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.
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.

* photo taken on July 12 2015 in Columbia, MD

Mountain Heather

Phyllodoce



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

Nasturtium

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

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