Archive | March, 2011

Mexican Bush Lobelia

26 Mar

Mexican Bush Lobelia (Lobelia laxiflora), sprawling perennial with fast growth to 2-3 ft. in height, 4-6 ft. across, colorful tubular flowers are orange/red with yellow tips, prolific bloom spring through summer, full sun, drought tolerant, attracts hummingbirds.

Lobelia laxiflora – Branches with narrow green leaves and red stems arise from underground rhizomes that spread outward, allowing a single plant to form a dense groundcover to 18 inches tall by many feet wide. At the tip of each stem are borne the 2 inch long bi-colored flowers, yellow on the inside with red on the outside. In Santa Barbara this plant is nearly always in bloom, with a peak bloom period in summer. Plant in full sun to light shade. Can tolerate little water but also grows well in moist soils where it can prove to be somewhat invasive. It is hardy to about 15 degrees F. The genus is named for Mathias de L’Obel (latinized to Matthaeus Lobelius) (1538 –1616), a Belgian botanist and physician to the royal families of the Netherlands. Native to Arizona, Mexico and Central America.



Silver Carpet

25 Mar

Silver Carpet (Dymondia margaretae), ground hugging perennial 1-3 in. in height, silvery foliage and small yellow daisy-like flowers in summer, drought resistant, likes full sun, tolerates some foot traffic, great between stepping stones.

This popular ground cover is native to South Africa. Forms a tight mat 2 to 3 in. high, spreading slowly by offsets to 20 in. wide. Narrow (1/8-in.), evergreen leaves are 2 to 3 in. long, deep grayish green above, rolled in at the edges to show cottony white undersides. Summer flowers are yellow, 1 to 1 1/2 -in.-wide daisies half-buried in the foliage. Deep roots give established plants considerable drought tolerance, but they’ll spread faster if watered. Used between paving blocks and stepping-stones, in rock gardens; can take light foot traffic.

Cigar Plant

25 Mar

Cigar Plant (Cuphea ignea), evergreen shrublet, 1-2 ft. in height, compact, dense growth habit, bright red tubular flowers summer/fall, sun to part shade, best in rich well drained soil with ample water, good container plant, attracts hummingbirds


Red Valerian/Jupiter’s Beard

21 Mar

Red Valerian/Jupiter’s Beard (Centranthus rubber), evergreen, rounded to spreading growth to 2-3 ft. in height, rounded spikes of white, pink or red flowers bloom in late spring through summer, blue-green foliage, sun, very drought tolerant, loves poor soil, good cut flower, reseeds prolifically, care-free plant, attracts butterflies.

Native to the Mediterranean region, red valerian is highly adaptable to many soil types an either moist or dry conditions in California. It is well suited to back of border plantings and is excellent on banks and rocky slopes where other plants won’t grow.


21 Mar

Camellia, evergreen shrub, to 25 ft. in height, but many smaller cultivars available and can be pruned to any height, dark glossy green foliage, large flowers range in color from deep red to white, winter flowering, part shade, acid soil, deer resistant.

Camellia is a large group of shrubs and trees, including more than 250 species. Plants grown in California come mostly from China and Japan, and virtually all plants available today are cultivars – several thousand named selections exist. Classic plants for woodland and Asian style gardens, as well as for use in courtyards and containers, and mixed background plantings.


Oregon Grape

21 Mar

Oregon Grape (Berberis aquifolium), evergreen shrub with many upright branches, reaches 5-6 ft. in height with 4-5 ft. spread, dark green glossy leaves with spiny margins, clusters of bright yellow flowers mid spring, followed by showy clusters of purple fruit, native, compact variety available, full sun to full shade, very drought tolerant once established, resistant to oak root fungus.

Native to Western Canada and northern California, Oregon Grape is commonly planted in woodland gardens, or on small slopes and banks.

Cast Iron Plant

21 Mar

Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior), evergreen perennial with upright foliage habit, 2-3 ft. tall and spreading very slowly by underground rhizomes, shiny dark green leaves 5-6 in. wide, sun to deep shade, drought tolerant when established, deer tolerant, easy once established.

Cast Iron Plant grows best in shade, in loamy to highly organic soils with regular moisture. Native to areas of the Himalayas, China and Japan. Looks great in both woodland and Asian style gardens.