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.

03 Jul

Colorful and Fragrant Climber for Warm Climate: Wisteria

Wisteria is perhaps one of the most beautiful flowering climbers that fill your garden with exotic colors and fragrance. Native to temperate regions of North America and Asia, it is a very fast growing woody climber. Not all species produce fragrant flowers, but all of the species in the genus are excellent bloomers.

Flowers appear in long and drooping pendulous clumps resembling the flowers of Laburnum (Golden Shower Tree). Wisteria blooms in spring and continue to bloom till late summer. Flowers are usually white, purple, pink and blue. Leaves are soft and green.

Wisteria grows vigorously and becomes a mound if not provided with a suitable support therefore it should be grown against pergola or a wall. Most species of Wisteria would climb up to 20 meters or more.  The world’s largest Wisteria grows in Sierra Madre, California spanning over 1 acre.

One of the most common and easy to grow species is Wisteria Sinensis (also known as Chinese Wisteria) which is a deciduous creeping plant growing up to 30 meters. Its violet flowers are fragrant and bloom in spring.

Wisteria Vine with Violet Flowers

Wisteria with Violet Flowers, Image from tamarynwhite.com

Wisteria grows in deep and well-drained soil under full sun. Usually it does not require much care and grows freely with just moderate amount of water. Most species can be grown from hardwood or softwood cutting, seeds or by layering.

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

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.

08 Jun

Charming, Flowering Vine for Topical Climates: Mandevilla

Charming fragrant flowers, bright showy leaves, and tendency to grow beautifully against trellis and walls make Mandevilla a popular houseplant. Native to tropical regions of Central and South America, Mandevilla is an easy to grow climber. These summer bloomers bear attractive flowers of pink, white, yellow and red colors. They can be grown in hanging baskets, against fences, trellis and over pergolas.

Mandevilla Amabilis

Mandevilla Amabilis, Image from flowersofmaui.com

How to Grow Mandevilla

Mandevilla demands well drained and rich soil. For profuse flowering, provide your Mandevilla plants with bright but filtered sunlight in a warm spot. Water and fertilize them regularly; avoid overwatering and protect from frost. The easiest way to propagate Mandevilla is from softwood cuttings.

Popular Varieties of Mandevilla

Mandevilla Splendens: A beautiful summer bloomer, Mandevilla Splendens bears showy flowers of pink color. The plant grows as an evergreen creeper and can be grown in hanging baskets.

Mandevilla Laxa: Also known as Chilean Jasmine, Mandevilla Laxa grows as a deciduous vine. Growth is often vigorous and requires pruning of wood stems. Flowers are fragrant and can be used in flower arrangement to add colors and fragrance.

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.

29 May

Cortaderia selloana, the Pampas Grass

Cortaderia selloana or Pampas Grass belong to a genus of about 25 grasses native to South America especially Brazil, Argentina and Chile. The most popular and commercially grown species is Cortaderia selloana which is commonly known as Pampas Grass. The plant is used in dried flower arrangements or an ornamental grass in landscapes.

Cortaderia selloana (Buy seeds online) spreads over 3 meters with feathery plumes reaching 4 meters or more in summer. The plumes are silver white, cream or dusk pink and attract birds that use these soft plumes to lines their nests.

Cortaderoa Selloana, The Pampas Grass

Cortaderoa selloana, image from gardenplantsbypost.com

How to Grow Pampas Grass

Pampas Grass is quite hardy and easy to grow. It can be propagated from seeds sown in spring under bright light and temperature not exceeding 22° C. Young seedlings should be water from below. Once young plants are established, they can be transplanted in the ground where they should be grown in a rich soil. Cortaderia selloana prefers good sunlight and regular watering.

23 May

Night Blooming Jasmine: Cestrum Nocturnum

Cestrum Nocturnum, commonly known as Night Blooming Jasmine, is a flowering shrub of tropical and sub-tropical regions. It is also a must have in every gardener’s collection of the Indian sub-continent where it is called Raat ki Raani (Lady of the Night/Queen of the Night). Grown for its intoxicating fragrance, the Night Blooming Jasmine makes an excellent shrub for gardens.

Night Blooming Jasmine, Cestrum Nocturnum

Cestrum Nocturnum / Night Blooming Jasmine , Image © H. G. Mukhopadhyay

Cestrum Nocturnum bears small and white flowers by the beginning and the end of summer. Flowers bloom in hot and humid nights and emit smell that is unique and different from other flowering plants. Smell of Night Blooming Jasmine is sensual, enticing and quite exhilarating. It fills the passer by with delicate and intoxicating feelings. This plant is natively Caribbean and it is also known as Dama De Noche in Spanish.

How to Grow Night Blooming Jasmine

Night Blooming Jasmine is normally grown in subtropical regions as an fragrant plant for its strongly scented aroma. The ideal soil for this plant is clammy and sandy with humid climate. The plant spreads itself when it grows and can obtain the height of twelve feet, but does not spread more than four feet. The plant’s stems are like creepers, with bigger leave approximately between four and eight inches in length The flowers of Night Blooming Jasmine are relatively smaller colouring white or green in color and blossom off the creepers. There are also some verities found with yellowish flowers. Cestrum nocturnum is a fast growing shrub in the suitable conditions.

The stronger understanding about Cestrum Nocturnum is that normally it smells in the night. Although the smell could be stronger in the nights due to the full blossoming of the flowers but it also smells during the day in the season. Night Blooming Jasmine works fabulously as a mixed border additive. It is also fascinating when used as a freestanding plant. Cestrum nocturnum also possess luscious attraction for butterflies  and some types of caterpillars that consume its leaves as a source of food.

Night Blooming Jasmine is reported to cause respiratory problems from the scent, and feverish symptoms following ingestion to the people who are respiratory sensitive or are asthmatic.

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.