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.

29 Jun

Tropical Flowering Shrub: Hibiscus

Hibiscus is large genus of flowering bushes, small trees, herbs and shrubs from topical and sub-tropical climates. There are a number of ornamental species of Hibiscus popular among gardeners for their attractive foliage and lovely flowers.

Besides its value as ornamental flowering plant, Hibiscus is used in preparation of beverages and red tea which is rich in vitamin C and minerals. A flowering Hibiscus in your garden is bound to attract a lot of birds and butterflies.

It is also the national flower of South Korea (Hibiscus Syriacus) and Malaysia (Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis).

Hibiscus Flower

Hibiscus Flower

How to Grow Hibiscus

These sun loving, flowering plants should be pruned regularly to gain prolonged flowering. Hibiscus should be provided with well drained and mulched soil with moderate watering and regular fertilizer.

Popular Varieties of Hibiscus

Common Hibiscus can be grouped in four types: Hibiscus Mutabilis, Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis, Hibiscus Syriacus and Hibiscus Schizopetalus.

Hibiscus Mutabilis is known with many names: Persian Rose, Rose Mallow, Cotton Rose, and Confederate Rose. All of the names are given to this variety for its fairly large and attractive flowers. This shrubby plant bears dense cover of bright leaves and flushes of flowers that change many colors – white in the morning, pink in the noon, and red in the evening.

Hibiscus Sinensis grows as an evergreen shrub in almost all tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. It is widely grown as ornamental hedge that bears red, bell-shapes flowers. Some varieties also produce white, pink, orange or yellow flowers. Hibiscus Sinensis is usually known as China Rose.

Hibiscus Syriacus which is also known as Rose of Sharon is another popular variety that grows best as ornamental shrub of about 2.7 meters. Flowers are white, mauve and blue.

Hibiscus Schizopetalus also known as Coral Hibiscus or Japanese Hibiscus bears attractive and bigger flowers of red or orange-red colors. Countless hybrids of Hibiscus Schizopetalus available as houseplants.

Pink Hibiscus Flower

Pink Hibiscus

09 Jun

Scabiosa: Lovely Pincushion Flowers

Scabiosa is a genus of prolific bloomers distributed across Asia, Europe, Mediterranean and many temperate regions of the world. They are easy to grow and fill empty spaces and borders very nicely in gardens and landscapes. Scabiosa forms low mounds of decorative leaves and bears nice flowers of creamy white, lavender and lilac colors. Flowers are borne on a long stalk.

Scabiosas are commonly known as Pincushion flowers.

Scabiosa Atropurpurea, The Pincushion Flower

Scabiosa Atropurpurea (Pincushion Flower), Image © Annie's Annuals

How to Grow Scabiosa

Scabiosa is easy to grow and requires almost in any soil but prefer well drained and rich media. Grow them in full to partial sun with regular watering though they can survive frost and drought to some extent. Propagation is easy from seeds as well as divisions.

Popular Species of Scabiosa

Scabiosa Africana: A shrubby, evergreen perennial, Scabiosa Africana bears white or mauve flowers. Flowers grow in spring and can be used as cut flowers.

Scabiosa Atropurpurea: It is an annual plant and bears flowers of white, pink, crimson and purple.

Other popular varieties and cultivars include Scabiosa Columbaria ‘Baby Blue’, Blue Diamonds, Butterfly Blue, Perfect Alba, Pincushion Pink, Pink Lemonade, Pink Mist, and Ultra Voilet.

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.

10 May

Lagerstroemia: Flowering Shrubs and Trees

Lagerstroemia, commonly known as Crepe Myrtle, is a genus of about 50 species of flowering shrubs and trees. Native to the Indian subcontinent, South Asia and Oceania, most species of Lagerstroemia are found in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, China, Australia and parts of Central America.

Lagerstroemia Speciosa

Lagerstroemia bears beautiful flowers of pink, purple, mauve and white colors in summer. In full bloom, bright green leaves and clusters of flowers make it an excellent choice as ornamental tree for homes and gardens. Lagerstroemia sheds its leaves in a gradual process so you would hardly find it completely bare. Flowers contain six or seven crumpled and wrinkled petals, that is why, Lagerstroemia is also called Crepe Flowers tree.

Apart from its ornamental value, Lagerstroemia Speciosa (commonly known as Banaba) is widely used in preparation of medicine for diabetes and obesity. The timber is durable and takes fine polish. For this reason it is widely used in manufacturing of furniture and wooden panels.

Popular Species of Lagerstroemia

Lagerstroemia Indica (Indian Lilac or Crepe Myrtle) – It is a large flowering shrub that bears sprays of ornamental flowers from May to August. Flowers are white, pink, rose or mauve. It also makes a good candidate for a bonsai project.

Lagerstroemia Lancasteri – This hybrid variety flowers abundantly. A perfect ornamental shrub!

Lagerstroemia Speciosa (Queen’s Myrtle, Banaba, Pride of India) – It is the most common species of Lagerstroemia. The plant turns into small or medium tree. Leaves of Lagerstroemia Speciosa have medicinal value and are exported world wide.

Lagerstroemia Indica

Lagerstroemia Indica, Image © W. J. Hayden