September 2011

Chusquea coronalis

Fountain Bamboo

Nativity:

Southern Mexico and Central America

Growth Habit:

The stems of this bamboo grow in a tight clump. They shoot straight up for 15 feet or so and as the leaves open, the whole culm will arch down toward the ground. Where it touches the ground, an individual stem can form roots and thus a new plant. Leaves occur in whorls along the stems.

Growing Requirements:

This species will grow in sun or partial shade with moderate water. It is hardy only to about 28 degrees and does not do well with extreme heat.

Features:

The fluffy appearance of the leaves and graceful arching culms make this plant highly ornamental

Where at Lotusland:

In the Japanese garden

September 2010

Campanula poscharskyana

Serbian Bellflower

Nativity:

Parts of Serbia and Montenegro

Growth Habit:

This ground-hugging perennial grows by stems that creep along the soil, rooting as they travel. Eventually, it can cover a large surface area. It will also climb up rocks and taller plants that have a rough surface for it to hold on to.

Growing Requirements:

Serbian Bellflower thrives in shaded or semi-shaded woodlands and is hardy to about 40° F. It requires consistent water, especially in warmer months.

Features:

The dainty, star-shaped blue flowers brighten the shady gardens that it grows in.

Where at Lotusland:

In the fern garden.

September 2009

Nymphaea ‘Madame Ganna Walska’

Nativity:

Garden origin

Growth Habit:

This waterlily is in the group known as tropicals. These species and selections only thrive in the tropics or ponds that are warm year round. Only reluctantly can they be coaxed into going dormant and in cool weather climates, they typically are grown as annuals.

Growing Requirements:

All waterlilies are rooted in soil and in cultivation in ponds are grown in large planting containers filled with soil containing no organic material. Most are heavy feeders and require plenty of balanced fertilizer to grow lushly and bloom well. Tropical waterlilies may be over-wintered in heated tanks, if available.

Features:

This pink-flowered selection was bred by hybridizer Jack Wood and named for Madame Walska (pink was her favorite color). It also has striking maroon variegation on the leaves.

Where at Lotusland:

In the water garden.

September 2008

Agave gypsophila

Gypsum Century Plant

Nativity:

Mexico

Growth Habit:

Medium sized rosette of narrow, recurved leaves, two to three feet across. The wavy margins are dotted with soft spines. Overall appearance is chalky gray.

Growing Requirements:

Agaves generally require well-drained soil and full sun. Although this species is native to regions with calcareous soils, it will do well in most soil types.

Features:

Like all agaves, this species flowers at the end of an individual plant’s life cycle. The very tall inflorescences bear bright orange clusters of flowers that produce copious nectar. Although the mother plant dies after flowering, many “pups” or offsets are produced at the base.

Where at Lotusland:

Just off the driveway on the path leading down to the water garden.

September 2007

Nymphaea species

Waterlily

Nativity:

Cultivated origin

Growth Habit:

Hardy and tropical waterlilies grow in lakes and ponds in shallow water from 2 to 6 feet deep. Hardy types go dormant and remain in the pond year round. Tropical varieties are mostly treated as annuals outside the tropics, although they may be over-wintered in a warm tank.

Growing Requirements:

Waterlilies are rooted in the mud in nature, so they require planters or pots in a water garden. Use good soil without organic amendments and plant in full sun.

Features:

Waterlilies provide a nearly unlimited spectrum of colorful flowers in the water garden. Hardy varieties occur in white, pink, red, yellow and shades of orange. Tropicals are more electric and include the above colors as well as blue and purple. There are some tropical varieties that bloom at night, opening in late afternoon and closing by mid-morning. All others bloom during the day.

Where at Lotusland:

In the ponds adjacent to the original swimming pool and in the Japanese garden pond.

September 2006

Pereskia grandifolia

Rose Cactus

Nativity:

Native to Brazil and commonly found north through Mexico.

Growth Habit:

A sprawling shrub growing 15 ft tall. Deciduous in cool winter climates. It is easily propagated from cuttings or seeds.

Growing Requirements:

Grows in full sun or partial shade. It needs well-drained soil but more water than most cacti, especially during the summer growing season.

Features:

Pereskia is a genus in the cactus family that is unusual in having large leaves as well as spines. P. grandifolia has pink or white rose-like flowers which are followed by pear-shaped green fruit.

Where at Lotusland:

The Rose Cactus grows in the Cactus Garden, along with several other types of Pereskia.

September 2005

Araucaria bidwillii

Bunya-Bunya, Bunya Pine

Nativity:

Queensland, Australia

Growth Habit:

An evergreen coniferous tree which can reach up to 100 feet tall. Younger trees have a distinctive conical shape, which becomes rounded with age as the lower branches are dropped. They make beautiful shade trees with enough space, though the large cones and fallen spiny dried branchlets make them hazardous in areas with pedestrians.

Growing Requirements:

Grows in full sun to partial shade; needs regular watering. Young plants make good container specimens outdoors and also indoors, as they are able to grow well in low light.

Features:

Bunyas have two types of foliage. The younger or understory needles are narrow, glossy green with a point and are arranged in two rows. Mature leaves are stiff with very sharp points and spirally arranged around the branchlets. A. bidwillii produces very large, spiny female cones up to 2 feet long and 1 foot wide, weighing 10 – 15 pounds. The cones take two years to mature, and each contains up to a hundred seeds. The seeds were a food source for aboriginal Australian peoples.

Where at Lotusland:

There are five A. bidwillii at Lotusland growing in the Japanese Garden and the Blue Garden.

September 2004

Iochroma coccinea and Iochroma cyaneum

Nativity:

There are around 20 species of Iochroma, native to Central and South America

Growth Habit:

The two species of Iochroma growing at Lotusland are shrubby perennials 8-10 feet tall. They can be trained as a small tree or pruned into a rounder shrub form. The flowering is on the new growth, so prune stems back at the end of the blooming season to promote next year’s flower production.

Growing Requirements:

Plant in full sun to partial shade. Iochroma are not drought-tolerant and require regular watering during the summer months.

Features:

Iochroma have 3 inch long tubular flowers that hang down from the branches. They flower from spring through fall, or sometimes all year round in warm-winter areas.

Where at Lotusland:

There are both red-flowered (Iochroma coccinea) and blue-flowered (Iochroma cyaneum) species growing in the Fern Garden.