June 2014

Piper aduncum

Nativity:

South America

Growth Habit:

This peppercorn relative forms a large shrub/small tree. In summer the white “rat tail” inflorescences are eyecatching.

Growing Requirements:

While native to the tropics and subtropics, this evergreen shrub is quite drought tolerant. It thrives in full to partial sun.

Features:

There are many indigenous names for this plant, but “matico” is widely used in South America where it is used medicinally as a styptic or anti-hemorrhagic remedy.

Where at Lotusland:

At the edge of the cycad garden nearest the tropical garden.

June 2012

Puya venusta

Nativity:

Chile

Growth Habit:

This bromeliad is a clumping species; eventually making large thickets. Individual plants are about 3 feet across.

Growing Requirements:

Native to the seasonally dry areas of Chile, Puya venustarequires good drainage and full sun. Will not tolerate freezing.

Features:

The silvery leaves are highly ornamental and the fantastic flower spikes in summer are very eye-catching.

Where at Lotusland:

In the cactus garden.

June 2011

Echinopsis macrogona

Nativity:

Bolivia?

Growth Habit:

This cactus is somewhat shrubby with multiple erect stems. The flowers are large, white flaring tubes.

Growing Requirements:

Most cacti require fast draining soil, full sun and warmth.

Features:

Echinopsis macrogona has few ribs (usually 6 to 9) and small spines. The stems are slightly glaucous giving the plant a bluish or grayish green color.

Where at Lotusland:

In the cactus garden.

June 2009

Pseudobombax ellipticum

Shaving Brush Tree

Nativity:

Mexico to Guatemala

Growth Habit:

This is a small tree – to 20 feet in cultivation with thick stems and sometimes even forming a swollen base or caudex. It is deciduous in winter and flowers before the large, green leaves are produced in early summer.

Growing Requirements:

Somewhat tolerant of light frosts, the shaving brush tree does best in subtropical or tropical zones. It can be grown as a potted specimen where it will be more likely to form a caudex.

Features:

large – 4 inches or more – flowers have sturdy greenish brown petals that curl below the showy cluster of many stamens. There are both pink and white forms.

Where at Lotusland:

Cycad garden behind the planting of Dioon sonorense.

June 2008

Aechmea nudicaulis var.albomarginata

Nativity:

Brazil

Growth Habit:

The vase-like rosette of leaves of this bromeliad is pale yellow striped with apple green. The leaves have a row of black spines along the margins. The bright red-bracted flower spikes produce lemon yellow flowers in summer. While the original plant will die after flowering, it will produce several offsets that may be removed and replanted. It is usually epiphytic in its native range, but adapts well to containers or raised beds outdoors.

Growing Requirements:

Grow Aechmea nudicaulis var. albomarginata in bright shade either in a pot or in the ground with lots or organic material incorporated into the soil mix. Soil may be allowed to dry out between waterings, but maintain the central cup – made by the tightly overlapping leaves – full of water at all times. Fertilize every month or two with half-strength liquid fertilizer in the central cup.

Features:

The colorful flower spikes and brightly variegated leaves make this one of the most handsome bromeliads to grow.

Where at Lotusland:

The upper bromeliad garden at the edge of the lawn.

June 2007

Nativity:

Garden origin

Growth Habit:

Compact shrubs to 3 feet with glossy green leaves.

Growing Requirements:

Full sun and regular water. Mulch to maintain even moisture. Prune in dormant season as for any rose. Deadhead regularly to encourage more blooms.

Features:

This floribunda rose was an All-American Rose Selection in 2003. Smoky orange blossoms tinged with purple as they age are showy and unique.

Where at Lotusland:

In the rose garden on the parterre.

June 2006

Bowiea volubilis

Climbing Onion

Nativity:

Southern Africa.

Growth Habit:

A perennial bulb with leafless branching stems up to 15 feet long. The stems can be trained to grow upward with support or they will spread along the ground.

Growing Requirements:

Grows best in sun to partial shade in well-drained soil. The plant should be watered very little during its deciduous dormant season. Begin regular watering when new stems start to grow from the top of the bulb. This plant is not frost-tolerant.

Features:

Bowiea volubilis is not related to onions (the Alliaceae family), but is in the Hyacinth family (Hyacinthaceae). Its onion-like appearance comes from its fleshy bulbs which grow partly exposed above the soil. These can reach up to 10 inches in diameter and are bright green and scaly. They spread by offsets which cluster around the main bulb. The plant produces small green star-shaped flowers twined along the stems.

Where at Lotusland:

The Climbing Onion is found in the Succulent Garden.

June 2005

Dracaena draco

Dragon Tree, Dragon’s Blood Tree

Nativity:

Canary Islands, Madeira Island and the Cape Verde Islands

Growth Habit:

A very slow growing tree. The plant may take up to ten or fifteen years to flower, at which point it will branch for the first time. It will eventually form a large multi-stemmed tree up to 20 feet tall and wide.

Growing Requirements:

Dracaenas are succulent plants, and will grow in full sun or light shade, with moderate water, preferably in well-drained soil. They need a climate where winters stay mainly above freezing, as the leaves are frost-sensitive and the plants die at around 25 degrees. They grow well on the coast.

Features:

The leaves are sword-shaped and have a sharp tip. Small, creamy-white flowers are borne in branched spikes. The small, round fruit are fleshy and bright orange. Old specimens have scaly brown bark. The name “dragon’s blood tree” comes from the plant’s red sap, which was used in ancient Egypt as part of the embalming process and has been used in making paint and varnishes.

Where at Lotusland:

Over 60 Dragon Trees are planted in front of the Main House.

June 2004

Brachychiton acerifolius

Flame Tree

Nativity:

Eastern Australia

Growth Habit:

A tree to 60 feet tall and 30 feet wide.

Growing Requirements:

Full sun, needs little to moderate water once established. Grows best in well-drained soil.

Features:

B. acerifolius has unusual deeply-lobed foliage, which goes deciduous for a time in late winter, and a swollen, bottle-shaped trunk. Its most striking feature is a spectacular display of bright red flowers in late spring/early summer. The flowers are followed by large brown seed pods which may hang on the tree for months.

Where at Lotusland:

Seven B. acerifolius are planted in the Australian Garden, the area around the Visitors’ Center.