Sunday, 12 November 2017

The Allium, Most Graceful Ornamental Flower in your Gardens

If you have ever seen chives blooming you may have been surprised to find that the plant is as ornamental as it is useful in the kitchen. Most gardeners do not realize that many members of the onion family produce flowers pretty enough to grow in gardens. They are a very diverse group, with flower clusters in many sizes, shapes and colors and blooming times range from spring to summer to fall. The one thing they have in common is an oniony smell when the foliage is rubbed or stepped on, but this does not happen often enough to offend, and some of the flowers are sweetly fragrant. Most of them make fine, long lasting cut flowers, and some every dry well for winter arrangements.
A wonderful allium to try is Allium giganteum “giant garlic”. In early summer it sends up long stalks about 4 feet tall, topped with 5 inch balls, perfectly round, made up of tiny purple flowers. Buy the time they bloom there is little or no foliage around the stems, so grow them together with lower, bushy plants or behind a low wall. If you like big, round purple flowers, you will really love A. albopilosum “A. christophii” commonly called “star of Persia”. Its flower cluster is looser than that of A. giganteum and up to a foot in diameter, with star shaped flowers in late spring. Stems are shorter, about 2 feet.
A.aflatunense has 4 inch purple balls in May and grows to 2 feet or a bit more. Other handsome spring alliums include A. moly “golden garlic”, with flatter clusters of yellow flowers, about a foot tall, and A. neapolitanum “daffodil garlic”, which is roughly the same height and bears fragrant white flowers in April. For late summer bloom, A. tuberosum “Chinese chives or garlic chives”, which has white, fragrant flower clusters. For fall try A. stellatum or A. thunbergii, both short stemmed and pink flowering. Most alliums are hardy to Zone 4, A. neapolitanum is hardy to Zone 6.
Moreover, if you want to grow Allium then this plant like full sun, though A. giganteum will do fine in part shade. Soil can be of average fertility but it should be lightened with organic matter and moist but well drained. They can be planted in spring of fall, from bulbs or from seed though seed grown plants may take a long time to reach flowering size. Plant the short ones about 4 inches apart, the tall ones 8 inches to a foot apart.
A few things are very important to watch for; some alliums should be deadheaded to prevent them from self sowing all over the place. They also propagate themselves by forming little bulblets on the sides of the bulbs by which you can increase your stock if you so desire. A friend of mine cautions me that his A. giganteum did not produce flowers the second year becaust its energy had gone into producing the bulblets, although by the third year the bulblets were large enough to flower. So if your allium gives you foliage but no flowers, be patient; it may perform better in the future. Also note that many spring flowering species are summer dormant, so don’t be alarmed when the foliage disappears.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Grow Begonia with their Own Special Virtues


Well, there are several types of begonias you can grow indoors, all of them very different from one another in the way they look and grow, and all with their own special virtues. The fibrousrooted wax begonias, which are normally grown most often as outdoor annuals, make fine ever blooming houseplant. Tuberous begonias also can be grown as houseplants though they will only bloom in summer Angel-wing begonias (Begonia coccinea) are fribrous rooted, cane type begonias that grow up to 4 feet and more and bear dangling clusters of small are flowers almost year round. Iron cross begonias “B. masoniana” are foliage plants, growing 1 ½ feet tall from rhizomes; they are valued for their crinkly, apple green leaves, which are marked in the center with a dark green cross.

Perhaps the most spectacular and popular begonias grown as houseplants are rex and Rieger begonias. Rex begonias “B. rex-cultorum” grow from rhizomes and have small pink or white flowers in spring, but heyare most prized for their arge magnificent leaves, which are an intricate brocade of green, red, bronze, pink or silver. They make a lavish mound a foot tall or a bit more miniature varieties are 6 to 8 inches. Rieger begonias “B. x hiemalis” often have colored leaves but are grown for their profuse, showy flowers at least 2 inches across in shades of red, pink, orange and yellow. Which provide months of color in winter? They are fibrous rooted.

Begonias in general like plenty of light, and flowering types should have several hours of sun each day for best winter bloom. Daytime temperature should be in the 65- to 75- degree range a bit cooler for Rieger begonias and not below 50 degree at night. All especially rex begonias like humid air, but it must circulate well to avoid mildew, especially the large leaved types.

Soil with should be a nice, light, organic mix, like that sold for African violets, and should be kept evenly moist, or just slightly dry between watering. But drainage must be excellent and you should avoid wetting the leaves. Fertilize lightly with a balanced fertilizer about every two weeks, while plants are in active growth or in the case of Rieger begonias, all year. Fibrous rooted kinds should be repotted in spring as needed; those with rhizomes go in shallow pots and should remain rootbound until you can see rhizomes all over the soil surface.
Moreover Rieger begonias that stop blooming can be cut back to several inches to produce fresh, flowering growth. Stems of rex begonias should be cut back to the base if they start to  get leggy. Wax begonias also benefit from being cut back, and stems of angel wing begonias without leaves should be cut back in early spring to make new growth. All begonias can be propagated easily by stem cuttings. With rex and Rieger begonias leaf cutting are also a good method.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Ficus, The Most Popular House Plant


One of most popular houseplants is the weeping fig, also called “Ficus benjamina”, normally just called “ficus”. Though related to the edible fig, it does not bear fruit, but it makes a beautiful display as an indoor plant. Thus, a busy tree that might grow upto 50 feet in its native Malaya.  It can easily be kept to 6 feet or so or allowed to grow to ceiling height, which it will do within a few years.

Its 3 inches shiny, pointed leaves tolerate low humidity well one reason why “ficus” is such a popular plant. Another oft-grown ficus is that old standby the rubber plant (F. elastica).  It looks almost like an artificial plant, with its large, dark green oval, shiny leaves, and it can grow to the ceiling if you don’t pinch its tip. Though now out of fashion because of overuse, F. elastica is still a good plant to grow if you need something big and green in a spot with little light. it will grow in bright light too. The variety “Decora” has very broad leaves, and there are variegated varieties as well, though these need more light in order to show their colors.
“Ficus” plants like fairly warm rooms but will tolerate low humidity because their leaves are rather leathery.  F. benjamina needs more light that F. elastica filtered sun or bright, indirect light is best. Soil for both can dry out a bit between watering, but don’t overwater. F. elastica will get leggy, and F. benjamina will drop its leaves. Sudden changes in the environment, such as being moved or exposed to drafts, can also cause leaf drop in the latter, and making it seem like a delicate fussy plant. But it will normally recover promptly with new growth. Feed both regularly except in fall or winter and wash the leaves with warm water. They like to be rather pot bound and their size can be controlled by root pruning them and putting them back into the same pot. Stems can also be cut back to the desired height and will produce new, compact growth.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Hyacinth or Hyacinthus


Well, grow at least a few hyacinths so you can pick them. You know, they are looking very prettier indoors in vases, where they can perfume the room, than they do in gardens. The leaves, which seem to stick around forever, are quite unsightly, and even the flower heads, look rather lumpy among the more dainty shapes of the other bulbs. But grown with something to soften them, such as a sea of forget me nots or blue flowering periwinkle; they are not hard to take. The flower heads become less thick as years go by an improvement.
There is Hyacinthus you can grow besides Hyacinthus orientalis, from which the big Dutch cultivars are commonly derived. Try Roman hyacinth (H. o. albulus) in blue, pink and white. Roman hyacinth has a looser cluster but more stems per plant. The common hyacinth is hardy, you can still try it north of there is you give it some winter protection and plant is frilly deep.
If you want to grow Hyacinthus then in the north plant Hyacinthus as early as in fall. However in warm areas refrigerate the bulbs for a few weeks and plant in late fall. They like a sandy loam of moderate fertility that is moist but very well drained. Grow in full sun or light shade. Plant the large bulbs 5 inches deep and 6 inches apart, and trying to create the effect of natural groupings to offset the rather stiff bearing of the leaves and flowers.

Begonia or Tuberhybrida


Begonia is a genus of perennial flowering plants in the family Begoniaceae. The genus contains 1,795 different plant species. The Begonias are native to moist subtropical and tropical climates. Some species are commonly grown indoors as ornamental houseplants in cooler climates. Tuberous begonias are prima donnas compared to the relatively low key plants, but it is hard to resist them especially if you are coping with a shaded or partly shaded situation. These are not grown as annuals. They grow from little around tubers that persist from year to year if you take care of them properly.

There are several types of tuberous begonias, all of them gorgeous. The most spectacular are the upright forms, which grow a foot or more tall and produce flowers as large as 10 inches across in vivid reds, pinks, salmons, apricots, yellows, oranges and white. Flower forms vary, as some are shaped like roses, camellias, ruffled edges and some have edges in a contrasting color. The multi-flora types are bushy plants about a foot tall with smaller flowers; but they are easier to grow and are more tolerant of sun. The pendula types have long, trailing stems that make them perfect for hanging baskets. All types bloom all summer but are hardy only in frost free zones.
How to Grow Begonia?
Well, if you want to grow begonia, then the stems of all begonias are fragile and will not stand heavy dog and cat traffic, so plant them in a safe spot. They can also be grown in containers, indoors or out. The leaves do not like to get too wet they can mildew or sit in the sun. The worst thing you can do to begonias is to get their leaves wet, then let them sit in the sun (the leaves die). The tubers and stems can both rot if the soil is too wet. The flowers also have a tendency to drop off, like reluctant debutantes, just as they are reaching their peak of exquisite perfection. You can float a dropped off blossom in a bowl of water and it will stay pretty for days.
Moreover, put begonias in a spot, where they will get plenty of bright light to keep them from getting leggy, but don’t put them in direct sun. Give them moist, light soil with plenty of organic matter, and make sure it is well drained. They prefer humid air, but it must circulate freely around the plant. To plant begonias, start the tubers as early as February, setting them in trays of moistened peat moss. You just need to simply press them gently, flat side up and round side down into the surface of the peat.
Water lightly and wait for them to sprout little pink buds if they have not done so already. Shoots will emerge from the buds and roots will form at the sides of the tubers.. when the tubers have sprouted just put each one in a pot about 5 inches wide on top, filled with a light potting mix such as one part loam, one part peat, and one part sand, with perhaps some compost or rotted manure worked in. As the plant grows be sure it has plenty of light or you will get leggy growth. Stems should not be pinched. Moreover, use fluorescent lights if you haven’t a bright natural source out of direct sun.

Furthermore, a high nitrogen fertilizer such as fish emulsion will give the leaves the rich dark green color you want to see. When frost threatens bring the potted plants indoors, but don’t try to keep them blooming too much longer. Before fall is too far underway you should let them become dormant by withholding water and letting the foliage die. Then store the tubers in dry peat or sawdust until its time to plant them again. Some people divide the tubers by cutting them, making sure there is one eye to each plant. Normally the prefer to let each tuber get bigger and fatter each year, making  larger, more magnificent plants, and then take cutting from these if you want to increase the stock. Cuttings should be rooted in moist sand. Source: Charismatic Planet

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Magnolia


Well, magnolias are handsome ornamental trees, with their showy flowers, their dark green leaves and their relatively small size. Magnolia is a large genus of about 210 flowering plant species in the subfamily Magnolioideae of the family Magnoliaceae. It is named after French botanist Pierre Magnol. They are generally thought of as southern plants, but there are species that will do well in the north,, even though they may not make you feel like Scarlett O’Hara. Saucer magnolia (magnolia x soulangiana) grows about 25 feet tall, normally with several trunks, with smooth, dark gray bark. The large flowers, white streaked with pink and purple, sit upright at the tips of the branches before the leaves appear. Star magnolia is a considerably smaller tree the flowers, which appear quite early in spring, are like large fragile white stars. The natural range of Magnolia species is a disjunction distribution, with a main centre in east and Southeast Asia and a secondary centre in eastern North America, Central America, the West Indies, and some species in South America.

The foliage is much finer textured than that of saucer magnolia. Bothe are hardy, but in cold climates are best grown in a partly shaded exposure to retard bloom early flowers can be killed by cold, and late snowstorms can turn start magnolia blossoms into tattered wrecks. Southern magnolia, also called “bull bay” (M.grandiflora), is a native ever green single trunked tree that can grow as tall as 90 feet, though it is usually a good bit shorter. It is hardy though it may survive farther north if grown in a sheltered location. It has huge, glossy, dark green leaves and fragrant white flowers that can be as large as a foot across. Its seeds pods, which open in fall to reveal red seeds, are also ornamental.

Magnolias normally like full sun, except in the situation described above, and except for southern magnolia, which is fairly shade tolerant. All like fertile, loose, well drained soil that is rich in organic matter, with a slightly acid pH. Magnolias do not transplant easily and should be planted balled and bur lapped in spring. The roots are shallow, and care should be taken when cultivating around them. Moreover keep the soil moist while the trees are becoming established, and mulch them. Magnolia scale can be treated with a dormant oil spray. Magnolias do not respond well to pruning because the wounds do not heal easily. But any dead or diseased wood should be removed. Remove water sprouts,, suckers and any undesirable branches while they are small, if possible, pruning softer flowering in early summer. Spent blossoms can be removed for better bloom the following year, but usually magnolias bloom prolifically on their own. The shorter kinds can be trained to one trunk or allowed to be shrub like.  Source: Charismatic Planet

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Zinnia Flower


Zinnias are tender annuals that all gardeners love because they make a great show and are easy to grow. Zinnia is a genus of plants of the sunflower tribe within the daisy family, native to scrub and dry grassland in come in a variety of bright colors. The genus name honors German master botanist Johann Gottfried Zinnia. Zinnias are annuals, shrubs, and sub-shrubs native primarily to North America, with a few species in South America.

Flowers are flat or rounded heads of petals, like overlapping scales, in every color except blue. The height and flower sizes may vary. However, modern hybrids are derived from Zinnia elegans, Z. angustiflia and Z. haageana, and range in height from 12 inches to 3 feet. Large, tall zinnias such as the Zenith strain or the California Giants are good for the back of the garden. Cut and Come again, zinnias are bushy plants of moderate height that are full of button like flowers and bloom all the more if cut. Thumbelina zinnias grow about 6 inches high and all bloom until frost, and none need staking.

Moreover, to grow zinnia you can sow seeds indoors about 4 weeks before the last frost and set out in moist, fairly rich soil 8 to 18 inches apart depending on the size of the variety. Large zinnias will not branch properly if planted too closely. Too close planting may also lead to mildew. Use peat pots since they do not like to be transplanted. Since zinnias germinate and grow so quickly. It is also possible to sow them directly in the garden after danger of frost. Leaves may mildew, but this will not affect bloom. If the mildew bothers you, use a fungicide. Water in drought,, but try to keep water off the leaves, since this can make the mildew worse. Zinnias are warm weather plants and make excellent long lasting cut flowers.
 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

The Scilla Flower

Scilla is also known as Squill is a genus of about 50 to 80 bulb-forming perennial herbs in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Scilloideae, native to woodlands, subalpine meadows, and seashores throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle-East. Scillas have small bell like flowers that dangle from thin 3 to 6 inch stems. Most gardeners love blue Scilla which mixes brightly with pinks, purple, whites, and contrast crisply with yellows and golds. The scilla family offers some of the best blues to be found anywhere. From the huge, striking blue of Scillia Peruviana to the smaller, carefree blues of tubergeniana and blue-purples of amethystine these sparklers belong in every garden that celebrates spring.
Most of the ones you will see in gardens and their color are blue, purple, lavender, pink and white scillas too. They are lovely in situations where their delicate beauty can be appreciated planted in woodland gardens, under the light shade of a deciduous tree, in rock gardens, or naturalized in lawns. Modern hybrids come from a number of species, most commonly Scilla siberica. S. tubergeniana has fewer flowers on a stem but more stems to a plant S. bifolia, the twin leafed squill, has more open flowers.
The precise number of Scilla species in the genus depends on which proposals to split the genus are accepted. S. hispanica (S. campanulata), Spanish bluebell, is quite tall usually over a foot and a good choice for shady location. The hardiest of all these is S. siberica, which will survive in cool climate plants. But if you want to grow S. peruviana, which is a foot tall usually purple, like the names of many bulbs, S. peruviana’s name is a geographical muddle; though both its Latin name and its common name, “Cuban lily”, give it a Latin American origin it is really native to the Mediterranean region.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

African Violet or Saintpaulia


Almost any plant can be a house plant if you want it to be even a tree if it’s grown as a bonsai. Although in growing houseplants the limitation are the space and light available but the plant choices are almost infinite. If you have patience for one little houseplant, this might be perfect one. It blooms almost all the time, eve in winter. It’s a tidy and compact, with pretty, oval, fuzzy leaves surrounding the flowers, which grow up in the center, making the plant look like a bouquet. Sometimes the leaves are bronzed or variegated. Hybridizers have produced thousands of varieties whose flower colors range from a wonderful intense blue, to purple, magenta, lavender, pink, coral and white but no real red as yet.

The flowers are normally about an inch wide, some are ruffled or fringed and some bicolored. All have bright yellow stamens in the center. Standard sized plants grow up to a foot tall, and semiminiature are 6 to 8 inches, as are the true miniatures, which have tiny flowers. There are also trailing varieties. The Optimara, Ballet and Rhapsodie series all contain excellent varieties. If your interest is sparked you may want to investigate the wider world of African violets. If you do not have much light and your rooms are on the cool side, you won’t have good luck with them unless you grow some of the newer varieties bred for low light and cooler temperature. Consult the African violet society for further information.

If you want to grow African Violet, then do best in a warm room where it is at least 70 degrees during the day and no colder than 60 degrees at night. Light should be bright but not direct sun; fluorescent lights and growing lights designed for plants seem custom made for African violet, and may enthusiasts use these alone. The plants prefer quite humid air especially the trailing ones and soil that is kept evenly moist, though it is all right for the soil to dry out for a day if the plants are not actively growing. They respond very poorly to overwatering and poor drainage. Use water that is at room temperature and try to keep the leaves dry to avoid leaf spot diseases.

Moreover, the easiest way to give African violets the soil they like is to buy a bag of commercial “African violet soil”, or you can make your own mix using one part peat or leaf mold for organic matter and one part sand or perlite for good drainage. Thus, feed about once a month with “African violet food” or a standard houseplant fertilizer one that is not too high in nitrogen or you will get lots of beautiful fuzzy leaves and no flowers. Over feeding is also a grave error, causing the leaves to turn gray and the leaf stems to rot. Flush out excess fertilizer salts regularly.

Further, use fairly small, shallow pots, keeping the plants a bit root bound, and turn and potted plants from time to time if most light comes from one side otherwise your flower display will be lopsided. Crowns can be derived, but leaf cutting are the best way to propagate African violets. Use a medium sized leaf and dip the stem in rooting powder. African violets don’t last forever; after they become woody the often decline that’s the time to take leaf cuttings.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Night Sky Petunia

If you gaze Petunia at distant you don’t have a strong enough telescope? Then don’t worry, because we have got the flawless solution. So, all you need to do is to buy yourself some Night Sky Petunias, because as you can see, their petals look like they’re hiding secret little universes inside of them. With their many different patterns, colors, shapes, and sizes, it's not unusual to gaze upon an unusual plant and realize that it reminds you of something totally different. Because, one flower that has taken this spectacle to the next level is the Night Sky Petunia. The Petunia is an appealing purple bloom that will have you seeing stars literally. The scientifically known as “Petunia cultivars”.
This cosmic flower features exclusive markings reminiscent of a starry sky. The each distinctive plant features clusters of purple flowers speckled with glowing white dots that look like celestial bodies. This hypnotic characteristic has made Night Sky Petunias, which can reach an average height of 16 inches and bloom during the spring and summer.  The Petunia is a mainly popular plant among gardeners and flower enthusiasts. So, what causes these ethereal patterns? A large variance between day and night temperatures will cause temporary white coloring to form on the flowers.” Thus, to guarantee that your Night Sky Petunias are always shining, you should aim to keep them toasty warm during the day and cool at night. If you'd like to grow your own galaxy-in-a-pot, you can pick up a packet of Night Sky Petunia seeds from