Condensed Version:

This delightful plant has the classic ‘daisy look’ with tiny, daisy shaped flowers and a dense mat of feathery foliage. River daisies come in a range of colours such as pink, mauve, pale and deep blue as well as white; many with striking yellow centres. Yellow forms exist but are uncommon.  This sprawling groundcover produces masses of flowers, appearing predominantly in spring and summer but also sporadically throughout the year. It grows about 30 to 50cm wide and 20 to 30cm tall, dependent on the variety and growing conditions. Plant breading has produced numerous cultivars and many improvements to plant form, flower size and colour range.  This low maintenance and water-wise plant is a beautiful addition to any garden and is especially effective in mass plantings, producing a very effective and eye-catching ground cover. It is also stunning draping over retaining walls, in pots and hanging baskets. It is quite at home in cottage and rose gardens; a wonderful border plant and excellent in rockeries.

River daisies can be grown in much the same way as other daisies and will tolerate a wide range of conditions; but do not perform well in areas with very hot, humid summers. Despite their delicate appearance, they are surprisingly hardy, growing well at the coast and tolerating quite arid conditions; as well as moderate frost. In severe frost regions the leaves may be burnt but the plant should shoot again in spring if the roots are thickly mulched in winter. In the wild they grow in very shallow sandy soils which drain well, but in the garden they can be grown in a wide range of soil types including light-sandy loams. They will also grow on heavy clay soils, as long as the beds are well prepared and drain well.  Like all daisies they love full sun but will tolerate semi-shade, and although they do not need much water once established, will look at their best if watered moderately during long dry spells. Cut back after summer flowering to keep the plants compact and to encourage more flowers. Fertilise each spring and mulch the roots to assist with strong, thick growth and masses of flowers.
 
Full Version:

Description, History & Interesting Facts:

Brachyscome multifida is an evergreen flowering perennial from eastern Australia which belongs to the daisy (Astereae) family. The species is endemic, meaning it is native only to Australia. In its natural habitat it occurs on dry, shallow or rocky soils, in sclerophyll forests or grasslands in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland; where it is a food source and resting spot for butterflies. The most common sclerophyll communities in Australia are savannas dominated by grasses with an over-storey of Eucalypts and Acacias.

This delightful plant has the classic ‘daisy look’ with tiny, daisy shaped flowers and a dense mat of feathery foliage. River daisies come in a range of colours such as pink, mauve, pale and deep blue as well as white; many with striking yellow centres. Yellow forms exist but are uncommon.  This sprawling groundcover produces masses of flowers, appearing predominantly in spring and summer but also sporadically throughout the year. It grows about 30 to 50cm wide and 20 to 30cm tall, dependent on the variety and growing conditions. Its spreading habit makes it ideal as a ground cover, border plant, or in rockeries. Plant breading has produced numerous cultivars and many improvements to plant form, flower size and colour range.
 
In the Garden:

This low maintenance and water-wise plant is a beautiful addition to any garden and is especially effective in mass plantings, producing a very effective and eye-catching ground cover. It is also stunning draping over retaining walls, in pots and hanging baskets. It is quite at home in cottage and rose gardens; a wonderful border plant and excellent in rockeries.

Cultivation:

River daisies can be grown in much the same way as other daisies and will tolerate a wide range of conditions; but do not perform well in areas with very hot, humid summers. Despite their delicate appearance, they are surprisingly hardy, growing well at the coast and tolerating quite arid conditions; as well as moderate frost. In severe frost regions the leaves may be burnt but the plant should shoot again in spring if the roots are thickly mulched in winter. In the wild they grow in very shallow sandy soils which drain well, but in the garden they can be grown in a wide range of soil types including light-sandy loams. They will also grow on heavy clay soils, as long as the beds are well prepared and drain well. Like all daisies they love full sun but will tolerate semi-shade, and although they do not need much water once established, will look at their best if watered moderately during long dry spells. Cut back after summer flowering to keep the plants compact and to encourage more flowers. Fertilise each spring and mulch the roots to assist with strong, thick growth and masses of flowers.
 
Propagation:

Although most varieties are short-lived, they are easily propagated from cuttings which will strike within a few weeks. Layering is probably the easiest method of propagation because it occurs naturally when the stems lie on the soil.

Pests & Diseases:

This species is does not suffer from many diseases or pests but is susceptible to Botrytis and powdery mildew when humidity is high and when the foliage is wet. Provide good air circulation to avoid problems with botrytis. Watch out for thrips and whitefly, especially in enclosed and very sheltered gardens. Aphids can sometimes attack the new growth and caterpillars and scale may become a problem.

Thursday, 25 July 2013 00:28

Creeping Jenny, Penningkruid - Lysimachia

Lysimachia congestiflora 'Outback Sunset' Picture courtesy Green Acres Nursery CaliforniaLysimachia congestiflora 'Outback Sunset' Picture courtesy Green Acres Nursery CaliforniaThe genus Lysimachia is native to Eurasia, where it can be found growing damp situations; in fens, wet woods, lake shores, and river banks almost throughout Europe. It consists of around 150 herbaceous or evergreen perennials, as well as shrubs; all of which can be found growing damp situations in semi-shade to sun, and in humus rich soils, which drain well.

Lysimachia nummularia is a charming, ground hugging evergreen perennial about 5cm tall which is cultivated for its attractive, green, lime-green, or golden-yellow leaves, and its cup-shaped, bright yellow flowers in summer; in South Africa flowering can be erratic or non-existent; especially with the yellow form.

Creeping Jenny will thrive in full sun or semi-shade as long as the soil is kept moist. It roots along the ground as it grows and plants will spread very vigorously; making it an excellent groundcover for areas where it can be left alone to spread or naturalize, such as banks, woodland gardens, along paths, or in moist areas near water gardens or along streams, pools or pods.

Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea'Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea'Creeping Jenny thrives in regions with high summer rainfall but grows throughout the country, except for those very hot, humid, and dry regions. It loves rich, well-drained soils but will adapt to most garden soils, even heavy clay; and will tolerate acid, neutral or alkaline soils. It is fully cold and frost hardy and will tolerate temperatures as low as -10°c. Prune it down hard in spring and feed with a balanced organic fertiliser, to encourage lush new growth.

It does not suffer from any serious insect or disease problems, but watch out for aphids and caterpillars.

Propagation is by dividing the roots in spring or summer.

Creeping Jenny can become invasive and if mixed with other groundcovers it will usually outgrow and swamp them, so it is probably too aggressive a spreader for border fronts or areas adjacent to lawns; if necessary plant it where it can be contained. For a ground cover space the plants about 60cm apart. Creeping Jenny can be grown in shallow water and is therefore excellent planted in wetland and bog gardens. It is a spectacular contrast plant and can be planted to cover or spill over stone walls, hanging baskets or pots.

(Lysimachia nummularia) has bright green leaves.

(Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea') has bright yellow leaves.

(Lysimachia procumbens 'Sunburst') has green leaves and can grow +-15cm tall.

(Lysimachia congestiflora 'Outback Sunset') has yellow variegated, mid-green leaves.

(Lysimachia congestiflora 'Midnight Sun') has attractive deep purple foliage and is heat tolerant.

Houttuynia 'Harlequin'Houttuynia 'Harlequin' This groundcover creeps continuously and is grown for its colourful leaves and tiny white flowers in summer.

It is evergreen, grows well throughout the country and is hardy to frost. Water it well in dry regions and plant it in sun or semi-shade where it will grow +-25cm tall. This plant can become invasive, especially in damp areas.

Plant it in containers, where its growth can be controlled, or plant it as a groundcover in large areas.

 

Cineraria saxifraga. Picture courtesy www.newplant.co.zaCineraria saxifraga. Picture courtesy www.newplant.co.za alt Condensed Version:

This pretty little indigenous perennial forms a mounding groundcover, +-20 to 30cm tall with a spread of about 40 to 50cm. Because the branches are low they will make roots wherever they touch the soil, so the plant can spread much further with time. The dainty succulent leaves are broadly triangular to rounded, bright green, and very attractive. The tiny sunflower-yellow blooms on fragile stalks are most prolific in spring and autumn, but also bloom during summer. Very small, black seeds with a tuft of fluffy whitish hairs at one end follow the flowers, and because they are very light, are dispersed by the wind. The wild cineraria with its delicate foliage and bright yellow flowers, is a rewarding and versatile plant for the garden, doing extremely well in coastal gardens. This super tough, low maintenance little plant can be used as a groundcover and for stabilising the soil on steep banks. It is impressive when spilling over retaining or terraced walls and steps. Combine it with other plants in window boxes and hanging baskets for hassle free colour. It is invaluable in indigenous and water-wise gardens, and because it loves growing amongst rocks in light shade, it is also an excellent candidate for rock or pebble gardens.

Wild cineraria grow quickly and easily both at the coast and inland. It tolerates windy conditions at the coast and although it thrives in frost-free regions of the country, is also semi-hardy to frost, taking temperatures down to -1°C if planted in a sheltered position in the garden. It does best in extremely well-drained soil with added compost, and thrives in the garden in full sun to light shade. Water regularly until established, and moderately thereafter during prolonged dry spells. An occasional feeding with a balanced fertiliser and yearly mulch should be sufficient to keep them at their blooming best. Plants do not require pruning, but can be trimmed occasionally to remove dead flowers and encourage bushiness.

Full Version:

Description, History & Interesting Facts:

This pretty little perennial  belongs to the daisy family (Asteraceae) and is a relative of the sunflower. The genus includes about 50 species which are endemic and restricted only to the southern areas of South Africa, from Swellendam in the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape, southern KwaZulu-Natal, and extending into Lesotho and Swaziland. It grows all along the coast and adjacent interior, and is common on stony hillsides and rocky outcrops, usually growing in light shade. The species name saxifraga means “of the rocks” in Latin and alludes to this species preference for a rocky habitat. The common name “wild cineraria” can be a bit misleading because it does not look at all like the brightly coloured annuals we grow in our gardens called Florist's Cineraria (Pericallis x hybrid.) These annuals are hybrids between two species from the Canary Islands, which are no longer included in cineraria but have been placed in the genus Pericallis, as the botanists try to bring taxonomic order to the huge and diverse daisy family.

The wild cineraria will form a mounding groundcover, +-20 to 30cm tall with a spread of about 40 to 50cm. Because the branches are low they will make roots wherever they touch the soil, so the plant can spread much further with time. The dainty succulent leaves are broadly triangular to rounded, bright green, and very attractive. The tiny sunflower-yellow blooms on fragile stalks are most prolific in spring and autumn, but also bloom during summer. Very small, black seeds with a tuft of fluffy whitish hairs at one end follow the flowers, and because they are very light, are dispersed by the wind.

Cineraria saxifraga. Picture courtesy www.newplant.co.zaCineraria saxifraga. Picture courtesy www.newplant.co.zaIn the Garden:

The wild cineraria with its delicate foliage and bright yellow flowers, is a rewarding and versatile plant for the garden, doing extremely well in coastal gardens. This super tough, versatile little plant can be used as a groundcover and for stabilising the soil on steep banks. It is impressive when spilling over retaining or terraced walls and steps.  Combine it with other plants in window boxes and hanging baskets for hassle free colour. It is invaluable in indigenous and water-wise gardens, and also looks pretty in cottage and wild gardens. Because it loves growing amongst rocks in light shade, it is also an excellent candidate for rock or pebble gardens. Being very low maintenance, the wild cineraria is great for public gardens, traffic islands, office parks, parking lots and school yards. An added bonus is that it will attract honey bees and butterflies to your garden, as well as insect eating birds.

Cultivation:

Wild cineraria grow quickly and easily both at the coast and inland. It tolerates windy conditions at the coast and although it thrives in frost-free regions of the country, is also semi-hardy to frost, taking temperatures down to -1°C if planted in a sheltered position in the garden. It does best in extremely well-drained soil with added compost, and thrives in the garden in full sun to light shade. In too much shade it will not flower as abundantly, and a plant in a sunny situation will be more compact than one in a shadier spot. Water regularly until established, and moderately thereafter during prolonged dry spells. An occasional feeding with a balanced fertiliser and yearly mulch should be sufficient to keep them at their blooming best. Plants do not require pruning, but can be trimmed occasionally to remove dead flowers and encourage bushiness. These perennials will last for a number of years, but may become a bit woody and scruffy with age; so to keep the beds looking at their best, replace them with young plants every four to five years by digging up old plants and replacing them with young runners which have rooted.

Propagation:

Cineraria saxifraga is easily propagated by means of seed or cuttings, or rooted runners can be removed from an established plant. Propagation from rooted runners is the easiest for gardeners, but cuttings taken during spring, summer or autumn root easily if treated with a rooting hormone powder. Plant in a well-drained growing medium and place them in a cool spot. Using a bottom heat of +-23°C, together with intermittent misting, will greatly aid rooting. In frost free climates seed can be sown in autumn, spring or early summer, but in colder regions they are best sown in spring.

Pests & Diseases:

If grown correctly and in perfectly drained soil, wild cineraria suffer from no serious pests or diseases - another good reason to plant some in your garden.

Thursday, 25 July 2013 00:28

Josephs Coat - Alternanthera bettzichiana

Alternanthera PinkAlternanthera PinkAlternanthera YellowAlternanthera YellowThis fine ground cover from Brazil is grown for its brightly coloured leaves in rich, glowing shades of rose, pink, red, yellow, bronze, green, purple and cream. It is evergreen and grows best in the warm, moist, frost free regions of the country, but is semi-hardy to moderate frost.  Plant it in good, well-drained soil in full sun, where it will grow +-30cm tall and +-20cm wide.  Prune it regularly to keep it neat.





Thursday, 25 July 2013 00:28

Periwinkle - Vinca

Vinca major Picture courtesy Leonora Enking Visit her flickr photostreamVinca major Picture courtesy Leonora Enking Visit her flickr photostreamAll the periwinkles come from Europe, central Asia and northern Africa; and the big periwinkle (Vinca major) is native to France and Italy, and eastward through the Balkans to northern Asia Minor and the western Caucasus. Vinca major and Vinca minor are two very attractive species which are widely cultivated as ornamentals for their attractive foliage and pretty flowers. These vine-like sub-shrubs spread vigorously along the ground, rooting along the stems to form large colonies; and occasionally scrambling up nearby plants to 40cm high.

Vinca minor is often called the Lesser, or Common Periwinkle; it has glossy green leaves and produces small violet-purple, pale purple or white flowers. Vinca major is called the Large Periwinkle or Greater Periwinkle, it is closely related to Vinca major and is similar, but has larger leaves and flowers. Its glossy dark green leaves have a leathery texture and a distinctly hairy margin; and the flowers are violet-purple. The arching stems can reach about 30cm in height, but they soon fall over to touch the ground again.

Periwinkle will grow throughout the country, but in dry regions they will need regular watering during summer. They are hardy to frost, but in very cold regions the plants will go dormant in winter. Cultivars vary in height Vinca minor 'Aureovariegata'Vinca minor 'Aureovariegata'and spread and will grow in semi-shade or sun; full-sun will produce more flowers, but part-shade will produce better looking foliage. The stems spread indefinitely, rooting at the nodes as they cover the ground, enabling the plant to spread widely. Periwinkle will grow in any fertile garden soil, even on clay. Water your plants moderately during the growing season and dress with compost and a general fertiliser in spring, if required. Watch out for rust.

Vinca Major and 'Rosea' Picture courtesy Leonora Enking. Visit her flickr photostreamVinca Major and 'Rosea' Picture courtesy Leonora Enking. Visit her flickr photostreamThere are numerous cultivars of Vinca, with different flower colours and variegated foliage. Cultivars include:

(Vinca major 'Maculata') has soft yellow, central blotching on its leaves and lavender flowers.

(Vinca major 'Variegata' syn 'Elegantissima') has dark green leaves with a creamy white edge, and violet-blue flowers.

(Vinca minor 'Atropurpurea') has dark green leaves and purple flowers.

(Vinca minor 'Argenteovariegata') has green leaves, edged with cream.

(Vinca minor 'Aureovariegata') has yellow leaf edges.

(Vinca minor 'Gertrude Jekyl')  has crisp white flowers and dark green leaves.

(Vinca minor 'Alba') has dark green leaves and white flowers.

(Vinca minor 'Illumination') has bright yellow and green leaves.


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