August 2012

Aloe mitriformis

 

Nativity:

South Africa

Growth Habit:

The stems of this succulent aloe trail along the ground, often rooting where they touch down. The leaves are short and broad in a rosette and are edged in sturdy teeth.

Growing Requirements:

Full sun and good drainage are required to grow this aloe. It is hardy to 20 – 25 degrees. Drought tolerant.

Features:

The yellow teeth along the edges contrast nicely with the deep green of the leaves. In summer, the coral colored flower heads are very showy. This plant has been known by several names including Aloe distans and Aloe perfoliataAloe mitriformis is listed in the recent Aloes: The Definitive Guide.

Where at Lotusland:

In the aloe garden

August 2011

Neoregelia ‘Fireball’

Nativity:

Cultivated variety

Growth Habit:

This is a dwarf bromeliad with rosettes of leaves up to six inches across. It grows epiphytically and in the garden should be mounted on a branch or planted in a hanging basket.

Growing Requirements:

For brightest color, plant in sun or partial shade. Keep moist by filling the “cups” of its leaves with water. Hardy to 30 degrees only.

Features:

The fiery red leaves of each rosette and its habit of sending out offsets in all directions are captured in its name, ‘Fireball’

Where at Lotusland:

In the lower bromeliad garden, mounted on driftwood or tree trunks.

August 2010

Euphorbia mammillaris‘Variegata’

Variegated Corn Cob Euphorbia

Nativity:

Cultivated variety

Growth Habit:

The Corn Cob Euphorbia is a small, branching succulent plant. It grows only about 6 to 8 inches tall.

Growing Requirements:

Like all succulent euphorbias, this species requires excellent drainage and a sunny location.

Features:

Called the corn cob euphorbia because it has a knobby surface, this variegated form is pale green most of the year. The tips become noticeably pink in cooler weather or when the plant is under other stressful conditions.

Where at Lotusland:

Among the amethyst chunks on the west side of the main drive.

August 2009

Lagunaria patersonia

Cow Itch Tree

Nativity:

Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands and coastal Queensland, Australia

Growth Habit:

Large, evergreen tree to 40 to 50 feet, becoming pyramidal in old age.

Growing Requirements:

Tolerates drought, salt spray and many soil types. It is frost tolerant to 23° F.

Features:

Tolerates drought, salt spray and many soil types. It is frost tolerant to 23° F.

Where at Lotusland:

Behind the hedges of the parterre below the star fountain.

August 2008

Acalypha pendula

Nativity:

Cuba

Growth Habit:

This is a low-growing plant that creeps along the ground. It can be used as a ground cover or in containers, where its pendulous flowers can be displayed effectively.

Growing Requirements:

Plant in humus-rich soil or regular potting mix if in a container. It does best in full sun to partial shade with regular water.

Features:

The fuzzy inflorescences are an eye-catching red. The plant is a perennial and will bloom most of the year in Southern California.

Where at Lotusland:

In pots on the Pavilion Patio.

August 2007

Alcantarea imperialis

Nativity:

Mountains outside Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Growth Habit:

This is one of the larger bromeliads, forming a rosette of leathery leaves up to 4 feet across. In nature it grows clinging to rock faces, slowly accumulating fallen organic debris to create its own soil.

Growing Requirements:

Plant in humus-rich soil in light shade and keep moist.

Features:

It may take plants ten years or more to reach blooming size. Once the large inflorescence is finished, the plant dies, but it usually makes one or more offsets that can be removed and grown on.

Where at Lotusland:

Several in the bromeliad gardens. This blooming one is in the lower garden.

August 2006

Canna ‘Ehemanni’

Canna Lily

Nativity:

Most Cannas seen in gardens are hybrids from species native to American tropics and subtropics; ‘Ehemannii’ is a hybrid ofCanna iridifolia dating back to the 1800s.

Growth Habit:

A perennial plant which forms clumps of large leaves growing to five feet wide and up to eight feet tall.

Growing Requirements:

Grows best in full sun to light shade. It needs moderate water but will also grow well in wet soils.

Features:

This Canna’s large leaves give it a lush tropical look. It has clusters of cherry-red flowers on pendulous spikes, and blooms throughout the summer into fall.

Where at Lotusland:

These Cannas grow in the boggy beds at the edge of the Water Garden.

August 2005

Jubaea chilensis

Chilean Wine Palm, Coquito Palm

Nativity:

Central Chile. These palms are rare in the wild, due to centuries of being felled for their sap which is very sweet and is used as a sugar extract or fermented for wine. They are now protected by the Chilean government.

Growth Habit:

A very slow-growing palm which at maturity reaches 75 feet tall with a trunk over three feet across. Most have hanging lower fronds, but some have a more upright crown; both forms can be seen in the picture to the left.

Growing Requirements:

This palm grows well in temperate subtropical climates, though not in true tropics. It is cold-tolerant and can withstand frost even when young. It grows best in full sun and well-drained soil.

Features:

Jubaea chilensis has a thick gray trunk crowned with feathery grey-green fronds. It has very small flowers, which grow on a 4 ft long stalk hidden under the leaves. These are followed by orange fruit. The common name ‘Coquito’ refers to the one-inch nut inside the fruit. These look and taste like miniature coconuts.

Where at Lotusland:

There are approximately 40 mature Chilean Wine Palms at Lotusland dating back to the early years of the estate. They are planted mainly in the Blue Garden and Aloe Garden. Young specimens have been planted in the Cactus Garden and at the visitors’ entrance gate.

August 2004

Agave franzosinii

Nativity:

A. franzosinii is only known from cultivated plants in Europe and the United States.

Growth Habit:

A large succulent plant with a rosette of broad curving leaves that can grow as large as six feet long and a foot wide. The flower stalks may reach over 30 feet tall. After flowering, the plant dies.

Growing Requirements:

Full sun, requires little water once established.

Features:

A. franzosinii has large curving whitish-blue or gray leaves. The plant seldom flowers, but when it does it produces a huge spike of yellow flowers in summer which attract birds and insects.

Where at Lotusland:

A mixed planting of Agave franzosinii and Agave americanaborders the top of the Main Lawn.