Monday, May 20, 2013
These onions never bulb up, instead remaining the size of tiny scallions. The entire plant is edible either raw or cooked. In the kitchen they can be used the same way as conventional green onions.
Foliage is bright green and somewhat stringy in appearance. Leaves are flat in cross-section, not rounded and hollow like many other alliums, and can reach more than a foot in length.
In early spring, it appears the plants are getting ready to flower when they send up blue-green stems topped by a large bud, but when the bud opens, mostly what you see is a group of small onion bulbils.
Buy wild onion bulbils
Friday, May 10, 2013
This species has such distinctive leaves that it is instantly recognizable even when not in bloom. Foliage is dark green, strap-like, leathery and two-ranked. Individual leaves are 2 inches wide and grow to about 1.5 feet in length, with the entire plant having a spread of 2.5 feet.
Clivia miniata is native to South Africa and is recommended for USDA Zones 9-11. It prefers mostly shady conditions, protected from direct sun. Flowering is supposed to be best following a cool dry winter.
There are also some cultivars that have yellow or reddish blooms.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Aechmea comata grows about a foot tall and wide, with individual leaves measuring about 2 inches across. I grow mine in about 50-75% sun.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
The large leaves (up to 18 inches long) lend a tropical look to the landscape when the plant is not in bloom.
New growth is bronze-colored, especially on plants grown in full sun.
Young stems are flexible and often tend toward a pendant habit, but the main stems at the base of the plant thicken into sturdy trunks with age, often reaching 4 inches in diameter. A persistent leaf scar completely encircles the trunk.
|This plant is about 8 feet tall.|
Thursday, March 21, 2013
After the flowers decline the sepals turn pink, extending the colorful life of the inflorescence.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Blooming usually occurs in winter, when a red spike with intense blue flowers rises above the foliage. The inflorescence arches away from the center of the plant. The flowering only lasts for a couple of weeks, but the red spike will last a while longer.
Friday, February 8, 2013
The leaves are large and give a tropical look to the landscape even when the plant is not in bloom. Individual leaves grow up to 8 inches long and nearly as wide.
Flowering is best in full or half-day sun, but the foliage looks best if given a little shade during the summer.
Related reading: Odontonema strictum
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Flowering occurs in winter and the inflorescence keeps good color for many weeks. Bracts are a rosy-pink color and flower petals are pale lavender. The bracts become darker as the bloom spike ages.
The leaves are long, narrow and flexible, giving a grass-like appearance to large clumps of the plant. Individual leaves are about an inch wide by 12-18 inches long. They are spineless or have only soft flexible spines near the base, making this a good choice for people who are turned off by more heavily armored species.
Offsets are produced on short, thin stolons.
Related reading: Aechmea weilbachii forma viridisepala
Friday, January 25, 2013
In winter the tip of every branch is covered with clusters of snow-white flowers. Even the smallest of plants bloom. I've had them flower in a 4-inch pot with a flower spike taller than the plant itself. The blooming period may extend for more than two months as new buds continue to open at the branch tips. The species is semi-deciduous, depending on the climate, so in some locations the plants will be nearly bare when they come into bloom.
The species name, riparia, means growing on the banks of rivers, and that is where the plant is frequently found in its native habitat, as well as in dry wooded valleys and on hillsides. It grows well in full sun, but in hot climates it benefits from a little shade during the middle of the day.
The common name Iboza is a native Zulu word referring to its aromatic qualities, and that name is sometimes seen listed as the genus for the plant. Other common names include misty plume and ginger bush. Cultivars supposedly exist bearing pink or lavender flowers.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
In the winter, the plants tolerate brief periods as low as 26°F without damage, as long as no frost forms on the leaf surface.