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Brunfelsia pauciflora

Common name: Yesterday-Today-and-Tomorrow, Morning-Noon-and-Night,Kiss Me Quick, Brazil Raintree

Family: Solanaceae

Synonymous: Brunfelsia calycina (basionym)
Brunfelsia pauciflora var. calycina
Franciscea pauciflora (basionym)

Brunfelsia pauciflora

Brunfelsia pauciflora

Distributiona and habitat: Brunfelsia pauciflora is a species of flowering semi-deciduous shrub, endemic to Brazil, growing in light woodland and thickets. This shrub is growing up to 3m (10 feet) with a 3.6m (12 feet) spread. It is cultivated for its fragrant flowers. The species name, bonodora, is from the Latin, and means ‘sweet-smelling’.

Description: Poted Brunfelsia pauciflora are small shrubs, up to 60cm (24 inch) high with a 30cm (12 inch) spread, that have 8-15cm (3-6 inch) long lance-shaped, glossy, yet leathery leaves and showy, often fragrant, flowers. Its common name, Yesterday-Today-and-Tomorrow, comes from the way its flowers are changing in colour form one day to the next. Each bloom opens violet-purple, fade to pale lavender-blue, becomes almost white and is dead by the fourth day. Flat, five-lobed flowers are up to 5cm (2 inch) across, with a small, white, puckered eye – the entry point for insects to a short tube behind the floral surface. Flowers appear in clusters of up to 10 on the end of long stems, but open singly. Under favourable conditions, Brunfelsia pauciflora can bloom throughout the year.

Houseplant care: Brunfelsia pauciflora is the only one species from Brunfelsia genus grown indoors. Prune old plants drastically in spring or just at the end of the rest period if they have one. When pruning take out as much as half the previous year’s growth. To encourage more vigorous bushy growth, pinch out the growing tips – this can be done any time.

Light: Bright light, including three or four of direct sunlight daily, is essential throughout the year for satisfactory flowering.

Temperature: During the active growth period normal room temperature is suitable. Stand pots on trays of damp pebbles for increased humidity. Where warm, humid condition are provided in winter, these plants will not have an appreciable rest period, but they will not suffer as a result. If such condition are not provided, move Brunfelsia pauciflora to a really cold possition – ideally between 10°C (50°F) and 13°C (55°F) – so they can have at least a four to six weeks rest.

Watering: In the active growth period water moderately, enough to make the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but allow the top 1cm (0.4 inch) of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. If plants are given a rest, water them only enough during the rest period to keep the potting mixture from drying out completely.

Feeding: Give actively growing plants an application of standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks to promote vigorous growth.

Poting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Brunfelsia pauciflora flower best when their roots are confined in small pots – 13-15cm (5-6 inch) at most. Repot in fresh potting mixture every spring, but do not increase pot size. Simply replace the old mixture with new.

Gardening: Brunfelsia pauciflora are long-lived, romantic flowering shrubs. Warm subtropical gardens are ideal, but the plants will also flourish in colder climates. They will even endure light frost, but will be deciduous during the cooler months. Outside of its hardiness zone, grow Brunfelsia pauciflora in a pot so it can be moved indoors when temperatures drop.
They are quick and easy to grow. No pruning is needed for garden plants except to control growth and spreading. A light trim after flowering will help keep it tidy yet bushy.

Position: Brunfelsia pauciflora do best in full sun but needs some shady protection during the heat of the day to look their best. Also do well in filtered shade.

Soil: Provide rich, moist, but well drained soil with liberal quantities of compost worked into it. Brunfelsia pauciflora prefer acidic soil with a pH balance just below the neutral 7, so mulch with pine-needles, moss or acidic compost around their bases.

Irrigation: Keep the soil moist around the Brunfelsia pauciflora , but not overly wet. Do not allow the soil to dry out. If rain is not imminent, water the soil, especially during the hot summer days.
Container plants should be checked daily for moistness. Reduce watering plants in containers in fall.

Fertiliser: Fertilise plants with 10-10-10 (nitrogen-phosphate-potassium) water-soluble fertiliser, using full strength for garden plants once a month and diluted in half for container plants every two weeks. Only fertilise the plant during spring and summer months.

Propagation: Propagate Brunfelsia pauciflora in spring when tip cuttings of new growth are available. Dip cutting 8-13cm (3-5 inch) long in hormone rooting powder and plant it in an 8cm (3 inch) pot containing a moistened equal-parts mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Place the cutting in a plastic bag or propagating case and stand it in bright filtered light. When new growth is produced (in four to six weeks), uncover the young plant, begin moderate watering and apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks. About four months after the start of propagation, move the new Brunfelsia pauciflora plants into standard potting mixture and treat it as a mature plant.

Problems:
Pale or yellow leaves result from potting mixture that is not acid enough.
Treatment: Repot the plant in potting mixture that contains some peat and add some iron sulphate to the water when watering. Another way of ensuring healthy deep-green foliage is to sprinkle a handful of nitrogenrich fertilizer granules around the root zones and to water it in immediately thereafter. Do not overdo this treatment at the expense of potassium-rich fertilizer, though, otherwise the plant will have gorgeous foliage but the production of flowers will be diminished.

Weak growth is a sign of aphids, which suck the sap of the plant.
Treatment: Wash them off with a gentle stream of tepid water.

Fine webbing at leaf axils and under the leaves is made by the red spider mite, which thrives in dry conditions.
Treatment: Raise the humidity around the plant by mist spraying and standing the pot on a tray of moist pebbles. Serious infestations should be treated with a suitable insecticide.

Mealy bugs and whitefly may infest the  Brunfelsia pauciflora plants.
Treatment: Apply sprays of suitable insecticides.

Can get thrips when plants are grown under glass.
Treatment: Although thrips are susceptible to insecticides, their control is difficult as they are capable of flight and they may hide inside the buds and other floral structures and out of the reach of the insecticides. Hence, multiple sprayings may be needed with severe infestation.

Recommended varieties:
Brunfelsia pauciflora cv. ‘Floribunda’ is a profusely flowering miniature kind.

Brunfelsia pauciflora cv. ‘Macrantha’ has flowers measuring up to 8cm (3 inch) across.

Companion plants: Brunfelsia pauciflora makes a good companion to Rhododendron (Azaleas) and Fuchsia species (Fuchsias). Grow it with Cineraria (Cinerarias) or Muscari species (Grape hyacinths) placed at its feet to enhance the colour of its blooms. Canna, Tibouchina, Lantana speacies are good companions for these colourful shrubs, highlighting each other.

Toxicity: Brunfelsia pauciflora plant is toxic, especially the fruit. The plants are known to be poisonous to domestic animals such as cats, dogs and horses due to their brunfelsamidine content.
Also caution should be taken due to its strongly scented flowers, reason for which Brunfelsia pauciflora is not the ideal plant for hay-fever sufferers.

Usage and display:  With pruning, Brunfelsia pauciflora can be kept to a manageable 60-90cm (2-3 feet) size and makes an excellent indoor plant. In mild climates, Brunfelsia pauciflora makes an attractive specimen shrub or use it in a mixed hedge or foundation planting. Can be used for creating perfumed spots in gardens, designing tropical gardens and hedge or screen seaside gardens or as a specimen plant. It is great for privacy screening on decks or blocking unsightly views.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers, frangrance
Shape – bushy
Height indoors: 60-90cm (24-36 inch)
Height outdoors: 3m (10 feet)
Spread outdoors: 3.6m (12 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 13°C (50-55°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 9-11

Brunfelsia paucifloraBrunfelsia paucifloraBrunfelsia paucifloraBrunfelsia paucifloraBrunfelsia pauciflora



Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Shrubs , , , , , , ,

Ardisia crenata

Common name: Coralberry, Christmas Berry, Australian Holly, Coral Ardisia, Coral Bush, Coralberry Tree, Hen’s-Eyes, Spiceberry

Family: Myrsinaceae

Synonymous: Ardisia crenata var. bicolor
Ardisia crenata subsp. crassinervosa

Ardisia crenata

Ardisia crenata

Distribution and habitat: Ardisia crenata is a species of flowering plant in the colicwood family, Myrsinaceae, that is native to East Asia.
Ardisia crenata is a compact shrub that reaches 1 metre (3.3 feet), often with a single stem. Leaves are dark green, thick, glossy and have tightly waved edges The flowers are small, white or reddish, fragrant and form clusters. The fruit is a glossy, bright red drupe. The seeds are able to germinate under a dense canopy and are dispersed by birds and humans. Usually this shrubs are seen in fairly large colonies, since the plants re-seed freely.
Ardisia crenata is an invasive species in the southeastern United States, escaping captivity in wooded areas of Florida. Also, it is viewed as an environmental weed in Australia, particularly in its rainforests. Mature plants are prolific seed producers and can be surrounded by many seedlings, also leading to reduced seed germination of valued native species.

Description: Ardisia crenata is a popular indoor plant most appreciated for its long-lasting bright red berries that are produced in large numbers at the bottom half of the plant. When grown in a pot, it reaches a maximum height of only about 90cm (35 inch), with a spread of about 30-38cm (12-15 inch). It has glossy, dark green leathery leaves up to 15cm (6 inch) long. Thick clusters of star-shaped white or rose-pink flowers are produced usually in early summer. These are followed by very decorative shiny berries which are held on nearly horizontal stalks. The berries are gradually take on a bright red colour and normally persist on the plant until flowering time the following year.

Houseplant care: Red berries, glossy foliage and low maintenance distinguish this beautiful little shrub. Prune it back to keep this shrub compact. Pruning each spring before flowering will keep it in shape. This shrub will grow to a slow rate.

Light: Provide Ardisia crenata with bright light at all times with several hours every day of direct sunlight.
In summer, Ardisia crenata can be moved outdoors on a part shade spot.

Temperature: Ardisia crenata plants prefer to be grown cool, ideally at a maximum temperature of 15°C (59°F). In higher temperatures, high humidity is essential in order to prevent the berries from falling prematurely. It is a good idea to stand the plants on trays or saucers of moist pabbles and also mist-spray them daily to increase humidity.

Watering: While plants are in active growth, water them plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist. During the rest period allow the top centimetre or so of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings if the plants are kept at normal room temperature; if the temperature can be held below 15°C (59°F), however, water even more sparingly, allowing at least half the potting mixture to dry out between waterings.

Feeding: Apply to Ardisia crenata plants liquid fertiliser about every two weeks while plants are in active growth.

Potting and repotting: For the best result with Ardisia crenata use a soil based potting mixture. Move young plants into pots one size larger each spring until they reach the 13cm (5 inch) size where they will probably flower and fruit. Older plants tend to deteriorate and should be replaced when they have obviously begun to lose their vigour.

Gardening: Ardisia crenata is evergreen shrub unless killed back by very hard freezes without spring recovery. Where freezes are severe, these shrubs should be placed in a protected area or covered.
Prune lightly early spring to maintain its height and shape. Pinch back to promote a bushy habit.

Location: Ardisia crenata tolerates some direct sun, but not much without showing signs of distress. It grows best under a canopy of trees in fairly deep shade and protected from cold and drying winds.

Soil: Ardisia crenata likes deep soil rich with lots of organic matter, but it can also thrive in almost any non-soggy soil.

Irigation: These shrubs thrive in moist to average moist soil, but established Ardisia crenata is able to survive drought.

Fertilising: Mulch around plants or allow leaves and other debris from overhead trees to fall down naturally around them.

Propagation: Ardisia crenata plants are normally raised from seed sown in spring. Although this is possible in home, it is easier to buy young plants, which are usually sold in 8cm (3 inch) pots.
An alternative method of propagation is to take heel cuttings from lateral shoots during late spring or early summer. Sideshoot cuttings come away easily from the main stem with a small heel attached. Pot them in an equal-parts mixture of peat moss and sand and water them sparingly – just enough to keep the mixture moist. They should root in 6-8 weeks, especially if some form of bottom heat is provided from an electrical heated propagator. If this is not feasible, enclose the potted cuttings in a plastic bag and keep the bag in a place where it gets medium light and adequate warmth – not bellow 21°C (70°F) – until the roots have developed.
Ardisia crenata can also be propagated by air layering, a more difficult procedure.

Problems:
Ardisia crenata refuses to bloom.
Treatment: Give to Ardisia crenata plant more humidity and sunlight in spring, before starting to form buds. Regular misting with tepid water will help increase the moisture in the air around it.

Dropping flower buds are caused by drafty or cold air.
Treatment: Ardisia crenata likes it cool, but not too cold. It will tolerate a minimum winter temperature of 7°C (45°F).

Ardisia crenata plants are prone to mealybugs infestation.
Treatment: A regular, careful inspection is needed. Occasional watering with systemic insecticides based on Imidacloprid will keep the plants free of mealy bugs.

Note: Ardisia crenata is sometimes wrongly called Ardisia crispa, which is the name of a very similar plant.

Uses and display: Plant Ardisia crenata under trees and allow to colonize freely, thinning as necessary. Group in shrub borders, shade gardens or woodland areas. For best effect, plant a group of at least three. In frost-free areas, Ardisia crenata can become quite large and a single specimen might occupy the same space allowed for two or three elsewhere.
Ardisia crenata is easily transformed into a houseplant and is attractive for the shiny foliage and its persistent berries. It is a fine looking species which should be displayed in a prominent position. Also, it is great looking in a conservatory or hall way and grow well in greenhouses.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers and berries
Shape – upright
Height: 90-100cm (36-40 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 7°C max 16°C (45-61°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 7°C max 21°C (45-70°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 8a-9b

Ardisia crenataArdisia crenata flowersArdisia crenata



Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Shrubs , , , , , , , , , ,

Justicia brandegeeana

Common name: Mexican Shrimp Plant, Shrimp Plant, Shrimp Flower, False Hop

Family: Acanthaceae

Synonymous: Beloperone guttata
Calliaspidia guttata
Drejerella guttata

Misspelling: Justicia brandegeana

Justicia brandegeeana

Justicia brandegeeana

Distribution and habitat: Justicia brandegeeana is an evergreen shrub native to Mexico and also naturalized in Florida. It is a sprawling, suckering, tropical evergreen shrub which grows to 1m (3 feet) tall (rarely more) with spindly limbs. This shrub is cultivated for its very decorative flowers and long lasting flowering season.
Pollination is usually by hummingbirds.

Description: Justicia brandegeeana is a perennial shrub and will last for several years. It has become a quite common indoor plant. It is popularly known as Shrimp Plant because of its drooping, shrimp-like flower spikes. The most prominent parts of these spikes are terminal bracts, which are heart-shaped, reddish brown or pink and up to 2cm (0.8 inch) long. The bracts almost conceal white flowers that protrude from between them. The 10-13cm (4-5 inch) long flower spikes are produced continuously during the growing season, which lasts for as much as 10 months a year.
The leaves, which have 2-3cm (0.8-1 inch) long leaf stalk and are carried on upright woody stems, are 2-8cm (0.8-3 inch) long, oval, fresh green and slightly hairy.
Unless Justicia brandegeeana is kept well trimmed, it tend to become a rather untidy shrub; also, if it is left alone, it usually grows over 60cm (24 inch) tall. It therefore needs cutting back annually if it is to hold its shape and retain a manageable size at the same time.
This shrub is expected to last for 10 to 20 years.

Houseplant care: Justicia brandegeeana thrive in containers and survive well as houseplants with a long flowering season. Apart from periodical pinching out of growing points to encourage bushy growth, mature Justicia brandegeeana require cutting back annually. Cut away up to half the top growth (down to any leaf axil) just as the plant is beginning to make new growth in the spring.

Light: Bright light with some direct sunlight is essential for satisfactory production of the colourful bracts.

Temperature: Normally warm room temperatures suit Justicia brandegeeana plant, but too much heat makes for soft and spindly growth. The recommended winter temperature is 18°C (64°F).

Watering: Water Justicia brandegeeana sparingly – enough to make the potting mixture barely moist and allowing the top two-thirds of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings.

Feeding: Feed Justicia brandegeeana plants from late winter to early autumn only using standard liquid fertiliser once every two weeks.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture with the addition of a one third portion of peat moss. Move these plants into pots one size larger every spring until the maximum convenient size – probably 15cm (6 inch) – have been reached. Thereafter top dress the plant annually with fresh potting mixture.

Gardening: Justicia brandegeeana is winter hardy to hardiness zones 9 to 11. Roots may survive in zone 8. Frosts will kill it to the ground, but it comes back in spring. As it dislikes temperatures below 7°C (45°F), it is best grown under glass in cooler temperate areas, where it is excellent as a potted houseplant, owing to its ability to tolerate low light and some neglect. The plants grown in containers may be overwintered in a warm sun room or watering can be severely reduced to force plants into dormancy for winter storage in a dark, cool, dry location. Alternatively, Justicia brandegeeana can be treated as a fast-growing annual plant in hardiness zone 9 or colder.
The shape is generally long and spindly. If trimmed back regularly, it can maintain a bushy habit and will not need support. If the branches are allowed to grow long, they will become unable to support themselves and sag towards the ground. Prune annually after flowering for a more compact, formal appearance and to encourage branching. Keeping the shrubs tip pruned will promote fullness as well as increase flowering.
These plants grow quickly and may form buds in the first year.

Position: Justicia brandegeeana can handle a variety of environments, more sun on the coast, more shade inland. Plant it in full sun to partial shade in sheltered, frost free spot in cold climate. The colourful flower bracts tend to bleach out in full sun, so these plants are generally best grown in part shade with some protection from hot afternoon sun. Bright light with some direct sun is ideal for bloom formation. This plant thrives in the shade in tropical areas.

Soil: Plant Justicia brandegeeana outdoors in fertile, moist, well-drained soil. It does best in well-drained sandy or loamy soil, but will tolerate most soil types which drain well.

Irrigation: Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Keep soil evenly moist from spring through fall. Allow to stay only slightly drier in winter.

Fertiliser: Feed with a general purpose fertiliser before new growth begins in spring.

Propagation: Tip cuttings 5-8cm (2-3 inch) long will root easily in spring. Insert each cutting in a small pot containing a moistened mixture of equal parts of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Enclose the pot in a plastic bag and keep it in a bright filtered light. Rooting should occur in six to eight weeks. To produce a bushy plant, pot three or four cuttings together in the recommended potting mixture for mature Justicia brandegeeana. Water sparingly and do not move the pot into direct sunlight for another month or two.

Problems:
Yellow leaves are caused by overwatering.
Treatment: Allow the soil to dry out almost completely before watering again and always use a pot with a drainage hole to prevent soggy soil. Water less in winter.

Leaves may drop if soil is either too wet or too dry.
Treatment: Test the soil by pushing a stake into the potting mixture. If the stake is dry, the plant should be watered. If the stake is too wet can be caused by poor drainage, cool conditions and oversized pots.

These plant are susceptible to fungal leaf spot and rust.
Treatment: Apply fungicides and repeat the treatment as directed on fungicide instructions. Provide adequate air circulation and water the  plants in the morning, so plants get a chance to dry out during the day.

Watch for whiteflies and spider mites, particularly when grown indoors.
Treatment: Successive sprays of insecticidal soaps or white oil will eradicate whiteflies infestations. For spider mites, spray with a suitable insecticide and raise the humidity by standing the pot on a saucer of moist pebbles.

Justicia brandegeeana are prone to become leggy plants.
Treatment: Constantly pinch and prune, start new plants from cuttings.

Pale leaves is usually caused because the plant is lacking food.
Treatment: Feed the plant.

Drop or pale flower heads is because the plants need more light.
Treatment:  Move the plants to a brighter location.

Recommended varieties:
Justicia brandegeeana cv. ‘Yellow Queen’ is a rarer form with yellow bracts.

Justicia brandegeeana cv. ‘Fruit Cocktail’ has yellow and green bracts with pink flowers.

Companion Plants: In a location with filtered shade, plant near an exotic fern, such as the Dicksonia antarctica (Tasmanian Tree Fern) or groundcover Nephrolepis exaltata (Sword Fern).
Can also be used to cover the unattractive base of tropical foliage plants, such as Ensete ventricosum (Abyssinian Banana) or Philodendron x ‘Xanadu’ (Xanadu Cut-Leaf Philodendron).
They can be folded in among Zingiber (Gingers), Musa (Bananas) and Canna species (Cannas) for a contrasting look. Also Justicia brandegeeana can be associate with Begonia (Begonias), Porphyrocoma pohliana (Brazilian Fireworks) or Curcuma longa (Curcuma).

Uses and display: Justicia brandegeeana are grown as ornamentals in tropical and subtropical gardens and as conservatory plants in temperate areas. These showy perennials are good plants for mixed borders and beds where they produce masses of ornamental flowers. These plants are great display  anywhere a splash of continuous colour is needed since they bloom almost all year long. They will display the best color when planted in a bright location that receives direct sunlight. In cooler climates, Justicia brandegeeana plants can be grown in containers and brought indoors for overwintering.
Although featured this striking plant in the garden, Justicia brandegeeana can be used in different settings. Their lush foliage and distinctive flowers make them a natural for a tropical garden. They are also showy and long-blooming enough to feature by themselves in a large container or as a focal point in a part-shade location.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – bushy
Height indoor: 60cm (24 inch)
Height outdoor: 1m (3 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in active growth period – sparingly
Light – bright
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 24°C (64-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9-11

Justicia brandegeeanaJusticia brandegeeanaJusticia brandegeeana



Evergreen, Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Shrubs , , , , , , , , , ,

Tibouchina urvilleana

Common name: Glory Bush, Lasiandra, Princess Flower, Pleroma, Purple Glory Tree

Family: Melastomataceae

Synonymous: Tibouchina maudhiana
Tibouchina semidecandra
Lasiandra semidecandra

Tibouchina urvilleana

Tibouchina urvilleana

Distribution and habitat: Tibouchina urvilleana are evergreen plants from the tropical rainforest in southern Brazil. They are widely cultivated in warm regions for its soft foliage and showy purple flowers.
The Tibouchina urvilleana grows as a large, woody shrub or tree up to 3m (10 feet) height and it is a truly spectacular plant when in full bloom, bearing magnificent, saucer-shaped purple flowers with an iridescent sheen which are set off to perfection by the velvety foliage.
Tibouchina urvilleana can become invasive species in tropical and subtropical environments outside of their cultivation range. All Tibouchina species are considered noxious weeds in Hawaii.

Description: Tibouchina urvilleana is a shrub that grows up to a metre (3 feet) as so tall indoors. Its four-angled stems and branches are soft, green and covered with fine, reddish hairs when young. Later the stems turn woody and brown. The velvety, pointed-oval, paired leaves are medium to deep green with prominent, pale green, lengthwise veins and finely toothed edges. Each leaf is 5-10cm (2-4 inch) long and 2-3cm (0.8-1 inch) wide.
The striking saucer-shaped, five-petaled flowers are rosy purple to violet colour with a cluster of protruding purple stamens in the centre. Each flower is about 8cm (3 inch) across. The flowers are produced in clusters at branch tips from mid-summer to early winter.

Proper care: Tibouchina urvilleana is grown as indoor plants but require some special conditions and are unlikely to thrives without them. It has a fairly narrow margin for error: leaf drop and plant decline are unfortunately common, most often because of watering or temperature issues.
It is a fast growing shrub. Shorten main shoots by half their length and cut side-shoots back to two pairs of leaves each spring. In this way the leggy  growing habit of Tibouchina urvilleana is kept under control and will enhance the flower display.

Light: Give Tibouchina urvilleana bright filtered light from early spring to mid-autumn. During the short-day months keep plants where they can get about four hours a day of direct sunlight.

Temperature: During the active growth period normal room temperature are suitable. During the midwinter rest temperature of about 10°C (50°F) are best. It is a good idea to stand actively growing Tibouchina urvilleana on trays or saucers of damp pebbles to increase the humidity around the plant.

Watering: During the active growth period water plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but never allow pots to stand in water. During the rest period give only enough to make the mixture barely moist throughout.

Feeding: Apply to Tibouchina urvilleana plants standard liquid fertiliser about every two weeks during the active growth period.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move plants into larger pots every spring until maximum convenient size is reached. Thereafter, top-dress annually with fresh mixture.

Gardening: Tibouchina urvilleana thrive in moist, humid, tropical, subtropical and warmly temperate regions. Out of its hardiness zone, the plant grows as a large, woody shrub which is best kept in a conservatory, sunroom or heated greenhouse. It will tolerate light to moderate frost if they are planted in a very warm, protected part of the garden, the plat is covered in winter and the roots thickly mulched. If the plant is cut right back by frost it will usually grow back from the roots in spring.
Their growth habit tends to become somewhat leggy if the plants are not frequently trimmed to keep them bushy; and because they bloom on new growth, trimming immediately after flowering will encourage more new growth and consequently more flowers. They do however have a remarkable ability to re-grow from ground level after being snapped off, and consequently respond well to hard pruning.

Position: Tibouchina urvilleana love full sun, but too much harsh sunlight can also be a problem; in a very hot or dry region plant these shrubs in a sunny location which is semi-shaded during the hottest part of the day.
These plants are brittle and prone to breaking in the wind, so plant them in a sheltered position in the garden.

Soil: Tibouchina urvilleana prefer slightly acidic soils with a good amount of organic matter and good drainage, but will adapt to most well-drained garden soils: from very acid to slightly alkaline. Tibouchinas will not thrive in soils that are too alkaline and will show signs of burn around the leaf margins and yellowing between the leaf veins. They are adapted to chalk, clay loam, loam, loamy sand, sandy clay loam and sandy loam soils; but if the soil is less than ideal, dig lots of acid compost into the planting hole and mulch the roots often.
These plants can sometimes be difficult to establish, and after planting, they may seem to lack the growth for a season or two, but once they are fully settled they will suddenly became fast growers.

Irrigation: Water regularly during dry spells to prevent the plant from drying out, but do not keep the soil saturated or root rot can result.

Fertilisation: Feed regularly with a balanced organic fertiliser to encourage new bud formation.

Propagation: Take stem or tip cuttings 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long in spring. Trim each cutting to just below a pair of leaves, remove the bottom leaves and dip the cut end of cutting in hormone rooting powder. Plant the cutting in an 8cm (3 inch) pot filled with a moistened equal parts of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Enclose the whole in a plastic bag or propagating case and stand it in a warm room in bright filtered light.
When new growth appears, uncover it and begin to water it moderately. After a further eight weeks, move the young plant into a 10cm (4 inch) pot of standard potting mixture and treat it as a mature specimen.
Tibouchina urvilleana can also be propagated by seed. Sow seeds in spring using a mixture of three parts soil-based compost and one part gritty sand. Do not cover the seeds. Place the pot or tray in indirect light at about 21°C (70°F) until the seeds start to germinate. Pot on when the seedlings are large enough to handle.

Problem: Tibouchina urvilleana are susceptible to gray mold, mushroom root rot, leaf spots, root rot of seedlings, spider mites and nematodes. If exposed to cold drafts or strong sunlight, expect the plant to start dropping leaves.

Mushroom root-rot can occur if drainage is bad or the plants are over watered.
Treatment: There are no effective chemicals to control the disease.

If there is not sufficient air circulation, leaf spots and spider mites can be problematic.

Leaves turn yellow and drop in winter if the plant is overwatered.
Treatment: Allow to dry out and water less in future.

Leaves turn brown and dry during the summer when the growth environment are too dry.
Treatment: Increase water and humidity levels and move out of the sun.

Yellow stippling on the leaves is due to red spider mites (which look like tiny red dots) on the undersides.
Treatment: Spray with a suitable insecticide and raise the humidity by standing the pot on a saucer of moist pebbles.

Mealy bugs look like small blobs of fluffy white cotton.
Treatment: Remove them with a cotton swab dipped in diluted methylated spirit. Use a suitable insecticide for severe attacks.

Companion plants: Border companions for Tibouchina urvilleana blooming shrub include the Pink Bower Vine (Pandorea jasminoides ‘Rosea’) to scramble over a nearby arbor, Dwarf New Zealand Tea Tree (Leptospermum scoparium ‘Nanum Ruru’) with its tight growth and pink flowers and Oleander (Nerium oleander).

Uses and display: Tibouchina urvilleana growth habit is somewhat weedy, requiring training and pruning to develop and maintain it as a tree. It can be trained as a standard or espaliered against a west-facing wall receiving at least five hours of full sun. It can also be trained on a trellis or arbor as a vine. Pinching new growth helps increase branching and will enhance the flower display. It is a nice addition to contemporary, cottage or tropical gardens. This plant will attract butterflies into the garden.
Plant it near outdoor living areas where its flowers can be closely enjoyed. The handsome foliage adds texture and interest to shrub borders and foundation plantings and delivers splashes of color that grab the attention of all who come near.
The spectacular Tibouchina urvilleana flowers are used as cutting for bouquets.
Also, Tibouchina urvilleana are suitable for container accent, being favored by modern designers for its pubescent foliage and intense color. Large specimens can be trained on a trellis or against the wall of a conservatory.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – upright
Height indoor: 1m (3 feet)
Height outdoor: 3m (10 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 7°C max 13°C (45-55°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Tibouchina urvilleana Tibouchina urvilleana Tibouchina urvilleana - Flower



Cutting Flowers, Evergreen, Flowering Plants, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Shrubs , , , , , , , ,

Myrtus communis

Common name: Common Myrtle, True Myrtle, Bride’s Myrtle, Roman Myrtle, Sweet Myrtle., Sweet Roman Myrtle, True Roman Myrtle

Family: Myrtaceae

Synonymous: Myrtus acuta
Myrtus acutifolia
Myrtus angustifolia
Myrtus augustini
Myrtus aurantiifolia
Myrtus baetica
Myrtus baetica var. vidalii
Myrtus baui
Myrtus belgica
Myrtus borbonis
Myrtus briquetii
Myrtus christinae
Myrtus communis var. acutifolia
Myrtus eusebii
Myrtus gervasii
Myrtus italica
Myrtus josephi
Myrtus lanceolata
Myrtus latifolia
Myrtus littoralis
Myrtus macrophylla
Myrtus major
Myrtus media
Myrtus microphylla
Myrtus minima
Myrtus minor
Myrtus mirifolia
Myrtus oerstedeana
Myrtus petri-ludovici
Myrtus rodesi
Myrtus romana
Myrtus romanifolia
Myrtus sparsifolia
Myrtus theodori
Myrtus veneris
Myrtus vidalii

Myrtus communis

Myrtus communis

Distribution and habitat: Myrtus communis is native across the northern Mediterranean region. It is a common and widespread shrub and the sole representative of the Myrtaceae in the Mediterranean Basin. It is typically found in Maquis shrubland together with other low-growing shrubs which have been developed after the clearing of the primary woods of the Mediterranean in the lower mountain environments.
Thought to originate from Iran and Afghanistan, Myrtus communis has been cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region since the beginning of recorded history. The species type develops an irregular upright oval form, eventually becoming a small tree 4 to 4.5m (12-15 feet) tall in old age; plants are often shorn to maintain a lower profile, say under 1.5 or 2m (5-6 feet); overall plants are fine textured and are reminiscent of the Common Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) in form.

Description: Myrtus communis is an evergreen shrub or small tree, growing 4.5m (15 feet) tall in its native habitat, but usually only 60-90cm (24-35 inch) high indoors. This species is a branching shrub with densely crowded, pointed-oval leaves, which are dark green, shiny and fragrant when crushed. The scented flowers have a diameter of about 1-2cm (0.4-0.8 inch) and are composed of a mass of yellow stamens concealing five small, white or pale pink petals. The flowers are normally produced singly on short flower stalks in late summer.

Proper care: Myrtus communis are the most commonly plants of this genus grown as indoor plants. These small shrubs can be easily kept in shape by judicious pruning, which should be done only when strong growing shoots that might otherwise spoil a plant’s symmetry have become apparent. Too much heavy pruning will reduce the likelihood of flowers, but a certain amount of regular pinching out of growing tips is essential for building up healthy, dense growth.

Light: Provide Myrtus communis with the brightest possible light at all time. If these plants are placed more than 30-60cm (12-24 inch) away from a fully sunlit window, they become spindly. Turn the plants regularly in order to avoid lop-sided growth and provide airy conditions when they are cultivated indoors.

Temperature: Although Myrtus communis prefers relatively cool conditions, it grow well in normal room temperature. If possible, however, give this plant a winter rest period at about 7°C (45°F). Otherwise, the relatively warm, dry air will make the leaves to fall. Fresh air during active growth period will toughen up growth, so these plants may be stood in a sunny position outdoors throughout the summer. They should be gradually accustomed to sunlight because the leaves are not used to ultraviolet rays after spending winter indoors. Also the root ball should not be exposed to direct sunlight.

Watering: During the active growth period water plentifully. During the rest period water moderately, giving enough to make the potting mixture moist throughout at each watering but letting the top few centimetres (0.8 inch) of the mixture dry out before watering again. If at all possible, use rainwater or some other calcium-free water.

Feeding: Do not feed these plants until they have been lodged in same pot for more than three months. Thereafter, apply to Myrtus communis plants standard liquid fertiliser about once every two weeks during the active growth period only.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture with addition of one third portion of leaf mould or peat moss. The basic mixture should be lime-free, because myrtus species do best in neutral or slightly acid medium. As plant get bigger, move them into increasingly larger pots, one size at a time. This is best done just as new growth is starting in the spring. Young specimens should be repotted every 1 to 2 years, older plants every 3 to 4 years. It is important to pack the potting mixture firmly around the roots and to set these plants at the same level in successive pots – never deeper than before. Once a Myrtus communis is lodged in a pot of maximum convenient size – about 18-20cm (7-8 inch) – simply top dress each spring.

Gardening: Myrtus communis species does not succeed outdoors in the colder parts of the world. When fully dormant Myrtus communis is hardy to between -10 and -15°C (14-5°F) as long as it is sheltered from cold drying winds, though it does withstand quite considerable maritime exposure. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts.
Myrtus communis is a moderately fast-growing plant when young but soon slowing with age. Overall, the growth is moderate to fairly slow, particularly on the compact cultivars. The plant is very tolerant of regular clipping and can be grown as a hedge. Any pruning is best carried out in the spring.

Position: Locate Myrtus communis plants in full sun to light shade. These plants are heat, drought and salt tolerant; avoid exposure to winds to reduce winter injury.
They cannot grow in the shade.

Soil: Myrtus communis succeeds in any reasonably good soil so long as it is well-drained. It prefers a moderately fertile well-drained neutral to alkaline loam.

Irrigation: Myrtus communis plants are intolerant of poorly drained soils and high humidity, so they are often planted in raised beds or containers. Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Established plants do well with one deep irrigation each month in summer. Shallow, frequent irrigation may cause plants to turn yellow.

Fertilising: Needs little or no fertilizer. Eventually, use a general purpose fertiliser before new growth begins in spring.

Propagation: Cuttings with a short heel (meaning with a little of the old bark attached) are normally used for propagating these plants. The process require patience, since rooting may take six to eight weeks. Inset several cuttings together around the rim of an 8cm (3 inch) pot containing a moistened rooting mixture and enclose the whole in a plastic bag or propagating case. Keep it in medium light – at a slight shaded window for instance – at a temperature of about 15°C (59°F). When new top growth appears, move each rooted cuttings individually into 8cm (3 inch) pots of the recommended potting mixture for adult plants. Thereafter, treat the new specimens as mature plant.

Problems:
Myrtus communis is prone to infestation by scale insects and subsequently sooty mold may develop; root rots occur on wet soils; thrips and spider mites can attach in hot weather.

Toxicity: The essential oil contained in the leaves of Myrtus communis plants is slightly toxic. It may cause headaches, nausea, indigestion, and may colour urine purple if consumed in larger quantities (above 10 ml).

Recommended varieties:
Myrtus communis cv. ‘Boetica’ (Twisted Myrtle or Desert Myrtle) has leaves about 2-3cm (0.8-1 inch) long which have a pronounced fragrance.

Myrtus communis var. microphylla (Dwarf Myrtle) grows no taller than about 60cm and bears leaves less than 2.5cm (1 inch) long. Myrtus communis microphylla can be pruned and trained into practically any shape.

Myrtus communis subsp. tarentina is compact and its 2cm (0.8 inch) long leaves are usually tough. More compact and rounded than the species plant, it is a great choice for a sheltered, sunny spot in the garden.

Myrtus communis cv. ‘Variegata’ has sharply pointed green leaves bordered with creamy white.

Uses and display: Myrtus communis is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant for use as a shrub in gardens and parks. Formal sheared hedges are the principle use for the species; old specimens can be limbed up into small trees. Myrtus communis is excellent for hedges, screens, patio planters and pots or for providing a dark green background for perennial or annual color plantings. It is a classic for Mediterranean gardens and historic, period, scent or educational gardens; compact forms are a favorite for knot garden borders. This plant is a favorite of coastal landscapers and works as a bonsai. It takes pruning well and is suitable for topiaries. When trimmed less frequently, it has numerous flowers in late summer. It requires a long hot summer to produce its flowers and protection from winter frosts.
Myrtus communis is often cultivated in the Mediterranean, where the plant is regarded as a symbol of love and peace and is much prized for use in wedding bouquets.
An essential oil from the bark, leaves and flowers is used in perfumery, soaps and skin-care products. An average yield of 10g of oil is obtained from 100 kilos of leaves.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers and fragrance
Shape – bushy
Height outdoor:  4.5m (15 feet)
Height indoor: 60-90cm (24-35 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – moderately
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – direct
Temperature in rest period – min 7°C max 16°C (45-61°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 13°C max 24°C (55-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 8b-11

Myrtus communisMyrtus communis - bonsaiMyrtus communis - topiariesMyrtus communis trimmedMyrtus communis - berriesMyrtus communis Boetica Myrtus communis microphyllaMyrtus communis tarentinaMyrtus communis Variegata



Cutting Flowers, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Shrubs , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fuchsia magellanica

Common name: Fuchsia, Lady’s Eardrops, Fuchsia Angel Earrings, Earring Flower, Hardy Fuchsia

Family: Onagraceae

Synonymous: Fuchsia gracilis
Fuchsia macrostemma
Fuchsia magellanica var. gracilis
Fuchsia magellanica var. macrostema
Fuchsia riccartonii

Fuchsia magellanica

Fuchsia magellanica

Distribution and habitat: Fuchsia magellanica is found in forest clearings and margins, especially in mixed evergreen/deciduous woods of South America – Argentina and Chile. Also, this plant was widely naturalised in Bolivia, the UK, the Azores, the Canary Islands, eastern Africa, New Zealand, Hawaii, western USA (California and Oregon) and in the coastal districts of southern Australia.

Description: Fuchsia magellanica is an upright deciduous shrub with lance shaped leaves that have reddish undersides. It grows to 3.6m (11 feet) by 2m (6 feet) at a medium rate and produces many small, tubular, pendent flowers in shades of red, pink and sometimes white. The branching structure is horizontal with the flowers dangling beneath the stems. The flowers are emerging from a deep tube that flares to become pointed petals, while the corolla and petals are protrude. Blooms profusely over a long period from late spring through late fall. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects. Flowers are followed by reddish purple fruits.

This cold tolerant species is the parent of most hybrid cultivars of today.

Gardening: Fuchsia magellanica plants are popular garden shrubs with medium growth rate and, once planted, they can live for years with a minimal amount of care. These plants are hardy in mild temperate areas. The long branches may be nipped during frosty weather, but the shrub will rebound in spring. In Hardiness Zone 6 a heavy mulch in late fall will help to bring plants through the winter.

Keep these plants blooming longer by picking off spent blooms and seed pods. To encourage branching, prune plants heavily in the spring and pinch off the tips of the new growth. Continue to pinch until the plant is filled out.

Location: Fuchsia magellanica prefers part sun. It should be located in morning sunlight and afternoon shade, especially in warm, sunny climates. Very dense shade is not desirable as it will inhibit flowering.

Soil: Plant Fuchsia magellanica in rich, moist soil. If the soil does not drain well or puddles after a rain, improve drainage by mixing 8 to 10cm (3 to 4 inch) of organic material such as compost.

Irrigation: Water Fuchsia magellanica deeply enough to saturate the soil only when the top 3 to 5cm (1-2 inch) of soil is dried. Do not over-water. The plant will be more susceptible to fungal disease if the soil is not allowed to dry between watering.

Fertilisation: Feed the Fuchsia magellanica every three to four weeks during spring and summer, using an all-purpose fertiliser for blooming plants. Alternatively, apply a balanced time-release fertiliser every three to four months. Apply the fertiliser after watering and never fertilize dry soil. Refer to the fertiliser label for specific instructions and rates of application, which may vary depending on the size of the plant and the type of soil.

Container plants: Fuchsia magellanica is a favorite for hanging baskets and, under the proper care, will give abundant colorful blooms throughout the season. But this plant is difficult to keep in good condition indoors without a cool, shaded planthouse or conservatory. Good air circulation is essential, but shelter it from hot, dry winds, which remove moisture too rapidly and cause wilting.
Occasionally trim back the long branches of Fuchsia magellanica kept in a hanging basket to obtain a fuller plant. Trimming the plant will not harm it, but enable it to bush out and create more blossoms.

Light: Fuchsia magellanica enjoy bright light, but keep it safe from the hot afternoon sunlight.

Temperature: Fuchsia magellanica are not frost hardy and like a mild winter temperature of 10°C (50°F), especially when grown as potted plants. In cold winter areas, Fuchsia magellanica needs special care over winter. Prune the plant back to 10 to 15cm (4-6 inch), removing all leaves and store it in a cool, dark place. Placing it in a dark environment will prevent the plant from beginning to sprout and grow before climate conditions are optimum. Water the dormant Fuchsia magellanica plant only two or three times just to prevent the potting mixture to dry completely during this resting period. When the last frost has passed, move Fuchsia magellanica back to its summer placement so it can begin to grow.

Water: Water them regularely. To water Fuchsia magellanica, submerge the pots in room-temperature water until completely saturated and then allow them to stand until all dripping has stopped. Do not allow the plants to remain in standing water or root rot may result. On hot days, mist the foliage with water.

Feeding: Feed Fuchsia magellanica with a water-soluble bloom fertilizer.

Potting and repotting: Grow them in large 25 to 30cm (10-12 inch) pots or hanging baskets of rich, peaty compost mixed with sand and bone meal. Repotting should be strictly attended to, never allowing the plant to form a mat of roots around the ball before it gets a shift into a larger pot.

Propagation: Fuchsia magellanica can be propagated easily from softwood cuttings. The best time to root them is spring or autumn. The cutting should be 8cm (3 inch) in length potted singly in 5cm (2 inch) pots, in three parts sand, one part loam and another of leaf-mold. Place the pots in a shady position with a temperature of not less than 15°C (60°F) at night. When the small plants are well rooted, shift them along into a 10cm (4 inch) pot, using this time potting mixture recommended for adult plants. In this size of pot, the shoot will have made four or five joints and should now be pinched to encourage side breaks. The plant, where it is stopped, will start into two breaks and the strongest should be taken for a leader; pinch the weaker one when two leaves are well formed. Strict attention from now on should be paid to keep the plants in good shape. The side shoots must be kept in bounds, so that the symmetry of the plant is preserved, pinching “the stronger ones hard and allowing the weaker to grow a little longer so that they gain more vigour. The leader may be allowed to make six pairs of leaves, and then be stopped, always choosing the strongest breaks to increase the height of the plant.

Problems:
Watch out for scale insects and spider mites, pests which love to invade Fuchsia magellanica. Problematic mites include the fuchsia gall mite (Aculops fuchsiae) and red spider mite (Tetranychus urticae).
Treatment: First thoroughly spray the plant, both top and underside of leaves with water, then administer either insecticide or insecticide soap according to the label instructions.

Fuchsia magellanica are eaten by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera, such as the Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor) and the Black-lyre Leafroller Moth (“Cnephasia” jactatana). Other major insect pests include aphids, mirid bugs such as Lygocoris, Lygus and Plesiocoris spp., vine weevils (Otiorhynchus spp.), and greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum).
Treatment: Use an adequate pesticide following the label recommendations.

Rust (Puccinia graminis), gray mold (Botrytis blight), crown gall (Agrobacterium tumefaciens), rots (Phytopthora cinnamomi), southern blight (Sclerotium rolfsii) and verticillium wilt (Verticillium alboatrum and Verticillium dahliae) can also damage or kill Fuchsia magellanica shrubs.
Treatment: Because eradicating these bacterial diseases is difficult or impossible, the best recourse for infected plants is to remove and destroy them. The treatment begins with good sanitation to prevent the spread of the disease. Destroy affected plants and remove the surrounding soil and garden debris that has come in contact with them. Do not transplant any nearby plants to other parts of the garden. Quarantine new plants by growing them in a bed that is isolated from the rest of the garden until proven that they are disease-free.

Life span: Fuchsia magellanica plants will remain in bloom for several weeks, with each flower lasting several days, depending on location and care. The plants can last for years with proper care.

Companion plants: Fuchsia magellanica mixes well with other semi-tropical flowers, such as Salvia, Plectranthus and Justicia species.

Note: Fuchsia magellanica is regarded as an environmental weed in some parts of the world such as Australia and some islands in the Indian Ocean.

Uses and display: Fuchsia magellanica is used for planting in temperate and subtropical gardens, within conservatories and for containers on patios, balconies and sunny houseplant positions. Fuchsia magellanica adds bright colors and a tropical feeling to the garden. Use as a specimen or in a bed or border. It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Fuchsia magellanica is a large, fairly hardy, tropical-looking shrub with many showy flowers, used as beds, borders and hedge plant in garden or as specimen plant in containers.

Height: 60-120cm (23-47 inch)
Spread: 60-90cm (23-35 inch)

Hardiness zone: 6a-9b

Fuchsia magellanica Fuchsia magellanica Fuchsia magellanica Fuchsia magellanica Fuchsia magellanica hedge Fuchsia magellanica bonsai



Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Shrubs , , , , , , , , , ,

Acalypha wilkesiana

Common name: Match-Me-If-You-Can, Jacobs Coat, Beefsteak Plant, Fijian fire plant, Fire Dragon Plant, Redleaf

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Synonymous: Acalypha circinata
Acalypha compacta
Acalypha godseffiana
Acalypha hamiltoniana
Acalypha illustris
Acalypha macafeeana
Acalypha macrophylla
Acalypha marginata
Acalypha musaica
Acalypha torta
Acalypha tricolor
Acalypha triumphans
Ricinocarpus wilkesianus

Acalypha wilkesiana

Acalypha wilkesiana

Distribution and habitat: Acalypha wilkesiana is shrub which occurs in tropical and subtropical rainforest, dry rainforest and vine thickets of the Pacific Islands.

Description: Acalypha wilkesiana is an evergreen shrub which can grow to 1.8m (6 feet) tall. The stem is erect with many branches. The branches have fine hairs. It has a closely arranged crown. Its pointed oval leaves which are about 12cm (5 inch) long and 5cm (2 inch) wide, are coppery green, mottled and streaked with copper, red and purple. The leaves are finely hairy. They can be flat or crinkled. The flowers are reddish in spikes at the end of branches. They have separate male and female flowers on the same plant. The male flowers are in long spikes which hang downwards while the female flowers are in short spikes. They do not show up easily as they are often hidden among the leaves.
Acalypha wilkesiana plants are prized for their attractive foliage rather for their insignificant flowers.

Houseplant care: Acalypha wilkesiana branch and become bushy naturally and therefore it is never necessary to pinch out growing tips. But, to keep these plants within bounds in warm areas, they may need to be cut back annually and severely (taking out at least half the previous year’s growth). Rather to do this, indoor plants are renewed from cuttings each year and discarded the overgrown plants.

Light: Acalypha wilkesiana plants need plenty of warmth and light. In inadequate light they tend to become spindly and they will lose much of the leaf colouration that makes these plants so attractive.

Temperature: Warmth is essential. Even during the winter rest period the temperature should not be permitted to fall below 16°C (61°F). Acalypha wilkesiana will thrive in temperatures as high as 27°C (81°F). But because they are particularly sensitive to dry air, the potted plants must be set on trays of moist pebbles or damp peat moss throughout the year.

Watering: During the active growth period water plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but never let the pot stand in water. During the winter rest period water only enough to keep the mixture from drying out.

Feeding: Apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks during the active growth period only.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move small plants into pots one size larger whenever, on examination, roots are seen to fill their pots. This is best done in late spring but may be needed more than once a year. If Acalypha wilkesiana plants are to be kept more than one year, they should be repotted into larger pots annually in late spring.

Gardening: Acalypha wilkesiana is best grown as annual bedding plants or in containers which can be overwintered indoors. Stems may be pinched to control size and shape and to promote bushiness. Cutting back once a year keeps the foliage fresh and well coloured, and the plant more compact.

It is damaged by both drought and frost. It needs a minimum temperature above 10°C (50°F).

Position: Acalypha wilkesiana plants grow in full sun to part shade, sheltered from strong winds. Best foliage colour is optioned in full sun. In hot climates it suits a protected shady position.

Soil: Acalypha wilkesiana prefers light well drained, average to moderately fertile soil. Some sand to loam  within 5.5 to 7 pH range will suit these beautiful plants.

Irrigation: The soil must be kept consistently moist for Acalypha wilkesiana plants. If soil dry out, rapid leaf drop usually occurs.
Do not overwater during winter months; slightly dry is better.

Fertiliser: A mixture of all purpose fertilizer and potash can be used in spring; the potash will enhance the leaf colours.

Propagation: Acalypha wilkesiana are most attractive when young. Plants are usually discarded in their second year after being used for propagation. The simplest way to increase a plant is to take tip cuttings 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long in early spring. Alternatively, short side-shoots can be used. To encourage side-shoots, in early spring cut the old plant down to 0.5m  (1 foot) from the potting mixture. Keep the plant in bright filtered light. Mist-spray Acalypha wilkesiana daily and water enough to keep the potting mixture moist.
When new side-shoots are 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long they should be removed – each with a heel attached. After taking either tip or side-shoot cuttings, place each in a 8cm (3 inch) pot containing a moistened mixture of equal parts of peat moss and coarse sand or a substance such as perlite. Enclose the pots in plastic bags and place them in bright light filtered at a temperature of at least 20°C (68°F). No further watering is required until new growth indicates that the cuttings have taken root. Then remove the plastic bags. Thereafter, water just enough to keep the potting mixture barely moist and feed the plant with half strength liquid fertiliser every two weeks.
When cuttings are 30cm (12 inch) tall, move them into 10cm (4 inch) pots containing the regular potting mixture. They can then be treated as mature plants.

Problems:
Indoors, scale insects, spider mites, whiteflies, and mealybugs may be problems. Keep a careful watch for mealy bugs and red spider mites to which these plants are especially vulnerable. If unnoticed, such pests can do untold damage.
Treatment: Mealybugs – Remove manually the infested parts of the plant. Dip a cotton swab in alcohol and apply it to any bugs you cannot remove or areas which the bugs have heavily occupied. Discard infected plants if prior steps are not enough to eradicate the bugs.
Red spider mites – Wash the affected plants with soft dish soap solution or use an insecticidal soap. Repeat two or three time this treatment.

In the garden, downy mildew, powdery mildew, rust leaf spots and fungal root rots can occur.
Treatment: Prevention is more efficient than controlling the fungal disease.  Provide adequate air circulation and water the  plants in the morning, so plants get a chance to dry out during the day. However, to combat a fungal  disease, use an adequate pesticide.

Recommended varieties:
Acalypha wilkesiana ‘Godseffiana’ (sometimes called Acalypha godseffiena) has shiny green leaves with creamy white margins.

Acalypha wilkesiana ‘Macrophylla’ has leaves more nearly heart shaped than oval, of russet-brown with pale brown margins.

Acalypha wilkesiana ‘Marginata’ has heart shaped, olive green leaves tinged with bronze and margined with a line of carmine-red.

Acalypha wilkesiana ‘Mosaica’ called the giant red leaf, has hart shaped leaves that are bronze-green with orange and red markings.

Uses and display: Typically grown as an annual or houseplant. Acalypha wilkesiana can be grown in a warm greenhouse, in a border or as a specimen or hedging plant (especially in warm areas). Bedding plant, filler in borders or container plant as focal point will provide stunning colour addition to any display.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – coloured
Shape – bushy

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 27°C (64-81°F)
Humidity – high

Height indoors: 90cm – 120cm (35-47 inch)

Height outdoors: 1.2-1.8m ( 4-5 feet)
Spread outdoors: 1.2-1.8m ( 4-5 feet)

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Acalypha wilkesiana

Acalypha wilkesiana  in container

Acalypha wilkesiana Godseffiana

Acalypha wilkesiana Macrophylla

Acalypha wilkesiana Marginata

Acalypha wilkesiana Mosaica



Annuals, Evergreen, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Shrubs , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Abutilon hybridum

Common name: Flowering Maple, Albution, Chinese Lantern, Chinese Bell Flower

Family: Malvaceae

 

Abutilon hybridum

Abutilon hybridum

Distribution and habitat: Abutilon x hybridum (Abutilon hybridum) are cultigens, not occurring in the wild. Cultivars produced by hybridising some of the South American abutilons have all been placed in one group known as Abutilon x hybridum.
Abutilon x hybridum is a popular group of hybrids that are semi-tropical, frost-tender shrubs typically growing up to 2-3m (6-10 feet) tall in zones where can be left in the ground year-round. It is an evergreen shrubs with attractive maple-like leaves and an open, pendulous habit.

Description: Abutilon hybridum is the name given to a group of hybrids of mixed parentage.
The common name ‘Flowering Maple’ cames from the shape of its broad, five-lobed leaves, but it is not a true maple. It is more closely related to the Alcea species (hollyhock) and to the weed known as Abutilon theophrasti (velvet leaf).
There are many named varieties of Abutilon hybridum, which can grow up to 1.5m (5 feet) spread and can start to flower while very young. The pendent blooms are usually about 5cm (2 inch) long and bell shaped with prominent orange or yellow stamens and pale green calix (the papery, bract like growth that protects the unopened flower bud).
When given good light and proper care, Abutilon hybridum is producing papery blossoms on drooping stems nearly year-round. Flowers may be red, yellow, pink, orange or peach, depending on variety. Some varieties feature leaves mottled with yellow, but the strongest growers have solid green leaves.

Houseplant care: Abutilon hybridum plants tend toward legginess, so it is important to prune them back by one-third their size in the spring, just before the most vigorous flush of new growth begins. Remove any thin shoots that crowd the centre and reduce other stems by one-third. Also pinch back stems occasionally through the summer to promote a full, bushy shape. Regular pruning makes it easy to keep an Abutilon hybridum less than 45cm (18 inch) high and wide. If an upright plant is wanted to 1m (3 feet) tall, tie long branches to sturdy stakes.

Abutilon hybridum benefit from being kept outdoors in filtered sun during the summer months, but must be returned indoors before frost.

Light: Abutilon hybridum plants need bright light with at least three to four hours of direct sunlight every day. Place the plant to receive the light from a south or west window.

Temperature: This plant grows well in average room temperatures 18-24°C (65-75°F) year-round. Minimum temperature is 10°C (50°F).

Watering: During the active growth period water moderately, enough to moisten the potting mixture throughout, but allowing the top 1.5cm (0.5 inch) to dry out between waterings. In the rest period water only enough to keep the mixture from drying out completely.
This plant needs moderate humidity. Mist foliage with room-temperature water every few days when needed, especially in winter when indoor humidity is low. This practice will help to prevent problems with spider mites.

Fertiliser: Aply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks during the active growth period only. In winter, feed monthly, as plants grow more slowly.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move plants into pots one size larger in spring. It is best to discard Abutilon hybridum after two or three years.

Gardening: Abutilon hybridum plant stems tend to be weak. Pinch stem tips of younger plants to promote both bushiness and stronger, more compact plants. It can also be pruned back hard in the spring, if size control is needed.
In frost zones, these plants are usually grown as annuals in the garden or in containers.

Location: A full sun position is best, but Abutilon hybridum will also flower in part shade. Best in part shade (a position where the plants receive morning sun) in hot summer climates, particularly for those cultivars with variegated foliage. Foliage may wilt in full afternoon sun.
These plants will not cope so well with full shade as they need sunny spots to bloom over a long period of time (about 9 months per year or even year round).

Soil: Abutilon hybridum plants like a rich, well drained soil and a cool root run.

Irrigation: Water well and keep it protected with mulch. Abutilon hybridum needs consistently moist soils which do not dry out. This plant abhor dry conditions.

Fertilising: Avoid heavy feeding as Abutilon hybridum are inclined to produce foliage at the expense of flowers.

Propagation: Take tip cuttings 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long from the plant in spring or summer, dip the cut end in hormone rooting powder, insert them in small pots in a mixture of equal parts of moistened peat moss and coarse sand or in perlite and cover each pot with a plastic bag.
Place pots in filtered sunlight; cuttings will root in three to four weeks. Thereafter, move them into slightly larger pots of soil-based potting mixture, but keep the uncovered pots in filtered light for another two or three weeks and water just enough to keep the potting mixture barely moist. The plants can then be treated as mature Abutilon hybridum.

Longevity: Plants become woody and unattractive by the time they are 3 or 4 years old, but can be kept indefinitely by propagating stem tip cuttings.

Problems:
Plant does not bloom when has not enough light or needs additional fertiliser.
Treatment: Move plant to a place where it will get bright natural light half the day. Switch to a high-phosphorous fertilizer. Some plants bloom very little in winter, but vigorous hybrids should bloom year-round with good light and regular feeding.

Flowers and low leaves drop when uneven watering, resulting in some roots remaining dry; also, these drops can be promoted by too much direct sun.
Treatment: Rehydrate pot. In summer, move plant to a place where it will be protected from hot midday and afternoon sun.

Sticky leaves can be caused by aphids; these small insects are present on leaves.
Treatment: Prune plant to remove badly infested leaves. Clean thoroughly with plenty of water every 3 days for 2 weeks. Can be used insecticide soap.

Leaves are pale and stippled with yellow dots and faint webbing appear on leaf undersides. The cause are the spider mites.
Treatment: Isolate plant and and prune off and dispose of badly infested leaves. Clean undersides of remaining leaves with warm, soapy water. Mist daily for a week and see if plant shows signs of recovery. If plant has a stem that is not infested, attempt to propagate its tip, because seriously damaged plants may not be worth saving.
To prevent an infestation of these pests it is important to provide a humid atmosphere around the plants and to spray the plants with water occasionally.

Diseases affecting Abutilon hybridum include: root rot, rust, Alternaria and Cercospora leaf spot.
Treatment: These can be controlled by providing air circulation, keeping the leaves dry and using a fungicide, if necessary.

There is also Abutilon mosaic virus, but the leaf discoloration or variegation is usually considered a feature.

Recommended varieties:
Abutilon hybridum ‘Boule de Neige’ has white flowers with striking orange stamens.

Abutilon hybridum ‘Golden Fleece’ has yellow flowers.

Abutilon hybridum ‘Master Hugh’ has rose-pink flowers.

Uses and display: In addition to being grown in pots or hanging baskets, Abutilon hybridum can be trained to assume a treelike shape by tying the main stem to a sturdy stake and inching off all branches that emerge from the lowest 38cm (15 inch) of stem.
It is also a beautiful addition to cottage garden, shade garden shrub border where dense screening is not required.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – bushy
Indoors: 1.5m (5 feet)
Outdoors: 2-3m (6-10 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – direct
Temperature in rest period – min 10oC max 24oC (50-75oF)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16oC max 24oC (61-75oF)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Abutilon hybridum VoodooAbutilon hybridum in potAbutilon hybridum Boule de NeigeAbutilon hybridum Golden FleeceAbutilon hybridum Master HughAbutilon hybridum



Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Shrubs , , , , , , ,

Hydrangea macrophylla

Common name: Bigleaf Hydrangea, French Hydrangea, Lacecap Hydrangea, Mophead Hydrangea, Penny Mac, Hortensia

Family: Hydrangeaceae

Synonymous: Hortensia opuloides
Hydrangea chungii
Hydrangea hortensia
Hydrangea hortensis
Hydrangea maritima
Hydrangea opuloides
Hydrangea otaksa
Viburnum macrophyllum

Hydrangea macrophylla

Hydrangea macrophylla

Distribution and habitat: Hydrangea macrophylla plant is native to China and Japan, growing in cool, moist, mineral rich soil and medium shade of the woodland habitats, hedgerows or stream banks. It is a deciduous shrub growing to 2m (7 feet) tall by 2.5m (8 feet) broad with large heads of pink or blue flowers in summer and autumn. It is widely cultivated as ornamental garden plant in many parts of the world in climates ranging from 6 to 9 hardiness zones.

Description: The term macrophylla means large- or long-leave. The opposite leaves can grow to 15 cm (6 inch) in length. They are simple, membranous, orbicular to elliptic and acuminate. They are generally serrated.
The inflorescence of Hydrangea macrophylla is a cluster with all flowers placed in a plane or a hemisphere or even a whole sphere in cultivated forms. Two distinct types of flowers can be identified: central non-ornamental fertile flowers and peripheral ornamental flowers, usually described as ‘sterile’. The four sepals of decorative flowers have colors ranging from pale pink, red fuchsia purple to blue. The non-decorative flowers have five small greenish sepals and five small petals. Flowering lasts from early summer to early winter. The fruit is a subglobose capsule.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Hortensia’ is the most common form grown in pots. It is a low growing shrub, usually with height and spread of no more than 30-60cm (12-24 inch). Each plant has a short, woody stem and from four to eight branches, which carry opposite pairs of shiny, pointed oval leaves 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long and 5-10cm (2-4 inch) wide. The leaves have stalks about 2cm (1 inch) long. The main stem and branches may each terminate in a rounded flower head about 12-20cm (5-8 inch) wide which is composed of many four petaled flowers up to 5cm (2 inch) wide. Occasionally there are small specimens available which have only an unbranched main stem with a single flower head at its top.
Flowers of Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Hortensia’ have greenish buds that open white, pink, red, purple or blue. Flower colour of all Hydrangea plants are affected by the degree or acidity or alkalinity of the soil in which they grow. Pink or red-flowered kinds develop blue or purple when grown in acid or neutral potting mixtures and the normally blue-flowered kinds turn pink or purple-red in alkaline potting mixtures.

Houseplant care: Hydrangea macrophylla is the only species grown as indoor plant. Even this one is difficult to carry over from one year to another indoors because it require constantly cool conditions in order to bloom. Thus, potted Hydrangea macrophylla are usually bought when budding in early spring and may be kept for a few weeks indoors while flowering and then planted outdoors.

Light: Grow Hydrangea macrophylla plants in bright light but not too much direct sunlight.

Temperature: Flowers of potted Hydrangea macrophylla will last for up to eight weeks if kept in a cool position (below 16°C). In normal room temperatures the blooms are likely to fade within three to four weeks.

Watering: Water plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist. Never allow the potting mixture to dry out or the plant will collapse. If this happens, immerse the pot in a bucket of water until the root ball is thoroughly soaked. Even if this treatment succeeds, however, the current flowering period of the plant will have been shortened.

Feeding: Apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks as long as the plant remains indoors.

Potting and repotting: Repotting is not necessary for these temporary indoor plants. Most specimens will recover and thrive is planted in a sheltered position outdoors.

Gardening: Hydrangea macrophylla do not have to be pruned back – ever – unless they are very old. Removing dead stems is the only pruning that must be done for the health of the plant and these can be removed at any time. Hydrangea macrophylla blooms on large buds formed on previous season’s growth. Therefore is recommended do not cut the stems that are yet to flower as they will produce the first flowers of next year.

The white cultivars remain white regardless of the soil pH, but if colour changing is desired for other cultivars, lime the soil for pink flowers or add aluminum-sulphate for blue flowers. The change of the soil pH must be done before flower buds form. So treat the soil (in recommended dosage) several times at intervals starting with beginning of autumn and then again in spring. Test the soil pH concentration for good results.

Protect young plants in winter in cold zones as they are more tender than the older plants.

Location: All Hydrangea macrophylla plants will bloom and grow well in morning sun and afternoon shade in Southern Hemisphere. The further north they are grown the more sun these plants need and can withstand.
No hydrangea will do well in heavy shade such as under a shade tree. The blooms will be sparse and will not develop fully. If it is planted under a tree often fail to thrive. This is because trees roots are very aggressive and are drawn to the rich, moist soil usually provided for these plants.
Choose a location where Hydrangea macrophylla can reach its full size without pruning.

Soil: Plant Hydrangea macrophylla in well-drained soil. If the soil is heavy, add roughage such as pine bark mulch.
Do not plant it too deeply. Plant Hydrangea macrophylla in early summer or fall at the same depth the hydrangea was planted in the pot.
Transplant this plant when it has become dormant and has lost all of its leaves (late fall or winter).

Irrigation: Hydrangea macrophylla must be kept watered very well the first and second summer after they are planted or transplanted. The best way to water is deeply. Use a hose to water rather than a sprinkler system. However do not over-water. Watering every day can be just as destructive as allowing the plants to dry out. If the soil does not drain well, do not allow it to remain soggy around plants.
These plant have a moderate drought tolerance. They are not doing well in hot, dry conditions.

Fertilising: Hydrangea macrophylla grow best if they are fertilised once or twice in the summer. Either chemical fertilisers or organic matter can be used successfully. An organic method of applying manure and/or compost around the roots, produces excellent results and also improves the condition of the soil. If chemical fertilizers are used, applying a slow-release, balanced fertilizer once a year is probably the simplest solution. A less expensive fast release fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 will work just as well if applied twice during the summer. Do not fertilize after end of summer. Fall is the time for this plants to begin preparing for dormancy. Also, never fertilise a plant which looks sick.
Over-fertilisation can be much more detrimental than under-fertilization as fertiliser burn can occur when too much fertiliser is applied.

Propagation: Propagation is not practical for indoor plants. Although stem cuttings of Hydrangea macrophylla will normally root quite easily, the resultant plants are unlikely to produce flowers indoors.

For outdoors cultivation, Hydrangea macrophylla plants are easy to propagate from semi-hardwood cuttings taken from near the base of the plant, tip cuttings taken in summer or by layering, suckering or division. The cuttings 13-15cm (5-6 inch) long with the excess leaves removed should be placed in propagation mix and kept in a closed frame or sealed plastic bag until roots develop. The cuttings are taken in late summer or early fall.

Pests and Diseases:
Aphids distort the new growth and coat the leaves with sticky honeydew.
Treatment: The insects can be dislodged with a high pressure water spray from the garden hose.

Four-lined plant bug causes round, brown, sunken spots on the leaves. The injury is often thought to be a disease.
Treatment: Both contact and systemic insecticides are effective for control of these bugs.

A leaf tier webs the leaves over the tip of the branches.
Treatment: These insects may be picked off by hand. Handpick and destroy caterpillars, tell-tale rolled leaves and cocoons; prune out and destroy active webs, preferably when still small.

Rose chafers are light tan with red, spindly legs, though they can be darker.
Treatment: They can occur in large numbers where soils are sandy. Chemicals are ineffective because more rose chafers quickly move into a treated area to replace those killed by pesticides. Physically remove rose chafers, especially when small numbers are present. Remove them from plants and into pails of soapy water to kill them.

Oyster shell scale infests the upper stems of Hydrangea and often goes unnoticed.
Treatment Sprays of dormant plants with horticultural oil should help control overwintering stages and are less harmful to biological predators that help control scale.

Mites cause yellowish foliage.
Treatment: Treat affected plants with horticultural oils or an adequate pesticide following the instructions on label.

Bacterial wilt may blight the flower clusters and leaves. The disease is worse after heavy rains and hot weather. If severe, wilting and root rot occur, followed by plant death.

Bud or flower blight infects dense flower clusters in wet weather or after frost.

Several genera of fungi cause leaf spots on Hydrangea.

Powdery mildews in different genera cover the undersides of leaves with light gray mold. The leaves turn brown in spots and the upper leaf surfaces stay green or turn purplish brown. Young stems and flower stalks are infected and killed.

Rust causes rusty brown pustules on the leaves. The pustules are most noticeable on the undersides of leaves. Infected leaves dry up and become brittle.

Problems: There are three possibilities for lack of flowering among the Hydrangea macrophylla species: too much shade, improper pruning or unfavorable weather conditions which can damage the flower buds by late spring freezes.

Recommended varieties:
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘All Summer Beauty’ – This selection may be more appropriate for colder areas, as it supposedly blooms on current season’s growth and thus will flower despite late frost damage. The profuse mophead blooms are deep blue in acid soil, and the plant grows 1.2m (4 feet) tall and wide.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Ayesha’ – Unusual for its rounded flower petals, slight fragrance and lustrous foliage, this cultivar is gaining popularity. The mophead flowers are pink-purple. This form may be less hardy than others.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Blue Wave’ – The most popular blue-flowered lacecap form, this plant is also hardier than similar plants. It grows to 2m (7 feet) tall and wide and features outer bloom florets of blue to pink (depending on soil pH).

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Golden Sunlight’ – (a cultivar of Hydrangea macrophylla var. serrata) A new form that is very unusual for its new leaves which emerge golden yellow and mature to light green with age. The blooms are pinkish and the plant grows to 1m (3 feet) tall and wide.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Lemon Wave’  – Grown mostly as a foliage plant, this form has spectacular variegation — with zones of gold, white and green on each leaf. It rarely flowers in colder zones.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Nikko Blue’ – This is the most common blue-flowered mophead form, useful in colder areas since is reportedly will produce some flowers on new growth late in the season. Acid soil will produce the deepest blue color on this 1.2 (4feet) tall shrub.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Madame Emile Mouillere’ – A hardy mophead form, this plant is also notable for its heavy production of pure white flowers that develop hints of blue-pink with age. It grows to 1.5m (5 feet) tall and wide.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Mariesii Variegata’ (may be the same as Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Variegata’) – This is the most common variegated leaf form, with deep green foliage edged in white. It reaches 1.5m (5 feet) tall and bears lacecap blooms, but it rarely flowers well in colder zones.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Pia’, ‘Forever Pink’ and ‘Tovelit’ – A trio of dwarf forms, these selections are among the most popular compact selections, reaching only 1m (3 feet) tall and wide. The mophead flowers are in shades of pink.

Cutting flower: Hydrangea macrophylla are used as cutting flowers as well. Their blooms can make a fabulous floral arrangements as they will fill a vase with their many tiny flowers. They also last well, especially with proper care. Properly cut blooms will last for at least several weeks to a month. It is recommended do not trim non-blooming stalks on a plant less than five years old because they tend to become next year’s flowers. The flower harvested should be at least a week old and is fully colored prior to cutting it since the older the bloom, the longer the cut flower will last in water. Though hydrangea leaves are pretty, they should all be trimmed off as they will steal water from the flower part and also will shorten the life of a cut flower. Consider using a shorter vase and cutting the Hydrangea macrophylla stem short, about 15cm (6 inch) or less. A longer stem requires more water and will shorten the life of the bloom. Once the bloom is cut, which should be cut on a diagonal, the Hydrangea macrophylla bloom should be immersed in water for two hours. To increase water absorption, the bottom of the stem should be either smash the with a hammer or re-cut 2.5cm (1 inch) off the bottom of the stem while it is immersed in water. This will keep the bloom alive and drinking water for a longer period of time. Since the stem will take up water, check frequently the level of water in the vase. Change the vase water every few days.

Dry flowers: Hydrangea macrophylla can be used as dried flowers. While it is tempting to cut the hydrangea blossoms for drying at the height of their color, this does not work. Fresh, recently opened blooms, rarely dry well in the open air. Hydrangeas do best when allowed to dry on the plant before picking them. In the south, hydrangeas usually age to a blushing green color and then pick up shades of pink and burgundy as Fall approaches. In the cooler areas of the world, they seem to age to shades of blue and purple. They are both equally beautiful, but very different.
Leave blooms on the shrub until late summer. Toward the end of the summer the petals will begin to age and take on a vintage look. If left on the shrub a little longer, many blooms will pick up interesting shades of burgundy and pink.

Another method: If are used cut blooms to dry, strip off the leaves, arrange them in a vase, with or without water, and leave them to dry. It is not necessary to hang hydrangea flowers up side down to dry unless the stems are very thin and weak.
To retain extremely natural hydrangea color, use Silica Gel to dry fresh blooms.

Uses: Hydrangea macrophylla is a useful hedging plant because of its vigorous growth. It is an appreciated shrub border for its high quality foliage, adding textural variety to a landscape. It makes a stunning plant for either specimen, groupings or mass plantings. It is suitable for cottage garden style. Also, it can be used as container plant or above-ground planter.

Hardiness zone: 5b – 9a

Hydrangea macrophylla HortensiaHydrangea macrophylla All Summer BeautyHydrangea macrophylla AyeshaHydrangea macrophylla Blue WaveHydrangea macrophylla Golden SunlightHydrangea macrophylla Lemon WaveHydrangea macrophylla Nikko BlueHydrangea macrophylla Madame Emile MouillereHydrangea macrophylla Mariesii VariegataHydrangea macrophylla PiaHydrangea macrophylla Forever PinkHydrangea macrophylla Tovelit



Cutting Flowers, Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Shrubs , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gardenia jasminoides

Common name: Common Gardenia, Cape Jasmine, Cape Jessamine

Family: Rubiaceae

Synonymous: Gardenia augusta
Genipa florida
Genipa grandiflora
Genipa radicans

Gardenia jasminoides

Gardenia jasminoides

Distribution and habitat: Gardenia jasminoides is an evergreen flowering plant originated in Asia. It is most commonly found growing wild in Vietnam, Southern China, Taiwan, Japan, Myanmar and India distributed in broad-leaved forests at low to medium elevations. With its shiny green leaves and heavily fragrant white summer flowers, it is widely used in gardens in warm temperate and subtropical climates and as a houseplant in temperate regions.

Description: Gardenia jasminoides are low-growing bushy shrubs mainly prized for their fragrant flowers which give out a heady perfume. Gardenia jasminoides is the only species of Gardenia grown indoors. Despite their common name ‘Cape Jasmine’ they are not related with true Jasmine. As a potted plants rarely exceeds 45cm (18 inch) in height or spread, even through it is capable of growing up to 2m (7 feet) in climates where it can be grown outside in the garden.
The 10cm (4 inch) long leaves of Gardenia jasminoides are shinny, dark green, leathery, lance-shaped and usually arranged in opposite pairs, though sometimes in whorls of three or more. The flowers, which may be fully double (with many petals or semi-double with only two layers of slightly arching petals), are 5-10cm (2-4 inch) across and appear, usually singly, from leaf axils near the ends of the shoots.

Most Gardenia jasminoides bloom naturally during the summer months. Each flower may last only five to seven days, but the bloom can last for many months with proper care. Only a few flowers are generally open at any given time per plant. Happy plants may bloom a second time in the fall.
The plants can live up to 10 years, indoors, with proper care.

Houseplant care: Gardenia jasminoides are not difficult plants to grow, although they require particular attention in order to flower.

Some early spring pruning is usually necessary to keep the shrub low and bushy. Nip out the growing points of any long new shoot on young plants and cut out about half or even two-thirds of the old wood of the mature plants. Be careful, however, not to nip out flower buds. The stems of the plants can always be cut back later after the flowers have died. The cuts should be made immediately above the points where growth-producing duds point outward rather than toward the centre of the plant.
Remove the faded blooms.

Natural gas fumes will harm the plant, so growing gardenias near a gas stove or fireplace is not a good idea.

Light: Gardenia jasminoides do best in bright light. Always keep them out of direct sunlight, however.
Established plants may be moved outdoors in a shady, sheltered location for the summer months. Bring the plant indoors when temperatures fall bellow 15°C (60°F).

Temperature: The key to success in bringing Gardenia jasminoides into flower is to maintain a steady temperature of 16-17°C (61-62°F) during the period when flower buds are forming; a sudden change in either direction is practically certain to cause the buds to drop off. When plants are not forming flower buds, the range can be that of fairly normal room, between 15-24°C (60-75°F).

A high degree of humidity is also essential when flower buds are forming. To achieve this, stand the pots on trays of moist pebbles or peat moss and spray plants at least once a day with fine mist-spray, using water at room temperature. But try not to wet the flowers if the plants are in bloom, because water on the petals causes discolouration.
Fresh, moist (humid) circulating air is a necessity, especially during the winter. Hot, stale or dry air can cause fungal issues. Keep this plant away from radiators and avoid draughts.

Watering: Gardenia jasminoides do not have a well defined rest period. They grow less actively, though, during the winter in areas where the winter months bring on considerable reduction of light. In such places water these plants  moderately during the summer, giving enough at each watering to make the potting mixture moist throughout and allowing the top centimetre or so of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again. During the winter months allow the top few centimetre or so of the potting mixture to dry out completely before watering again.
Such reduced winter watering is desirable even with the plants that are forced into winter flowering. In areas with less winter reduction of light, watering can remain unchanged throughout the year. Always use slightly warm, preferable lime free water for these plants.

These flowering plants are thirsty. Dry soil will cause the buds to drop. Check the soil at least every couple days. Keep it moist but not soggy, which can also cause buds to drop.

Feeding: Apply an acid fertiliser every two weeks, but only during the growing season, to these lime heating Gardenia jasminoides plants.

Potting and repotting: Most growers use a lime free potting mixture even though Gardenia jasminoides can tolerate a little alkalinity. A mixture of equal parts of leaf mould and peat moss is excellent. If a propetary peat-based potting mixture is used, make sure it is suitable for lime hating plants, since some are not. Because there is relatively little nutritional value in leaf mould and none in peat moss, it is especially important to give a regular feeding as recommended if this mixture is used. It is also possible to use a soil based potting mixture as long as it is non-alkaline.  The feeding regime is less essential with soil based potting mixture than with soil-less ones.

Repot Gardenia jasminoides only when their roots have nearly filled the pot (as indicated by their appearance at the surface or outside the bottom drainage holes). These plants flower best when they are kept in pots that are just a little too small for vigorous stem growth. Ideally, any repotting should only be done when the plants are beginning to grow in the spring and the root ball should be disturbed as little as possible.

Gardening: Gardenia jasminoides can be grown in beds in areas within its hardiness zones, but growing them in containers allow the plants to be moved to more suitable seasonal sites and makes it easier to control pests.

When pulling weeds from around Gardenia jasminoides in garden, do so carefully. This plant’s roots are shallow and can damage easily. Consider to place a 5 to 8cm (2-3 inch) layer of organic mulch to keep the weeds from growing as it helps the soil to maintain moisture.

Location: Gardenia jasminoides can grow in part shade or part sun. It requires good amount of light to bloom successfully. During the hottest climate, protect the plant by keeping it in shade. Although, keep away from big bushy shrubs which can overwhelm this smaller Gardenia jasminoides.
The fragrance of Gardenia jasminoides plants is strong, so it is best planted in a place where its smell can spread easily. It can be planted near a wall, deck or patio; so that its fragrance is carried easily throughout the landscape.

Soil: The preferred soil for Gardenia jasminoides should be rich, acidic, moisture-retentive and well drained. Use a soil which has 6 or higher pH. This is a calcifuge (lime hating) plant, which means it does not tolerate alkaline soil. If the soil is not acidic enough, then many plant problems can occur.
When planting them, keep a distance of at least 1m (40 inch) between each plant.

Irrigation: Gardenia jasminoides requires average watering. However, supply the plant adequate water on a regular basis, taking care not to over water it. The soil should be kept moist at all times, but it should not be soggy. Irri­gating with drip systems keeps water off the foliage and flowers, which helps prevent leaf and petal spots. When well established, it can moderately tolerate drought conditions. To help main­tain adequate soil moisture, use mulch and avoid culti­vation around the base of the plant.

Avoid using very hard water for Gardenia jasminoides, however. If soft water is not available, then add some vinegar to the hard water to lower its pH.

Fertilise: Gardenia jasminoides requires fertilisation twice in a year to maintain dark green leaves. Fertilise during early spring (before the flowers appear) and during early summer. Use an iron chelate fertilizer and mix with an acidic soil mixture.

Propagation: Gardenia jasminoides can be propagated from 8cm (3 inch) long tip cuttings taken in early spring. Dip these in hormone rooting powder and plant them in small pots of moistened peat-based potting mixture suitable for lime hating plants. Place the potted cuttings in a heated propagating case or alternatively, enclose them in a plastic bags and keep them at a temperature of 15-18°C (59-64°F) in bright light which is filtered through something like a translucent blind or curtain. Rooting should occur in four to six weeks. In late summer move the rooted cuttings into pots a size larger, containing the potting mixture recommended for mature plants. Water them moderately and feed them at least once a month until they are well developed. Then treat them as mature plants.

Recommended varieties:
Gardenia jasminoides ‘Belmont’ which is densely bushy plant and bears large, fragrant, many petaled, white flowers that turn cream coloured as they age. This variety is often sold as cut flowers by florists.

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Fortuniana’ (Gardenia jasminoides ‘Florida’) is a less bushy plant with medium size, rather waxy, snowy-white, many petaled flowers that turn yellowish with age.

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Veitchii’ has a dense growth and medium size, many petaled flowers which normally remain pure white. This variety can be brought into flower in early winter by dis-budding (having their flower buds picked off at an early stage) throughout summer and early autumn.

Gardenia jasminoides ‘White Gem’ is a dwarf variety reaching only 60cm (24 inch) tall. It is one of the most common species of Gardenia for growing indoors.

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Radicans’ has an upright form, making it a favorite for shaping a gardenia tree. It is perfect for creating a Gardenia bonsai.

Problems: Generally  the result of incorrect treatment.

Yellowing leaves are the result of careless watering or due to deficiency of one or more micro nutrients (usually iron).
Treatment: Allow the soil to remain evenly moist but not water saturated. Micro nutrients deficiency can often be corrected by acidifying the soil with aluminum sulfate, iron sulfate or wettable sulfur. Iron chelate may be used on the soil or foliage. An acidulating houseplant fertilizer can be used to lower soil pH.

Bud drop may be caused by sudden changes in temperature or by incorrect watering.
Treatment: Maintain adequate soil moisture but avoid over-watering; avoid insufficient light; avoid planting in locations where nighttime temperatures commonly exceed 13-15°C (55–60°F); control parasitic insects.

Failure of flower buds to form is a result of too high temperatures (day and/or night) as well as too low temperatures at night.

Red  spider mite and aphids may be a problem where the humidity is low. These insects are small and often hide underneath the leaves. Symptoms are: the leaves are turning yellow, curling or there are holes in the leaves.
Treatment: Spray the plant with insecticidal soap. Follow the label directions for proper usage.

Whiteflies are white and cottony appear­ance of leaf undersides. The whiteflies have as a side effect accumulation of black sooty mold.
Treatment: Successive sprays of insecticidal soaps or white oil.
Thrips are tiny black insects that feed on flowers and leaf undersides. They cause browning the margins of the flower petal, distortion of flowers or failure of buds to open.
Treatment: Treat the plant with a suitable insecticide, but it should be used while the flowers are still in bud, because it can burn the petals.
Mealybugs suck plant juices, and heavy infestations will coat the leaves with sticky honeydew. They appear as white cottony masses found in the leaf axils, underside of leaves and other protected areas.
Treatment: Use appropriate insecticides. Remove with an alcohol­ saturated cotton swab or wash plants with soapy water and a soft brush or cloth or pick off with tweezers or a toothpick.
Look for caterpillars which feed on leaves.
Treatment: Use an appropriate insecticide to combat these pests.

In sandy soil, nematodes feed on the roots and can cause Gardenia jasminoides to be stunted or even die.
Treatment: Soil fumigation is a must prior to planting as preventive measure. Graft onto nematode-resistant rootstock such as Gardenia thunbergia can be an option where these pests are a problem. Incorporate wood shavings or organic matter in the soil mass to depress nematode population.

Root rots caused by various fungi also can be a problem, especially in poorly drained soils.
Treatment: Avoid overwatering and avoid planting these plants in heavy soils. Use a suitable fungicides.

Powdery mildew appears as white and powdery spots on leaves. This is a fungal disease favored by relatively cool nights and warm days.
Treatment: Methods of treatment this disease include preventive or curative fungicides usage, weed control and providing good soil drainage. Increase ventilation and airflow to aid in drying foliage.
Sooty mold causes black, thin layers of the fungus to form over the upper surface of the leaves. Sooty mold is caused by a group of related fungi that grow upon sugary exudate or honeydew secreted by sucking insects such as aphids, scales, mealybugs and whiteflies.
Treatment: Control sucking insects. Sooty mold usually weathers away following control of the insect infestation. Once the insects are controlled, wash the sooty mold off the leaves with soap and water.
Purchasing tips:
Buy Gardenia jasminoides plants that are loaded with well-formed buds and, perhaps, one or two open blooms.
Check flower buds, stems and leaves for signs of wilt, browning or yellowing foliage, mold and rot.

Companion plants: Combine Gardenia jasminoides fragrant beauty with other woodland shrubs and perennials like Astrantia major (Masterwort), Heuchera (Coral Bells), Camellia and Evergreen Azalea species. Create a tropical container planting for your patio or deck with Mandevilla, Colocasia (Elephant Ears), Agapanthus and Fuchsia species.

Uses and display: With its low, dense growth, Gardenia jasminoides is a favorite for limited space. Best planted close to outdoor living spaces in heavy ceramic pots or raised planters to enjoy the lovely fragrance. Although care needs to be taken in placing this plant in the landscape because its fragrance can be too intense for some people. It should not be placed below bedroom windows. Plant it near a deck, walkway or patio where the fragrance can be enjoyed throughout the whole gar­den or landscape.
With their glossy, dark green foliage, gardenia plants make a great foundation in a landscape. It is effectively used as either focus or background in informal plantings and for tropical-theme landscape plantings. Gardenia jasminoides can also be an accent plant around seating areas or near win­dows to take advantage of their extremely fragrant white flowers. They do well in containers (22-30cm (9-12 inch) tubs) and are suitable as well for hedges, low screens, mass plantings and groundcovers.
Gardenia jasminoides is also a popular cut flower for the florist for use in corsages and in Hawaii leis. The flowers float nicely in table-top glass or ceramic vessels. Gardenia flowers have a vase life of 2 days. Flowers that will be used for lei making can be stored in a refrig­erator at 4°C (40°F) for up to 1 day and 3 days for buds. Spray with water to clean the flowers or buds and place them on a wet paper towel in a bowl before refrigerating.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers, fragrance
Shape – bushy

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 16oC max 24oC (61-75oF)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16oC max 24oC (61-75oF)
Humidity – high

Height: 30-90cm
Hardiness zone: 8b-11

Gardenia jasminoides BelmontGardenia jasminoides FortunianaGardenia jasminoides VeitchiiGardenia jasminoides RadicansGardenia jasminoides White GemGardenia jasminoides in pot

 

 

 

 

 



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