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Growing the Colorful Gloxinia
One of the colorful plants available in most garden shows is the Gloxinia or scientifically known as Sinningia, speciosa. It is also popularly called Florist's Gloxinia. It is a tuberous plant in the family Geraniaceae, same family as the African violet. The plant was first found in the forests of Brazil in 1785. The name Gloxinia was assigned to it by English gardener Conrad Loddiges in 1817, in honour of physician Benjamin Peter Gloxin of Colmar, Germany. In 1825, it was separated from the genus Gloxinia into the newly named genus Sinningia, after the curator of the Botanical Gardens in Bonn, Wilheim Sinning. Modern day gloxinia are hybrids from two species Sinningia speciosa and Sinningia maxima. Gloxinia flowers are best known as the symbol of love at first sight. Because of this, these blossoms are frequently given as gifts on romantic occasions such as Valentine’s Day, first dates, or anniversaries. Although these plants are often given in bouquets and arrangements, they may also be presented in containers or in decorative pots. The Gesneriad Society was formed in Europe just to cater the needs of its numerous plant enthusiast. Gloxinia flowers come in various colors, ranging from pure white to pink, lavender, red, to deep purple. There are also those in two colors and those with white-bordered petals. The most popular cultivars are
those in deep red and purple. Cultivation of Gloxinia is similar to that of its cousin, the African Violet.
The plant thrives in diffused bright sunlight, however, do not expose the plant to direct sunlight. Gloxinia likes warmth and high humidity. Water the plant every other day, enough to keep the soil moist but do not over water as it may cause rotting of its underground tuber. As much as possible, do not mist the leaves or get them wet. Gloxinia is a heavy feeder, thus it requires frequent fertilization. Use high-phosphorus, low-nitrogen fertilizers for it to flower continuously. This can be done by diluting a teaspoon of fertilizer in a gallon of water and add ¼ cup of this solution once every two weeks. Use a potting mix which is well draining; usually an equal mixture of sand, garden soil and compost. Watch the plant for signs of disease or pests. Gloxinias are subject to forms of blight and rot, as well as viruses. Mites, nematodes, spider mites and thrips are among the pests that attack the plant. You may also apply fungicides if there is presence of fungal diseases. Gloxinias are best propagated through leaf cuttings and offsets.
Growing the Vinca Flowers
Its summer time and one way of making your garden colorful is to try planting Vinca or Periwinkle as a prolific heat and drought tolerant annual plant. It is perfect for hot and dry areas. Vinca is easy to grow and actually requires little or no attention. A local seed company is now selling seed packets of Vinca hybrids, and they come in flower colors of white, pink, purple, red and violet. It grows like a weed and could successfully reseed itself in your garden.
The genus Vinca is commonly known as Periwinkle , Madagascar Periwinkle or Myrtle, and they are native to North America, Europe, China and India. It belongs to the Apocynaceae family. These annual plants are primarily grown for its attractive glossy, green foliage, as well as its flowers. Their flowers bloom all summer and Vinca is often used for borders, edging, and groundcover or as a bedding plant. They are also excellent for container gardening and usually grow only at 1-2 feet tall.
Vinca loves full sun to semi-shade. They will do well in average soils. The plants maybe watered every other day, however, they are primarily heat and drought tolerant. This makes the plant ideal in hot, dry parts of the country where other flowers will wither and wilt. Add a general purpose fertilizer, like the complete 14-14-14 once in order to produce lots of flower. Vinca are seldom bothered by insects and disease. Fungus problems can occur during the rainy season, however this can be treated by spraying with a dilute solution of fungicide. You may collect seeds from its mature follicles to be used for next planting.
Vinca are propagated from seeds. Sow Vinca seeds outdoors in a plant box or pot, then, as they germinate, transplant seedlings into pots or in areas you want to grow them. Some varieties can also be grown through stem cuttings. Along with its relative, the Vinca rosea or the common Chichirika, Vinca plants has medicinal purposes and is used to lower blood pressure, lower sugar levels for diabetics, treat coughs, colds, sore throats, treating eye and lung infections and also against cancer. There are now studies on how to process this very important medicinal plant against cancer. It just shows that aside as an ornamental, our plants in the garden could also be a source of medicine to preserve health and cure diseases.
Growing Dianthus Flowers
One of the popular and easy to cultivate flowering plant this season is the Dianthus Chiba, which is a selected cultivar of small carnation plants, distributed by the East-West Seed company. They come in six different colors, namely: crimson, lavender-picotee, picotee, purple, red and rose. Dianthus Chiba is ideal for the small potted flowering plant industry as these varieties produce compact basal branches and bears clusters of well-rounded flowers that vary in single color to distinctly-eyed types. The early flowering plants are tolerant to heat, cold and rain.
Dianthus are commonly native in the Mediterranean region and to India. They are now popularly and widely cultivated in gardens around the Philippines. The large ones are produced in cooler regions for cut-flower production, but these small ones are used for the potted flowering plant industry. Dianthus Chiba grows about 20-25 cm (8-10 in.) in height. The flowers are 3 cm (1.25 in.) in diameter often supported by short and strong flower stems, usually in clusters. Because of its compactness these variety does well in high density planting in small pots and containers. They are suitable for production in 10-12 cm (4-5 in.) pots. They are ideal choice plants for both flowerbeds and rock gardens.
Dianthus thrive in full sun and will benefit from a regular watering daily regiment. It is recommended to apply a dilute solution of foliar fertilizer mixed with a fungicide once every two weeks for their optimum growth. Use a fertilizer with high potassium content to favor continuous flowering and the fungicide to minimize fungal diseases during the rainy season.
Plants can be grown in a fertile potting mix composed of equal parts of coconut coir dust, compost or garden soil, and sand. Plants maybe attacked occasionally by downy mildew, mites, thrips or mealy bugs. You may control them by spraying a dilute insecticide. Dianthus are propagated from seeds. They can either be directly planted into your flower garden or sown on seedling trays and later trasplanted to the desired area or pot. They can also be propagated through stem cuttings or plant division.
The Butterfly Pentas
Butterfly Pentas or scientifically known as Pentas lanceolata is one of the interesting summer flowering plants similar to the common Lantana. It is well suited for the dry summer heat. The plant is a member of the subtropical madder family or Rubiaceae, to which coffee and quinine belong. In its native habitat in tropical east Africa and southern Arabia Pentas grows as a subshrub with woody stems at the base and herbaceous stems above. The plants have dark green, lanceshaped, somewhat furry and deeply veined leaves providing a backdrop for prolific clusters of never-ending, five-petaled flowers. These may be red, white, lavender, purple, or shades of pink. Some are two-toned. All are extremely attractive to butterflies, and the red and dark pink varieties delight hummingbirds. Also Pentas is compatible with the dry soil and intense heat of the sun. Lastly it can withstand full sunlight with little to no care. They look great in pots, baskets, and borders. In the garden Pentas plants can grow to 24 inches tall with a spread of 16 inches. Plants have opposite, lance shaped leaves to three inches long that are covered with short hairs. The plant branches freely from the base with each branch terminating in a dense cluster of flowers that can be three or four inches across.
Pentas flowers are tubular with each bloom producing a starshaped set of petals at the end of the tube. Flower colors are in vivid shades of red, pink, blue and white and plants continue to bloom all summer. The blooms are clustered together into a dense flat topped cyme which makes an ideal perch for the butterflies that can be seen circling around it like miniature buzzards awaiting their turn at a dead armadillo. Pentas is one of those plants like coleus and vinca that became known by their Latin names instead of some fanciful common name. It is also known as "Egyptian Star Flower". The name Pentas is the Greek word for five referring to the five lobes on the floral tube. Pentas can be used in the garden in mass plantings or as spots of color in the border. They should have full sun and a reasonably fertile soil but are by no means picky about the site. Less than six hours of sun will reduce flowering. Once established they have good heat and drought tolerance. Plants can be propagated by cuttings or from seed. Growing plants from seed is slow and requires about 14 weeks to produce a blooming plant. Few insects or disease problems are reported on this plant. Pentas are vigorous plants that produces uniform plants suitable in beds and container gardening. The large densely-packed flower heads are held above its leaves and continue to bloom even during warm conditions. Suitable varieties includes Petch India Bright Red, Dark Rose, Pink and Violet.
The Urban Gardener is an official electronic publication (in PDF Format) of the Plant Biotechnology Project, Research & Development Center, Rizal Technological University, Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong City, Philippines. It is published monthly. For more information, please inquire thru email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and landline (+632) 534-8267 Local 135 or Fax (+632) 534-9710.
Edited by N.R. Bautista © February 2011 The Plant Biotechnology Project Committee is composed of: Alexander B. Quilang, Norberto R. Bautista, & Jovita A. Anit.
Growing the Flamingo Feather
Another interesting and easy to care plant for flower beds and produces everlasting flowers is the Celosia spicata or locally known as Celosia Flamingo Feather. It is a beautiful plant with soft, dense feathery spikes, produced in profusion. It offers fresh shape and color for fresh or everlasting flower arrangements. Flower spikes are about 10-13cm (4-5in) tall on 24 inch stems. It is excellent as a flowering pot plant and ideal for summer. Plant is about 60-75cm (24-30in) in height and can be propagated by seeds. Sow seeds in seedling beds or in a pot with fertile, well-drained soil. Cover the seeds with compost then water, and place in an area with diffused light until germination takes place at about 14-21 days. Keep the soil damp but not soaking wet. When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant at the 2-3 leaf stage. Gradually acclimatize to outdoor conditions for 10-15 days before planting by gradually exposing to brighter light and maybe fertilizing with a dilute solution of calcium nitrate. Transplant carefully, making sure that the roots are not damaged, as the plant resent root disturbance.
The flower are also excellent for dry flower arrangements. To dry flowers, pick them when the leaves are dry and the flowers not quite fully open, tie in small bunches and hang upside down in a dry, well ventilated place until quite dry.
Rose Flower Color Meaning
A rose, one of nature’s most beautiful flowers, can symbolize many different things. Here’s a short check list of what rose colors mean. The red rose, the most common rose gifted to loved ones, symbolizes love, courage, and respect. If you give this rose to someone, you are telling them you love them. Yellow roses represent joy. You can be telling someone for Valentine’s day that you are happy
they are in your life, or trying to bring some happiness to their life. White roses represent many things. It’s most common and used meaning is to tell someone they are angelic. Or they are worthy of heaven. “You are heavenly.” If you give someone an Orange rose for Valentine’s day you are representing enthusiasm and desire. This is a good way to maybe hint to your crush that you have a desire to be with them. A pink rose represents grace and gentility. You would give this flower to someone you believe exhibits a timid presence full of care. It’s a popular flower to gift to an elderly family member. The quantity of roses you gift and mixtures of colors can also come together to mean other things. For instance, a single rose means simplicity. Give someone a red rose and in a way you are saying, “Simply put, I love you.” If you mix a red rose and white rose for valentine’s day, You are creating unity. Two hearts as one. Unified. If you connect two roses together to form one stem, you are hinting at an upcoming engagement or marriage. Often times this is done with a red and white rose. A great gift to coincide with an engagement ring as you pop the question. And lastly, rose leaves are a symbol of hope. So in the days preceding Valentine’s day you should leave rose leaves laying around your loved one’s daily rounds. On the counter, near the computer, in their car. Unexplained rose petals. Hoping for a successful Valentine’s day.
The Flora Filipina Expo 3 for 2012 is now being organized by the Philippine Orchid Society. The event is tentatively on February 24 to March 5, 2012 at the Quezon Memorial Circle, in Diliman, Quezon City. The Conference will be in the Bureau of Soils, Elliptical Road corner Visayas Avenue, also in Diliman, Quezon City. 10
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