Kevin Vaughn has been breeding and growing Sempervivum since he was nine years old. From his hybridizing work, he has introduced about 80 cultivars to the market, including the award winning “Lipstick” and “Jungle Shadows.” These early experiments in plant hybridizing led to a PhD in botany and a career with the USDA. Since moving to Oregon in 2010, he has organized a yearly “Hybridizers Clinic” and produces from 4-6,000 new seedlings each year from his breeding efforts. In his latest book “Sempervivum: A Gardener’s Perspective of the Not-So-Humble Hens-and-Chicks“, Vaughn covers their history, taxonomy, culture, propagation, hybridizing, and much more. Read on to learn more and enter below to win one of two copies from Schiffer Publishing!
1. I have always had a penchant for “hens and chicks” but never knew them by their generic name “sempervivum” nor did I know just how diverse sempervivum was. How many cultivars and colors of sempervivum are there? How many of those cultivars are easily obtainable in the United States?
There are about 7,000 cultivars available worldwide. What is offered from nurseries in the US vary by year but there are probably ~1000 cultivars that are offered for sale in any one year. Colors range from yellow, top orange, red, purple and near black along with greens and silvers.
2. What are some of the best reasons for growing sempervivum and how does your book help us to successfully grow it? Are all cultivars of sempervivum easy to grow and propagate?
Sempervivum are VERY easy plants to grow. Almost any of these can be grown easily even on a balcony or patio provided there is good light. They are NOT house plants, however. A few cultivars are more difficult to grow but most are very easy plants once a few simple rules are followed.
3. Why are sempervivum magical to you? What are some of your favorite cultivars?
Symmetry of the rosettes has always appealed to me but for me the most fun aspect is being able to create new varieties. I have created ~80 varieties on the market and won international prizes when I was in my 20’s.
4. I have seen sempervivum being grown in some unusual places, such as shoes or boots for example. What is one of the most unusual places you have seen it grown?
Because Sempervivum require little soil they can be grown in all kinds of containers. The most beautiful were the huge living sculptures that Winnie Crane constructed out of huge pieces of driftwood, with Sempervivum being grown in the cavities.
5. Tell us some surprising or fascinating facts about sempervivum.
In Europe they are planted as charms against lightning. Emperor Charlemagne even ordered all of his subjects to do this! Because they contain a lot of water, there was probably some protection from fires on the thatched roofs.
Win one of two copies of Sempervivum!
To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post by midnight on Sunday, August 19th, 2018 (be sure to provide a valid e-mail address) in answer to the following question:
Why is appealing to you about sempervivum?
Be sure to include a valid e-mail address. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified via e-mail. (See rules for more information.)
“Poisonous plants – can you tell me which ones are?” That is a question I get all the time. Very often the email is asking for a list of poisonous plants for cats.
Most of the time our focus is on plants to provide color where it looks best – indoors or in the landscape. When we buy, plant or grow a plant we seldom think of the plant being some type of possible health hazard – beauty, color, form, function are what our focus is on.
I remember as a kid always being told never to eat the “rosary pea or castor bean plant – they are poisonous and can kill you”! As adventurous as I was, the “peas and beans” were never tested.
The unfortunate side is that many plants you find in the garden and indoors may be poisonous – not the whole plant but parts of it in certain stages. Poisonous can be considered from fatal (death) to vomiting or mild upset stomach. Pets, children and even adults can all be at risk. Read on to learn more about these poisonous plants you grow.
9 Common Poisonous Plants
Here are 9 plants (there are many more) you are probably familiar with and carry some sort of “poison” label.
Now please do not assume that because these toxic plants are listed, doesn’t mean you should not grow them – just be aware. Let’s be realistic – there are many poisonous items in our home we use everyday… bleach maybe?
Hyacinth, Narcissus, Daffodil – The flowers and bulbs are the toxic part and have been know to cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, which can be fatal.
Rosary Pea, Castor Bean – The seeds of rosary pea and castor bean or castor oil plants are what to watch out for on these plants. The results can be fatal. It’s been noted that one single Rosary Pea seed has caused death. For adults just one or two Castor Bean seeds are close to a lethal dose.
Autumn Crocus & Star of Bethlehem – Again the bulbs are considered the toxic part which can cause nervous excitement and vomiting when ingested.
Iris – Underground stems considered highly toxic, severe upset digestive system but not usually that serious.
Oleander – The branches and leaves of this poisonous herb are extremely toxic. Has death, severe upset digestive system and affects the heart.
Wisteria – The toxic part is the seeds and pods. Many children have experienced the “poison” with a mild to severe upset digestive system.
Lantana Plant – Toxic, the green berries. Found growing “wild” in the southern United States, as a landscape ground cover or potted plant. The results can be fatal, affecting kidneys, lungs, nervous system and heart.
Jack-in-the-Pulpit – All parts of the plant but especially roots are toxic. Very much like the “Dumb Cane Plant” (Dieffenbachia) which causes burning and irritation of the mouth and tongue from the small calcium oxalate needle-like crystals contained in the plant.
Poison Oak – The acorns and foliage are known to be toxic especially when eaten. The symptoms slowly appear over days or weeks and can gradually affect the kidneys. However, it takes a large quantity amount for poisoning.
Also remember that some people may have reactions to plants and others will not. Plus humans are different than cats and dogs. Animals have their own tolerance for and to plants.
Always treat unknown plants with respect, and make sure you teach your children to treat unknown plants the same.
You spend hours in your garden, making it look beautiful. And that’s half the fun, but the rest of it is sitting back and enjoying the results of your labors. For those times when you have to be inside, wouldn’t it be nice to have a better view of your beds and landscaping? With carefully selected bay or bow windows, you can create the perfect indoor retreat with great garden views. Milgard is a great place to start in your search.
New Windows, Better Views
Replacing old windows is often a smart move, both because it makes living in your house nicer and because it enhances the value. Old windows can have a number of issues: not well insulated, too difficult to open, won’t stay open, or they just aren’t big enough and don’t let in a lot of light.
A new set of windows can give you better natural light while also providing a better view of your yard and garden. You don’t have to replace all the windows in your home to get the benefits. Choose the best couple of spots where you’ll benefit from additional light and that will give you a pleasant panorama of the garden, like a breakfast nook or sitting room where you spend a lot of time.
Optimal Viewing with Bay Windows and Bow Windows
A bay window is a great option for your garden-perfect spot. Not only do these windows provide a sweeping look out at the yard, they also provide a seating area. Bay windows are large and usually have open panes, including one large central pane for unobstructed views. The bench area can be used for seating, storage, or just for displaying nice pillows, flowers, or potted plants.
Bay windows are great for a lot of homes, but often only the two side windows can open. With a bow window, you get four large panes with the potential to open all of them and get more air circulation, as well as the fragrance from the plants in your beds and on flowering trees.
Just like a bay window, this style can come with a bench area for seating, display, or storage and offers the chance to open up the view from any room into the garden. Alternatively, a bow window can be taller, going nearly all the way to the floor, with no bench seating and even more garden viewing.
In addition to giving you a lovely vista of your garden space, bow windows and bay windows have the effect of opening up the space in any room. They make a room seem bigger, lighter, and more open. They also add architectural interest, both inside and on the exterior wall.
When you put a bay or bow window into your favorite room, you will enjoy the view so much you may even find yourself planning next season’s garden around maximizing it. Check out the many options for durable, energy efficient, beautiful windows at Milgard.
Many a homeowner would love to step out into their backyard to enjoy a pond, with the relaxing aura it can provide.
The steps of adding a backyard pond often times seem too difficult for homeowners. However, that’s not the case. An old tractor tire comes in handy when creating this garden decoration and water feature.
In this particular case the tire functions as the “frame” for the pond liner to create a beautiful pond. It takes some work but well worth it.
The first step starts by finding a tire for your pond. The one pictured makes a nice size pond about 5-6 feet across.
Cutting the top or sidewall out of the tire using a reciprocating saw or something similar makes short order of this task. Below you can see the sidewall removed and the tire inside washed and cleaned out.
Roll the tire and place it in the location of your new pond. Outline the the area with a hose or spray paint. Move the tire out of the way and its time to start digging.
Everything dug out and ready to drop in the tire!
Tire in place, plastic “liner” installed and filled with water. From the picture this “liner” appears to look like black plastic film. Look for a pond liner material which can handle the exposure to the sun and able to withstand potential holes.
Soil filled back in on the sides as pond begins to take shape.
Two level waterfall installed, flat stones placed around edge of pond and solar lights added.
Backyard pond finished!
Below is a short video of the process titled: Redneck Fish Pond
Every year, prior to the onset of summer, I review our first aid kit with a checklist in hand to make sure it is well-stocked. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen – check. Antibiotic ointment – check. Adhesive bandages – check. Sterile gauze pads – check. Yarrow – check. Wait. Yarrow? Did she just say yarrow? Why, yes! I did.
Common yarrow, a member of the Asteraceae (Daisy) family, is rated for USDA plant hardiness zones 3-9 and features rounded clusters of white or pinkish flat-topped flowers. Each dainty flower in the cluster is 3-5 mm. in diameter. The leaves of this perennial are described as finely dissected and are 1-6 inches (2.5 to 15 cm.) long and up to an inch wide. A single yarrow plant can grow up to 36 inches (91 cm.) high.
While yarrow today is regarded more as an ornamental or maybe even an insect-repelling plant, it is, indeed, a first aid plant and has been for centuries. The history of yarrow reveals that this plant possesses medicinal properties as a hemostatic (blood coagulation), analgesic (pain reliever) and antiseptic. Read on to learn more about common yarrow uses.
Yarrow Plant History
Greek Trojan War hero, Achilles, may be best known for his weakness (his heels), when really, he should be most renowned for his use of yarrow, which he applied topically to his troops’ wounds during the siege of Troy. Achilles medicinal knowledge of yarrow actually came from his mentor, the mythological centaur Chiron. Achilles does get a nod to his role in yarrow’s history via the plant’s botanical name (Achillea millefolium or Achilles’ Thousand-Leaved plant). And, due to the application of yarrow on the battlefields, it was commonly referred to as Herba Militaris (the military herb) in classical times. While Achilles has been credited largely for yarrow’s discovery and use, some evidence suggests that its use pre-dated Achilles and was possibly a part of Neanderthal culture.
Most sources support the belief that the early colonists introduced yarrow into North America while others ascribe to the notion that it is a plant native to Native America, given how the plant’s use was so deeply embedded in native American culture. The Native Americans embraced the medicinal properties of yarrow and used it to remedy a large number of external and internal ailments including wounds, burns, toothaches, arthritis, digestion and sore throats, just to name a few yarrow uses.
Given its reputation as an effective blood coagulant and astringent, you would be surprised to know that yarrow can actually elicit a nosebleed if a fresh leaf is inserted in the nostril and twisted. Who would deliberately cause a nosebleed, you ask? Well, the young and lovelorn, for one. In the book A Modern Herbal, authored by Briton Mrs. M. Grieve in 1931, girls were taught (or misled…ahem) that they could determine if their suitor’s love be true if their nose bled upon inserting yarrow while reciting a prepared rhyme. Nosebleeds were also induced by those who believed they cured headaches. A trade-off of one problem for another, if you will…
I’m sure that after reading about the history of yarrow, many of you are wondering how to use yarrow in a medical application. Fresh leaves can be chewed into a paste and used as a simple poultice on wounds. Leaves can also be dried and pulverized into a powder that can be used on bleeding wounds. Yarrow can also be brewed into a tea – those who suffer from menstrual discomfort, for example, may wish to try the tea. Some people even infuse yarrow into an herbal oil.
Yarrow is very easy to grow and, if this yarrow plant history is any indication, would be a valuable addition to the flora in your backyard because it is first aid within reach and in a pinch!
Over time most gardeners learn which flowers to plant around the garden with the properties that invite beneficial insects or repel insects naturally.
Planting flowers for natural pest control, reduces pesticide use but also your workload.
Less pesticides equals more good bugs, to control bad bugs such as the western flower thrips (flankliniella occidentalis), aphids, tomato hornworms, flea beetles, parasitic wasps and other insect pests.
A bed of beautiful flowers is perhaps one of the simplest ways you can get to add more aesthetic value to your home.
This will remain the fact provided that the right selection of the flowers is made taking into consideration the aspects such as variety or the intended architectural beauty.
Flowers however do pose one “problem” – their beautiful scents do attract many insects and most of these tend to be pests. These bugs eat the leaves, suck them dry of nutrients, cause diseases such as powdery mildew, and bring enormous plant damage.
These bugs eat the leaves, suck them dry of nutrients, cause diseases such as powdery mildew, and bring enormous plant damage.
Applying pesticides, insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils and other chemical controls, on the other hand would be non-ecological approach as these will devalue the current trend which most homes are usually after – the “going green” living concept.
A more biological control for keeping the invading pests is by perhaps planting some natural pesticide plants and flowers. Some of these pest control flowers include:
This is perhaps one of the most preferred landscaping flowers used in many homes as well as real estate projects.
The beauty of marigold is that it is very effective in repelling invading insects and the advantage is that a home decorated with this beautiful flower will get to have its much needed aesthetic value without ever seeing any sign of an invading pest.
Other flowers are usually effective in repelling small-sized pests. Marigold is however an exception as it can repel as well as kill whiteflies and nematodes – which are among the most common invading pests.
Marigold flowers are available in different varieties which do come as either scented or unscented.
Planting unscented marigold flowers is perhaps the only way for home owners who would like to keep off the spiders and snails.
These flowers are very appealing in that they do comprise flower heads which do exists in white, yellow or pink colors.
They do attract many butterflies and for homeowners who would want the magical colors that these insects do add in, chrysanthemums would be a wonderful option.
In fact, one of the aspects which make chrysanthemums to be highly effective pest-fighting flowers is that they contain a highly active ingredient which is to make pesticides for killing and repelling beetles.
Besides their effectiveness at repelling insects, these flowers do grow very quickly and this implies that their intended benefits can be felt within just a shirt time span.
The beautiful thing about Dahlia flowers is that they do exist in a wide variety of shapes and colors thus making them to be very popular option among flower gardeners.
The other really impressive bit about Dahlia flowers is that they do work great when it comes to repelling some of the common invading pests.
They can repel nematodes while at the same time ensuring that they get to serve their other purpose – keeping a highly beautiful and useful look in the home garden.
Homeowners in need of really large flowers will surely pick on sunflowers.
Their other benefit is that they will surely deliver the intended beauty aspect while at the same time serving their ecological function – acting as pollinator base mostly for butterflies.
In most of the times, the butterflies aren’t that many and this relatively small number will definitely help to add in some beauty to the flower garden. Sunflowers too are good at repelling pests especially aphids.
There are these pests which are highly destructive and within just a short time stint can destroy all the flowers grown in the vegetable garden – aphids, hornworms, cabbage worms, asparagus beetles and leafhoppers.
These pests do bore the essential parts of the flowers making them less attractive and to rid them, most homeowners will in most instances consider using pesticides and insecticide sprays. Petunias are however excellent at repelling these kind of pests as their juicy matter are strongly scented.
To utilize this yellow jacket repellent, simply soak cotton pads with the oil and strategically place them around the exterior of your home. Target areas where wasps like to build their nests and places where you have discovered their nests in the past. (..)
Besides being really attractive, the other upside of borage flowers is that they only attract the right kind of insects – bees which do serve the ecological function of acting as pollinators.
Borage flowers do grow very tall and do have some little scratchy hairs all over their bodies. Perhaps this is one factor which explains why these flowers are highly effective in fighting pests like cabbageworms and hornworms.
Their sprawling nature implies that they can cover the whole garden within no time thus ensuring that the invading pests are kept at a safe distance from even nearing the flower garden.
Besides being beautiful, the other useful thing with these flowers is that will attract beautiful insects to the flower garden.
The other really good thing is that they can repel moths, whiteflies and fleas while at the same time; their rapid growth (not so invasive) does ensure that they cover the flower garden just at the right timing.
Putting flowering Lavender in the garden is a really beautiful idea in that their act of attracting pollinating insects, helps to add much to ecological sustainability. Lavender flowers also do give out some scented aroma which is very effective in driving away mosquitoes.
Owning a little vegetable garden at your home? The more you should be prepared for an even more pest invasive environment.
The reason why vegetables tend to attract many pests is that they do act as nutrients source and their presence will do little in preventing the food-hungry pests from streaming in.
You may have that little time to weed the garden but when it comes to regularly applying any required natural organic pesticides – that will of course a highly daunting task.
Vegetables attract pests like larvae, caterpillars, beetles, aphids, squash bugs and all kind of plants you can think of. These pests do pose an unsightly look to any flower garden. They invade and perhaps this is the last thing you would want for your home.
The best garden pest control in this kind of situations is by perhaps planting the above flowers and others like Nasturtiums and Four O’ Clocks (a favorite of Japanese Beetles) around your vegetable garden. This process is called companion planting. Other natural ways for pest management include the use of neem oil and diatomaceous earth. To have more information on organic pest controls at home gardens check out the video below:
Here at Gardening Know How we get lots of questions, and our goal is to provide answers to those inquiries to the best of our knowledge. When it comes to growing bulbs, tulips are at the top of the list. The following article includes the 10 most commonly asked questions about tulip bulbs and their care in the garden.
In general, the best time to plant tulip bulbs is in the fall around the months of October to November in the Northern Hemisphere. If you live in a mild winter area, you could even wait until December. Keep in mind that those residing on the opposite side of the globe (Southern Hemisphere), like Australia, will have different planting times – such as late April to May.
Lack of Nutrients: Tulips need phosphorus to form flower buds. Conduct a soil test to verify that your soil is phosphorus deficient. Consider fertilizing your tulip bulbs annually with a phosphorus rich fertilizer to provide a much needed boost.
Inadequate Growing Conditions: Were the tulips planted in a location that receives full sun? Is the soil well draining? Were the tulips planted at the right depth (tulips should be planted three times deeper than they are tall)?
Energy-Deprived Bulbs: Resist the urge to mow down the foliage after the tulip flowers are spent. Prematurely cutting down the foliage prevents the leaves from storing enough energy to form the flower bulb. Let the foliage die back naturally instead and snip off any spent tulip blossoms so that energy isn’t diverted to a tulip’s seed producing efforts.
Bad Bulbs: Sometimes the bulbs that we purchase are not healthy. Inspect your bulbs before buying and planting. Were the bulbs you acquired plump and firm? It is recommended when buying a load of bulbs to slice one open and take a peek to see if the flower bud in the center is brown and dried up.
Assuming you are talking about replanting bulbs that have been forced indoors over the winter, yes, you can – however, you may or may not get another bloom off them because tulips don’t rebound very well after being forced. But, to give yourself the best chance for tulip reblooming success, allow the foliage to die back naturally and store the container in a cool, dry location until spring. When planting, apply some bulb boosting fertilizer to the top of the soil where you planted your bulb.
If growing the potted tulips for indoor enjoyment, they will need to be forced (refer to question #8 “How can I force tulip bulbs?”) in order to receive the cold dormant period they require. The care of forced tulips is easy once the foliage emerges. Simply water the tulips when the soil is dry to the touch and keep the plant out of direct light and drafts.
Tulip bulbs planted in containers that are destined for placement outdoors are planted at the same depth as their in-ground outdoor counterparts. Consider layering your bulbs, with 3-4 inches (7.6-10 cm.) of potting soil between each layer, to create visually dynamic arrangements based on tulip height and color. Those in zones 6 or below can store the pot in a cool sheltered area such as a garage or basement. Water the container about once a month and bring it back outside, with a dose of fertilizer, in early spring. Those in zones 7 on up will want to pre-chill their bulbs prior to planting.
When digging up tulip bulbs for storage, brush any excess dirt off of the bulbs. Obtain a cardboard box and newspaper. Layer the bulbs in the cardboard box with newspaper sandwiched in between each layer, taking care that the bulbs in each layer do not touch. Store the box in a cool, dry place such as a basement or garage. Inspect the bulbs periodically and toss any that become mushy.
Tulip bulbs can be ransacked from below ground by voles or above ground by squirrels, or even deer. While there are many methods proposed for combatting these pests, here are a few tips on protecting your bulbs from rodents:
Laying and staking down chicken wire over the planting area can be an effective deterrent for our squirrelly friends.
As for voles, you can try constructing and embedding a makeshift cage into the ground using mesh with half inch holes. Plant your bulbs inside these cages – the bulb’s roots will still have free reign to penetrate through the mesh.
You can also try lining your bulb holes with sharp textured gravel, which voles do not like burrowing through.
Buy spring tulip bulbs in the fall for the express purposing of forcing. Store them 12-16 weeks in a cool dark place that is 35-45 F. (2-7 C.). After this chilling period, procure a container with good drainage. Fill it with good quality potting soil 3-4 inches (7.6-10 cm.) shy of the container’s top rim. When planting tulip bulbs in containers, the flat side of the bulb should face toward the outside of the pot with the pointy end of the bulb facing up. Bulbs should be spaced at least one inch apart. Fill the container with soil, leaving the very tip of the tulip protruding through the top of the soil. Place the pot in a cool, dark place and water lightly once a week. Once foliage emerges, place the pot in bright indirect light and you should be rewarded with blooms in 2-3 weeks. Tulips can also be forced in water.
Tulips and other bulbs in bloom are more sensitive to frosts and freezes than they are when their buds are in a closed state. And this is really more of a concern for periods of prolonged cold, lasting several days. However, to err on the side of caution, a bed sheet hovered over the plants, supported by stakes, is an ideal way to protect your plants.
Fertilize tulips once a year in the fall using a slow release tulip bulb fertilizer with a nutrient ratio of 9-9-6. If you do not want to use or seek out pre-packaged fertilizer, you can concoct your own mix using equal parts blood meal, green sand and bone meal.
The passiflora known more commonly as the “passion flower vine” is one of the “new” vines introduced for spring color offerings available at garden centers.
If you’re ready to add a conversation plant or something really unique to the outside patio on a trellis, take a look at this Brazilian native.
To learn about care, varieties and catch some video, continue reading the rest of the post below…
Passiflora From Brazil
The purple passion fruit makes its home from southern Brazil through Paraguay and in parts northern Argentina. Before 1900, passion fruit was partially naturalized and flourishing in coastal areas of Australia.
Seeds of the passion fruit were brought from Australia to Hawaii and first planted in 1880. It wasn’t long, because of its fast-growing nature that the passiflora vine became popular in home gardens.
Passion vines prefer a frost-free climate. Some cultivars can take temperatures into the upper 20’s (F) without serious damage.
The “Blue Passion Vine” is pretty cold hardy and salt tolerant but the plant does not grow well in intense summer heat.
The yellow passion fruit is tropical and isn’t fond of frost. The purple and yellow forms both need protection from the wind.
They make quite a few products from the plant and fruit – Like tea.
Another interesting item about the Passiflora is that they are very popular with butterflies such as zebra longwing and gulf fritillary butterfly.
There are dozens of passion vines, both edible and non-edible. Our focus will be on the ornamental variety.
Question: Are the fruits of passion flowers edible?
Answer: Many species of passion flowers bear edible fruits. among them, Passiflora data, antioquiensis, edula, incarnate (the Maypop of southern US), laurifolia, ligularis, and maliformis.
Is The Passion Flower An Annual or Perennial?
The Passion Flower is a quick-growing perennial plant which spreads via root suckers. It is a climbing vine and can cover large areas above ground and spread far and wide below ground.
In climates that experience warm winter temperatures, it is a woody plant. In very cold temperatures, the above-ground vegetation dies off during winter and the plant is herbaceous.
Culture And Growing Passion Flower Vines
Location of Passion Fruit
Care for the passion fruit vines requires full sun except during those very hot summer days, if possible provide some partial shade. The vine is a fast grower and can get out of hand, so if possible plant it next to a chain link fence or on a trellis. and
What Soil Does Passion Fruit Flower Like?
The vines grow in many soil types but make sure the plant gets excellent drainage.
A well-drained soil is still the best. Also, passion flowers grow excellently on soils with pH levels of 6.5 to 7.5.
How Often To Water The Passion Flower Plant?
If you want to keep the vines flowering almost continuously, regular water is necessary.
The vines are shallow-rooted and will benefit from a thick layer of organic mulch in the soil.
Passion Vine Pruning – Is It Needed?
Although the passionflowers don’t need pruning to encourage growth, prune the fast-growing vine to keep it in control and encourage branching.
Prune in early spring as this serves as the perfect time when new growth appears. Avoid cutting the main stems, just remove those unwanted twining stems.
Passion Flower Fertilizer
Passiflora vines are vigorous growers and require regular fertilizing. Stay away from just using a 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer.
This may promote good growth but possibly too much green and not enough flower. Use a solid fertilizer with a ratio more along the lines of a 2-1-3.
What USDA Hardiness Zone Will The Passion Flower Grow?
The Passion Flower is listed as hardy in USDA hardiness zones 5-9; however, it may actually struggle in zone 5 and may not survive very cold winters.
If you live below zone 6 you should plant Passion Flower in a sheltered area near a wall so and provide the roots with protection against the cold in the wintertime. [source]
6 Things To Remember When Buying Passiflora Plants
Find out when your nursery receives new shipments
Look for clean undamaged foliage
Inspect the plants for good root systems
Don’t let them hang out the window on the ride home
Don’t let them sit in the car while you run into the store.
They must acclimate to their new environment
Video showing many varieties of Passion Vines
When Does The Passion Flower Bloom?
The Passion Flower blooms from mid-summer to early fall. It is typically in bloom from July to September. The flowers are attractive and fragrant.
They transition into edible, egg-shaped fruits called Maypops.
These fruits are fleshy and quite tasty. They are good for eating out-of-hand and for making jelly.
Fruits are called Maypop because they pop loudly when stepped on. [source]
Why Isn’t My Passion Flower Blooming?
As the Passion Flower has grown in popularity, it has found itself planted in a variety of conditions and in areas it would never naturally grow.
Even though (or perhaps because) the plant is essentially a vigorous wildflower, these unusual circumstances can interfere with its performance.
Here are four of the most common reasons Passion Flower fails to bloom.
Age of The Plant
Like many types of plants, some Passion Flowers need several years to become established and bloom. This is especially true if you grow your plant from seed.
Depending upon your climate, passion flower may grow as a woody plant or a tender perennial. Woody plants often have a “juvenile stage” which precedes maturity.
During this phase, the plant will not flower. Instead, it will produce lots of leaves and shoots.
This may go on for a couple of years, but if you will just be patient with your plant and continue to care for it, you will eventually be rewarded with flowers.
Too Much Fertilizer
Remember the passion vine flower is basically a wildflower. They do better with less care and less nutrition.
Pampering and excessive fertilizing can lead to lots of leaves and no flowers. This is especially true if you feed a high nitrogen fertilizer, which encourages vegetative growth.
Your best bet is to stop fertilizing and water your plant thoroughly to wash away as much nitrogen as possible.
Adding phosphorus (i.e. bone meal) to the soil may also help balance nitrogen levels.
Not Enough Sunlight
Like most flowering, fruiting plants, Passion Flower needs lots of sun in order to produce. Keeping the plant in the shade may result in lots of leaves and few or no flowers.
Not Enough Water
These plants are drought tolerant, but that doesn’t mean that they do their best in drought conditions.
If you want a plant with plenty of pretty flowers and fruit, you must plant it in well-draining soil and give it plenty of water.
Ample water helps deliver nourishment to the leaves and other plant structures so the plant can thrive and flowers and fruit can grow.
These four considerations usually account for lack of flowering in Passion Flowers vines and many other natives, and flowering plants.
When you keep your climate and the plant’s growth habits in mind and take care to provide the right amount of nourishment, water and light, your plant will surely produce pretty blossoms in good time. [source]
Exotic Passion Flowers Have Been Symbolized With The Crucifixion
Early missionaries devoted to botany saw in the flowers a religious symbol. The flower parts, indicated in image, suggested to them the Passion of Christ, and thus the flower was named.
These exotic passion flowers have been symbolized with the crucifixion and sometimes look like they resemble something from outer space.
1 – Ten petals represent the ten apostles present at the crucifixion, Peter and Judas being absent;
2 – Corona or crown represents the crown of thorns or thought to be emblematic of the halo
3 – Five anthers suggestive of the five wounds or emblematic of hammers used to drive nails
4 – Three stigmas representative of the three nails piercing the hands and the feet.
Not shown are the tendrils representing cords or whips and the leaves suggesting the hands of the persecutors.
The passion flower plant was one of the treasures found by the Spaniards in the new world.
Years later taxonomists classified the passion flower passiflora in a large family containing many species and a great number of hybrids.
Today, probably the best known hybrid is Passiflora alata-caerulea.
This passion flower variety has the largest and showiest flowers of them all and is a hybrid between Passiflora alata and Passiflora caerulea.
Passiflora alata, has winged stems, large fragrant flowers of crimson, purple and white, and yellow edible fruit about 5 in. long.
Passiflora ‘Alata-Caerulea’ – a hybrid between Passiflora alata and the blue passiflora caerulea, favorite with three-parted green leaves and fragrant four-inch flowers.
The petals and fringed crown combine pink, white, blue, and royal purple. Since the blooms are so large there are not as many of them.
Passiflora antioquiensis – Seeds are available for this South American species with five-inch red flowers, three-lobed leaves, edible fruit.
Passiflora bryonoldes – A vine with more slender growth. The foliage is three-to-five-lobed and more rounded than pointed.
The blue-and-white flowers with a rose-fringed crown are the same color as Passiflora edulis and each flower sets one-inch green fruit that ripens to purple-black.
The seeds are orange colored and they germinate well. The seedlings bloom the first year. It is a dainty and interesting vine to grow.
Passiflora caerulea – “Blue-crowned” passiflora with five-parted leaves and flowers in blue, rose, and pale green. The egg-shaped yellow fruit is edible. This is one of the more hardy species. Its variety, grandiflora, has larger flowers.
Passiflora cinnabarina – This Australian native has five-inch pebbly three-lobed rounded foliage and bears red, five-petaled star-shaped scarlet flowers, with a small yellow crown, followed by green aromatic fruits.
Does not appear to be a vigouous grower. The flowers are not as showy as many others passion flower varieties.
Passiflora sanguinolenta – also known as blood red passion flower which comes from Ecuador. It is a smaller type of perennial vine that can take frost.
Passiflora coccinea – Toothed oval leaves, free-flowering species with scarlet and orange flowers.
We are indebted to Dr. Ira S. Nelson, professor of horticulture at the University of Southwestern Louisiana (formerly Southwestern Louisiana Institute), Lafayette, Louisiana, for re-introducing this spectacular variety.
He shared in his writings that of all the material he collected in Bolivia in 1954, this is the most showy.
“The two-inch fruit is pulpy and tart with an exotic flavor and pleasing aroma. It is well branched and sturdy” and reported that the plant he collected bloomed in late August each year since it began blooming.
Passiflora coriacea – is indeed different. Its foliage suggests a bat in flight. It has been dubbed the “bat-leaf” passiflora.
The lovely Blue-green leaves are mottled with silver or off-white. The 1 1/2-inch twin flowers are a pleasing golden yellow, and have five petals and no sepals.
Cuttings root well and usually bloom even while rooting in water.
Passiflora edulis – passionfruits, or purple granadilla – Three-lobed leaves, two-inch flowers white and purple fruit about the size of a hen’s egg, fruit used in many recipes in the tropics. A good climber, grown as a commercial crop in Australia, incarnata (maypop) is a native; fruit edible; flowers white, pink and purple.
Passiflora exoniensis a hybrid between Passiflora vanvolxensi and Passiflora mollissima, has large showy flowers of brick-red and rose-pink.
Passiflora foetida – Three-pointed leaves; two-inch flowers pinkish, with three fern-like fronds below the sepals. Brillant red fruit used in dried arrangements.
Passiflora incarnata – maypop, May apple, purple passion vine, wild passion flowers. Passiflora incarnata or purple passion plant.
A southern native, hardy with light frost, with three-inch blue-and-white flowers and three-lobed foliage which is pointed with a center lobe is six by two inches.
Passiflora laurifolia (Jamaica-honeysuckle) has entire leaves, white flowers spotted red, and yellow edible fruit.
Passiflora lutea – Hardy, and often native from Philadelphia south; one-inch yellow flowers.
Passiflora manicata is a rapid and vigorous climber, suitable for outdoor planting in the warmer parts of the country. It makes a fine show with its profusion of bright scarlet flowers set off with a blue crown.
Passiflora mollissima – Three-lobed, fuzzy leaves; three-inch rose flowers.
Passiflora quadrangularis – giant (Granadilla) one of the chief species grown for fruit. It is a tall strong grower, with large fragrant flowers of white, red and purple, and yellowish-green fruits to 9 in. long.
Passiflora racemosa (princeps) – Four-inch crimson flowers touched with purple and white, deeply lobed leaves, is one of the best of the red-flowered species, and has been largely used in hybridizing.
Passiflora tomentosa – Fuzzy vine with pink and purple flowers.
Passiflora trifasdata – Known for its variegated foliage, which is three-lobed to one-third of the leaf, with irregular rose-pink bands along the midrib, shading to silver and other hues, depending on the light in which it grows.
This foliage is most colorful if it is located in less sun than the all green varieties. Undersides of the leaves are wine-red. The 1 3/4-inch flowers are white to yellow with petals recurved and fragrant.
Passiflora violacea – exquisite 3 1/2-inch flowers which suggest “lavender and old lace.” The rich violet-lavender filaments have curled tips, eliminating any stiff appearance.
Even the petals and sepals are flushed lavender and three sepals are tipped with small green balls, the size of a radish seed, in place of the spine some other varieties have.
Flowers are fragrant and foliage is three-lobed and pointed. This vine has been hardy all the way to Minnesota when growing near the house foundation.
Family: Passifloraceae Common Name: Passion Flower
There is a wealth of information out there about composting methods, tips and techniques as well as laundry lists of compostable items. However, when it comes to the tools you can use to help you in your composting endeavors, the information, unfortunately, is a little on the lean side. I like to compost green and brown yard debris, which is essentially a mix of green grass clippings, leaves, and flowers intertwined with brown twigs, leaves, and dried grass. Fortunately for me, Fiskars has all the composting tools I need to create and collect all this yard debris and get the job done.
Manual Reel Mowers
A reel mower is a lawn mower that requires no gas, cords or batteries – hence, no carbon footprint, no odor, and no smells! I know…I know. It sounds like something that hearkens from an episode of The Waltons (or maybe they had a goat?). Anyhow, I assure you that today’s reel mowers, such as the Fiskars StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower, are very sophisticated and powerful. I call the Fiskars model a “feel good” piece of equipment, because it feels good to use from an environmentally mindful standpoint and literally feels good to mow with. I found it very easy to push and it was easy on my hands with its comfortable cushioned grip. It is also a “feel good” for the mechanically challenged (like me) who get frustrated easily and call in reinforcements to finish the job. The assembly itself was easy – roughly 15-20 minutes out of the box, completed all on my own, with no tools required. Adjustments, such as cutting height, are also easily made.
I actually swore off grass shears a long, long time ago. I regard the grass shears of yesteryear more of a hand grip exercising gizmo than a functional practical hand tool. They were heavy in the hand, jammed up a lot and each squeeze on the handle literally made you grimace as you tried to work the squeaky blades. The Fiskars Shear Ease® Grass Shears actually turned my notion about grass shears on its head. They are lightweight, engineered to prevent jamming, and feature sharp precision-ground steel blades with a head that rotates 360° making them very ideal for edging and trimming decorative grasses around flower beds, trees and sidewalks.
Have you ever experienced a lawn or garden rake that started to seem heavier and heavier the longer you used it in a raking session, slowing down your momentum and perhaps even your will to continue? I’ve “been there done that,” temporarily abandoning a raking job in order to give my weary arms a much needed respite. Thanks to Fiskars, I can now perform raking activities with a lot more ease and endurance due to the lightweight, yet durable, design of their rake product line, which helps me to provide fodder for my compost pile in no time flat. With their aluminum handles and strong resin heads, you can make fast work of jobs not only in open expanses, such as with the leaf rake, but also those in tight spaces, with the shrub rake. The garden rake, with its aluminum handle and 14 hardened steel tines, is ideal for loosening up and leveling soil, as well as removing weeds and dead grass from lawns and gardens.
No discussion on composting tools would be complete without the inclusion of a garden fork because, hey, you do need to turn over that compost pile once in a while! The Fiskars Ergo D-handle Steel Garden Fork helps to make light work of the heavy tasks with an ergonomic angled D-handle that minimizes wrist strain and pointed boron steel tines that pierce through dense, hardened soil easily.
So there you have it. An overview of some of my essential composting tools. Be sure to check out Fiskars for these and many more tool options to fit your needs!
The lantana plant, a bright, sun-loving plant, producing flowers in abundance and rewarding you with lots of color.
Mastering lantana care is not difficult. Made to order for any bright patio with lots of direct sun. Lantana plants are basically tropical plants requiring lots of warmth.
Plant the Lantana bush in your outdoor garden as soon as all danger of frost is past.
In warm areas where frost seldom if ever occurs, the lantana plant can grow all year in the garden. Where they will flower constantly, attract hummingbirds, perfect for the butterfly garden and need only occasional trimming.
Lantana Plants Verbena Relatives
Lantanas belong to the verbena family. They grow much taller than the well-known annual verbena, but the small clusters of tubular blooms on this flowering plant look similar, and they bloom as freely. Lantana flowers come in red, orange, yellow, white, pink or lavender.
One variety with yellow flowers turns orange as they age and creates a striking bicolor effect.
Lantana Bush Size and Growth Rate
The woody, deciduous, perennial Lantana produces rather bushy growth which feels rough to the touch. As a whole ornamental Lantana plants will produce a bank of pleasing deep green.
Garden centers begin stocking plants around May, planting outdoors depends on the weather since lantana plants cannot handle frost.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the common Lantana plant variety grows well in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11.
Most Lantana dies back when temperatures fall below 28 degrees (Fahrenheit). Most grow back from their root system when warm weather returns.
Some of the new hardy lantana cultivars grow well in USDA zone 8.
When growing lantana, know the primary use for the plant, since you’ll basically find two types or varieties of Lantana. Upright varieties are varieties better suited for use primarily as a ground cover, as bedding plants or even hanging baskets, reaching a height of 16 to 30 inches.
The Lantana Tree Looks Great In Large Pots Or Tubs
The upright growing varieties, if allowed to grow can reach heights of 5 to 7 feet and look great growing in large tubs or pots. When grown as a “tree form standard” the lantana tree makes for very attractive container subjects on a patio, terrace or a front entry.
If you have room in a greenhouse or sun room to over winter them, growing lantana in a decorative tub or large pot is the way to go.
How To Grow A Lantana Tree
To start a lantana tree, plant a small lantana in spring, into a larger container. Begin shaping the tree as soon as new growth begins.
Attach the stem (sometimes multiple stems) to a support like a bamboo stake, then begin trimming away any new side shoots.
Once the “tree” reaches approximately 30-36 inches, cut out the growing tip to encourage branching.
Continue to remove all growth below the branching top and begin to shape the top of the topiary.
I’ve grown several Lantana trees started from cuttings to a height of 4-5 foot tall and almost 4 foot wide.
This post shares some images on how it’s done, along with some other plants uncommonly grown as a topiary tree form style. This link shows 6 steps for growing a lantana tree.
Cottage Farms Sun Kissed Rose Lantana Patio Tree
The previously recorded video below not represent current pricing and availability. But it gives you some ideas of what a Lantana tree can look like!
Another bush or shrub that looks great when grown into a tree is the hibiscus.
Lantana Plants Attract Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds show their approval of lantana plantings at certain seasons by coming regularly during the early morning and late afternoon for nectar. For a thrill, note the hours they come and sit quietly to enjoy near the lantanas.
Lantana Bush Flowering and Fragrance
Who doesn’t want non stop flowers? Flowers that handle heat, drought and do not take a lot of work.
However, they may not be deer resistant but deer has a tendency to stay away for Lantana. What plant can deliver all that color? Lantana!
From the stem tips sitting above the plant’s squarish stems, and rough leaves with a tooth-edge, emerge small clusters of tubular individual flowers with a small collar.
Flowers begin showing up, with an overall spicy fragrance when warm weather arrives, with non-stop blooms until the first frost burns it back. To keep the flowers coming, pick off seed balls – or dead flowers before they form seed.
Older mature plants bloom best, with colors ranging from orange-red, pink, yellow, purple, violet and bicolors.
Lantana Care – Light and Temperature
Grow or plant lantana in a warm, sunny position, they do very well in full sun. A west or south facing patio will produce the best-looking plants, with lots of flowers.
They will withstand the first light frosts of fall, but if you want to keep your old plants over for another season, dig them. More in the over-wintering section below.
Growing Lantana – Watering and Fertilizing
Even though the lantana plant is fairly drought tolerant, throughout the entire growing season water regularly. Lantana should never dry out.
Growing plants trained and shaped into a tree form makes for an attractive patio specimen.
Pinching encourages branching and production of flowering stems. Unpinched, the stems will trail and droop to greater lengths, with plentiful flowers. Whether or not to pinch growing tips is completely your choice.
Propagating The Lantana Plant
Propagation from rooting a cutting will produce new plants the fastest, they can also grow from seed.
During the outdoor season, lantana plants may grow into small shrubs reaching 4 feet tall and sometimes more. In the case of overwintering, it’s easier to take cuttings in August than to dig and repot oversized plants.
Select cuttings with leaf joints close together. Make each cutting three or four inches in length, and when you cut, take a heel of wood from the main stem.
To root cuttings, first fill a small pot with moist, clean, gritty sand or perlite. I like a 50/50 mix of peat moss and perlite. I find less danger of fungus trouble using peat moss and perlite.
Remove the leaves from the lowest node, and set each cutting deep enough to cover the heel and the lowest node.
While Roots Are Forming
After planting, cover cuttings with a glass jar, or slip the entire container into a plastic bag. Set the container in a shaded, protected place, perhaps under shrubbery or indoors under grow lights.
Keep the rooting medium slightly moist. Unless the weather is unusually warm and dry, remove the jars for a while each day, or leave the plastic bag opened; this fresh air encourages healthy growth. When cuttings root, pot in moist soil as outlined earlier.
Pests On Lantana Plants
Few pests and diseases attack lantana’s, you’ll find them quite bug resistant. However, a handful of pests can impact the plant. Proper cultural practices limit most attacks, early detection and pests identification will speed up treatment and the recovery process.
Aphids – Generally found around the growing tip, buds and undersides of leaves where aphids suck sap from the plant and excrete a sticky substance called honeydew.
Look for plants lacking vigor, leaves showing a yellow to gray cast, and leaf drop. Control with horticultural oil, insecticidal soap and other insecticides.
Lace Bugs – very common pest, feeds on the undersides of leaves, populations grow rapidly with high temperatures (90 degrees Fahrenheit).
On heavily infested plants leaves turn yellow and fall off early. Prune out severely damaged areas, treat with a systemic insecticide like acephate or imidacloprid. Provide sufficient nutrients and water to ensure recovery.
Leaf Miner – Feeds on interior leaves, leaving a whitish trail. Plants can handle a fair amount of injury before plant health comes into question.
Prune and destroy infested branches and foliage. In some areas parasitic wasps help control pests populations. Control with horticultural oil, insecticidal soap and other insecticides.
Mealybugs – Mealybugs “hide” on the undersides of leaves and on stems, with damage similar to aphids.
Treat small outbreaks with a 50-50 spray of water and isopropyl alcohol. For larger infestations control with horticultural oil, insecticidal soap and other insecticides.
Lantana Plant Buying Tips
Start your lantana collection by picking up plants at the garden center or ordering new varieties online in the spring. At the garden center look of bushy plants, stiff stems and lots of buds.
Lots of color provided by the Lantana flower – Monrovia – via Pinterest
Uses For Lantana Bushes and Trees In The Landscape
Lantana makes a very colorful decorative plant for outdoor use on the patio or balcony.
Grow as a potted tree (my favorite), or planted as a bush and allow the stems to spill over.
The small ground cover varieties work well when planted in mass.
In my garden, lantana’s solved a seemingly hopeless problem spot – the space between a sidewalk and foundation, facing south.
The location stays not only hot but often dry. After planting the young plants and taking a few weeks to become established, they now thrive in this difficult situation.
NOTE: In some areas of the country you’ll find Lantana listed as an invasive species plant.
Overwintering Lantana Plants
After a summer of outdoor flowering, trim back the most woody stems when the pot or basket moves indoors to winter quarters, for fresh new growth.
If digging up plants, prune back roots and tops severely and pot in a moist well-drain soil or potting mix like Miracle Gro. Winter Lantana’s in a cool, sunny window, keeping soil on the dry side (but never completely dry).
Or store the pot in a cool (40 degrees) spot and keep it just barely moist. Keep the plant half-dormant and leafless, until late March or April – then start it growing again.
The all important annual pruning happens when moving plants back outdoors for the growing season.
Ruthlessly cutting back the entire top growth to six or seven inches will reward you with a brand-new, well-shaped plant for summer, with an abundance of the new wood on which the lantana produces flowers.
Below are a few of the dozens of varieties and Lantana species available today. Most can trace their parent back to Lantana camara.