Thursday, October 29, 2020

Ornamental Cabbage & Kale

Brassica oleracea
A vigorous cool season annual, reaching up to 1.4 x 1.6 feet.
The foliage can be found in a wide variety of outlines and also colors ranging from white to rose-pink. They look great planted with winter pansies but are often planted along due to the tendency for deer to eat pansies.
In most regions, it is planted in outdoor decorative containers or sometimes as bedding plants during early fall. However in temperate regions with long winters and very cool summers such as coastal Alaska and Newfoundland, it can also be planted during the spring and will survive through the summer. In area with mild winters, it will often persist until early or mid spring, though in most cold winter climates, it starts to decline around Christmas. Just like regular cabbage and kale, this plant will not survive in extended hot weather. It is deer resistant, making it the best cool season annual where deer graze on winter pansies. It thrives in full sun on any moist, fertile, humus-rich, well drained soil.

* photos taken on Oct 30 2019 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Dec 3 2019 in Columbia, MD
* photos taken on Mar 3 2020 in Columbia, MD

Similar in appearance to cabbage but not as tight as Pigion Series. The foliage is blue-green on the outside and ranges from white to pink to rose-purple on the inside.

* photos taken on Dec 3 2019

* photos taken on Feb 7 2020 in Columbia, MD

'Peacock Series'
An ornamental kale with a rounded head in which the outer leaves are horizontal. An individual plant can grow up to 2 feet across and the inner foliage ranges from creamy-white to deep pink. The outer foliage is blue-green.

* photos taken on Dec 28 2018 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Oct 15 2020 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Nov 27 2020 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Dec 7 2020 in Columbia, MD

'Pigeon Series'
Very tight rosettes give it the appearance of cabbage at the grocery store, except that the cabbage heads are gray-blue on the outside and white to rose-pink on the inside.

* photos taken on Nov 4 2020 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Feb 9 2021 in Laurel, MD

Upright in habit, reaching up to 3 feet tall, with very frilled, deep purple foliage.

* photos taken on Jan 5 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Dec 3 2019 in Columbia, MD


Alternanthera brasiliana
A very versatile summer annual that can be used as a bedding plant, for bordering flower beds, patio containers and even kept through the winter as a house plant.
It thrives in full sun to partial shade outdoors on just about any moist, fertile, well drained soil. Indoors, it prefers full sun during the winter. It often wilts when it is starting to go dry then quickly perks up if immediately watered. It is deer resistant. Spider mites can sometimes be a problem. It is usually propagated from cuttings though seeds to species forms is also an option.

'Purple Prince'
A vigorous annual, reaching up to 1 x 2.5 feet. It differs by having deep reddish-purple foliage,

Alternanthera dentata 'Purple Knight'
A perennial, zone 9b+, reaching up to 1.8 x 3 feet, with glowing, deep purplish-red oval foliage. It can also be grown in smaller climates though would rarely reach more than 1.5 x 1.5 feet. The species is native to the Caribbean.

Alternanthera ficoidea
A perennial, in zone 10+. an annual reaching up to 1.5 x 1.5 feet in temperate climates.
The elliptic or ovate mid-green leaves are up to 1 inch in length.

'Yellow Form'
Similar to above, except with intense golden-yellow foliage.

* photos taken on July 1 2020 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Aug 9 2020 in Columbia, MD

Friday, July 3, 2020

Polka Dot Plant

Hypoestes phyllostachya
A tropical perennial, reaching up to 2.5 x 2.5 feet, that is native to Madagascar that has long been used as a houseplant and has gained popularity as a summer bedding annual. When grown as an annual, it ca sometimes reach 2.5 feet in height in a single summer but more often the stems lean over as the grow, forming a plant closer to 1 foot tall and 3 feet across.
The oval leaves are typically deep green and heavily dotted pink, however there are some cultivars where the dotting is white or red.
It produced small terminal pinkish or lavender spikes during late summer into early autumn when grown outdoors.
Hardy zones 10 to 12 as a perennial, it thrives as an annual anywhere with hot humid summers which includes most of the midwestern and eastern U.S. It prefers partial shade and moist, fertile, light, well drained soil though can tolerate drought. In temperate regions with cooler summers, it tolerates and may even prefer full sun. They are easily propagated from seed in containers 1.5 months before the last spring frosts. Polka Dot Plant can also be brought indoors for the winter.

* photo taken on July 12 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on May 14 2021 in Columbia, MD

Mountain Heather


Phyllodoce caerulea
A spreading heath-like shrub, reaching up to 8 inches in height. It is native to the tundra in far northern North America ( from Alaska to Labrador, Newfoundland and Greenland as well as Iceland; south to the Hudson Bay shoreline of far northern Ontario to high mountains of New Hampshire and Mt Katahdin in Maine, the Gaspe Region of Quebec and Nova Scotia ). It is endangered in Ontario only currently occurring at the mouth of the Sutton River at Hudson Bay through other populations likely exist and have not been observed.
The linear leaves are up to 0.4 inches long.

Phyllodoce empetrifolia ( Red Heather )
In Alberta, it is native only to Jasper National Park. It is native to western North America ( from Dawson, Yukon to southwest Northwest Territories; south to Banff National Park, Alberta; south to northern California to central Wyoming...with a separate population in north-central Arizona ).
The foliage is luxuriant mid-green.
The flowers are mid-pink.
Hardy zones 2 to 5.

* historical archive photos

Phyllodoce glanduliflora ( Yellow Mountain Heather )
Native to western North America ( from Homer, Alaska to Fairbanks, Alaska to far southwest Yukon to southwest Northwest Territories to Banff National Park, Alberta; south to central Oregon to northwest Wyoming ).
The foliage is bright green.
The flowers are creamy-yellow.
Hardy zones 2 to 5.

* historical archive photo

Oconee Bells

Shortia galacifolia
A slow growing, low mat-forming perennial that is native to wooded stream banks in just 6 counties in southern Appalachian Mountains ( from eastern Tennessee to western North Carolina; south to far northern Georgia to western South Carolina...also an isolated report from Amherst County in the mountains of Virginia ). It is critically endangered with extinction in the wild. It makes a stunning groundcover and can be used in the shady rock garden. In ideal conditions, it may form a clump up to 3 feet across.
The scalloped, rounded leaves are up to 6 inches in length The foliage is glossy mid-green turning to glossy reddish-purple during winter.
The white to pinkish-white flowers appear atop 5 to 8 inch stems during very early spring.
Hardy zones 4 to 8 in partial to full shade on moist, humus-rich, acidic, well drained soil. it requires 55 + inches of yearly rainfall. It can be propagated from division. It can also be propagated from seed however seed is only set if cross pollination occurs between plants of different clones. Oconee Bells does not enjoy transplanting and is slow to establish.

* photo taken on Dec 20 2016 in Columbia, MD


Tropaeolum majus
A fast growing, trailing annual, reaching up to 1 x 3.5 feet, sometimes wider.
The rounded leaves are up to 6 inches wide, though often half that size on dwarf cultivars. The foliage is blue-green.
The flowers, up to 2.3 inches wide, appear all summer long. They are typically intense orange however can be yellow or red on some cultivars. The flowers attract butterflies.
It thrives as an annual anywhere from zone 3 south, in full sun ( preferring partial shade where summers are hot ) on moist, light, well drained soil. Deer generally avoid this plant. Insect or disease problems are rare.

* photos taken on Oct 18 2019 in Ellicott City, MD

* photos taken on June 19 2020 in Columbia, MD