Although spring is still a couple of months away, it's not too soon to begin planning this season's gardening projects. Spend some time browsing the Plant Profiles in our Plant Encyclopedia and our Resources and Articles to inspire some great ideas. Please tell your friends about us and be good and grow. Jack
Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima) is a robust deciduous tree with tiny scale-like leaves and showy pink flowers in late summer. Saltcedar is an aggressive grower, even on soils so severely impacted that virtually no other plants will grow. Unfortunately it has escaped cultivation in some places to be become an invasive pest in parts of the southwestern United States. Saltcedar is hardy in USDA Zones 3 - 8. where it is occasionally used in screens and hedges (where it isn't invasive). Read more »
Garden selections of this common "weed" are easy to grow from seed. Plant purslane (Portulaca oleracea) in containers, borders and rock gardens where it will quickly form low growing mats of brilliantly colored blossoms while thriving under hot, sunny, dry conditions. Growing annuals from seed is an enjoyable and inexpensive way to fill your yard with color. The following are a few of my favorites that are happy to grow in hot, sunny places:
Big fat seeds, fast growth rate and lots of colorful flowers are a few reasons why the nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) is one of the best starter plants for budding young gardeners. As a bonus both the flowers and foliage are edible!
The weather was so warm in December that I saw forsythia (Forsythia spp.) shrubs beginning to bloom! Depending on where you live, it will be a month or more before they bloom in earnest. Click here to download a large (800x600) version of this springtime scene. More early spring-blooming shrubs:
Species of Clerodendron, such as the pagoda flower (Clerodendrum paniculatum), are large, coarse-leaved, cold tender tropical plants. They are sometimes used as garden and landscape items in warm winter areas. Many are aggressive growers and some are invasive so we don't really recommend planting them but they are fun to know so check out their profiles.
Among our Plant Profiles is that of the water chestnut (Pachira aquatica) which produces those crunchy white disks found in certain Chinese dishes. Even if you can't grow these where you garden you might enjoy reading about these familiar fruits and foods. Some like water chestnut can even be grown indoors - young water chestnut plants are sold as "lucky money trees". As you browse Floridata's Plant List you'll discover we have profiles of many unusual and exotic fruits - plants that you may not grow but that are fun to know. Here is a sample:
The Hawaiian Islands are home to an array of native plant species that has attracted the attention of botanists, naturalists, horticulturists and world travelers ever since Europeans first visited the islands near the end of the 18th century. Read more »
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Some of the most beautiful tropical and semi-tropical trees bloom in winter and early spring like this pink trumpet tree Tabebuia heterophylla. Many of these warm climate beauties also bloom around this time of year too:
Pothos, philodendron and devil's ivy are just a few of the common names of Epipremnum aureum, one of the world's most popular houseplants. This ubiquitous vine found growing all over our homes is the juvenile form of a tropical vine. When grown in the frostfree tropics, pothos becomes a woody-stemmed vine that climbs trees and produces large 10in leaves. This cold tender vine grows outdoors in USDA Zones 10 - 12 and indoors it grows everywhere! Here's a sampling of a few more indoor foliage plants that are sure to brighten your home:
The Abyssinian banana Ensete ventricosum is a tropical plant that resembles a palm in form, but isn't one. It also isn't a banana which it resembles even more and to which it is closely related. Also called ensete, this tropical perennial is native to Ethiopia where the root stem is sometimes chopped, fermented and eaten as a not very delicious food. More palmlike species that we include in Floridata's Palm list in order to make them easy to browse:
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