Bird of Paradise

Birds of Paradise, also known as Crane flowers is one of the most beautiful Exotic Flowers. Birds of Paradise are native to South Africa. Birds of Paradise bloom from September through May.
The flowers of the Birds of Paradise resemble a brightly colored bird in flight and so the name Birds of Paradise.
The unusually beautiful shape and brilliant colors of Birds of Paradise have made these flowers not just a designer's favorite, but also a popular symbol of paradise.
The popular Birds-of-Paradise plant bears a unique flower that resembles a brightly colored bird in flight, giving it the common name, Bird of Paradise. The Birds-of-Paradise flowers make the plant an exceptionally attractive landscape plant.
The Birds of Paradise foliage resembles small banana leaves with long petioles. The leaves on the Birds of Paradise plant are arranged strictly in two ranks to form a fan-like crown of evergreen foliage, thick, waxy, and glossy green, making it a very attractive ornamental plant.
The leaf blades are 6 inches wide and 18 inches long. The Birds of Paradise plant usually reaches a height of 4 feet. Birds of Paradise flowers are produced in a horizontal inflorescence emerging from a stout spathe.
The Birds of Paradise flower inflorescence is borne atop long scapes, or pedicels, that grow to 5 feet or more in height. The flower on the Birds of Paradise plant is the most unusual part.
A series of highly colored bracts, or modified leaves, are formed into green, red, and or purplish canoe-like structures. Bracts vary between 4-8 inches long, depending upon the age and size of the Birds of Paradise plant.
Each Birds of Paradise flower is made up of three upright orange sepals and three highly modified vivid blue petals. Two of the petals are joined together in a structure resembling an arrowhead with the third petal forming a nectary at the base of the flower.
Each bract contains 2 or more protruding Birds of Paradise florets of bright yellow or orange elongated petals and a bright blue tongue. The female part of the Birds of Paradise flower is the long extension of the blue tongue, which is extended well away from the stamens. 

Fuchsia Plant

The fuchsia flower is a beautiful, exotic flower with striking two-tone colors. The fuchsia flower is quite unusual with regard to its shape and the fact that they are really delicate. These beautiful flowers are great just about anywhere in your garden. However, you will find fuchsia growing best in hanging baskets on the patio. Keep treading to learn care instructions for fuchsia plants.

Care Instructions for Fuchsia

If you water and care for your fuchsia flower the way you are supposed to, you will find that fuchsia will grow abundantly pretty much all summer long.

The care of fuchsias includes making sure that there are no insects taking over the leaves of the plant. There are insects that will damage the fuchsia, so fuchsia plant care includes checking the area where the stem and leaf meet because this is a very common place to find insects.

Peperomia - Jelly

Peperomia - Jelly

  • Botanical Name: Peperomia Clusifolia
  • Origins: Tropical America
  • Light: Medium Light
  • Watering: Every 2 to 7 Days
  • Growth Speed: Medium
  • Grower: Novice
  • Style: Table Top
  • Home Decor: Country

Zebra Plant - Aphelandra

Commonly called the zebra plant, the aphelandra has it all: great foliage and cool flowers. The large, pointed leaves are a deep, glossy green with bright silvery veins. When the plant flowers, usually in the late summer or autumn, it bears a tall (8 in.) golden flower bract that lasts for up to six weeks. Like many true jungle plants, however, the zebra plant poses a challenge to indoor growers in temperate areas. It requires lots of moisture, warmth and food to really thrive. Nevertheless, even a short-lived specimen is an interesting plant and can be expected to last for several months before it succumbs.
Growing Conditions:

Light: Bright, filtered light. Do not expose to direct sunlight.
Water: Never allow compost to dry out; use lukewarm water to keep soil temperature elevated.

Pitcher plant - Nepenthes

A pitcher plant usually consists of a shallow root system and a creeping or climbing stem, often several meters long, and usually 1 cm or less in diameter (may be thicker in a few species, e.g., N. bicalcarata ). From the stem arises leaf-like expanded leaf stalks, similar to certain Citrus species, ending in a tendril, which in some species aids in climbing. The end of the tendril forms the pitcher, considered to be the true leaf. The pitcher starts as a small bud and gradually expands to form a round or tube-shaped trap.

The trap contains a fluid which is secreted by the plant, and may be watery or syrupy, and is used to drown the prey. The lower part of the trap contains glands which absorb the nutrients released from the decaying prey. Along the upper inside part of the trap is a slick waxy coating which makes the escape of its prey nearly impossible. Surrounding the entrance to the trap is a structure called the peristome (or ‘lip') which is slippery and often quite colourful, attracting the prey but offering an unsure footing. Above the peristome is a lid (the operculum); in many species this keeps rain from diluting the fluid within the pitcher. The pitcher may contain nectar glands which attract the prey.

Ruby ball cactus or moon cactus

The Gymnocalycium cultivar -- sometimes called ruby ball cactus or moon cactus -- is actually two cacti in one. A pure red cactus seedling lacks the ability to produce chlorophyll and will die unless it is grafted onto a green one. The green feeds its mutant mate sugar molecules produced from water and carbon dioxide. Once established, the two parts grow together so you can't even see the seam. These cacti typically live only a few years and do not grow appreciably, making them ideal for apartment dwellers.

Strawberry Plant Facts

BOTANICAL NAME: Fragaria x ananassa
FAMILY: Rosaceae, the rose family

For the home gardener, being able to harvest bowlfuls of fresh, juicy, organic strawberries early in the morning for breakfast is a great motivator but keep in mind if there are kids involved, very few may actually make it back to the kitchen. Growing your own strawberries is easy to achieve with the right approach.

We tend to think of strawberries as perennials but in fact they only produce for 2 to 3 years.

Commercially the entire plant is replaced every year because the plants are most productive in the 1st year and the runners are time consuming to deal with.

In subtropical areas March - April is the best planting time. In cooler areas the recommended planting time is late winter or early spring. Make sure the strawberry crowns (tops of the roots) are at soil level or they will rot. Water well regularly after planting. Do not allow the plants to dry out before new roots are established.

Plant the runners 35 cm apart in a staggered fashion with 35 cm between rows.

Choose an open, sunny position for the strawberry bed as good airflow will reduce fungal problems such as grey mould. Raised beds are best: the drainage is improved; the raised sides act as a barrier to crawling invaders such as slugs and snails; also it is a little bit easier to pick the fruit, weed and remove runners.
Consider the size and shape of the beds before planting, as birds are just as keen on strawberries as we are and you may need to net the strawberry bed. It is easier to do this if you have matched the size of your bed to available netting. Using a series of hoops or a frame to hold the net well above the plants keeps the air flow open. Just covering the plants without a support often leads to more fungal problems in humid weather.

Strawberries prefer a well-drained soil, rich in humus. About a month before planting dig in lots of organic matter, compost, animal manure or blood and bone.
Keep the beds well mulched, to control weeds and keep the fruit clean. Pine needles have often been used as this mulch is acid and strawberries prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH of 5.0 - 6.0. Avoid soil that has previously grown other berries or members of the tomato family (Solanaceae) to reduce the danger of viral diseases.

Strawberries require plenty of water but hate wet leaves so laying drip irrigation or 'leaky pipe' is well worth the time and effort. Try not to use overhead watering. A fortnightly spray with seaweed fertiliser improves the vigour of the plants.

Runner removal is an important part of strawberry bed maintenance. The runners, if left, tend to overcrowd the bed so that in the 2nd year the original strawberry bed is too crowded to be very productive at all. It takes time to do this annual clean-up and replenishment of the strawberry beds but it will reward you with a large crop. It is common to see strawberry beds left to become overcrowded in the garden with 2 or 3 years worth of runners fighting for space, but these beds produce very few strawberries. The original planting should have been certified virus-free stock and it is worth starting again with fresh virus-free stock 4 to 7 years down the track. If you have the space, then plan for 3 beds over time with crop rotation being practiced to reduce disease problems.
Bed 1:
Prepare the bed and plant certified virus-free runners. These will be highly productive but will also produce runners; pinch off the early runners to improve fruit production. After fruiting has finished these runners should all be removed along with any old or diseased leaves. Make sure the crown of the plant has not become buried by the mulch. The plants should be fed with compost and fresh mulch applied. They will then crop again the following year but not as heavily.
Bed 2:
If there is room in the garden, Bed 2 should be planted with the largest and healthiest runners from Bed 1. This will be more productive than Bed 1 when they crop the following season.
Bed 3:
Repeat the process again in following years. It is time after cropping twice to remove Bed 1 altogether as it will be exhausted; a 3rd crop is not usually worthwhile in terms of return. It is best to remove the plants and compost them. For disease control, practice crop rotation and do not plant strawberries again in this bed for a few years. Bed 3 can be created with the runners from Bed 1 or 2 in this season.
This method of growing strawberries will give you abundant crops of strawberries from your initial purchase.

Insect pests include thrips, two-spotted mite, caterpillars, curl grubs and Rutherglen bugs. Slugs and snails can also seriously affect the crop so place snail traps in the bed. The sides of raised beds can be sprayed with a snail and slug repellent such as Escar-Go to prevent access or protected with Copper Tape. For birds the main choices are Bird Netting or Bird Scare Flash Tape. Fungal problems such as grey mould and black spot are common in humid weather; regular use of a Natrakelp seaweed spray will help.

Loropetalum plants

Family: Hamamelidaceae (witch-hazel family)
Common Name: 'Fringe Flower', 'Chinese Witchhazel', Loropetalum
Origin: Originally discovered in the Hunan province of China. Native to Japan and southeast Asia including southern China
What is that plant with burgundy leaves and odd fuschia flowers that is blooming all over town? It seems to be everywhere from commercial to residential properties. In case you didn’t know, it’s Loropetalum chinensis var. rubrum better known as ‘Fringe Flower’ or simply Loropetalum. The name may be hard to pronounce, but once you get the hang of it, it’s quite melodious and just rolls off the tongue. These plants are easy to grow and they're a great addition to any garden. Some varieties grow to be large shrubs or small trees and are ideal for the back of the border as a hedge or background for low-growing shrubs. Others are reported to grow much smaller, some only 4 or 5 feet at maturity and about the same width. Those can be kept even lower with pruning or shearing and are suitable in mid-bed plantings, containers, or borders in a bright sunny part of the landscape. When vertical stems are periodically removed, some of the newer, lower-growing varieties of Loropetalum may even be used as a large scale ground cover.

Oxalis Plant

Oxalis /ˈɒksəlɨs/[1] is by far the largest genus in the wood-sorrel family Oxalidaceae: of the approximately 900 known species in the Oxalidaceae, 800 belong here. The genus occurs throughout most of the world, except for the polar areas; species diversity is particularly rich in tropical Brazil, Mexico and South Africa.

Tillandsia Plant

Tillandsia, also known as "air plant," is an epiphyte. This means that it doesn't need soil, but, instead, obtains water and nutrients from the air. You grow Tillandsia not by planting it in a pot, but by mounting it to a board, tile, or other object, or by growing it in a special Tillandsia planter, which is usually just a glass hanging globe with holes in it to increase air flow.