Plumeria frangipani

2012-06-04_141052Plumerias are exotic, fragrant plants also known as frangipani. Plumeria is a genus of flowering plants in the dogbane family, Apocynaceae.  The flowers are native to Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America as far south as Brazil but can be grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions. 

Plumerias are relatively small trees, but what they lack in height they make up in width often becoming as wide as they are tall. They have a well-behaved root system which makes them great for the home garden and for growing in pots. Frangipanis are also great survivors coping with drought, heat, neglect and insect attack. They are also deciduous, losing there leaves in the winter months. Frangipani flowers appear in clusters, also at the end of the branches, and are distinctively scented.

With its gnarled branches, long leaves and distinctive flowers, the frangipani is easily one of the most common and identifiable trees. The bark is grey/green and scaly in appearance. The scaling is formed when leaves drop in winter leaving small semi-circular marks on the bark.

 

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Houseplants

Foliage plants

Whether you live in the country or the middle of a large city, house plants will improve the quality of your life. Growing plants indoors is not only a fun and relaxing hobby, but it is also a great way to fight indoor air pollution. Studies have shown that many of our common houseplants are useful in absorbing harmful gasses and cleaning the air in our homes and offices. Formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide have been found to be effectively removed from the air by living, green plants. Add a few houseplants to your home or office to make the world around you and your family a little cleaner and more pleasant place to live and work.

 

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Brugmansia – Angel’s Trumpet

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Brugmansia or Angel’s Trumpet are easily grown in a moist, fertile, well-drained soil, in sun to part shade, in frost-free climates. Their large, fragrant flowers give them their common name of angel’s trumpets, a name sometimes used for the closely related genus DaturaBrugmansia are large shrubs or small trees, with semi-woody, often many-branched trunks. They begin to flower in mid to late spring in warm climates and continue into the fall, often continuing as late as early winter in warm conditions. In cool winters, outdoor plants need protection from frost, but the roots are hardier, and may resprout in late spring. They come in shades of white, yellow, pink and orange. Most have a strong, pleasing fragrance that is most noticeable in the evening. Flowers may be single, double, or more.

Brugmansia have two main stages to their life cycle. In the initial vegetative stage the young seedling grows straight up on usually a single stalk, until it reaches its first main fork. It will not flower until after it has reached this fork, and then only on new growth above the fork. Cuttings taken from the lower vegetative region must also grow to a similar height before flowering, but cuttings from the upper flowering region will often flower at a very low height.

Brugmansia grows best in acidic soil, though it can tolerate alkaline well. It does not tolerate salt well, and is not drought resistant. Angel’s trumpet should be fertilized at least once a week. Large plants can be fertilized 2-3 times a week. Use a water soluble fertilizer. This is a very thirsty plant. It needs to be watered well and often. Propagation is through seeds and cuttings.

 

 

 

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Stapelia Starfish Flower

Starfish Cactus

Starfish Flower plants resemble cacti, with clumps of four sided, spineless stems. Summer flowers are large, fleshy, shaped like five pointed stars; they usually have elaborate circular fleshy disc in center. Most smell like carrion, but odor is not usually pervasive enough to be offensive.

They need cool, dry rest period in winter. Best managed in pots. Good desert succulent, tolerating extreme heat. Protect plants in areas where frost can occur.

 

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Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii)

Crown of Thorns

Euphorbia milii, commonly called the Crown of Thorns, is a low growing, heavily branched, woody shrub, with oval shaped leaves and dense purplish-brown stems covered by many sharp, spiny thorns. Although the Crown of Thorns flowers throughout the year, flowering is particularly profuse during the winter months, with clusters of between two and eight flowers produced at the tips of green stems. Brightly colored modified leaves (bracts) found just beneath the flowers are quite attractive and gives the Crown of Thorns its colorful appeal, while the true flowers of the plant are small and unobtrusive. Most Crown of Thorn varieties and hybrids vary in form, size and bract color stunning red, pink, orange, yellow or whitish bracts. Many Euphorbia’s are succulents; these often mimic cacti in appearance and are as diverse as cacti in form and size. Grow in porous soil, in full sun or light shade.

 

 

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Amaryllis Hippeastrum

Amaryllis Hippeastrum striatum

 

 

 

 

 

Amaryllis  performs best in areas with warm, dry summers. Native to the tropics and subtropics. Amaryllis will grow in almost any rich sandy mix soil, as long as it’s well drained, drought resistant, very long lived.
Where plants are grown outdoors, flowers bloom in spring; indoors they bloom just a few weeks after planting. Broad, strap-shaped leaves usually appear after bloom, grow through summer, disappear in fall, if plants are dried off and given a dormant period, otherwise, foliage is evergreen.
Named varieties in reds, pinks, white, salmon, near orange, some variously marked and striped. Two to several flowers, often 8-9 in. across, form on stout, 2 ft stems. All types are usually grown in pots. Plant November-February in rich, sandy mix with added bonemeal or superphosphate. Set upper half of bulb above soil surface. Firm soil and water it well; then keep barely moist until growth begins

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Hoya, carnosa

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    Hoya carnosa also known as wax plant. Are commonly grown in sunny windows as climbing house plants, or used outdoors in mild climates. Thick waxy, evergreen leaves and tight clusters of small fragrant waxy flowers.
    Does best in rich, loose, well drained soil. Bloom best when pot bound; usually grown in containers even outdoors. Do not prune out flowering wood; new blossom clusters appear from stumps of old ones.
    Will not tolerate temperatures much below freezing. Allow soil to go partially dry before watering. Does great in a hanging basket.

 

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Rose of Sharon Althea hibiscus syriacus

Rose of Sharon
Althea Rose of Sharon , Hibiscus syriacus are tall upright growing small trees with beautiful 3″- 4″ flowers in summer. Many colors available including shades of white, pink, lavender and red in both single and double types. Blooms early summer to frost. Good small specimen tree or background plant. No pruning needed, except to prune into desired form. Prune anytime between March and  July.
Plant firmly at the same depth as plant is set in the pot. Water thoroughly. Thrives in heat, humidity, drought and poor soils. Well drained soil is best. Very tolerant of a wide range of soils, especially sandy infertile ones.
Remarkable frost and pollution tolerance. An all round winner of great beauty. Tolerates partial shade, but will not flower very well.

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Cactus and Succulents

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“Here is a frequently asked question:
“Is this plant a cactus or a succulent?”
This question is nonsensical because cacti are succulents.

Cacti are a group of plants that are not only easy to grow, but offer a variety of shapes, color and form. They can be grown in any sunny, well-drained area. They require little maintenance. They make excellent houseplants and many hardy varieties may be grown outside.

For those of you who want to grow a low maintenance plant, you may want to consider cactus plants. Some cactus and succulent types can be used as pot plants.  The cactus flowers are so different from those of all other plant families that the cacti are unique and alone, without obvious relationship to other plants. Epiphyllum, the orchid cactus, leads this category with its fragrant flowers that grow up to 8 inches across.

 

 

 

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