29 Jul

Primula vulgaris: Lovely Plant for Early-Spring Flowers

Primula is a large genus of perennials known for their early-spring flowers. These lovely bloomers are usually grown in flower borders and beds under shade where traditional flowering plants cannot thrive. These shade loving plants grow nicely in shady spots and produce flowers in almost all hues of red, orange, yellow, blue and violet.

In the recent years, the genus of Primula has been extensively hybridized resulting in a large number of low-maintenance varieties. In general, all species of Primula require partial shade, fertile loamy soil, regular watering and cooler temperatures. Therefore, they make good plants to grow for early-spring when they produce a lot of flowers and continue to bloom until early summer.

Primula vulgaris

Primula vulgaris /Image via Flickr

If you have not grown a Primula before, you can start with Primula vulgaris which is a low-maintenance and versatile plant. It is characterized by tongue-shaped leaves and scented flowers of cream color. The plant tends to form small clumps each producing erect flower stems. When grown under shade and provided with sufficiently moist soil, Primula vulgaris does not require much maintenance and spreads 3 to 4 cm across. Usually grown for bedding, Primula vulgaris can be easily grown in containers and placed indoors under humid and slightly cool conditions.

Primula vulgaris is also known as Primula grandiflora.

13 Dec

Attractive Flowering Pot Plants for the Winter: Geissorhiza

Geissorhiza radians

Geissorhiza radians (Wine Cups) / Image by Wilferd Duckitt

The lovely plants in these pictures belong to the genus of Geissorhiza  – a genus of about 80 species known for their attractive flowers. Grown from seeds or corms, these lovely bloomers make excellent pot plants for winter.

Most species of Geissorhiza are low-growing plants and can be grown in small pots. They need constant moisture during the winter and require complete drought in the summer. Geissorhizas also make good plants for mass plantation in landscapes.

Popular species of include: Geissorhiza radians or Wine Cups, G. tulbaghensis, and Geissorhiza grandiflora.

Geissorhiza monanthos

Geissorhiza monanthos / Image by Wilferd Duckitt

13 Nov

Lovely Flowering Shrub with Sweet Fragrant Flowers: Abelia

Abelia is a genus of lovely flowering shrubs from Asia and Mexico. Loved by gardeners because of its compact growth, Abelias are excellent specimen shrubs for gardens and landscapes. The genus of Abelia consists of more than 30 species and many hybrids.

Most species of Abelia grow from 1 to 6 meters and produce attractive glossy foliage accompanied by beautiful flowers of white, pink and mauve colors. Flowers are usually fragrant especially in summer evenings.

Abelia grandiflora

Abelia grandiflora/ Image by Leonora Enking

Abelias can be easily trimmed to form desirable shapes and size. These lovely shrubs are quite hardy and adaptable. Most species will tolerate drought and frost. Propagated by cuttings, Abelias will go good under full to partial sun.

From a large number of available varieties to choose from, you can start with popular species like:

Abelia grandiflora is a medium-sized flowering shrub that grows up to 3 meters and produces arching branches with small glossy leaves. Pink flowers with light fragrance appear in mid-summer.

Abelia Edward Goucher is a popular hybrid variety and is grown for its longer flowering period (usually much of the summer till early fall). This compact flowering shrub grows up to 5 feet and usually forms dense and rounded shape. The lustrous green leaves turn to pinkish-purple in winter.

Abelia grandiflora ‘Kaleidoscope’ is known for its red stems and bright, golden yellow variegation on glossy green leaves creating a kaleidoscope of color. The plant makes an excellent specimen shrub for indoor use.

21 May

Brunfelsia pauciflora: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Brunfelsia is a small genus of flowering shrubs and small trees native to tropical climates of the Americas. The plants in this genus are known for their exotic flowers. Most plants in the genus of Brunfelsia are evergreen and drought tolerant.

Brunfelsias make good specimen plants in sunny or partially shaded parts of the garden where they can grow up to 4 meters and produce abundance of colorful flowers that exude sweet fragrance. Among many popular species, Brunfelsia pauciflora and its various hybrids are perhaps the most common and widely cultivated plants.

Brunfelsia pauciflora

Brunfelsia pauciflora / Image by Tony Rodd

Brunfelsia pauciflora grows as an evergreen shrub that can gain the height of 4 meters. The plant is known for its scented and colorful flowers that change their hues from violet-mauve to pale-mauve and then white on successive days. Thus giving the plant its common name – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Other popular species include: B. grandiflora, Brunfelsia australis, Brunfelsia isola (Lady of the Night), and B. nitida (Raintree). Most of these species can be easily propagated from hardwood cuttings and grown in a shaded or sunny spot where they are protected from heavy frost.

28 Nov

Fragrant and Winter Flowering Shrub: Luculia gratissima

Luculia gratissima

Luculia gratissima/ Image by James Gaither

The plant in picture is Luculia gratissima – an excellent bloomer and ornamental shrub from south Asia particularly from the Himalayas. Luculia gratissima belongs to the family of popular flowering shrubs and trees including Ixora, Gardenia and Hamelia. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree (up to 5 meters) that bears beautiful glossy leaves and produces abundance of fragrant flower in fall and winter. The masses of pink flowers spread delightful and jasmine-like scent.

Luculia gratissima is a bit difficult to grow in garden in garden as it thrives in a very limited spectrum of day and night temperature (between 28 to 80 F). It also requires long exposure to indirect sunlight, higher level of moisture and well-drained soil.

Though a bit difficult to grow, Luculia gratissima is a very rewarding plant that produces long lasting and fragrant winter flowering. It is usually propagated from seeds or hardwood cuttings. Other popular species include: Luculia grandiflora and L. intermedia.

31 Oct

Sutera grandiflora, the Wild Phlox

Sutera grandiflora is a woody perennial from tropical regions of Africa. The plant is known for its aromatic leaves and its ability to produce large clusters of small purple flowers. Commonly known as Wild Phlox, Sutera grandiflora grows as a mound forming plant up to 1.5 meter and produces large groups in wild. The plant grows in ordinary soil and requires regular watering in summer. Flowers appear in summer or autumn and last for many days.

Sutera grandiflora, Wild Phlox

Sutera grandiflora, Wild Phlox

Sutera grandiflora is a good choice for growing in borders or as background plant in landscapes and flowering beds, or containers as trailing plant. Propagation is easy from seeds or cuttings.

11 Sep

Pereskia, the Rose Cactus

Pereskia is a genus of shrub-like cacti that are naturally found in tropical regions of Mexico and Brazil. The genus is believed to belong to ancient species of cacti that managed to keep their leaves and shrub like structure and did not evolve in to other cacti that we know today.

Though the genus of Pereskia is not much popular in horticulture, many members of this small genus make interesting specimen plants. They have woody stems with clusters of long and sharp spines. The leaves are fleshy and elliptic to oblong in shape. Most species produce large and showy flowers of pink color in late spring or early summer. These species vary greatly in size and growing habit. Some Pereskias can gain the height of 15 meters or more whereas some grow as small succulent shrub of 1 meter.

Pereskia grandiflora var voilacea

Pereskia grandiflora var voilacea/ Image by Erick Lux

How to Grow Pereskia

Most species of Pereskia are not fussy about growing conditions – they just require average water (though regular watering in spring and summer encourage vigorous growth), a well-drained soil, and sunny exposure (though they can survive dark shady spots as well).

Popular species of include:

P. grandiflora (Rose Cactus) – Evergreen to deciduous plant that can grow up to 5 meters. The plant produces clusters of pink flowers followed by fruits.

P. grandiflora var. voilacea – A purple flowering species that closely resembles Pereskia grandiflora.

14 Jul

Easy to Grow Flowering Plant for Beginners: Gaillardia

Gaillardia is a small genus of annuals and perennials from the family of sunflower and bear very colorful flowers over a long flowering season. Gaillardia is commonly known as Blanket Flower because of its colorful flowers that are reminiscent of colorful blankets of native Red Indians of Americas. They are native to Americas, and make an excellent choice for cut flower.

Gaillardia bears yellow, red, orange and sometimes bicolor flowers that bloom on long stalks. The plant itself grows up to 2 feet in height.

Gaillardia, Plants for Beginners

Gaillardia Flowers, Image by Mike Sutton

How to Grow Gaillardia

Gaillardia is quite easy to grow from seeds. It is frost and drought tolerant and well drained soil under bright sunlight. Among the most popular and commercially grown varieties Gaillardia x Grandiflora and Gaillardia Pulchella ‘Lorenziana’ are widely available as hardy plants for containers and flower beds. Gaillardia usually requires moderate watering. These self-seeding plants attract a lot of bees and butterflies to garden. Deadhead your Gaillardia plants to prevent it from becoming invasive.

22 May

Dazzling, Lovely Flowers of Portulaca

Portulaca (Buy seeds online), commonly known as Moss Rose, is a drought tolerant flowering ‘weed’ that bears splashes of colorful flowers in hot and dry climates. Both annual and perennial species of Portulaca are grown commercially and used as ground cover. Almost all species have small and fleshy leaves; grow without requiring much care, and love full sun.

Portulaca Grandiflora, Moss Rose

Portulaca Grandiflora (Moss Rose), Image from wellgrowhorti.com

How to Grow Portulaca

Portulaca is a perfect plant for beginners. They are propagated easily from seeds and adapt themselves in many different conditions – as container plants, as ground cover for hot and sunny locations, in hanging flowering baskets, ornamental plants for window gardens, or grown for edging rock gardens and pathways. Provide Moss Rose with moderate water in a well drained soil.

Popular Varieties of Portulaca (Moss Rose)

Portulaca Grandiflora: The most popular and commercially grown species, Portulaca Grandiflora is a prolific bloomer that bears dazzling flowers of dozens of colors (yellow, pink, orange, red, white, cream) in single as well as double forms. Easily grown from seeds (usually self-seeding), Portulaca Grandiflora loves full sun, moderate watering and well-drained soil.

Other popular hybrid species of Portulaca include: Double Sunset Fire, Tequila Series, Margarita Series, and Sundial Series.