Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pink Polka Dot Plant

In SoCal this plant known as Pink Polka Dot plant is perennial. It's botanical name is Hypoestes phyllostacha and it is of Tropical and Subtropical origins. Say hi-PO-ess-TEEZ. It is often sold with house plants because of its tropical nature. But I could never grow it indoors. In the ground it will grow 1-3'. In my garden it grows kinda spreading sideways about 1'. At the job where these pix were taken it grows almost 3' tall.


              Here it is before pruning.

Here is is after pruning. 

In my client's garden if I don't cut it back a couple times a year it'll grow really tall, lanky and floppy. So I gave them all a haircut today. They might look a little whacked. And usually I like to make things look better when I prune, not worse. But these plants will snap out of it pretty quickly with new leaves and become bushier.

Pink Polka Dot plants will bloom little purple flowers in Autumn. But by then they start putting out new growth at the base of the plant. When you see that new growth it means that it's time to cut the plant back hard. And you'll want to by then because the plant will be not looking it's best. It grows best in partial shade but will take a bit of sun.

And by the way Hypoestes phyllostacha can be rooted in water!

Happy gardening!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Mexican Sunflower

Back in April I visited my friend Loren Zeldin's garden. I saw this amazing plant that was about 4' tall and had vibrant orange Daisy flowers. He told me it was Tithonia rotundifolia. It sounds just like it's spelled. Directly after I left his house I stopped at Green Arrow Nursery and was surprised to find that they had seeds of this plant! I had never seen nor heard of this plant and was so happy to find it!

Tithonia is an annual from the Aster family that grows 4-6' tall. It likes full sun and blooms summer to fall. Bees, butterflies and birds are said to be attracted to it. It's a good cut flower and will reseed if not deadheaded.

At home I planted all the seeds in 4" pots to get them started. Of course all of them germinated. I set out 3 plants in my vegetable beds in the backyard and 3 in the front yard. I gave some to the Iris Society and sold some at the SoCal Horticultural Society meeting.

This week they began blooming. How fabulous and brilliantly orange the flowers are! Yay for Tithonia! Do you have space for this giant annual in your garden?

Friday, July 24, 2015

It's That Time Of Year

My enemy. I've written about them before. With wings closed they're about 1" in size. With wings open they're about 3". They come out every July and August, the Fig Beetle. They're all pretty and metallic green when they're just sitting there. But they fly around all clumsily bonking into things with that electrical sound.

This morning I was working with my friend Christine in her garden and there were many of them flying around. My instinct is to hide behind whoever is near me. I know they won't hurt me but I shriek and flinch every time they get close. They only work on rotting fruit.

I'm sure it's because I had trauma. Over 25 years ago I had one fly in the open window of my car when I was driving on the freeway. I freaked out and had to pull off and get out!

I wish they didn't bother me. Well, only about 6 more weeks of them. What critters do you have in your garden?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Carpenter Bee ��

I've seen these solitary orange-teddy-bear-like bees hovering around before. I've even had one "chase" me in a nursery(it felt like that). And I had one patrolling my backyard at our old house. They seem to fly around a certain area, zipping around back and forth sometimes seeming to just hover like a hummingbird. They're the size of a bumble bee but they're a male Carpenter Bee. Females are black and drill holes in wood or dead trees to lay their eggs.

Sorry that the pic is not as clear as I'd hoped.  It was really difficult to photograph this bee because it never stayed still, never landed on a flower, never stopped. But I am happy to have caught it. What's in your garden?

Saturday, July 4, 2015

ⓗⓐⓟⓟⓨ ⓕⓞⓤⓡⓣⓗ ⓞⓕ ⓙⓤⓛⓨ

I tried to do red, white & blue in this tiny bouquet under 3". But Verbena bonariensis had do do with Euphorbia Diamond Delight, a tiny Ivy and MicroMini rose Jolly Cupido!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Euphorbia Roots

This is an update to my Euphorbia post a few weeks ago here Frosty Euphorbias.  Not often does a cut flower without leaves root in water!  Usually they just die. Even a cutting WITH flowers won't root because it's thinking of making seeds from those flowers and not roots.    This Euphorbia Diamond Delight was so cute that I cut 2 stems to try it in one of my tiny bouquets 2 weeks ago. The roses and Zinnias have since decayed have been pulled out of the vase. But I left the Euphorbias in because they still looked good, almost the same as when I cut them. I noticed yesterday that there were ROOTS on both Euphorbia stems! I couldn't believe it! 

Today I pulled them out and planted them in a 4" pot. Wish me luck. It's a fabulous plant and I'd love more in my garden and to share with friends.

Do you propagate plants?

Friday, June 19, 2015


Have you ever grown Jicama? Do you know anybody that has grown it? Yeah, me either. Have you seen what it looks like before it gets to your salad? It's about 6" across and looks like a hefty brown fat squished turnip! You've got to peel away that tough outer part to get to the white good part. I love Jicama in salads but didn't know much about it. They don't sell plants of it in any nursery I've been to(and I've been to a LOT). 

 I wondered if maybe it doesn't grow here. But I did a little research and wanted to try. Usually root vegetables grow in cooler months. So I was surprised to learn that Jicama grows in the warm season. Being a root veggie, you'd think it was a compact grower, like a beet. Oh no. Jicama has vining top growth to 15'! My friend Jerry who is from Mexico said he'd seen it has a long sprawling habit there. Research also says to be careful because the flowers and leaves are poisonous. Ok, we won't eat those parts. I finally found seed of it at San Gabriel nursery. $4.59 for a packet isn't cheap when common seed packs go for maybe $1.99. But I bought. I waited until my Sweet Peas we're done so I could grow them on a fence.

 They took a whole month to sprout! I'd almost given up. But here they are! Wish me luck! 150 days to harvest.  So they'll be ready in Nov when I start lettuce seeds.  I'll post an update when they get big and flower.  Who knows what the flowers look like!!!

What are you growing in your vegetable garden?