July 2012

Ceiba speciosa (Abelia ’Edward Goucher’)

Floss silk tree

Nativity:

Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay

Growth Habit:

This semi-deciduous tree grows to 40 to 60 feet.

Growing Requirements:

Plant in full sun with good soil drainage and water sparingly.

Features:

The green trunk is covered with large thorns. It blooms in spring with showy pink flowers that are followed by large woody pods. When the pods split open, they release thousands of tiny seeds that are surrounded by fluff. This is the kapok that has been used as a stuffing in pillows and garments.

Where at Lotusland:

In the arboretum, which can be viewed from the cypress allée.

July 2011

Nelumbo nucifera ssp. nucifera

Asian lotus

Nativity:

Asia, Russia, India, Malaysia, northern Australia

Growth Habit:

Lotuses are aquatic perennials. They grow from tubers under the soil in still or slow-moving fresh water at a depth of six inches to three feet (or more). The large leaves and flowers rise above the surface of the water during the summer months in most temperate regions, although in the tropics, they may grow nearly year round.

Growing Requirements:

Soil depths should be a minimum of one foot and water depths can range from six inches to three feet. Full sun or at least six hours of sunlight a day will ensure vigorous growth and maximum flower production.

Features:

Lotus leaves are coated with a waxy layer that sheds water (search on “lotus effect”) and the flowers of the Asian lotus are shades of pink or white. The closely related American lotus flowers are pale yellow or cream-colored.

Where at Lotusland:

In the water garden and the Japanese garden pond

July 2010

Farfugium japonicum ‘Crispatum’

Nativity:

Cultivated variety

Growth Habit:

Farfugium grows in clumps of stems to two and a half feet. In bright light situations, it will produce a tall stem (to three feet) with a cluster of bright yellow “daisy” flowers.

Growing Requirements:

Light to deep shade and regular water.

Features:

The species grows in Japan, Taiwan and Korea. Horticulturists have made many selections for various growth habits. This cultivar has crimped and ruffled leaves in contrast to the very smooth edges of the species.

Where at Lotusland:

In the fern garden.

July 2009

Begonia ‘Lotusland’

Nativity:

Cultivated variety

Growth Habit:

This variety is in the rhizomatous group of the large genus Begonia. Thick horizontal stems creep along the ground and support large, lobed leaves and sprays of small deep pink flowers.

Growing Requirements:

Light to deep shade and regular water.

Features:

This variety was introduced into cultivation by Rudy Ziesenhenne, a grower and taxonomist for this interesting group, who had a nursery in Santa Barbara. It was a chance seedling in his greenhouse without a name until Ziesenhenne was prodded by a National Geographic photographer to give it one. At the time, many begonias were being planted in a new fern garden at Lotusland, so he honored Madame Walska by naming this new hybrid after her estate.

Where at Lotusland:

In the fern garden.

July 2008

Begonia ‘Carousel’

Nativity:

garden origin

Growth Habit:

This is one of the many rhizomatous hybrid begonias. It forms a spreading clump of bright green leaves that are a great backdrop to the proliferous pink and white flowers.

Growing Requirements:

Grow in soil enriched with plenty of organic material. Keep uniformly moist. Most begonias grow best in partial shade.

Features:

Good to bring color and interest to the shade garden.

Where at Lotusland:

In the fern garden.

July 2007

Catalpa speciosa

Northern catalpa, Indian bean

Nativity:

Eastern United States

Growth Habit:

Deciduous trees with large pale green leaves to 80 feet in height. White tubular flowers with purple and yellow streaks and blotches in the throat are followed by long, thin seed pods giving it its common name.

Growing Requirements:

Full sun and regular water.

Features:

This member of the Bignoniaceae – the trumpet creeper family – litters the ground below with fragrant flowers in early summer.

Where at Lotusland:

In the Japanese garden next to the main drive.

July 2006

Puya alpestris

Sapphire Tower

Nativity:

The Andes of southern Chile

Growth Habit:

This plant forms clumps 4-5 foot tall with the foliage in many rosettes. The leaves are very narrow with spiny edges and are silver on the underside. The clumps can reach ten feet across.

Growing Requirements:

This dry-climate bromeliad does best in full sun to light shade. It is drought tolerant, needing little water. It adapts to poor soils and prefers good drainage.

Features:

In spring the plant produces five foot tall stalks bearing clusters of bell shaped flowers that are an unusual metallic turquoise. In the center of the flower are bright orange anthers. The bare lateral branches on the flower spikes provide perches for pollinating birds.

Where at Lotusland:

A very large clump of Puya alpestris grows in the Butterfly Garden.

July 2005

Francoa ramosa

Maiden’s Wreath

Nativity:

Chile

Growth Habit:

Francoa is a perennial plant which produces a clump of wavy-edged basal leaves, each to one foot long, with the plant itself reaching 1-2 feet high. It spreads by rhizomes, and is easily divided.

Growing Requirements:

Francoa grows best in partial shade with moderate water. It will tolerate temperatures slightly below freezing.

Features:

In summer, a profusion of multi-stemmed flower spikes rise up over the foliage on stalks up to 3 ft tall. Each stalk bears many small flowers which may be pure white or blushed with pink. The blooms made good cut flowers.

Where at Lotusland:

A planting of Francoa is growing in the Fern Garden.

July 2004

Scadoxus multiflorus var. katherinae

Blood Lily

Nativity:

South Africa.

Growth Habit:

A perennial with bright green wavy-edged leaves 15 inches tall, producing flower stems up to 2 feet tall. The foliage is deciduous from late fall until early spring.

Growing Requirements:

Plant the bulbs 2 feet apart in light to full shade. Water regularly during the spring/summer growing season.Scadoxus is sensitive to frost, however in colder regions the bulbs can be stored indoors for the winter dormant season. They will also grow well as a container plant.

Features:

The name “Blood Lily” comes from the red-speckled bulb. Large globes of salmon-pink flowers are borne on tall, thick stems. The flowers are followed by decorative red berries.

Where at Lotusland:

Blood Lilies can be found throughout the Fern Garden