January 2013

Citrus species and cultivars

Orange, Tangerine, Lime, Lemon, Grapefruit

Nativity:

Garden origin.

Growth Habit:

Most citrus varieties are medium to small trees.

Growing Requirements:

Citrus trees require frost-free (or nearly so) climates, rich loamy soil and regular water. Full sun produces the most and tastiest fruit.

Features:

While usually quite handsome evergreen trees, citrus are grown almost exclusively for their fruit. The diversity of different types and selections within each type continues to expand. Lotusland’s orchard now grows about 25 different cultivars.

Where at Lotusland:

On either side of the lemon arbor leading north from the parterre.

January 2012

Aloe flexilifolia

Nativity:

Tanzania

Growth Habit:

This aloe grows as a multi-stemmed shrub. Its soft gray green leaves spiral outward in graceful curves.

Growing Requirements:

Grow in full sun in well-drained soil. Most aloes are damaged by freezing temperatures.

Features:

The bright orange flowers are loosely arranged, but produced in large numbers for a brilliant winter time show.

Where at Lotusland:

In the aloe garden.

January 2010

Archontophoenix cunninghamiana

King palm

Nativity:

Australia

Growth Habit:

This stately palm grows at a moderate rate to 60 feet in height. The feather-shaped leaves form a smooth crownshaft as their bases completely encircle the trunk at their base.

Growing Requirements:

Regular water and rich soil. King palms can tolerate freezing temperatures to 24° F.

Features:

King palms have slender trunks and a crown of gracefully arching leaves. Once mature, their pale ivory to violet inflorescences are striking in summer and the numerous bright red seeds that follow the flowers are highly decorative. They are “self-cleaning”, meaning that their fronds drop of their own accord when they are dead.

Where at Lotusland:

Planted in twos and threes along the main driveway near the Japanese garden.

January 2009

Ginkgo biloba

Maidenhair Tree

Nativity:

China – only two localities in China still hold wild populations of this ancient tree, but it has been a sacred plant for centuries and was probably saved from extinction through cultivation.

Growth Habit:

Deciduous tree, 65 to 80 feet in height. Leaves are fan-shaped, resembling the leaflets of maidenhair fern, thus the common name. Fossil remains of ginkgo leaves from the Triassic (about 300 to 200 million years old) are nearly identical to present day leaves.

Growing Requirements:

Grows in many types of soil and climate. It has great tolerance for compacted soils and smog, so is a good tree for city streets and parks.

Features:

Ginkgo biloba is widely grown in China and Japan for its medicinal, food and timber value. In spite of their nauseating smell, the seeds, when the fleshy coat is removed, are roasted or included in bird’s-nest soup. Standardized extracts from the leaves are used to treat difficulties of concentration and memory, lack of energy, decrease physical performance, anxiety, dizziness, tinnitus and headache.

Where at Lotusland:

In the Japanese garden near the waterfall and stream.

January 2008

Euphorbia ingens

Tree Euphorbia

Nativity:

Native to Southern Africa.

Growth Habit:

This euphorbia is one of the largest of the genus. It grows to height of 30 feet or more as a many-branched tree.

Growing Requirements:

As a succulent member of the genus, the tree euphorbia is extremely tolerant of heat and drought. Plant it in loose soil with good drainage and allow plenty of room for its ultimate size.

Features:

The leafless stems are very dramatic and its fruits are often colorful. Be aware that it has a milky sap that is toxic and can even cause skin dermatitis.

Where at Lotusland:

There are several large specimens along the main drive and two very large ones of a particularly interesting weeping form at the entrance to the house.

January 2007

Aloe arborescens f. mutabilis

Nativity:

Native to South Africa.

Growth Habit:

This aloe, which is now recognized to be just a form of A. arborescens was formerly known as A. mutabilis. It forms rosettes of green leaves at ground level that are about three feet across. It eventually forms clumps with smaller plants forming from the stem of the original. It blooms in winter with red tubular buds that open to pale yellow.

Growing Requirements:

Aloe arborescens f. mutabilis is very easy to grow. It requires full sun and good drainage. Water only to get plants established. It will survive short periods of frost.

Features:

Aloes are very drought tolerant and many, such as this one, provide color in the garden during their winter blooming season.

Where at Lotusland:

There are several clumps of this aloe in the aloe garden.

January 2006

Loropetalum chinense

Fringe Flower

Nativity:

Native to China and Japan.

Growth Habit:

An evergreen shrub growing to between 6 and 10 feet high and as wide. Young plants are often wider than they are tall.

Growing Requirements:

Plant in partial shade to full sun; more shade is required in areas with hot temperatures. Regular watering. Does best in well-drained, acidic to neutral soils.

Features:

This relative of witch hazel has layers of arching branches and small round olive-green leaves. The flowers are white to greenish with twisted fringe-like petals. Flowering is heaviest in late winter to early spring, but some flowers may appear all year long.

Where at Lotusland:

There is a group of four fringe flowers growing at the back of the Theatre Garden. There is also a cultivar, Loropetalum chinense “Razzleberri”, trained on the hummingbird frame in the Topiary Garden. ‘Razzleberri’ is one of several cultivars having bronze or burgundy colored foliage and bright pink flowers.

January 2005

Beaucarnea recurvata

Pony Tail Palm, Bottle Palm

Nativity:

Central to Southeastern Mexico

Growth Habit:

A single-trunked tree up to 15 feet tall, possibly even taller in very old specimens. Plants will branch more with age, and the trunk base can grow several feet across.

Growing Requirements:

Pony Tail Palms grow best in full sun with well-drained soil They are very drought-tolerant. They are a good houseplant with enough sun; being kept in a pot will slow their growth.

Features:

Beaucarneas are not actually palms, but are succulents that have a swollen base used for water storage. The long, narrow leaves droop down from tufts at the top of the plant. Older plants will produce clusters of small white flowers that turn into papery seed capsules.

Where at Lotusland:

A grove of over 75 mature Beaucarnea trees border the Bromeliad Garden and the Main Lawn.

January 2004

Helleborus argutifolius

Corsican Hellebore

Nativity:

Corsica and Sardinia

Growth Habit:

A sturdy perennial that grows 2-3 feet tall and wide.

Growing Requirements:

Shade to partial sun, moderate water. It can adapt to a wide variety of soil types.

Features:

Corsican Hellebore adds interest to the winter landscape by producing clusters of large pale green cup-shaped flowers in from January through early spring. The foliage is also very attractive, with the leaves being deeply divided and serrated on the edges. They often self-seed.

Where at Lotusland:

The most visible specimens are located in the bed behind the Theatre Garden. There are also plants in the Butterfly Garden and the Japanese Garden.