Showing posts with label Fuchsia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fuchsia. Show all posts

Matching Plants in Plaids and Paisley

Two tropicals and a hardy perennial plant
share a container.
I'm patting myself on the back for a never-seen-before color combination. Okay, that may be a bit of an overstatement. More accurately, the combination hasn't been seen in my garden before. It will grow into a pot of texture, and most of it will be green, except for the Cordyline ‘Miss Andrea’, a fancy little number with bright shiny leaves that, if given the chance, will steal the show.

Currently, the color comes courtesy of Astilbe 'Burgundy Red', with its deep green deeply cut leaves and, for now, deep red flowers. Rounding out the arrangement is a fern whose name, I'm embarrassed to say, I didn't catch. It doesn't look like much right now, but I have high hopes for this trio when it settles in after a few weeks.

I'm not sure I would have found Dracaena 'Lemon Lime' if it weren't for the houseplant frenzy. Dracaena are some of the easiest tropicals to grow indoors. It will be even easier outside.

Cordyline 'Miss Andrea' 
Yes, you can let some of your houseplants take a vacation on your patio, but with a few considerations. Start them off in the shade, even if they prefer sun. Move them gradually to a spot you think they'll be happy in, and then you'll still want to keep an eye out for burned or scorched leaves. Another thing we tend to forget when putting a plant outside for the summer is wind. I've seen the wind desiccate a plant in one day. It just seemed to blow the color right out of the leaves.


To keep the Dracaena company, I added two Fuchsia 'Autumnale', an Impatiens repens, and one Pilea microphylla ‘Variegata’, which I know is pushing the chaotic coloring envelope. Using three multicolored plants in one container is frowned upon in some circles. But it's not as if I'm wearing plaid pants and a paisley shirt with a flowered shawl. Here's my theory: Because three out of four contain red/pink and two out of four contain yellow-green, all five plants will grow up into one happy and colorful family, even without flowers.

Sure, the Fuchsia will bloom, but it needs just the right amount of sun. Actually, all of these plants require part sun, which is kind of a conundrum. I'm counting on the Dracaena 'Lemon Lime' to eventually grow tall enough to offer shelter to the Impatiens, which seems to have the most stringent shade requirements. The Dracaena and the Impatiens are new to me this year, but I've grown the other two.

Mixed with an upright Fuchsia, a Begonia and a ribbon fern is
Pilea microphylla 'Variegata' in the upper left of this photo.
I discovered the Pilea last year at River Street Flowerland. They featured it in several mixed planters, and, at first glance, looks like it has tiny white blooms. I bought a few and mixed it with almost everything. It kept going and going and loved everything I paired it with, including a planter with partial shade-lovers like Fuchsia and Begonia.

Plants in the mixture I am trying this year all are pretty tolerant of low water, which isn't a problem because we just got two inches of rain in as many days. I plan for a wet spring, because we usually have one. But I try to remember what July feels like on a sunny day--hot and dry and humid and sometimes windy--but they'll be strong and bulky enough to take it. (That's the plan, anyway.)

Best Plants of 2017: The First Quarter

Fuchsia 'New Wind Chimes Dark Eye' shares a container
with Pelargonium 'Distinction'.
Looking back on the year of plants, I decided to choose two stand-outs for each month of 2017, and list them one quarter at a time, the same way I organize my plant photos.

During the winter, I keep a few dozen plants taken from cuttings and other new plants purchased just for the house.
Pelargonium 'Distinction' is pretty even without flowers.
For January, 2017 there was Fuchsia 'New Wind Chimes Dark Eye', impressive enough for just making it to January, but it actually offered up a few flowers while little else was in bloom.
Oxalis adenophylla asks little and performs
well in early winter.

I can't seem to get enough Pelargoniums (commonly known as geraniums), especially the fancy-leaved varieties. Some will even bloom, lightly and sporadically just to keep things interesting during the cold, dark months.

By February, a couple of little Oxalis (shamrocks) began to shine, producing leaves and flowers at the same time. My favorite is the species O. adenophylla, commonly known as wood sorrel. Although it is hardy, I can't imagine not planting where I can see it up close to appreciate its delicate-looking bluish leaves, which is the main attraction.

Another Pelargonium continues to impress, even sending up a few blooming stems. It's called 'Mosaic Silky', which I'm guessing refers to the leaves and flowers respectively. The pale green leaves are etched in white; its double flowers a mid-pink with petals as ruffled as the bows on a little girl's party dress.


Pelargonium 'Mosaic Silky' has flowers as pretty as its leaves.

Zephyranthes primulina is a pretty little flower that grows
easily from a bulb.
March can be a frustrating month. You've pretty much had it with winter, but if you're lucky you might be rewarded with blooms as impatient to get going as you are.

Such was the case in March, 2017 that my little pot of yellow rain lilies brightened up my days. Easy to grow from a tiny bulb, these little guys put on a subtle show throughout the summer after I'd put it outside.

Stinky heirloom Freesia, or Freesia
leichtlinii subsp. alba
looks better than it smells.
A match made in heaven occurred when I had unexpected success with a species Freesia. According to the botanists, this species is now called Freesia leichtlinii subsp. alba, meaning it's a subspecies of F. Leichtlinii. Whatever. I heard it was easier to grow than the colorful hybrids you see in bouquets, so I gave it a try. Amazingly, the pot of straggly leaves sent up some blooms in March! The only drawback is that I couldn't stand the smell. It's one of those scents that hit you like a ton of bricks, somewhat like paperwhites, which I also find offensive. I imagine if it were warm enough to put them outside, they might be enjoyable. I put them in the garage instead.