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.

30 Jun

Colorful, Ornamental Flowering Plants: Bellflower

Campanula or Bellflower is a delightfully attractive plant known for its colorful, bell-shaped flowers. This versatile genus comprises of a large number of annual and perennial herbaceous plants. Flowers range from many shades of purple and blue to white and pink. Excellent for flower beds, mixed borders and rockeries, Bellflower are quite easy to grow as houseplants.

The Latin name ‘Campanula’ is translated as ‘Little Bell’ because of the bell-shaped flowers.

Bellflower Plant

Bellflower Plant, Image from www.biblio.tu-bs.de

How to Grow Campanula/Bellflower

Bellflower is fairly easy to grow plant at sunny as well as shady spots in a well drained soil. Water Bellflower plants moderately and fertilize in summer. Cultivation is easy from seeds.

Popular Varieties of Campanula/Bellflower

Campanula Carpatica, also known as Tussock Bellflower, bears lilac-blue flowers in spring. This perennial species grows in clumps.

Campanula Glomerata is erect perennial plant that grows in dense clusters and bears blue or white flowers in summer. Common name is Clustered Bellflower.

Campanula Trachelium, usually called Nettle-leaved Bellflower, produces blue-purple, bell-shaped flowers in summer.

Other popular varieties include: Campanula lactiflora ‘Dwarf Pink’, Campanula x ‘Kent Belle’, Campanula ‘La Belle’, Campanula rotundifolia ‘Olympica’, and Campanula ‘Samantha’.

Campanula Bellflower

Blue Bellflower, Image from millersoap.com

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.

19 Jun

Indoor Flowering Plant for Hanging Baskets: Easter Cactus

Rhipsalidopsis Gaertneri or Easter Cactus is an epiphytic plant from Brazil and is best known for its showy flowers. It belongs to the group of ‘leaf cacti’ – the name given to Schlumbergera and Rhipsalidopsis because of their thin stems that look like leaves. Easter Cactus produces abundance of branches that are erect or pendant and bear showy flowers on their tips.

Rhipsalidopsis, Easter Cactus

Rhipsalidopsis, Easter Cactus

How to Grow Easter Cactus

Easter Cactus comes from rainforest areas of Brazilian coastline where they grow as epiphytic plants under the shady trees. Thus when growing them as houseplants, Easter Cactus would require humid and frost-free climate in a semi-shaded spot. They can be grown indoor as well as outdoor, however, care must be taken to provide natural sunlight when grown indoor and to ensure moisture when grown outdoor. Easter Cactus can be propagated easily from stem cuttings. Allow the cuttings to dry for a couple of days before sowing them in the soil. Provided Easter Cactus with a loose, coarse and well-drained soil fertilized with a general purpose fertilizer.

Flowers of red and purplish-pink color start appearing after the cold spell of winter is over and bloom till the end of spring. Flowers on Easter Cactus remain open during the day and close at night. A well-branched Easter Cactus bearing large, showy flowers in a hanging basket is a very rewarding experience.

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.

20 May

Ceanothus, Lovely Flowering Shrubs for Cold Climates

Ceanothus is a genus of about 50-60 flowering shrubs (up to 3 meters) and small trees (up to 7 meters) that bear fragrant blue, pink, white or lilac flowers. Both evergreen and deciduous varieties of Ceanothus are available for growing as ornamental flowering plants. Ceanothus are at their best when blooming in late spring or mid-summer. Flowers are tiny but densely clustered to form a rich display of soft and fragrant blooms.

Ceanothus 'Cynthia Postan', Flowering Shrub

Ceanothus 'Cynthia Postan', Image from cambridge2000.com

With a little effort, Ceanothus can be trained to form effective ground cover, hedge or climber. Prune only when required, the best time to prune Ceanothus is after the end of flowering spell.

How to Grow Ceanothus

Most species of Ceanothus would grow from softwood cuttings sowed in later spring or mid-summer. Propagating from seeds can be challenging. In winter, soak Ceanothus seeds in hot water for 12 hours and then store them at 1° C for three months. Sow stratified seeds when temperature is between 16-18°C. Germination may take one to three months.

Once established, Ceanothus is easy to care. It requires well-drained and mulched soil, average watering under full sun, and protection from frost. Ceanothus is not a hungry plant and can grow on nutrients available in soil and water without any extra feed.

Popular Varieties of Ceanothus

Ceanothus Concha (Californian Lilac): Suitable for alkaline soil; withstands drought, grows up to 4 feet, makes a bushy plant and blooms in late spring.

Ceanothus Delileanus (Gloire de Versailles): Another bushy variety. Gloire de Versailles is deciduous and bears pale-blue flowers from mid-summer to autumn.

Ceanothus , ‘Blue Mound’: An evergreen shrub, producing dark-blue flowers in late spring. Blue Mound can grow as tall as 5 feet and, spread up to 6 feet.

Ceanothus, ‘Autumnal Blue’: Autumn Blue is evergreen, grows upright and bears light blue flowers in late summer. It can grow as tall as 10 feet.

Ceanothus ‘Puget Blue’: One of the mostly cultivated varieties of Ceanothus, Puget Blue makes a good flowering shrub.

Ceanothus Thyrsiflorus (Skylark): Excellent climber and prolific bloomer. Skylark flowers blooms in late spring or early summer.

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