering bush whereas Ixora Coccinea is suitable for hedges and screens. Ixora can also be used in landscapes as annual flowering bush.

start shaped flowers of ixora

Photo © The Lovely Plants

If you are planning a bed of flowering bushes in your landscape, some of the good companions of your Ixora can be: Boxwood Wintergreen, Buddleia Bi-Color- butterfly bush, Golden Forsythia and Hydrangea Nikko.

Tips for Growing Ixora

Soil

Ixora prefers somewhat moist, peat-based acidic soil. Alkaline soils usually causes the leaves to turn dull or yellow.

Fertilizer

During Spring and early summer, feed every two weeks; feed monthly during the winter. Use acidic fertilizer containing minor nutrients and trace elements as these are important to maintain healthy foliage of this flowering bush.

Watering

Water generously during the summer, reduce watering during the winter season. Generally, they prefer regular watering in a well drained soil.

Light

Ixora loves bright light throughout the year but do not like direct sunlight of the summer. If you are growing it indoor, make sure that you place it outdoor for some time especially during the spring season. Ixora do not tolerate freezing temperature. If you plan to bring indoors for the winter, do so gradually so that the plant can adjust to the lower level of light. Once indoors, do not over water.

Propagation

Cuttings taken in the spring can be used to propagate plants, however, it is a bit difficult to root Ixoras.

Other Uses of Ixora

Red Ixora flowers are commonly used in Hindu worship, as well as in Indian folk medicine. Generally Ixoras are grown as ornamental plants in containers, as a flowering bush in landscapes and as a hedge. They make an excellent choice for bonsai as well.

Origin

Topical and sub-tropical regions across the world especially Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, and parts of Florida.