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.

12 Jul

Ornamental, Tropical Flowering Tree: Scarlet Cordia

Scarlet Cordia (Cordia Sebestena) is one the flowering trees that I would always love to grow in my garden. I just love its orange flowers that stand out against dense, dark green foliage. Scarlet Cordia is a perfect ornamental tree for tropical and sub-tropical regions where it grows into a small, compact and evergreen tree (up to 25 feet).  It is also a perfect choice for evergreen foliage in landscapes, containers or along streets or pathways.

Scarlet Cordia, Tropical Ornamental Tree

Scarlet Cordia, Image by Dinesh Valke

Leaves of Scarlet Cordia are dark green, stiff, and rough and hairy to touch. Flowers are very showy; they appear in small clusters and are followed by pear-shaped fruit of white color. Having a Scarlet Cordia in your garden not only adds colors but also ensure frequent visits of birds and butterflies.

Scarlet Cordia is also known as Geiger Tree.

How to Grow Scarlet Cordia

Scarlet Cordia is quite undemanding and easy to grow ornamental tree. It can be propagate from seeds or layering. It can tolerate drought and grows in any soil type with good drainage. Scarlet Cordia can also withstand water with higher level of salt contents. Young trees should be pruned regularly to keep them in shape. Protect Scarlet Cordia from frost.

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.

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

21 Jun

Flowering Plant for Hot and Dry Landscapes: Kangaroo Paws

If you are looking for flowering plants for a low maintenance garden landscape, Anigozanthos should be on top of your list. Since they are native of south-west Australia, these hardy perennials would grow as very nice flowering plants in a dry and hot climate. Commonly known as Kangaroo Paws, Anigozanthos are popular for their nice and usual flowers that also attract flocks of birds. Most species of Kangaroo Paws bloom in spring and summer; flowers vary in size and colors and appear on a long stalk exposing the nectar in the flowers.

Anigozanthos Manglesii (Kangaroo Paws)

Anigozanthos Manglesii (Kangaroo Paws), Image © SeanMack

How to Grow Kangaroo Paws

Kangaroo Paws grow in a well-drained soil, and prefer and sunny, warm places in the garden. They need protection from frost and grow well without requiring much water. Propagation is easy from divisions or seeds sown in early spring or autumn.

Kangaroo Paws also make good cut flowers for floral arrangements. Popular varieties of Kangaroo Paws are: Anigozanthos ‘Bush Ranger‘ with orange flowers, Anigozanthos ‘Dwarf Delight‘ with apricot colored flowers, Anigozanthos Flavidus with yellow and green flowers, Anigozanthos Manglesii with red and green flowers, and Anigozanthos ‘Pink Joey‘ with Solomon pink colored flowers.

———————————-
About the Author: This guest post is compiled by Jahanzeb Nazir Malik who is an avid gardener, an environmental activist, and a lawyer by profession. He also writes his blog on food, culture, art, entertainment and architecture.

20 Jun

Colorful Foliage Plant for Indoor/Outdoor Gardens: Episcia

Episcia is a genus of eight perennial and herbaceous plants from tropical regions of Central and South America. Grown as ornamental houseplants for their beautiful foliage, Episcia produce colorful, often variegated, broad leaves of green or reddish-green colors. Variegation is usually yellow and flowers vary from red-pink, orange, purple and white. One of the common houseplant species of Episcia genus is Episcia Cupreata which bears coppery-green or bright green leaves, sometimes showing variegation of yellow, red or silver colors.

Flowers on Episcia Cupreata are usually yellow. The plant is commonly known as Flame Violet. A number of hybrid species with colorful flowers and foliage namely Episcia ‘Tricolor’, Episcia ‘Tiger Stripe’, Episcia ‘Metallica’, and Episcia ‘Chocolate Velour’ are also grown commercially.

Episcia Cupreata

Episcia Cupreata, Image from www.sci.muni.cz

How to Grow Episcia

Most species of Episcia would grow indoor as well as outdoor when provided with moderate watering and partial sunlight, and protected from frost. Propagation is easy from leaf cuttings or seeds.

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.

14 May

Euphorbia Milii, The Crown of Thorns

I have been growing Euphorbia Milii (also known as Crown of Thorns) for many years and I grow it for many purposes. It makes a nice hedge plant, it is an excellent flowering bush for container gardening, and it adds beautiful colors to a landscape.

Euphorbia Milii Plant

Euphorbia Milii

Euphorbia Milii is a bushy succulent and bears small yet attractive flowers almost throughout the year. The stem is covered with sharp and dense spines, and bright green leaves near the growing ends. Flowers are red, pink and white though you can find a wide range hybrid Euphorbia Milii that bear more colorful flowers (yellow, orange, cream and many mixed colors). Hybrid varieties are usually grown as grafted plants and display larger flowers.

How to Grow Euphorbia Milii

The actual home of Euphorbia Milii is Madagascar, however it has been successfully acclimatized and grown commercially in many parts of the world. Euphorbia Milii requires well drained soil, moderate water and good sunlight, however, it can survive drought and high temperature. It can be propagated from cuttings that can be rooted or grafted on a stock. When growing from cuttings, allow cuttings to dry for a few days and then plant them in a mixture of moist soil and peat moss. Keep the medium barely moist till plants are established. Over watering would rot these tender cuttings.

Euphorbia Milii, White Flower

Image from riverrocksucculents.com

Euphorbia Milii can be used as hedge plant, pruned down for edging, grown to cover spaces in rock garden or landscape, or kept as indoor ornamental plant (provided with ample sunlight).

Euphorbia Milii is named after Baron Milius who introduced these plants on France.

Hybrid Euphorbia Milii, Pink-Yellow Flowers

Image from panoramio.com

04 May

Nasturtium, Jewels in My Garden

I love Nasturtium for many reasons: its flowers stand out like small jewels, it is not so demanding and repels pests, it makes perfect plant to fill edges, empty garden beds, and containers… and i like its peppery flavor in salads 🙂

Nasturtium is a self-seeding annual and perennial herbaceous plant that bears white, yellow, orange, maroon and pink flowers. Nasturtium belongs to the Tropaeolaceae family and comes from South and Central America. It is a popular ornamental plant that grows well in direct and filtered sunlight.

Nasturtium Flowers

Image © Patricia Hamilton

Nasturtium also makes a good companion plant as it repels pests and caterpillars. Because Nasturtium attracts black fly aphids, it is usually grown as companion plant to save crops from aphids by acting as defense shield.

All parts of Nasturtium are edible. The seed pods are picked, tubers of some species are used as source of food, and flowers of nasturtium are used to garnish salads or prepare Nasturtium Lemon Butter. Nasturtium flowers can also be used in potpourri.

Growing Nasturtium

Nasturtium is an easy and fast grower. It grows well in well drained soil under full or partial sun. Nasturtium does not require rich soil; in fact, it produces more leaves and less flowers in soil is too rich. Leaves are light-green and round in shape. Flowers are shaped like a funnel.

Nasturtium Leaves

Image © Ken Mccown

There are many commercially grown varieties of Nasturtium available today that slightly vary in habit. Dwarf varieties make good plants for edging whereas the climbing varieties can be grown against fences in the garden or in pots with trellises. The cascading varieties are wonderful for hanging baskets.

Popular Varieties of Nasturtium

Alaska Series – These Nasturtiums remain dwarf and bear prominent flowers.

Jewel Series – Nasturtium in Jewel Series bear relatively larger flowers; the plant remains bushy and dwarf.

Canary Creepers – Canary Creeper Nasturtium is a climber and grows as perennial flowering vine. It can be grown against trellis.