Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Caricature Plant

Graptophyllum pictum
A medium-size tropical shrub, reaching up to 8 x 4 feet, that is also grown as a summer annual ( up to 4 feet ) in cooler climates. It is great for use in planters in temperate climates.
The leathery leaves are up to 7 inches in length. The attractive multi-color foliage is the main reason this plant is grown.
Hardy zones 10 to 12 ( tolerating as low as 25 F though defoliating around 35 F ), thriving in sun or shade on just about any well drained soil that is consistently moist during summer. It is very heat tolerant but generally not drought tolerant except for very well established plants. They can be cut back hard if needed. It is fast and easy to propagated from softwood cuttings placed in water.

* photos taken on Aug 30 2012 in Columbia, MD

Cape Marigold

Also called Dimorphoteca, these are not the true Marigold ( Tagetes ) though are distant relatives. They are used for edging, massing and planters. The very showy flowers have additional value in attracting butterflies.
Most species require full sun and are hardy zones 8 to 10. They thrive on well drained soils and are very drought and salt tolerant. Insects and diseases do not often attack these plants. Propagation is easy from seed sown after threat of frost has passed or cuttings taken during summer. The seeds should be sown on surface or covered very lightly and kept moist until germinating. Young plants should be pinched to encourage dense habit.
A highly recommended external site on these great plants is

* photos taken on May 17 2012 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Dec 6 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on May 22 2012 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Aug 31 2015 in Columbia, MD

Osteospermum barberae
A moderate growing, succulent perennial, reaching a maximum size of 3 x 3 ( usually much lower ) feet.
The bright purple, pink or white ( with dark eye ), daisy-like flowers are borne mid spring to late summer.
Hardy zones 4 to 9 in full sun.

'Purple Mountain'
A low, spreading, succulent perennial, reaching a maximum size of 10 inches x 3 feet.
The bright purple, daisy-like flowers are borne mid spring to late summer.

Osteospermum ecklonis
A fast growing, shrubby perennial in mild climates ( annual in colder climates ), it can reach a maximum size of 5 x 4 feet though typically about half that. It is rare in its native South Africa while considered invasive in some parts of Australia.
The flowers, up to 3 inches across, are white ( blue beneath ) with a light blue disc.
Hardy zones 9 to 12 ( possibly 8 against protected south facing walls ). In mild climates where it is a perennial, it should be cut back hard yearly to encourage dense habit.

Osteospermum 'Lavender Mist'
A clumping, groundcover perennial, reaching up to 1 x 4 feet.
The flowers are lavender.
Hardy zones 5 to 8

Four of Clock Flower

Mirabilis jalapa
A tuberous rooted, bushy, herbaceous perennial, reaching a maximum size of 6.5 x 4 ( rarely over 4 ), that is native to subtropical to tropical parts of the Americas. In cooler climates it stays closer to 2 x 2 feet.
The heart-shaped leaves, up to 6 x 3.5 inches in size, are deep green.
The fragrant, yellow, purplish-pink to red, trumpet-shaped flowers, up to 2 x 2 inches , are borne throughout the summer. The flowers each open during late afternoon, lasting into the following day. The short life of each flower is made up for by their continual abundance.
Hardy zones 8 to 11 in full sun on just about any fertile, well drained soil. Propagation is from division during early spring or seed sown during spring.

* photo of unknown internet source

* photos taken on July 25 2015 @ Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

* photo taken on Aug 24 2020 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on July 17 2024 in Columbia, MD

Mirabilis multiflora ( Colorado Four O'Clock )
A very dense, broad, mounding perennial, reaching up to 1.5 x 6 feet, that is native to the southwestern U.S> ( from central California to central Nevada to southeast Colorado; south to the Baja Peninsula to southwest Texas ).
The attractive leathery foliage is mid-green. The snooth-edged, oval leaves are up to 3 inches in length.
The very abundant, intense purple-pink, funnel-shaped flowers are borne over a long season lasting from mid-summer to late autumn or first hard frost.
Hardy zones 4 to 8 in full sun to partial shade on dry, well drained soil. It is very drought tolerant due to its massive deep taproot. Slow to establish but very long-lived. It is not eaten by rabbit or deer.

* photo taken on Aug 24 2017 @ U.S. Botanic Garden, Wash. DC.