May 2012

Echinocereus pentalophus

Ladyfinger Cactus

Nativity:

Texas to Northern Mexico

Growth Habit:

This cactus has multiple stems less than a foot in height. The stems are sparsely spiny and have 5 to 7 ribs.

Growing Requirements:

Ladyfinger cactus requires full sun and well-drained soil. It is only moderately frost tolerant and can be damaged at temperatures below 20 degrees.

Features:

The ladyfinger cactus eventually forms a large clump of stems. When it blooms in late spring, the flowers are large and very showy.

Where at Lotusland:

In the cactus border along the main drive.

May 2011

Ceratozamia latifolia

Nativity:

Mexico

Growth Habit:

After many years of growth, this cycad may have a short caudex above ground. Typically the caudex remains below the surface of the soil and the rosette of leaves seems to rise directly from the ground. The leaves appear in “flushes” of several leaves at a time, usually once a year. They are tough and leathery.

Growing Requirements:

Partial shade and moist, humus-rich soil.

Features:

The new leaves emerge a bronze shade and gradually turn glossy green.

Where at Lotusland:

In the cycad garden.

May 2010

Passiflora sanguinolenta

Pink Passion Vine

Nativity:

Ecuador

Growth Habit:

Passion vines climb by tendrils and have distinctive flowers. The petals may be many shades from yellow to pink, red and purple, but the intricately lobed stigma also attracts attention. This species is fairly vigorous and can completely cover a fence or other trellis in a few seasons.

Growing Requirements:

Full sun to partial shade and moderate water. Tolerates very light frost.

Where at Lotusland:

On the trellis to the north of the roses on the parterre.

May 2009

Opuntia robusta

Nativity:

Northern and Central Mexico

Growth Habit:

This prickly pear cactus has large, round “pads” that are actually the flattened stems. Covered with a whitish wax, the overall appearance is gray green. Yellow flowers (and the resultant reddish purple fruits) are formed on the edges of the topmost pads. Plants can grow to many feet in height and width and eventually form thickets. Both pads and fruits are edible, although care must be taken to remove the one to two inch long spines.

Growing Requirements:

Full sun and well-drained soil are needed. Plants are frost tender, but can be grown in pots and wintered indoors if kept dry.

Where at Lotusland:

In the cactus garden as well as on the east side of the driveway.

May 2008

Acer palmatum cultivar

Japanese Maple

Nativity:

Japan

Growth Habit:

Japanese maples can eventually become rounded trees to a height of thirty feet. With careful pruning, such as is done with most of them in the Japanese garden at Lotusland, they are sculpted to beautiful shapes and may be only ten to twelve feet (or less) in height. All are deciduous and some have reddish new foliage (pictured), while others have brilliant fall colors.

Growing Requirements:

Tolerant of shade, Japanese maples will also grow in full sun. Regular water and fertilizer are required. Excessive heat and alkaline soils will cause the leaves to burn at the edges.

Features:

There are over a thousand different cultivars of Japanese maple. Chosen for their foliage colors, bark characteristics and even seed pod attributes, they are a quintessential element of any Japanese style garden.

Where at Lotusland:

In the Japanese garden; many locations.

May 2007

Echinopsis hybrid

Nativity:

cultivated origin

Growth Habit:

Clumps of short (less than 3 feet) stems grow quickly from rooted cuttings. This is a possible hybrid of what used to be known as Trichocereus and Soehrensia. Both names are now subsumed under the genus Echinopsis. Sigs Dunlap obtained the original plant from Grigsby’s.

Growing Requirements:

Full sun and well-drained soil are needed. Plants are frost tender, but can be grown in pots and wintered indoors if kept dry.

Where at Lotusland:

In several spots in the cactus garden.

May 2006

Rhopalostylis sapida

Shaving Brush Palm, Nikau Palm

Nativity:

New Zealand. It is the southernmost naturally occurring palm.

Growth Habit:

A single-trunked palm with pinnate fronds. It is slow-growing and may take over a decade to form a trunk. It eventually reaches around 30 ft tall. Young specimens make good container palms.

Growing Requirements:

Grows best in filtered light and moist soils. This palm can take winter temperatures down to about 25 degrees and does not need hot summers to grow well. Plant in a sheltered area, as wind will damage the fronds.

Features:

R. sapida has very stiff upright leaves and a swollen crownshaft which together give the palm its distinctive “shaving brush” or “feather duster” appearance. The young trunk is light green with rings. Older specimens have spikes of small pale flowers followed by red berries.

Where at Lotusland:

There is a grove of six R. sapida bordering the Main Lawn near the Bromeliad Garden. There is one other species ofRhopalostylis at Lotusland: R. baueri, native to Norfolk Island. These are found in the Fern Garden and bordering the drive by the entrance to the Cycad Garden. There is also one specimen of the variety R. baueri var. cheesemannii, native to the Kermadec Islands north of New Zealand.

May 2005

Tillandsia bergeri

Air Plant

Nativity:

Native to Buenos Aires Province, Argentina.

Growth Habit:

An epiphytic plant that grows on rocks or tree branches. Each individual plant produces new shoots in all directions from its leaf bases, and will rapidly grow into a ball.

Growing Requirements:

This air plant is adaptable to different light levels, but will grow best in bright, filtered light. It needs regular watering. If it becomes dehydrated, the plant can be refreshed by soaking it in water for a few hours. T. bergeri can be grown indoors, though they will need misting if the humidity is too low. When grown outdoors they will tolerate light frost, but not freezing.

Features:

The plants have narrow gray leaves arranged spirally along the stem. In late spring they produce long, pink flower stalks, each of which will have 7-12 flowers. The petals are light purple with white at the base.

Where at Lotusland:

Many clumps of T. bergeri are growing throughout the Bromeliad Garden and there are also some growing on rocks in the Fern Garden.

May 2004

Anigozanthos flavidus

Kangaroo Paw

Nativity:

Australia

Growth Habit:

A perennial that forms clumps of thick grasslike leaves 2-3 feet wide with flower stalks up to 5 ft tall.

Growing Requirements:

Full sun, well-drained soil and moderate water in summer.

Features:

Anigozanthos is grown for its unusual flowers, as the common name “Kangaroo Paw” refers to the way the fuzzy, tubular flowers are curved at the tips like “paws”. Plants will flower from May to fall, and will rebloom best if old flower stalks are removed.

Where at Lotusland:

The chartreuse-flowered species as well as bright yellow and reddish-pink varieties can all be found in the Australian Garden, the area around the Visitors’ Center.