Monday, August 16, 2010

Keep Your Tropical Plants Looking Good!

Summer's not over yet and with a little bit of attention your tropical plants can still bring lots of color and joy to your living space. When mid-August arrives, the growth of summer is at its fullest. Managing this growth is simply a matter of trimming, pruning, and fertilizing. Sometimes removing the old flowers and turning the pot is all that is needed. With a little focus on care, my tropical plants were spruced up in about an hour. Of course, before looking with a critical eye, I made sure to look at the beauty before me and appreciate the lush growth of the season.

These flowering maples (abutilons), which love partial shade, are at my front door and are such a great contrast to the black solar fence. Abutilon ‘Kristen’s Pink’, ‘Vodoo’ (the red one), and ‘Bartley Schwartz’ (the orange one) are happily growing. I fertilize these with an organic topical feed about once a week.

Next to the Abutilons, I’ve used Salvia’s as a border plant. The Salvia gaurantica ‘Black and Blue’ and Salvia coccinea ‘Peach’ attract a multitude of hummingbirds every morning.

Enough admiring, now it was time to get to work. My old but trusted pruning gear.

I removed the dead lower leaves of this Lemon Grass potted in a blueberry pottery container. I found this pot at a yard-sale last year for $2.

Nicely groomed, it was time to take a picture of Lemon Grass. I use lemon grass in tea and it is also used as a favorite ingredient for Asian cooking.

My Mandevilla Sun Parasol ‘Giant Crimson’ that grew inside last winter, is in non-stop full bloom this summer. However, it needed its old flowers removed.

A close-up of the discoloration of old blooms.

Now the new flowers looked better and the buds about to open have room to fully display their magnificient color.

The Geraniums needed a few dead leaves and branches removed.

The two plants in this container, Pelargonium Balcon Royale Red, and Desrumeaux started out as plugs only 8 weeks ago.

Angel’s Trumpets (Brugmansia) are always fast growers in the summer. They are heavy feeders and need fertilizer at least twice a week with plenty of water.

This Brugmansia I’m making into a standard. I won’t be able to identify this one until it blooms.

This is my Angel's Trumpet, Brugmansia “Angel’s Summer Dream” grown as a standard. I love the multitude of blooms. This was in a 4 inch pot in mid-June.

Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’ (oregano) started as a single 2 1/2" pot in June. I fertilize this once week.

My three year-old Hardy Banana, Musa Basjoo is in need of fertilizer. Notice the lime green leaves.

My other three-year-old hardy Banana in the lower gardens and has been well fed. Notice the dark green leaves.

A view from afar

A new Bamboo to be released next Spring. We test our plants for at least a year before we release them in our catalogue

Simply turning the Bamboo gave it a whole new look.

Ficus 'Chicago Hardy' Fig growing in my garden. This has been wintered over twice and is in its third year of growth.

One of my mixed containers with growth gone wild. The variegated Ipomoea batatas 'Pink Frost' and the Scaevola aemula "Fan flower" (bluish,purple) draping over the tall flowering pink Agastache 'Tutti Frutti'.

The wild look contained.

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