Tuesday, September 18, 2012
This genus is closely related to Phalaenopsis and much hybridization between the two has been done over the years. The Doritis genes bring smaller plant size and a more erect flower spike to their progeny.
The natural species usually only has a leaf spread of 4-6 inches and several plants can grow comfortably together in a 4-inch pot.
Individual flowers are about 3/4 inch across, with petals strongly recurved back toward the stem. The blooms open a few at a time, progressing up the spike, which continues to elongate as new buds are produced. The flowering period easily lasts for 2-3 months, with the spikes often reaching 3 feet in height. In high light the spikes are mostly vertical, but in shade they tend to bend toward the light.
Friday, September 14, 2012
Turnera ulmifolia is sometimes called yellow alder, but it is not an alder so that is a poor choice for a common name. There's really no reason to call it anything other than Turnera. It is native to the Caribbean and is recommended for USDA Zones 9-11. A hard freeze may knock it back to ground level, but it will quickly recover when the weather warms. In colder locations it can be grown as an annual. The plant reseeds itself easily and you're likely to find seedlings coming up all around the garden. The seedlings are easily identified by the distinctive leaf, so they can be pulled, transplanted, or allowed to remain where they sprout, depending on your preference.