New Plants?

Although I haven't shown it to you this year, my driveway behind the house is where I keep all of the plants that I intend to plant or pot up. Sometimes these are propagated plants: seedlings, cuttings, divisions. Sometimes these are plants that I purchased that have been languishing in their tiny nursery pots for months, waiting to go into the ground or a container.

In any case, I have many of these plants this year -- a couple dozen at least -- even though I gave away quite a few plants to garden visitors. So why did I stop at Greenscape Gardens last Friday and buy new plants? It's an even mix of obsession and bargain hunting I think, and I got a couple of great deals! The first is shown above next to the dark-leaved Pennisetum 'Vertigo'.


It's a quite large specimen of ribbon bush (aka centipede plant or tapeworm plant) Homalocladium platycladum:

I love its long flattened stems...

...which really look great next to 'Vertigo'.

Even though this is cold-hardy to only 25ºF (-4ºC) or maybe a bit lower, it only cost me $12 -- all tropicals are 50% off at Greenscape right now. We'll find out how easy this is to overwinter indoors (or in my garage) this winter. It's about 4' (1.2m) tall already!

Another tropical score at only $12 is what should be a hummingbird magnet:

Although there is no visible tag, I believe this is Russelia equisetiformis (coral fountain, firecracker plant?), another one that I'll need to overwinter indoors.

So red! Haven't seen a hummingbird visit it yet though. I chose one that still had blooms on it (of course), and am happy to see that new growth is emerging, so this should keep flowering for a while. All summer maybe?

Now I'll move on to something that wasn't on sale but caught my eye for $6:

This is Bulbine frutescens, and the subtle orange flowers are quite nice.

This one will also need to overwinter indoors, hardy to only zone 8 it seems (I'm zone 6 here).

Next, a plant that I've seen in Loree's garden and have coveted:

Melianthus major, a fairly large shrub in a warmer climate, here it is sold as an annual. I never would have thought to look for it locally, but I recognized that beautiful foliage instantly!

I never knew that the foliage smells like peanut butter -- I don't remember Loree mentioning that. Yummy! (It really does too)

This will live in a pot for me, as I'll need to bring into the garage during the coldest parts of winter. I wonder how large it will get for me grown this way?

I didn't only buy tropical plants on this trip; I did show some focus and got another perennial for the shady bed under the maple that I've been sprucing up recently:

It's Epimedium 'Lilafee'. I've seen Epimedium (bishop's cap) plants at the Missouri Botanical Garden where I've admired their foliage: triangular leaves held on thin, wiry stems. I'm glad to have added it to this shady bed...

...which is starting to look quite nice! I just hope these plants all do well in this tough spot, as the maple wants all of the moisture and nutrients. I'll have to keep on top of it this summer to ensure they establish -- and maybe even thrive?

Last up is a native plant:

Manfreda virginica, the false aloe. I already have one of these growing, but when I saw the coloring of this one...

...I just had to have it! Plus I'm always worried when I have only one of a plant in the ground. Until it's been around for a few years at least I'm concerned that something bad could happen to it.

So those are my recent additions. See anything you like?

Now I just need to get the remaining dozens into the ground...


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Mark and Gaz  – (July 21, 2015 at 8:24 AM)  

Nice new additions Alan but that ribbon bush particularly caught my eye, it looks so unusual! Kind of reminds me of both seaweed and horsetail too.

danger garden  – (July 21, 2015 at 10:30 AM)  

Manfreda virginica huh? That's a new one for me (never heard of it). Melianthus does smell like peanut butter, although some people smell honey and others just think it's a disgusting smell. I'll be interested in how your Homalocladium platycladum overwinters. I've killed two by not giving them enough water. Oh...and Russelia equisetiformis...jealous! That's one I've wanted for awhile.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (July 21, 2015 at 11:18 AM)  

Nice haul there! Russelia equisetiformis and Homalocladium platycladum are both great. And yes, hummingbirds love the former.

I never noticed that Melianthus major smells of peanut butter. Around here we call it "honey bush," not sure why, actually...

Alan  – (July 21, 2015 at 12:31 PM)  

Mark/Gaz: I agree -- I can see it outside my office window, and it's so nice!

Loree: Definitely peanut butter for me, although my wife couldn't place it at first -- maybe she was getting more of the honey overtones? There are at least a dozen huge Russelia equisetiformis left, at $12 each. Too bad shipping would be a problem or I'd send you one. Thanks for the tip about ribbon bush drying out over winter!

Gerhard: you need to hang a tag on your Melianthus that says "peanut butter plant". Mind over matter perhaps? :)

Salty Pumpkin Studio  – (July 21, 2015 at 4:03 PM)  

The firecracker plant has an unsual nice texture. I like all of them, but that one is my fav.

outlawgardener  – (July 23, 2015 at 9:19 AM)  

Super new additions! Russelia equisetiformis caught my eye. Love that plant but haven't seen it offered here. Epimedium is a workhorse plant for the driest shade in my garden. Like any new plant, it'll need to be watered well until it's established but then stand back and watch it flourish where little else will. Manfreda virginica is new to me as well. Looking forward to hearing how it grows for you!

Anna K  – (August 5, 2015 at 10:54 PM)  

Such a fabulous catch, Alan! I especially like the Russelia and the "tape worm plant". What a yucky name, but such intriguing form... Send me your address and I will add to your work load by sending you that Tiger Eye Sumac I promised you!

Unknown  – (October 3, 2015 at 10:02 AM)  

Hi Thanks for posting the picture of the homalociadium platycladum. I have three I've overwintered in the greenhouse for but were given to me with no name :)

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