House plants


S #             CHAPTERS                                                                           PAGE No.

  1. 1.                              Introduction                                                                                                 1
  2. 2.                              Importance                                                                                       2
  3. 3.                              Selection of house plants                                                               3
  4. 4.                              Environmental factors                                                                    4
  5. 5.                              Carbon dioxide                                                                                9
  6. 6.                              Watering                                                                                           9
  7. 7.                              Air pollutants                                                                                   10
  8. 8.                              Nutrients                                                                                           12
  9. 9.                              Manures and fertilizers                                                                  13
  10. 10.                         Growing medium                                                                             15  
  11. 11.                         Containers and display                                                                   16
  12. 12.                         Gardening in hanging baskets                                                      19
  13. 13.                         Window garden                                                                                20
  14. 14.                         Miniature garden                                                                            23
  15. 15.                         Gardening in troughs, dishes, bowls, and trays                         24
  16. 16.                         Vertical garden                                                                                25
  17. 17.                         Acclimatization                                                                                26
  18. 18.                         Terrarium                                                                                         27
  19. 19.                         Paludarium                                                                                       27
  20. 20.                         Repotting                                                                                           29
  21. 21.                         Training and grooming                                                                  29
  22. 22.                         Propagation                                                                                      30
  23. 23.                         Flowering bulbs                                                                               34   
  24. 24.                         Herbaceous perennials                                                                  45
  25. 25.                         Foliage plants                                                                                  52
  26. 26.                         Cacti                                                                                                   60
  27. 27.                         Succulents                                                                                         66
  28. 28.                         Flowering shrubs                                                                             69
  29. 29.                         Foliage shrubs                                                                                 77
  30. 30.                         Climbers                                                                                            81
  31. 31.                         Vines                                                                                                  88
  32. 32.                         Palms                                                                                                 94
  33. 33.                         References                                                                                        97
  34. 34.                         Glossary                                                                                            98
  35. 35.                         Index                                                                                                  102


The past few decades have brought marked changes to our standard of housing. Small windows have been replaced by glass walls or picture windows across the width of the room and fireplaces and wood or coal stoves by central heating, governed and regulated by thermostats. The result is more sunlight indoors, higher temperatures kept at a set level in the winter months and a much drier atmosphere, often with a rela­tive humidity of only 20 to 40 percent. These changes have naturally affected the selection of plants that can be grown in the modern household and therefore the choice offered by nurserymen.

The classic selections of azaleas, cyclamen and other plants that need considerable attention have been re­placed by more suitable species. People today rarely have enough time (often both husband and wife work) to care for difficult plants. Furthermore, holidays are being increasingly spent in Travel, so a potted plant on the window-sill does not have much chance of surviving. Most important of all is the unsuitability from the aesthetic viewpoint of many of the traditional plants. The strict, boldly divided spaces of the modern home require a special arrangement of furnishings and ornaments, including plants. That is why the classic selection of plants must be supplemented by epiphytic species, climbers and bog plants. New opportunities are also afforded by terrariums, where it is possible to create pleasant condi­tions even for the most demanding plants with comparative ease.

If we want to grow plants successfully then we must give some thought to providing the conditions that will satisfy their basic needs and keep them happy. Plants grown indoors require approximately the same condi­tions as in their native environment. It is important that they be provided with suitable growing compost, temperature, amount of light, and moisture. It is comparatively easy to provide the proper compost and regulate its moisture, but it is far more difficult to regulate the other factors which often require fairly complex equipment.

One important thing that should not be forgotten, however, is that no factor acts independently of the others; all are interrelated. If, for instance, the light factor changes then it is necessary to adapt the temperature and watering accordingly. In general it may be said that there is a direct correlation between light and heat: if the intensity of light increases most plants require higher temperatures. Atmospheric moisture is often correlated with light indirectly. Here, too, temperature plays an important role. If the thermometer in a room with a temperature of n°C and relative humidity of 100 per cent registers a rise of 10°C, the relative humidity will decrease to a mere 55 per cent and vice versa, a 10°C drop in temperature will cause the relative humidity to increase by approximately 50 per cent. From this it is easy to understand how plants with entirely different requirements can grow in the same locality in the wild. In order to grow house plants successfully it is necessary to know not only their place of origin and the climatic conditions in which they grow in the wild, but also the type of situation they occupy in the wild.

The conditions of our homes are generally classed according to temperature into three categories: cool, semi-warm, and warm, characterized roughly by winter temperatures of 10 to 15°C, 15 to 20°C, and 20 or 30°C respectively. Very cold homes are now becoming a thing of the past.

The House Plants, or Indoor Plants, have become a necessity in the homes, but even in some homes these types of plant are also now finding a prominent place. It is less costly to decorate the interior of a room with live plants compared to flowers, which are becoming costlier day by day and besides they are to be replaced frequently. On the other hand, with little care, a well-chosen house plant will continue to decorate a room for a period of time. The initial investment may be comparatively high but it proves economical in the long run.

Though the fashion of growing house plants became universally popular during the past three or four decades, definitely it is not a new art. In the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Pakistan, and Rome it was not unusual to bring pot-grown or tub-grown plants inside a room for the purpose of decoration. In Europe, particularly in Britain, during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries it was a common practice for the well-to-do people to grow exotic house plants for interior decoration. But it is only in this century the practice of growing house plants has spread to millions of homes.



Man has lived in the company of plants since time immemo­rial. If we were to seek in the annals of history we would find plants playing their roles in man’s life from the very beginning. Many civilizations could not even have arisen without plants. Floral pattern can be found in dozens of primitive cultures, and there they are well established as a matter of pure aesthetics. In the life of mankind flowers have often figured as symbols. Even in our modern world one can find people living simply, close to nature, and it is interesting to note that, as a rule, they have a very sensitive feel for plants and flowers. Let us go back to cultivated flowers in the history of civilized mankind.

A tremendous number of plants are classified as ornamentals based on their decorative value and personal choices. There are seasonal flowering plants, foliage plants, lawn grasses, evergreens and deciduous shrubs and trees. Fruit trees grown in home gardens can also be selected for ornamental purposes.

Ornamental horticulture can play an important role in modification of domestic and urban environments and pollution control. Ornamental plants enhance our environment by providing aesthetic surroundings. Plants and turf also filter pollutants from water and help cleanse the air we breathe.  Growing awareness of the importance of plants in the environment has increased the appreciation of the public and policy makers for ornamental horticulture.

The beauty of plants and the pleasure received are not physical quantities that can be measured or weighed. As we know that “a thing of beauty is joy for ever”. These are value judgments that vary with persons, places, traditions and cultures. Peoples of different cultures will have quite different opinions about what is beautiful and what is ugly. In ornamental horticulture, the elements of plant beauty are combined to enhance their utility for human use. Whether horticultural plants are encountered, their aesthetic value always takes superiority over economics. The aesthetic value of ornamental horticulture has been used to promote mental health and a mode of relaxation.

Ornamental plants beautify our surroundings both indoor and outdoor. Indoors like drawing rooms, bedrooms, veranda, and outdoors like universities, colleges, schools, public parks, offices and playing grounds etc.

For growing flowering plants, raising plants in pots, certain garden tools like secateurs, hedge shears, khurpa, plant lifer, mowers are required constantly. Hence, the money is earned by selling these items. Similarly pots are always in demand. Earlier-earthen-pots were dominating but now concrete and plastic pots are being manufactured and sold. Flowers are associated with mankind form the dawn of civilization. Flowers are used for various purposes in our day to day life like religious and social functions, wedding, interior decoration and self beautification. Saying it with flowers is very common and different flowers are used to convey the human feelings. Flowers commonly used for such purposes are: rose for love; pansy for thoughts; carnation (white) for women’s love; French marigold for jealousy/sorrow; African marigold for naughty minds; narcissus for self esteem; daffodil for regard; amaryllis for pride; iris for message; snap dragon for presumption; jasmine for amiability; lily for purity; stock for luxury; sweet pea for departure; etc.

Gardening in southern and eastern Asia also has a thousand-year-old tradition, particularly amongst the Japan­ese and Chinese. One would be hard put to find a single important poet, painter or architect for whom plants and flowers are not objects of prime concern. Further development of this tradition has yielded such aesthetic forms as the land­scaped Japanese garden, the art of bonsai. What, however, do plants have to offer man living in the fast-paced world of today? First of all it is a well-known fact that a plant in the home provides a man who is separated from nature with the necessary contact with greenery. This psychological effect must not be underestimated. The modern urban interior is above all functional, and without flowers, which add supplementary color and form, it would be too severe. The importance of this effect for most of us is the feeling of relaxation, the easing of tension we feel when we go for a walk in the forest, for instance. Many species of plants secrete substances that destroy micro-organisms in their vicinity (this phenomenon is best known in the case of conifers and eucalypts, but occurs elsewhere, too). Plants also greatly reduce the amount of dust in the atmos­phere, they act as humidifiers in a room, in other words moisten the air and make it easier to breathe.

Gardening has always been an art in the true sense of the word and it is a pity that we often lose sight of this fact in the fast-paced, commercially-oriented world we live in. Flowers will not only improve the look of your interior decor but will also benefit your physical and mental health.



The plants which are generally grown in the houses are of two kinds. In the first cate­gory are included what we commonly call “the flowering plants” such as African violets, azaleas, geraniums, etc., which are spectacular in appearance by virtue of their colorful flowers. But once the flowering is over, these plants have very little use inside a room and hence their usefulness as house plants is only for a limited period. To the other cate­gory belong plants which provide permanent display with their graceful foliage and some­times with their architectural or unusual form.

One point has to be taken into account while choosing the house plants. Even though a room may appear to be well lit to our eyes, the available light may not be enough for proper growth and development of the plant. Hence, the majority of the house plants should have the capacity to tolerate shade of varying intensity. One more quality impor­tant to any house plant is that it should remain evergreen to retain its permanent decora­tive character. Though green leaves can also be very attractive, especially if the shape is unusual or interesting (e.g., Monstera), but leaves with some color other than green are considered to be more attractive. In some plants the leaves are naturally-colored as in Caladiums, Rex Begonias, etc., while in others colored forms of the natural green-leaved types are avail­able as in Peperomia, Ficus and others. Another quality a house plant is expected to have is compactness of its growth habit as space becomes a limiting factor in any house in a congested city.

A house plant should be compact in growth habit, evergreen in nature, and should stand some amount of shade around its growing environments. In addition, the leaves should be attractive by virtue of their shape or color. Though the emphasis should be on permanence of attraction, handsome flowers produced by house plants should be re­garded as a valuable trait. But the combination of good foliage and flowers is unfortu­nately very rare.

Before procuring a house plant one has to consider many points. The first consi­deration is that under what conditions a plant has to grow, i.e., whether there is sufficient light or the humidity is adequate or the temperature is favorable. Secondly, due thought has to be given as for what purpose the plant is needed. For example, if it is for deco­ration of a small table, the plant should be compact and bushy in nature.

Again, a busy man who cannot spend much time in the care of the plants must also choose plants which are easy to grow. Lastly, the plants should be purchased from a re­puted nursery. A house plant grown in the humid and warm atmosphere of a green­house should be hardened off before selling to a customer. It goes without saying that a grower should select a plant with firm and healthy-looking foliage and which is also free from disease and insect pests.



Light, water, temperature, humidity, ventilation, fertilization, and soil are chief factors affecting plant growth, and any one of these factors in incorrect proportions will prevent proper plant growth indoors. The key to success in growing house plants depends on various factors which are discussed below.



Plants vary in their need for light. There are plants like rose and carnation which require light of high intensity. Some plants such as ferns, Anthurium, and African violets need light of low intensity, i.e. partial shade. There are some plants such as Nandina domestica and Lemonisa spectabilis which can grow well under a wide range of light intensity. In some plants, the flower color may fade due to intense light. In many variegated foliage plants, the variegation will not manifest if plants are kept in too much shade. In many bright-colored foliage plants the color of the foliage becomes dull in too much of shade. Again direct sunlight may scorch the bright color of foliage. A sun-loving plant growing in shade will have tall, thin and sickly growth. In certain plants “white light” (the entire visible spectrum) is much better for growth than if certain portions are eliminated. But certain plants when grown in red or blue lights produce greater dry weight compared to plants grown in white light. It is reported that green light inhibits plant growth. Light is probably the most essential factor for house plant growth. The growth of plants and the length of time they remain active depend on the amount of light they receive. Light is necessary for all plants because they use this energy source to photosynthesize. Consider three aspects of light: (1) intensity, (2) duration and (3) quality.

Light intensity influences the manufacture of plant food, stem length, leaf color, and flowering. A geranium grown in low light tends to be spindly and the leaves light green in color. A similar plant grown in very bright light would tend to be shorter, better branched, and have larger, dark green leaves. House plants can be classified according to their light needs, such as high, medium and low light requirements. The intensity of light a plant receives indoors depends upon the nearness of the light source to the plant (light intensity decreases rapidly as you move away from the source of light). The direction the windows in your home face will affect the intensity of natural sunlight that plants receive. Southern exposures have the most intense light, eastern and western exposures receive about 60% of the intensity of southern exposures, and northern exposures receive 20% of a southern exposure. A southern exposure is the warmest, eastern and western are less warm and a northern exposure is the coolest. Other factors which can influence the intensity of light penetrating a window are the presence of curtains, trees outside the window, weather, seasons of the year, shade from other buildings and the cleanliness of the window. Reflective (light colored) surfaces inside the home/office will increase the intensity of light available to plants. Dark surfaces will decrease light intensity.

Day-length or duration of light received by plants is also of some importance, but generally only to those house plants which are photosensitive. Poinsettia, kalanchoe, and Christmas cactus bud will flower only when day-length is short (11 hours of daylight or less). Most flowering house plants are indifferent to day-length.

Low light intensity can be compensated by increasing the time (duration) the plant is exposed to light, as long as the plant is not sensitive to day-length in its flowering response. Increased hours of lighting allow the plant to make sufficient food to survive and/or grow. However, plants require some period of darkness to develop properly and thus should be illuminated for no more than 16 hours. Excessive light is as harmful as too little light. When a plant gets too much direct light, the leaves become pale, sometimes sunburn, turn brown, and die. Therefore, during the summer months protect plants from too much direct sunlight.

With a little experience one can guess a plant’s light requirements by its appearance. Species with delicate, pale green or often blue-tinged foliage generally require shade. Plants whose leaves are thick-skinned and colored red, violet or silvery can be put in full sun without hesitation. The general rule of thumb is that full sun is needed by most cultivated plants with decorative blossoms, succulents and stiff-leaved bromeliads. Permanently shaded situations are suitable for ferns with soft foliage also for certain species such as Ficus villosa, some members of the ginger family and of the genus Costus and for almost all species of plants in the seedling and juvenile stages. This again is determined by natural conditions, for most plants germinate and pass their early stages of development in the dense shade of other herbaceous plants, shrubs and trees.

Additional lighting may be supplied by either incandescent or fluorescent lights. Incandescent lights produce a great deal of heat and are not very efficient users of electricity. If artificial lights are to be used as the only source of light for growing plants, the quality of light (wavelength) must be considered. For photosynthesis, plants require mostly blues and reds but for flowering, infrared light is also needed. Incandescent lights produce mostly red, and some infrared light, but are very low in blues. Fluorescent lights vary according to the phosphorus used by the manufacturer. Cool white lights produce mostly blue light and are low in red light. Foliage plants grow well under cool white fluorescent lights and these lights are cool enough to position quite close to plants. Blooming plants require extra infrared which can be supplied by incandescent lights, or special horticultural type fluorescent lights.

Light is an important factor in the cultivation of house plants. The demand for light, however, varies from plant to plant. While Hedera, a climbing house plant thrives well under a relatively dark corner, plants such as Sansevieria require a good amount of light. Though as a general rule no house plant should be exposed to direct sunlight, there are a few exceptions such as cacti and a few trees grown as house plants such as Grevillea which can tolerate exposure to direct sun. Modern houses with broad glass windows admit sufficient light inside the rooms. But there may be some corners which need decoration with live plants but the place is not sufficiently lit for this purpose. Such dim corners need supplementary artificial illumination. The best artificial source is fluo­rescent lighting. The advent of fluorescent lighting has opened up a wide frontier for house plant culture which has proved to be an ideal substitute for natural day light. But the ideal illumination is a combination of a balance of red and blue rays. It is difficult to stipulate the optimum light conditions for indoor plants as this depends on a number of factors in­cluding the varietals difference. It is also difficult to specify at what distance the plants should be kept from the tubes. The plants exposed to fluorescent lighting themselves reacts to the amount of light received and send out signals. A plant exposed too much will turn yellow when this has to be removed further away from the source of light or the duration of expo­sure has to be reduced. A plant receiving insufficient amount of light will grow tall and thin, when the plant should be moved closer to the source or the illumination time has to be increased. At the initial stages when a rapid growth is desired the plants are placed as close as 10 cm from the tubes, gradually increasing the distance as they grow. The tubes lose power as they become older and it is advisable to remove them after 5,000 hours of burning, when the ends show dark rings, for the benefit of the plants.



According to their temperature requirements plants are grouped as cool season crops and warm season crops. Tulip and dahlia need cool temperatures for proper flowering. On the other hand, balsam and globe amaranth do best under warm climate conditions. With in each group, different crops need some specific temperature ranges for their proper growth and flowering, which is termed as the optimum temperature for the plant. An optimum temperature is that with which a particular plant is able to have maximum photosynthesis to manufacture carbohydrates and have normal respiration rate so that the excess carbohydrates are available for obtaining the highest marketable yields. Temperature below or above the optimum levels thus may cause several abnormalities.

The optimum night temperature is very important for crop plants as new cells and the protoplasm for these cells are made only during night. The manufacture of new cells is essentially a biochemical reaction and as in any other biochemical reactions here also temperature either retards or enhances the process. The night temperatures below or above the optimum range result in low yields. This happens because either the rate of respiration increases to a considerable extent at high temperature or the rate of photosynthesis decreases at a faster rate than the corresponding reduction in respiration rate.

The temperature requirement of house plants is much more variable than that of light, because of the diverse climatic conditions of origin of the different house plants. Some plants belong to the tropics while others hail from subtropics and a few from the temperate zones. The most important point about temperature in those house plants, whether from the tropics or from temperate zones, does not like any great fluctuations in the course of a day. The ideal range of temperature should be around 15°-21°C during day time and the night temperature never falling below 20°C. But most of the hardy house plants can withstand much higher temperatures than this provided the humidity is good. It is in the temperate countries with severe winter, that the role of tem­perature is much more important than the tropical countries. But fortunately with the advent of central heating the rooms provide the near-ideal conditions for the culture of house plants. In houses with central heating, plants may dry out, so it is advisable to resort to misting of the foliage with water during day time, if necessary.

Most house plants tolerate normal temperature fluctuations. In general, foliage house plants grow best between 20o and 27o C. during the day and from 16o to 20o C at night. Most flowering house plants prefer the same daytime range but grow best at nighttime temperatures from 13o to 15o C. The lower night temperature induces physiological recovery from moisture loss, intensifies flower color, and prolongs flower life. Excessively low or high temperatures may cause plant failures, stop growth, or cause spindly appearance and foliage damage or drop. A cooler temperature at night is actually more desirable for plant growth than higher temperatures. A good rule of thumb is to keep the night temperature 10 to 15 degrees lower then the day temperature. Lower temperature is also responsible for dormant periods in plants in the temperate zones as the plant parts above ground level cease to grow because of unfavorable weather conditions. Some tropical plants also have periods of dormancy because of high temperatures and dry seasons.

The best way to avoid the effect of unfavorable temperature is to grow the right type of flowers at the proper place. A plant such as tulip which needs cool weather cannot be cultivated successfully in plains. Another point is to grow the crop at the right season. For example, snap dragon (Antirrhinum) grows best under cool weather and hence this should be grown only in the winter season.



Absolute humidity is the weight of water vapor per unit volume of air, expressed as grams per cubic meter. For a given atmospheric pressure, the volume of air changes with changing temperature. Therefore, absolute humidity will vary with temperature without change in absolute moisture content.

Specific humidity is the weight of water vapor per unit weight of air, expressed as grams per kilogram. Since it is a ratio of weight to weight, temperature and pressure changes do not affect this measure of humidity.

Relative humidity is the ratio of the amount of water vapor present in the air and the amount at saturation for a given temperature and pressure, expressed as percentage. The water-holding capacity of air depends on temperature. The higher the temperature, the greater the water-holding capacity. Starting from 0° C air temperature and 100% relative humidity, when temperature increases to 30° C, the relative humidity drops to 14%, with no change in moisture content. This shows that relative humidity as a measure of atmospheric moisture is meaningless if compared at different temperatures, and explains the daily variation in relative humidity from morning to evening.

Relative humidity (RH) between 70 to 80 percent is adequate for most tropical foliage plants, including the temperate zone ferns. It is not necessary to increase relative humidity by misting. The percent relative humidity reaches equilibrium at a high level in a tight, shaded green house. Very often the desire to maintain a high relative humidity is to overemphasized by growers. Plants grow well in the absence of a high RH if they are not water-stressed and have the proper light and temperature conditions. However, air movement from improper ventilation can replace the desirable moist air within the house with dry air from outside. Such improper ventilation should be avoided to prevent relative humidity below 40 percent. The green house doors should not be allowed to remain open for extended periods.

A high RH is not necessary for such plants as Peperomias and Sansevierias, as well as most succulents, such as cacti, bromeliads and Echeveria.

If the RH is high and the temperature of the leaf drops, mainly due to radiation, free water form on the leaf surface. Free water may be favorable for certain leaf diseases. Wherever leaf diseases, such as bacterial leaf spot are present, misting or overhead watering should also be avoided.

Many of the house plants, with few exceptions such as Sansevieria, Aspi­distra, desert cacti, and a few other succulents, in their natural habitat receive high amount of humidity. In a house it is not possible to maintain high humid conditions because that will be rather uncomfortable for the resident. As a result plants requiring high humid conditions cannot be grown properly indoors. But it is possible to improvise methods by which humidity can be increased to some extent in the vicinity of the plants. One such method is to put the potted plants in another empty pot one size larger than itself and to pack the surrounding empty space with peat or sphagnum moss which is kept moist by constant watering. The other method is to stand the pots in shallow waterproof metal tray containing small-sized gravel or pebbles. Water is then poured until it is just short of the top of the pebbles at which level this should be maintained constantly. Pots should just stand on the top of the pebbles so that even a little water does not enter the pots. The evaporating water will maintain the humidity.

Atmospheric humidity is expressed as a percentage of the moisture saturation of air. Two ways to provide increased humidity are by attaching a humidifier to the heating or ventilating system in the home or placing gravel trays (in which an even moisture level is maintained) under the flower pots or containers. This will increase the relative humidity in the vicinity of the containers. As the moisture around the pebbles evaporates, the relative humidity is raised.

Another way to raise humidity is to group plants close together. You can also spray a fine mist on the foliage although this is of doubtful effectiveness for total humidity modification. Do this early in the day so that the plants will be dry by night. This lessens the chance of disease since cool dampness at night provides an ideal environment for disease infection.



CO2 is a waste gas exhaled by humans and animals but absorbed by plants. Photosynthesis is the part of the balancing cycle between plant and animal life. The concentration of CO2 in the air surrounding the leaves markedly affects photosynthesis. Normally the atmosphere contains an average of about 0.03 percent CO2 and 21 percent of O2. Plant physiologists have found that increasing the CO2 concentration in a closed system, to about 0.10 percent approximately doubles the photosynthetic rate of certain crops such as vegetables and fruits. Many greenhouse crops such as carnations, orchids, and roses are grown commercially in a CO2-rich atmosphere. Increasing the CO2 concentration is feasible in the greenhouse or laboratory, but it is not possible to markedly increase the CO2 concentration in the air above a garden. Application of organic matter in the form of crop residues or green manure crops to the soil tends to increase CO2 level in the atmosphere above the soil. On a warm, sunny day after a rain and with no air movement, some plants grow so rapidly that CO2 availability at the leaf surface becomes limiting.

On occasion, CO2 may be deficient in tightly closed greenhouses. Since foliage plants are generally grown in low light intensity houses and since it is necessary to maintain the day temperature higher than the night. Little or no ventilation may be employed. During winter months when greenhouses are tightly shut, CO2 can become deficient. As the plants photosynthesize, they soon use up much of the available CO2 built up during the night. Unless the house is ventilated to bring in CO2 from outside, the air can become CO2 deficient. Decaying organic matter in the pots and on the floor supplies some CO2 but not enough to sustain rapid plant growth. It may be desirable to inject CO2 into greenhouse under such conditions but it should be determined whether the treatment is economically feasible. A CO2 concentration up to 1000 ppm (0.1 %) during the daylight hours when the temperature is between 21° C and 31° C is ideal for most plants although the natural CO2 level of outside air is only about 300 ppm (0.03 %). Since a foliage plant house is freely ventilated only during hot periods, it is difficult to take advantage of the readily available CO2 of outside air.

The earth’s surface and atmosphere remain at temperature equilibrium by absorbing incoming sunlight and radiating an equal amount of infrared energy to outer space. However, the increasing concentration of CO2 in the air has serious consequences for this ecological balance. Carbon dioxide strongly absorbs and emits radiation in the infrared range. Being transparent to visible light and partially opaque to infrared, CO2 prevents normal re-radiation of infrared energy to space, thus increasing the temperature of the atmosphere. This result is called greenhouse effect. A rise in the earth’s temperature could change precipitation patterns, causing melting of the polar icecap, and a rise in ocean levels, submerging some coastal areas.



The water requirement of house plants varies from one kind to another. An Alocasia needs more water than cacti or some succulents. Plants kept in a comparatively cooler atmosphere need less water than when kept in a warmer house. A plant growing in a porous clay pot will need more water compared to one growing in a plastic or glazed container. Similarly, a smaller pot will need more frequent watering. Whether or not a pot needs water will be indicated by the dry surface of the compost. A plant needs more water during its growing period and the amount is reduced appreciably during the winter which is a resting period for most plants. It is always better to water in good amounts at reasonable intervals, which may vary from 3 to 10 days depending on the climate and species, rather than small daily doses. It is a safe practice to under-water rather than over-watering. Rain water, if available, should be preferred to tap-water which contains lime.

Over- and under-watering account for a large percentage of plant losses. Some plants like drier conditions than others. Differences in soil or potting medium and environment influence water needs. Watering as soon as the soil crust dries, results in over watering.

House plant roots are usually in the bottom two-thirds of the pot, so do not water until the bottom two-thirds starts to dry out slightly. You can’t tell this by looking. You have to feel the soil. For a 15 cm pot, stick your index finger about 5 cm into the soil (approximately to the second joint of your finger). If the soil feels damp, don’t water. Keep repeating the test until the soil is barely moist at the 5 cm depth. For smaller pots, 2 cm into the soil is the proper depth to measure.

Water the pot until water runs out of the bottom. This serves two purposes. First, it washes out all the excess salts (fertilizer residue). Second, it guarantees that the bottom two-thirds of the pot, which contains most of the roots, receives sufficient water. However, don’t let the pot sit in the water that runs out. After a thorough watering, wait until the soil dries at the 5 cm depth before watering again.

Soil moisture is regulated by watering. Some plants need to have their roots kept continually damp, the roots do not tolerate drying-out and the soil must be moist all the time. In the case of other plants the soil is allowed to dry out slightly before each thorough watering. How much and how often a plant should be watered de­pends on the plant’s origin, that is the amount of rainfall in its native habitat during the various months of the year, and on the temperature of the room. Water should be supplied in smaller quantities at lower temperatures and vice versa. This, however, is not a standing rule. Even in winter, when most plants need only limited watering, flowers placed on the window-sill above a radiator must be watered daily, otherwise the soil will rapidly dry out and the plant wilt.




Combustion engines release nitric oxide (NO-) which oxidizes quickly in the air to nitrogen dioxide (NO2). As a result of different photochemical reactions, nitrogen dioxide releases atoms of oxygen (O), which combines with molecular oxygen (O2) to form ozone (O3). Ozone is a highly reactive compound and tends to disappear if it ceases to be produced. Ozone can affect plants by decreasing photosynthesis. Stomata tend to close in the presence of O3, limiting gas exchange and reduction of carbohydrates. Several plant disorders are known to be caused by ozone. In the upper atmosphere, a deep layer of ozone is present which protects living organisms on the earth from the ultraviolet radiation of the sun.


Sulfur Dioxide

Sulfur dioxide is released into the atmosphere from burning fuels and mining operations. It is toxic to plants and threatens human and animal health. It can enter leaves through the stomata and is absorbed on wet cell surfaces. At low concentrations, it interferes with the synthesis of proteins. Larger accumulations results in direct injury to the cells. In the air, it is one of the gases which cause acid rain.



Fluorides are non-degradable hydrocarbons. They are produced in the aluminum, glass, ceramic, and phosphate industries, and are manufactured and used either in gas or particulate forms. Household paints and coolants in refrigerators and air conditioners contain appreciable quantities of fluorides. Once released into the air, fluorides travel to the upper atmosphere and forms compounds with the highly reactive ozone. The continuous release of such compounds in the air has been depleting the ozone layer, causing holes in our ‘protective blanket’. Fluorides enter plants by diffusing through stomata. Exactly how fluorides injure plants is not known. They cause mottling and necrosis at the tips and margins of leaves of sensitive broad-leaved plants. Small doses of fluorides have been reported to increase growth of some plants, including grapes and citrus trees.

Other harmful gases in the air include ammonia and chlorine. Ethylene, a natural plant hormone, will injure plants if present in great quantities.



Dust, or suspended particulate matter, can be injurious to plants. Dust is introduced into the air by soil erosion, agricultural operations and smoke, mining operations, fast moving objects, winds, and industrial processes. When present on leaf surfaces, dust can impair photosynthesis. Wind blown particles can physically damage the foliage, and finer particles can obstruct stomatal openings. The quality of ornamentals can be badly damaged by airborne particles. A serious consequence of suspended particles is their ability to act as carriers of agro-chemicals sprayed on crops. Spray-coated dust particles can travel with the winds and land at unwanted destinations causing damage to crops and posing health hazards for man and animals.



Smog is a word made up from smoke + fog. It contains dust, oxides of nitrogen, ozone, sulfur dioxide, hydrocarbons, and other emission products. Emission products from automobiles react in the atmosphere under the influence of sunlight to produce toxic gases which are injurious to plants. The end product of a series of reactions and ozone are toxic to plants at concentrations as low as 5 ppm for 10 minutes.


Acid rain

The pH of normal rain is about 5.6, due to natural carbonic acid formed when atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolves in rain water. However, rains at pH 4.0 or even lower occur in heavily industrialized areas of the world. Acid rain can also be produced naturally by volcanic eruptions. The production of SO2 and NO2 by burning fossil fuels is the main cause of this problem. The SO2 and NO2 are transformed into dilute sulfuric and nitric acids, respectively, causing acid rain. The acid-causing compounds in rain have been associated with extensive ecological damage, including plant injury and death, the destruction of aquatic life, and extensive damage to buildings. The only control is the reduction of sulfur and nitrogen-carrying gases in industrial and vehicular emissions.


Air pollutants in house

The air in the room may become polluted due to fumes, high concentration of carbon dioxide, etc., which is detrimental for most of the house plants. The windows can be opened occasionally to let in fresh air or the plants can be put outdoors in mild days.

House plants, especially flowering varieties, are very sensitive to drafts or heat from registers. Forced air dries the plants rapidly, overtaxes their limited root systems, and may cause damage or plant loss. House plants are sensitive to natural or blended gas. Some plants refuse to flower, while others drop flower buds and foliage when exposed to gases. Blended gases are more toxic to house plants than natural gases. Tomato plants are extremely sensitive to gas. They will turn yellow before the escaping gas is detected by household members and are sometimes used in greenhouses as indicator plants for excessive ethylene gas resulting from incomplete combustion in gas furnaces.



Sixty elements have been reported from plant ashes and out of these thirty are present in all plants. Again out of these 30, 16 are essential and rests are non-essential. Essential elements are indispensable to the life. Essential elements are categorized into major elements or macro-elements and minor elements or micro-elements. The former type of elements are required in large quantity (more than 100 ppm), while the latter type of elements are required in less quantity (less than 1 ppm). Out of 16, 10 elements are major elements while 6 are minor elements.

Major-elements include carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, sulfur, calcium, iron and magnesium. Micro-nutrients include boron, copper, manganese, molybdenum, zinc and chlorine.

The plants need certain nutrients for their growth. Among the non-mineral nutrients carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen are needed by plants. Carbon is obtained from the carbon dioxide of the atmosphere. Hydrogen is obtained from water. Carbon is a constituent of all organic compounds whether in plants and constitutes about 50 % of the dry weight of the majority of the crop plants. Similarly, hydrogen also is a constituent of almost all the organic compounds made by plants. The oxygen requirement, in the process of photosynthesis, is obtained from carbon dioxide. Water is also is the source of free oxygen liberated at the time of photosynthesis. Oxygen is needed for the formation of all carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and other related substances. Oxygen is indispensable for the process of respiration of all living plant tissues, particularly the growing parts. Respiration is a process of oxidation that releases energy which is utilized for the many activities carried out by living tissues. The oxygen needs for respiration of plant cells is obtained from the atmosphere.

Among the mineral nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash are required by plants in large quantities and, hence, these affect plant growth more compared to other mineral nutrients. However, in addition to these, three elements, calcium, sulfur, and magnesium are also needed in fairly large quantities than the other essential elements such as iron, manganese, zinc, copper, boron, and molybdenum which are needed in traces. These essential elements required for plant growth are found naturally in soils. But sometimes these elements get depleted in the soil thus limiting plant growth. The causes of depletion may be due to removal by crops as a result of continuous cropping without replenishing the used element, leaching and erosion. Another cause may be that through an element is present it is not present in the available form as the nutrient gets bound and one of the causes for which may be the soil pH. Some are soluble in water and are easily leached out of the vicinity of the plant roots as a result of heavy irrigation or rain. Sometimes, erosion of the top soil which is rich in plant nutrients causes the deficiency of plant nutrients. To overcome all these problems it is advisable to follow crop rotation, add enough of plant nutrients to the soil after each cropping, avoid leaching, and stop soil erosion.



The purpose of adding fertilizers, manures and composts is primarily to provide a supply of essential nutrients for plants; a subsidiary purpose is to maintain the biological activity of the soil.



Whereas fertilizers are basically a source of mineral nutrients only, manures and composts have additional attributes that contribute to the fertility of a soil. Traditionally, the term, manure referred to any material applied to soil to improve fertility. Today we tend to use it when referring to animal dung and urine. Both these waste products are valuable sources of major nutrients and trace elements, so that manures are useful fertilizer materials. However, because most manure is mixed with carbon-rich bedding materials such as straw and wood shavings, they can also supply significant amounts of organic matter to the soil. Only a portion of the applied manure is of value as fertilizer in the season of application. However, a large reserve of nutrients can gradually be established in the soil if manuring is introduced as an annual gardening activity.



A fertilizer is defined as any material that provides a concentrated source of one or more essential nutrients. Fertilizers are often divided into ‘organic’ or ‘inorganic’ products in an attempt to differentiate them by source. ‘Organic’ indicates that the material is of plant or animal origin (for example, bone meal or hoof and horn), while ‘inorganic’ refers to materials which have been chemically synthesized (such as ammonium nitrate) or are the result of processing mineral deposits (for example, superphosphates). Fertilizers are available as straight fertilizers, which supply only one or two nutrients and as compound fertilizers which provide a more complete range of the elements essential for plant growth (especially N, P and K). In contrast, ‘fish, blood and bone’ may be considered to be an organic compound fertilizer, being made up of fish meal, dried blood and bone meal, and designed to supply a broad range of major nutrients and micro-nutrients in an organic form.

Fertilizers may also be differentiated by the rate at which the nutrients they contain are made available for plant uptake. Although there are exceptions, the straight inorganic fertilizers tend to be highly soluble and the nutrients they contain are in forms which are readily available to plants, once applied to a moist soil. In contrast, many organic fertilizers contain a large proportion of their nutrients bound up as complex organic compounds, which are made available for uptake only slowly. Common exceptions to these generalizations are fertilizers such as dried blood, which is rapidly mineralized, rock dusts, which are finely ground insoluble mineral deposits that require a chemical weathering to render their nutrients available, and controlled-release fertilizers, which release their inorganic nutrient load over an extended period, depending on temperature.

The objective of fertilizer application is to supplement the available nutrient reserves in a soil in order to ensure that optimum nutrient levels are available for plant growth at the right time. Exactly which nutrients need to be supplied, and what time of year, is dependent upon a variety of factors including the plants being grown, the type of soil they are growing in, the prevailing climate and the existing nutrient reserves.

Much research has been done on commercial crops with the aim of providing accurate recommendations about what fertilizer to supply, how much to use and when to use it. These recommendations are extremely valuable to professional growers, since under-application of nutrients can lead to reduce yields and products of poor quality, while over-application leads to excessive wastage of fertilizer, which in turn leads to lost profits. For the individual gardener, fertilizer usage is small by comparison, but it still makes sense to employ good judgment when using these chemical compounds.

Professional growers depend upon regular soil and plant analysis to ensure they are applying exactly the right amounts of fertilizers, but the cost of laboratory analysis means that most gardeners will only do this occasionally. Perhaps the best time for having a soil analysis carried out is when buying a new area of land whose cultivation history is unknown. Another situation is where heavy vegetable cropping has taken place over a prolonged period and nutrients and organic matter may be depleted. In practice, rather than spending money on soil testing, many gardeners make ‘insurance dressings’ of fertilizer just in case they needed. This is understandable but wasteful, and can lead to toxic or unbalanced levels of nutrients developing in the soil.

House plants, like most other plants, need fertilizers containing three major plant food elements: nitrogen (N), phosphoric acid (P), and potassium (K). They are available in many different combinations and under a multitude of brand names. Each brand should be analyzed on the label, indicating specifically how much water-soluble elemental nitrogen, phosphate, or potash is available in every pound of the product. The majority of these fertilizers are about 20-20-20. The first figure indicates available nitrogen; the second, available phosphate; and the third, water-soluble potassium. Commercial fertilizers used for house plants are sold in granular, crystalline, liquid, or tablet forms. Each should be used according to instructions on the package label or even more diluted. Frequency of fertilizer application varies somewhat with the vigor of growth and age of each plant. Some need it every 2 weeks, while others will flower well for several months without needing any supplement. As a general rule, use a fertilizer recommended every 2 weeks from March to September. During the winter months no fertilizer need be added at all because reduced light and temperature result in reduced growth. Fertilizing at this time could be detrimental to some house plants.

When applying fertilizer in a solution, make sure that some runs out of the bottom of the pot. This prevents root burn and the buildup of soluble salts or excess fertilizer and reduces the chance of burning the plant.



The potting soil or media in which a plant grows must be of good quality. It should be porous for root aeration and drainage but also capable of water and nutrient retention. Most commercially prepared mixes are termed artificial which means they contain no soil. High quality artificial mixes generally contain slow release fertilizers which take care of a plant’s nutritional requirements for several months. Commercial mixes are often misleading as to content and unsatisfactory. It is better to mix your own if possible.


Preparing Artificial Mixes

Artificial mixtures can be prepared with a minimum of difficulty. Most mixes contain a combination of organic matter, such as peat moss or ground pine bark, and an inorganic material, such as washed sand, vermiculite or perlite. Materials commonly used for house plants are the peatlite mixtures, consisting of peat moss and either vermiculite or perlite. Here are some comments concerning the ingredients for these mixes.


Peat Moss

Readily available baled or bagged sphagnum peat moss is recommended. Materials such as Michigan peat, peat humus, and native peat are usually too decomposed to provide necessary structural and water-drainage characteristics. Most sphagnum peat moss is acid in reaction; with a pH ranging from 4.0 to 5.0, it usually has a very low fertility level. Do not shred sphagnum peat moss too finely.



This is a sterile, light-weight mica product. When mica is heated to approximately 1000° C., it expands its plate-like structure. Vermiculite will hold large quantities of air, water and nutrients needed for plant growth. Its pH is usually in the 6.5 to 7.2 range. Vermiculite is available in 4 particle sizes. For horticultural mixes, sizes 2 or 3 are generally used. If at all possible, the larger-sized particles should be used since they give much better soil aeration. Vermiculite is available under a variety of trade names.



This is a sterile material produced by heating volcanic rock to approximately 1000o C. resulting in a very lightweight, porous material that is white in color. Its principal value in soil mixtures is aeration. It does not hold water and nutrients as well as vermiculite. The pH is usually between 7.0 and 7.5. Perlite can cause fluoride burn on some foliage plants. Fluoride damage is usually seen on the tips of the leaves. The burn progresses from the tip up into the leaf. Fluoride burns can be prevented by adding 1 1/2 times the recommended amount of lime when mixing the soil. A good artificial mix, containing no outside garden soil follows.

Formula (The following materials will make two bushels of mix)

1 bushel shredded peat moss

2 bushels perlite or vermiculite

1/2 cup 8-8-8 or similar analysis mixed fertilizer

1 level teaspoon chelated iron

Artificial mixtures are usually very low in trace or minor elements; therefore, it is important to use a fertilizer that contains these trace elements.


Cultural Requirements 

Cleanliness is one important factor. The large-leaved speci­mens can be sponged regularly with clean water to improve the appearance. The smaller leaved plants can be kept clean of dust by regular spraying.

The plants should be fed with liquid manure during their growing season, and never during the rest period. To make the fertilization effective it should be added when the compost is moist. Some plants which are not easy to repot can be sustained for some time by top dressing with fresh compost replacing a portion of the old compost from the top. It may be necessary to repot most of the plants every alternate year.

A useful hint to a house plant enthusiast is to grow house plants together in a group to increase humidity around them and also to keep around them a few small glass tumblers containing water. An occasional shower bath is welcome as this cleans the foliage thoroughly. In temperate regions, only mild-warm (not hot) water should be used for this purpose and also for irrigation.



Trays of different make and size can be used for growing indoor plants. Growing of house plants in baskets made of cane or even plastic gives an artistic and elegant touch to the decor of the room. The basket is first lined with polythene sheets to make it water-proof and then the pots are placed inside. Troughs made of cane standing on its own legs, similar to that of cradle for children, are very artistic and pleasing for growing plants indoors. Here also the trough is first lined with polythene to arrest seepage from the pots.

When specimen plants grown in clay pots are used for indoor decoration these may be plunged in a larger sized ceramic, glazed pot, or in any other good-looking metallic con­tainer to improve the look.

Putting the plants in various-shaped plant stands also improves the look of display. Plant stands may be made to accommodate only one plant or it may be branching to hold several pots together. These are generally made of mild steel rods or plates with a heavy base and having a ring to hold the pot. The branching types generally hare several protrud­ing hands from the main support at the end of which there will be rings to hold the pots. Plants kept in plant stands should be watered just enough so that there is no drip, other pots are watered outside and the excess of water is allowed to drain off after which the pots are put back in the stand. Even after these precautions it is most likely that the pots may drip. So it is advisable to fix buckets made of sheets or plastic at each ring and to place the pots inside the bucket to arrest the drips. The seepage water collected in the buckets should be drained off occasionally.

There are some other methods of displaying house plants. A live screen can be created in a window by growing light indoor creepers such as different Hedera, Scindapsus, the “golden pothos” (money plant) and others. The dining space in a drawing or living-room can be separated by growing a screen of creepers in between or placing a vertical garden. Plants grown in bowls or metal hanging baskets can be fixed on the walls by using brackets which will bring a relief to an otherwise empty expanse of a wall. However, one should be cautioned not to overdo the practice of decorating with house plants.

There are many types of containers from which to choose. A good container should be large enough to provide room for soil and roots, have sufficient head room for proper watering, provide bottom drainage and be attractive without competing with the plant it holds. Containers may be fabricated of ceramics, plastic, fiberglass, wood, aluminum, copper, brass, and many other materials.

Clay and Ceramic Containers Unglazed and glazed porous clay pots with drainage holes are sometimes still used by commercial house plant growers and are frequently left with the plant when it is purchased. Ornate containers are often nothing but an outer shell to cover the plain clay pot. Clay pots absorb and lose moisture through their walls. Frequently the greatest accumulation of roots is next to the walls of the clay pot, because moisture and nutrients accumulate in the clay pores. Although easily broken, clay pots provide excellent aeration for plant roots and are considered by some to be the healthiest type of container for a plant.

Ceramic pots are usually glazed on the outside, sometimes also on the inside. They are frequently designed without drainage holes. This necessitates careful watering practices. Containers with no drainage are not good flower pots. Small novelty containers have little room for soil and roots and are largely ornamental. They should be avoided. It should be noted that putting pot chips, clay pot shards or gravel in the bottom of a pot does not improve soil drainage; they only provide a small space beneath the soil where some excess water can drain inside the pot.

Plastic and Fiberglass Plastic and fiberglass containers are usually quite light and easy to handle. They have become the standard in recent years because they are relatively inexpensive and quite attractive in shape and color. Plastic pots are easy to sterilize or clean for reuse, and because they are not porous as clay pots are, they need less frequent watering and tend to accumulate fewer salts.

The simplest and often the most attractive way to group carefully selected plants in a ceramic bowl. This may be glazed, so that there is no danger of water condensing on the outside and marking the furniture on which it stands, or unglazed, and with or without a drainage hole (in the latter case, take care not to over water). Many attractive bowls and dishes are available, but certain principles must be observed when selecting one. First of all the shape and size must be suitable for the assortment of plants. In the case of plants that are of sculptural interest the bowl should be as simple as possible. The same applies to decorative foliage plants. Only in the absence of any distracting elements will the full beauty of the plants be appreciated. Another thing to remember is to leave space room around the plants for growth, so do not fill the bowl from the start. Also, remember that plants do not all grow at the same rate, so select ones that have a similar rate of growth, otherwise the slower-growing species will be crowded out by the more vigorous plants  or  may even die.  Most important, however, are the conditions required by the various plants for good growth. Choose only those plants that have the same light, temperature,   moisture and soil requirements. Species with decorative foliage are particularly suitable for this make the arrangement attractive throughout the year. Remember, however, to try and keep looking natural. It is also possible to use plants of approxi­mately the same height with a large stone added for interest and to break up the uniformity; the stone may also be covered with plants (such as succulents).

Very similar to this type of arrangement is the art of Japa­nese bonsai. Here, the aim is to create in miniature, within the confines of a small bowl or dish, what appears to be a landscape with a centuries-old tree stunted by time and weather.

Ceramic bowls and troughs used as containers arc not only suitable for use indoors but also outdoors, in gardens, on balconies, or on window-sills. In these situations the contain­ers, which must be well drained, are usually filled with rock garden plants to which a few small woody plants may be added.



Trolleys fixed with flexible wheels meant for serving tea and snacks are quite suitable for growing indoor plants. One advantage of growing plants on trolleys is that it can be moved from one corner to the other or even from one room to the other without much difficulty. To grow plants in a trolley it has to be improvised a little first by making the base water-proof and raising all the four sides to conceal the pots kept in it. To maintain humidity a shallow tray containing small pebbles and filled with water can be kept at the base of the trolley over which the plants are kept. In no case should water enter the pots. Moist sphag­num moss may be used to conceal the pots which also preserve humidity. The trolley should be placed below a fluorescent tube to get the best results.


Gardening in Tubs or Urns

Gardening in tubs or urns gives immense pleasure to the garden lover. These are meant for display in the terrace, roof garden, backyard, veranda, and on the doorsteps. Tubs and urns are portable and hence can be used for temporary decoration indoors or elsewhere. Wooden tubs are best suited for hot sunny position. Rot resistance woods such as teak, oak, poplar, etc., are best suited for this purpose. In addition wooden tubs are treated with rot resistant chemicals. Besides wood there are limitless other materials which can be used as tubs or urns. The common materials available in Pakistan are the coal-tar drums cut into half, old packing cases, earthenware pitchers, etc. In western countries, empty beer barrel tubs are frequently used for this purpose. Tubs and urns of different shapes and designs are made to order from fine grade concrete. In western countries, fiber glass urns are also available. Wooden tubs are made to order with artistic designs. All tubs should stand on their leg or should be placed over bricks for easy drainage. Each tub or urn should have one or more drainage holes. Wooden or cement tubs are painted to match with the color of the house.

The main criterion in selecting a tub is to ensure that it holds sufficient amount of soil and have provision for proper drainage; though a container without drainage hole is also useful if sufficient drainage material such as gravels put at the bottom and over-watering is avoided. At the same time, the tub should be quite aesthetic in look.



The tub has to be top dressed with fresh compost every six months or once a year. This is done by scrapping out 7-15 cm of the used up top soil and replacing this with new compost. All plants in tubs or urns need to be replanted every two or three years to replenish plant food. In Pakistan, under tropical climate, repotting should be done during the rainy season. But in a milder climate this can be extended till December or January. In temperate regions, repotting is done during the spring. Repotting should be avoided in the summer. At the time of planting a stick may be inserted deeply in the centre of the tub and during watering this may be pulled out and the channel used for watering. After watering, the stick should be replaced. Frequency of watering depends upon the weather and type of plants. As for example, Bougainvilleas and Jasmines need dry conditions at the time of flowering.


Plant for Tubs and Urns

For tubs and urns large type plants are preferred. These may be large annuals such as African marigold, chrysanthemum, sunflower, hollyhock etc or herbaceous perennials and bulbous plants such as canna, bird of paradise, Datura, periwinkle, Impatiens, Fuchsia (for temperate climates) geranium, etc. Many of the shrubs, such as hibiscus, oleander, lantana, camellia, and azalea (the last two for temperate climates) can be grown in tubs. Some ferns (e.g., Birds’ nest) and most of the ornamental palms are also suitable for growing in tubs. Some other plants such as Fatsia, Aralia, Dracaena, Yucca etc are also suitable for this purpose. Bougainvilleas also do very well in tubs and urns in most parts of Pakistan. Some beautiful trees such as Araucaria and Brassaia actinophylia can also be grown in tubs when they are young.

The most advantage of plants in tubs and urns is that these are movable and can be shifted from one place to another for display. Suppose a plant in the tub has completed flowering, this can be replaced by another tub-grown plant from the nursery which is in flowering. In houses having window garden, tubs and urns can also be matched with flowers of similar or complimentary colors.



Urns and tubs offer a good opportunity for exhibiting topiary and espaliering work. For training an espalier, trellis or a frame made of galvanized wire may be fixed in the tub itself. The following plants offer good opportunity for such works: (a) Clerodendron, (b) Duranta, (c) Bougainvillea, (d) Camellias (for temperate climate), (e) Juniper, and (f) Thuja different species. The topiary works should be displayed against a wall or a screen in the terrace.



Hanging baskets with trailing or cascading plants are suited for indoors as well as out­doors. These can be hanged at the entrance of the house to welcome the visitor. Hanging baskets can also be placed in the hall or the drawing room besides a well-lit window, or in the bathroom above a fluorescent light. Hanging baskets even decorate the kitchen walls. A plain wall in a sunny room or a passage can be also artistically decorat­ed with hanging baskets.

Out of doors, hanging baskets can be suspended from trees, electric poles, fences, etc. Blank walls along a city path can be decorated with hanging baskets by arranging them in pattern, provided this does not interfere with foot traffic. In a conservatory also shade-loving trailing plants are suspended from the poles and roof, grown in hanging baskets.


Types of Container for hanging baskets

The container should be attractive, light and easy to hang and preferably with a drainage hole. Wire baskets with three hooks, for hanging is a good container as they provide good aeration. In hot climates such baskets dry out rapidly and therefore, is not recommended for outdoors, wooden pattern baskets are better than wire baskets in dry places and are better looking. Earthen pots of various sizes and shapes are available for use as hanging baskets. Hanging baskets can also be made out of dried gourd and coco-nut shells. Empty tin cans, though not attractive in appearance, serve the purpose of hang­ing basket. For indoor purposes baskets of brass, copper and glazed pottery may be used.

Many people often put potted plants inside the hanging baskets and camouflage this by packing sphagnum moss around the pot. Even ordinary earthenware or ceramic pots can be hanged in brackets on the wall. A wire or wooden pattern basket is lobe lined pro­perly to prevent the soil being washed out. First an inner lining of a gunny cloth is put over which about 2-3 cm thick sphagnum or sheet moss is spread. Over this the soil is filled up to the rim leaving a gap of 2-3 cm for watering. Compost made of equal parts of peat moss, leaf-mould, garden loam, sand, and cow dung is best for hanging baskets. If peat moss is not available, it can be substituted by another part of leaf-mould.

For a larger basket two or three types of plant can be used. In such cases one vertical plant such as Dracaena or geranium is put at the centre and at the margin trailing plants such as Zebrina, petunias, verbena etc are planted. For single planting, trailing plants should be preferred.



Hanging baskets are watered with care, especially those which are kept indoor or in the case of brass pots having no drainage holes. The moss-packed wire or wooden baskets are dipped in a tub of water and hanged outdoors to allow the excess water to drain off before putting them back indoors. Such baskets can also be watered at the place where it hangs, provided water is poured slowly from the top allowing enough time between two applications for the water to soak. But even then it will not be possible to stop drip and hence a protective outer covering of plastic or waxed paper should be given. Such baskets can also be placed over a plastic bowl cover.



Window garden, also known as Window-Box Gardening, refers to that kind of garden­ing where plants are grown within the room just opposite or close to the window or on the window-sill outside. This is a novel method of gardening and is ideally suited for congest­ed cities and flat-dwellers. In large cities, space is a problem and the conventional method of gardening such as planting avenue trees, may not be possible, where window gardening opens an opportunity for the garden lovers. A drab looking concrete or a metal road can be converted into a place of charm and beauty if all the residents on both sides of the street take up to window gardening. In extreme climates, it becomes impossible to grow certain plants outdoors, but it may be possible to grow them in the more favorable situation in the window.

Different Types of Window Boxes

There are different types of window boxes which can be selected for gardening. These are briefly described below.

(1) Fiber-glass Box: In Pakistan, this type of box is not easily available. This is light, decorative, and durable, but most expensive too.

(2) Pottery Hoy: Terracotta boxes of different size and design are available in some parts of Pakistan. These are generally smaller in size.

(3) Iron Boxes: Iron boxes can be made by order. These are heavy but durable.

(4) Cast Cement and Asbestos Boxes: These are long lasting. Engraving with all sorts of figures is possible to decorate such boxes. While constructing new buildings cast cement boxes on the window-sill can become a part of the building.

(5) Plastic Boxes: Plastic boxes of different sizes can be used. These are light in weight and cheap but not very durable.

(6) Wooden Boxes: Wooden boxes of various sizes are most suitable for window gar­dening. Teak and oak timbers are suitable for this purpose. The timber of Arjun (Terminalea) tree is also moisture resistant and may be used for making window boxes.

The boxes can be filled with compost directly and plants grown in it or pot plants grown earlier can be kept inside the boxes. The size of boxes should be comparatively small as these may be hanging outside the houses in most cases. Even small boxes containing soil, especially wet soil become heavy. A manageable size is 20 cm deep, 25 cm wide, and the length varying according to situation but never longer than 180 cm.

Drainage: All these types of boxes should have at least one drainage hole at the bottom, but it may be necessary to provide two or more holes for larger boxes. For wooden boxes the drainage hole is made with a red-hot poker, as charred wood is more resistant to water and rot. Water will drip from the boxes and to catch this, a metal or tile tray should be placed below the boxes keeping a gap of 1-2 cm from the box.

Protecting the inner side; Constant contact with water will cause rotting in wooden boxes and to prevent the inside is charred by burning. Some of the present-day wood preservatives such as cuprinol are harmless to plants, but creosote oil is not. For metal and cement boxes, moisture and corrosion-proof coal tar or moisture proof paint may be used.

Linings for window boxes: There is a difference of opinion regarding lining of window boxes. It is widely believed that in places having a hot summer window boxes need double walls to protect the plant roots from heating and drying out. But others feel that there is no need for this. In most parts of Pakistan, the summer being hot, it is felt that double walls will be helpful. The lining may be of sheet zinc or lead and wood for wooden boxes. To have a double wall one has to make two boxes, the inner one bottom-less and little smaller than the outer one, to fit inside, leaving a gap of 1.5-2 cm all round. This space between the two boxes can be packed with vermiculite or sphagnum moss, which is kept moist. This will help keep the soil inside the box cool.


Security and Precaution

As has been stated earlier, boxes containing wet soil are pretty heavy and needs to be secured firmly in the window-sill for one’s own safety and that of the passerby. This can be achieved by fastening the boxes with the window frame by a hook-and-eye arrangement, or the boxes can rest over metal or wooden brackets attached to the frame of the window. Aluminum nails or screws should be used to prevent rusting.

In most of the modern houses the windows open outwards and there may not be any sill at all. In such homes window boxes hang outside, below the ledge of the window, rest­ing on brackets. In addition to brackets such boxes can be secured further by tying them round with galvanized wires and fixing the ends of the wires with the window-frame. This type of box has two advantages; first, this does not obstruct light to the room and, second­ly, garden operations are easier. The most objectionable point is that drip is almost im­possible to control from such a type of box. The boxes should rest on wooden wedges to keep a gap between the sill and the box for drainage. The boxes are also fitted about 2 cm away from the frame or wall to prevent rotting and attack by termites.



To keep the boxes showy and attractive, these should be painted every two years. This also helps protect them from rot or rusting. A decorative tile panel may be hung in the front with the help of hooks. But whatever kind of decoration that may be it should not be very showy as this distracts attention from the plants.


Type of Compost

The success or failure in window gardening depends to a large extent on the compost used. In the window garden, the density of planting is more and the nutrients are drained off more quickly. For these reasons, rich compost must be used. A single box generally contains different kinds of plant requiring separate types of compost. But it is not possible to satisfy them all in a window garden. So the object will be to have general compost which meets the requirements of most of the plants. Inmost of the advanced countries in the West, readymade window box composts are available. But in Pakistan, the city dwellers may not find readymade compost available. The following compost suiting most of the plants, may be prepared at home: 3 parts good fibrous loam, 1 part well-decayed coarse leaf-mould, 1 part well-rotten cow manure, and a handful of bone meal. An alternative is to grow the plants in individual pots each having the right type of compost and then place these pots in the box. The pots may be camouflaged with moss.

In cities having the problem of severe air-pollution, the compost is likely to be replaced every year. But in cleaner cities and towns the replacement may be carried out every third year provided the plants are well fed.


Management of Window Gardens

The first important thing is the aspect of the window garden, i.e., whether it is in shade or sun. Depending upon the aspect either shade-or sun-loving plants are grown. In places having hot summer, windows on the eastern side will be preferred for window garden. Watering is done according to the type of the plants grown and necessity, depending on weather. Drainage is an important point and this should be looked into properly. Sufficient drainage materials such as crocks, small stones, or rubbles should be placed round the drainage holes. The drip tray placed below the box is meant for collecting the superfluous water and as soon as the water has run through this should be emptied.

Manuring the plants every three or six months is helpful. Liquid manure made by ferment­ing fresh cow dung or oil-cake and then applied after diluting is more desirable than ferti­lizers. Fertilizers, if applied, should be given in liquid form. Liquid fertilizer doses recom­mended for chrysanthemum may be generally followed.

Other operations required are pruning, trimming, pinching, disbudding, and staking. In places having the danger of frost, the window box may be placed temporarily on the floor of the room unless there is fire inside.


Window Rock Garden

A window garden specialist can build a miniature rock garden in the window box ready with peaks, a pool, winding paths, etc. As in rock garden, the rocks here also should be era-bedded in the soil. The principle for building the garden is the same as that for a rock gar­den. Using too many rocks in such a small space should be avoided. Plants such as Sedum, Dianthus, Haworthia, sweet alyssum, Saxifraga, portulaca and pansy can be planted in such gardens.


Suitable Plants

Plants for window boxes are generally dwarf in size, otherwise they will obscure the view and the container will appear top-heavy. Trailing plants are generally preferred to up­right plants, but there is no restriction so far as the plants do not prevent light getting in. Small climbers such as Morning Glory, Thunbergia alata, and Clitoria ternatea can also be grown.

The following plants are recommended for growing in window boxes depending upon the climate:

Antirrhinum, Begonia, Cacti, candytuft, carnation, Celosia, China aster, chrysanthemum, Crocus, Echeverias, ferns, Gaillardia, Impatiens, Kochia, marigold (French), pansy, Pelargoniums, petunias, phlox, pinks (dianthus), Portulaca salvia, Sedum, statice, verbena, and Zebrina.

It should be kept in mind that plants varying widely in their water requirements cannot be grown in the same box. As for examples, a cactus cannot be grown along with a flower­ing annual such as phlox which will need more frequent watering than the former. This problem can be overcome to some extent by growing the plants in individual pots and placing them in the box. Similarly, it will be difficult to grow a sun-loving plant such as carnation along with some shade-loving ferns.



Miniature gardening is a little complicated in the sense that many garden features such as paths, rocks, hills, pool (arranged with the help of mirrors), well heads, flowers, shrubs, trees, etc. are to be designed in the miniature form, In practice, a miniature garden is nothing but a rock gar­den done on a miniature scale or what is sometimes referred to as “show-case size.” There is hardly any difference between a window box rock garden and a miniature garden. The only difference is that the former is placed permanently in the window-sill, whereas the latter can be placed anywhere inside the house or in the porch.

This type of garden is best laid in troughs of concrete, stone, wood, plastics and fiber-glass are available. The true English tradition de­mands that miniature gardens should preferably be laid in old wooden troughs. But under most Pakistani conditions, the best container will be of concrete. For this purpose, a box 25-30cm deep, 60cm wide and 90-100 cm long with drainage holes, will be ideal.

The trough is first filled to a depth of 7-8 cm with pebbles or gravels for drainage. Over this a compost consisting of equal parts of good garden loam, sand and leaf-mould or peat is filled leaving a gap of 1-2 cm from the rim for watering. The miniature garden has to be placed in full sun. This should be protected from adverse weather conditions such as hot winds and torrential rains.

The surface of the miniature garden is laid to create small valleys, peaks, paths and pools (arranged by the reflection of-mirror). The plants are planted in between. The surface is scattered with colored pebbles and stones which not only give a natural effect but also prevent the soil from being washed off. Most of the plants suitable for the rock garden can also be used for miniature garden.



This type of landscaping is again most suited for the city flat dwellers, but, of course, there is no harm if others also take interest in this. Gardening in troughs and dishes is gene­rally done with indoor plants only. The use of single plants to decorate a room is very at­tractive unless, of course, too many of them are used at a time. But a display, in the truest sense, is not possible with single individual plants in pots. For this purpose, large or small plants or a combination of both types are arranged in dishes or troughs. Though the prin­ciple is the same, trough garden differs a little from the dish and bowl gardening. A trough is larger in size which may contain more number of plants and can be displayed in the win­dow-sill, on the floor or at the entrance of the house under a covered veranda. When placed in a window-sill, Venetian blinds should be used to exclude hot sun and frost. Bowls and dishes are meant for decorating dining-table, tea table, etc. A trough generally has drainage holes while bowls and dishes have generally, none. Hence watering has to be done more carefully for dish and bowl gardens. Dish and bowls can be kept on any shining surfaces without the fear of spoiling them from seepage water.

The difference between miniature and trough gardens is that in the former many miniature garden fea­tures are created, whereas in a trough garden indoor plants are just displayed in an artistic manner.

Fruit bowls, conical baskets, wooden dishes or bread trays, pottery, china and low plastic bowls, and pedestal vases used for flower arrangements are very suitable for starting a dish or bowl garden.

When a large trough is used, the bottom 2-3 cm is spread with gravel for drainage. Over this compost, consisting of equal parts of good garden loam, peat, leaf-mould, and soil, is filled up to the rim leaving a gap of 2-3 cm for watering. For bowl and dishes, the pot­ting mixture, consists of an initial thin layer of gravel and few charcoal chips, followed by compost similar as above.

The selection of subjects for troughs and dishes are to be done with extreme care. Since the growing conditions either in a trough or in a dish is the same, plants liking identical growing conditions are to be planted in each container. For example, a cactus needs sunny and dry growing conditions and, therefore, if this is grouped in the same bowl with a shade and moisture-loving plant such as Fittonia or Peperomia the results will be disastrous.

The second point to be remembered is that the plants are to be arranged in an aesthetic manner. To achieve this, plants of various heights should be used, with the tallest one being used as the leader. Each plant in the container should be equally vigorous in growth so that one does not over-run the other. The shy growers should be grouped in a separate container. One should not forget to include one or a few trailing plants such as Hedera, Syngonium, Zebrina, or Plica which will hang down the sides of the bowl.

The compost in the dish or the bowl should, preferably slope from the centre towards the periphery. One may like to create a forest scene, a lonely tree with bushy undergrowth or Island scenery with sand and some tropical plants. On the surface of sand, gravel or pebbles may be arranged. One advantage of mulching with stones is that the top soil is not washed off while watering. The plants are put in the pattern decided in advance. Water is added just enough to moisten the compost, over-watering will create drainage problems.

An alternative to planting direct on the container is to place a thick layer of peat moss at the bottom of the container and over this individual pot-grown plants are placed. These are then packed round with additional damp moss up to the rim of the pots. The rims can also be camouflaged with stone, moss or driftwood. Only large containers can hold potted plants even though the pot sizes may be pretty small. One advantage in growing potted plants in containers is that the individual plants receive compost of their liking, but the environmental conditions such as moisture or sun remains the same. Good-looking posts can be arranged in dishes even without being camouflaged by moss as is generally done in arranging indoor plants.

Even though only indoor plants are grown in dish gardens, they need light which some­times may be in the diffused form. Sometimes, after planting, the dish garden should be fertilized with weak liquid manure every fortnight or third week in small quantities with a view not to starving the plants and at the same time not to allowing fast growth. As the space is limited it will be necessary to prune the plants occasionally to keep them in check. Dish gardens are a costly affair as plants in the bowls and dishes spent themselves very quickly and replanting may have to be done yearly or even every six months. But the idea of dish gardening is so fascinating that it is worth taking the trouble. The suitable plants for dish gardening are, cacti and succulents, Aralia, Dracaena, Hedera, Syngonium, podophyllum, Aphelandra, Ficus, Fittonia, Pilea and Zebrina. For small size arrangement Chlorophytum, Begonia rex, Peperomia and African violets are recommended.

The principle of gardening in trays is also the same. Any tray which is used for serving will be suitable for tray garden, provided the margins are raised at least about 3-4 cm to accommodate the compost. Alternatively, plants grown in decent-looking pots maybe displayed in trays.



This new concept of gardening has developed in Switzerland and is not normally found in Pakistani gardens. This consists of a wooden frame of thickness varying from 15 cm to 30 cm depending upon convenience. The height and the breadth of the frame vary depend­ing upon the available space. The broader faces are enclosed with wire netting whereas the two vertical sides (i.e., the thickness of the frame) and the bottom are covered with wooden flats. The top is kept open. Sphagnum moss or coarse peat is pressed within the wire frame which serves as the growing medium. It is possible to grow many dwarfs flower­ing and foliage plants in such frames provided the medium is supplied with nutrient and watered regularly.

This type of gardening has some advantages. In cities people living in flats have very little space for the conventional type of gardening, but can easily afford to put up a verti­cal garden. A vertical garden can be shifted from place to place and even used as an orna­mental partition in the drawing-room. Since the aeration and the drainage of the medium are perfect, the shallow-rooted plants needing very little anchorage will grow well. The vertical garden should be planted with either sun-loving dwarf and trailing flowering an­nuals such as Alyssum, pansy, nasturtium, etc or shade-loving foliage or flowering plants such as Semperflorens, begonias, rex or ornamental-leaved begonias, African violets, Fit­tonia, Peperomia, Oxalis, Zebrina pendula, etc on the broader sides, which are expected to grow horizontally with the tendency to go vertical. On the vertical top also some plants may be planted. A single vertical garden should not have a mixed planting, i.e. a combi­nation of shade-loving and sun-loving plants. Plants are planted on both faces of the frame. The vertical garden is provided with legs on the sides to enable it to stand on its own. A rot-resistant wood such as teak should be used for the frame.



Tropical plants grown in full sun have leaves (so called sun leaves) which are structurally different from the leaves of plants grown in shade (shade leaves). Sun leaves have fewer chloroplasts and thus less chlorophyll. Their chloroplasts are located deep inside the leaves and the leaves are thick, small and large in number. Shade leaves have greater numbers of chloroplasts and thus more chlorophyll, are thin, large and few in number. When plants are grown in strong light they develop sun leaves which are photosynthetically very inefficient. If these same plants are placed in low light, they must either remake existing sun leaves or drop their sun leaves and grow a new set of shade leaves which are photosynthetically more efficient. To reduce the shock which occurs when a plant with sun leaves is placed in shade, gradually reduce the light levels it is exposed to. This process is called acclimatization. The homeowner should acclimatize plants when placing them outdoors in summer by gradually increasing light intensities and reversing the process before plants are brought indoors in the fall. For newly purchased plants, acclimatize them by initially locating them in a high light area of your home and gradually moving them to their permanent darker location over a 4 to 8 week period.

After a house plant is procured it should be handled with care for the first one or two-weeks. When a plant is brought indoors directly from the favorable conditions of a greenhouse it shows signs of yellowing of leaves or even defoliation as a result of re­duced light, less humidity, and unfavorable temperature conditions.

The plant passes through a period of readjustment after which it gets acclimatized in its new home. A useful hint in house plant culture is that, whenever possible they should be taken outdoors once in a while, during favorable weather conditions. This will in­vigorate the plants. But this should not be practiced too frequently also as again the problem of readjustment will arise. After each such treatment the plants should be first hardened off before introducing again indoors. The hardening may be done by exposing the plants to the indoor condition gradually, alternating with the favorable conditions of the greenhouse. Initially the plants may be introduced indoors only for a couple of hours, gradually increasing the time. The plants may finally be shifted to indoors in about a fortnight or after a month. Even after this period there may be a setback initially, which most plants will withstand after the readjustment period is over.



A terrarium is a glass bowl of 25 to 30 cm diameter having an air tight lid. One advantage of bottle is that it can be placed either vertically or horizontally on a stand. When placed horizontally it offers more space for landscaping. Terrariums and aqua-terrariums are primarily enclosures for keeping small animals, but they can also be use: for house plants. In fact they are aquariums with a glass cove or top with fluorescent lighting. The bottom is covered with a layer of peat or sand and part of it may form a pool (aquaterrarium). The selection of plants depends on the temperature, light and moisture conditions, and also on the ani­mals inhabiting the enclosure. If these are turtles or large snakes then it is better to omit plants. Small lizards, geckos and tree-frogs, however, will do no harm to plants. An ideal plant for the terrarium is Ficus stipulate, which quickly covers the walls even under poor light conditions, thus providing numerous places of concealment for its inhabitants. Also very good for terrariums are sansevieria (dry sandy terrariums) Philodcndron surinamense, P. scandens, aglaonema, syngonium, peperomia and many species of ferns and selaginellas which should be planted close to water. Recommended aqua­tic plants include small species of cyperus, cryptocoryne aponogeton and spathiphyllum.

The plates of cork oak bark that often form the rear wall a sides of a terrarium are good for growing delicate epiphytes such as small orchids or moisture-loving bromeliads. Best, however, are trailing species, particularly of the genera Aeschynanthus and Columnea, and climbing plants such as Hoya



A paludarium provides another possibility for growing plants that are not commonly found indoors, namely bog plants. The material of which the container is made is not important. It may be of glass, ceramic ware, metal or plastic. Cover the bottom of the container with a thin, layer of welt-rotted compost mixed with peat. On top of the compost put a layer of washed river sand and then add water. Wait a few days to let the substrate settle before planting, the same as in an aquarium. A paludarium can also contain potted plants (particularly larger and more demanding species), the pots being masked with gravel and sand if de­sired. Water plants may include the water lily, lotus, Cryptocoryne, Yallisneria and Aponogeton, and floating aquatics that will do well include Pistia and Eichhornia (water hyacinth). Suitable bog plants for the ‘shore’ include Typhonium, Sagittaria, Spathiphyllum and Pontederia, and recommended for ‘dry land’ are ferns, selaginellas and many aroids.

A paludarium greatly increases the humidity in a room and plants that require a particularly moist atmosphere for good growth do well in its vicinity. Caring for a paludarium is simple, consisting merely of adding water to replace that which has evaporated. Occasionally a liquid fertilizer is added in­stead.


Planting Procedures

After the appropriate container is selected, it is washed spotlessly clean inside and out­side and dried thoroughly so that no soil sticks while filling. Compost is made of equal parts of good garden loam, leaf-mould, peat moss, and sand. The compost should be steril­ized to prevent fungus growth. First a 2.5 cm layer of a mixture of crushed charcoal (which helps to keep the soil sweet) and gravel in equal proportions is placed for drainage. The compost is made slightly damp and pouted inside with the help of a long-tube funnel. After the soil is poured it is molded into the desired landscape with the help of the fork and rammed with the rammer. Sloping compost offers increased display. A 25 liter bottle needs 5-7 cm drainage material and 10-12 cm of compost. After the soil is ready, holes are made at the desired positions with the help of the trowel. Planting is done from outer periphery.

The rooted cuttings or potted plants are uprooted and the roots are cleaned of the com­post, if necessary, by washing. Some excessive growth such as a large leaf may be trimmed off. The inserting of plants and planting need a lot of patience. It is possible even to insert fairly large-sized specimens of Pilea, Dracaena, and Sansevieria which have soft stems. A plant is dropped in carefully, leaf by leaf. Specimens with delicate foliage such as Fittonia and Rex Begonia are wrapped spirally in a tissue paper at the time of insertion and the paper is removed afterwards. After a plant is dropped maneuver this with the help of the tongs into the intended hole. The roots are covered with the trowel while the plant is held in position with the tongs. Then the soil around the roots is rammed firmly with the rammer. To bring back a delicate leaf in position, sometimes even a blow through the drinking straw may be helpful. The larger plants at the centre are planted last. It is advisable to drop and fix the plants one by one. To add color and variety to a bottle garden, colored pebbles may be arranged in the form of a path, or a shell may be positioned to represent a pool, or even small stone figures of animals may be displayed.

After planting is over every bits of soil, that might be sticking to the sides of the bottles and on the leaves are removed. Since the planting is done on wet compost no watering is needed, at the time of planting, but to give a good start to the newly planted plants, the leaves should be moistened with a mist of clear water. After this the mouth is closed tightly with a stopper and the bottle is not watered for the next two months. Bottle gardens need very little watering as whatever ‘evaporates, condenses and goes back to the compost. Sometimes, it may not be required to water as long as for a year. An open-mouthed jar needs more frequent watering than a narrow mouthed bottle with stopper. Watering is done drop by drop with the help of a long tube so that there is no over-watering and the soil does not splash on the glass. Misting may be done at intervals of two months. At this time liquid manure may be added.

Bottle garden plants need a reasonable amount of light but direct sunlight will overheat the plants. One good idea is to convert a bottle garden after planting into a table lamp, to ensure proper lighting. But in such a case, the plants should remain accessible for future care. The lamp is to be fitted in the neck of the bottle, with the help of a clamp.

Often it may be necessary to remove a dead leaf or an overgrowth from a plant in the bottle garden. This can be achieved by attaching a broken razor blade to a stick. Mealy bugs and aphids my sometimes infect bottle plants. A stick with some cotton at one end soaked in alcohol is inserted in the bottle and brushed against the insects.



Actively growing house plants require occasional repotting. This occurs very rarely with some slower growing plants, more frequently with others. Foliage plants require repotting when their roots have filled the pot and are growing out the bottom of the pot.

When repotting becomes necessary due to these indications by the plant, it should be done without delay. The pot selected for repotting should be no more than 5 cm larger in diameter than the pot the plant is currently growing in; should have at least one drainage hole; may be either clay, ceramic or plastic, and must be clean. Wash soluble salts from clay pots with water and a scrub brush and wash all pots in a solution of 1 part liquid bleach to 9 parts water.

Potting media used should be coarse enough to allow good drainage yet have sufficient water retention capabilities. Most plants are removed easily from their pot, if the lip of the container is knocked upside down against any solid object. Hold your hand over the soil, straddling the plant between the fore and middle fingers while knocking it out of its present container.

Potting media should be moistened before repotting begins. To repot, place drainage material in the bottom of the pot, if desired, and some new soil. If the plant has become root bound it will be necessary to cut and unwind any roots that encircle the plant, otherwise the roots will never develop normally. If the old soil surface has accumulated salts, the top 3 cm should be removed. Set the root-ball in the middle of the new soil. Fill soil around the sides between the root-ball and pot. Do not add soil above the original level on the root-ball, unless the roots are exposed or it has been necessary to remove some of the surface soil. Do not pack the soil, to firm or settle it, tap the pot against a table top or gently press the soil with your fingers.

After watering and settling, the soil level should be sufficiently below the level of the pot to leave headroom. Headroom is the amount of space between the soil level and the top of the pot that allows for watering a plant. A properly potted plant has enough headroom to allow water to wash through the soil to thoroughly moisten it.



Pinching is the removal of 2 cm or less of new stem and leaf growth. When it is necessary, pinch to just above the node. This leaves the plant attractive and stimulates new growth. It can be a one-time or continuous activity, depending on the need and the desires. If a plant should be kept compact, but well filled out, frequent pinching will achieve this.

Pruning includes removal of other than terminal shoot tips. Sometimes an entire branch or section of a plant should be removed for the sake of appearance. Disbudding is another related care activity. Certain flower buds are removed either to obtain larger blooms from a few choice buds or to eliminate flowering of a very young plant or recently rooted cutting that should not bear the physical drain of flowering early. It is important to keep plants clean and neat. It not only improves the appearance of plants but reduces the incidence of insects and disease problems. Remove all spent flowers, dying leaves, and dead branches. Keep leaves dust free by washing plants with warm water and mild soap (cover pot to prevent soap from entering the soil). If tips of leaves become brown and dry, trim them off neatly with sharp scissors. Removal of alkali deposits at the soil surface and replacement with clean soil does more for appearance than for the plant itself.



Too little light, too high a temperature and improper watering are the usual causes of failure in caring for gift plants. These plants are grown in a greenhouse where the night temperatures are usually cool, there is ample light, and the air is moist. When these plants are brought into a dry home where the light is poor and the temperatures are maintained for human comfort without consideration for the plants, results are frequently disappointing. Do not expect to hold over a gift plant from year to year. Enjoy them while they are attractive and in season and then discard.




Leafy shoot cuttings

These consist of a portion of leafy shoot, usually including the apical bud.  They are obtained from the current year’s growth and may be taken during active growth (softwood), when they have become partially woody (semi-ripe) or when they have become fully mature and have set their terminal buds (hardwood). The latter are only from evergreens, since deciduous plants will already have shed their leaves by this stage and are treated differently.


Softwood cuttings

Soft-wood cuttings, as the name suggests, are taken when the stem is still soft and succulent in spring or early summer, and generally consist of terminal portions of the shoots. Sometimes middle and basal portions are also used, provided they are soft and sappy. Snapdragon, rose, carnation and chrysanthemum are propagated by softwood cuttings.


Hardwood cuttings

These provide one of the easiest and most reliable ways of propagating many trees and shrubs. They usually consist of pieces of woody material of the current season’s growth, about 20 cm long and slightly thicker than a pencil. Hardwood cuttings taken form deciduous plants are leafless but contain sufficient reserves of nutrients to maintain root growth until new leaves emerge in spring. Although timing is not crucial and cuttings can be taken at any time between November and March, provided that the shoot is not growing, the best times are just after leaf fall or just before growth begin in the spring. They are normally trimmed below a node as for leafy cuttings, but the tip is often removed. When long stems are available, several cuttings can be made from a single shoot.

Hardwood cuttings from deciduous trees are leafless, so there is no problem of water conservation as with leafy cuttings and they are not normally enclosed. It is important however, to avoid desiccation and cuttings in the open should be protected from drying winds and are usually inserted into the soil with only the tip above ground.

Jasmine is propagated by semi-hardwood cuttings.


Leaf and leaf-bud cuttings

Some plants can be regenerated from cuttings consisting of whole leaves, or sections of leaf. For this type of propagation to be successful, the specialized leaf cells must be capable of dedifferentiating into actively dividing cells, which are then able to undergo organogenesis into new meristems that can produce shoots and roots. Leaves also have polarity and must be positioned so that the part of the leaf that was nearest to the parent plant is at the lower end of the cutting. New plantlets then arise at the base of the leaf. Although leaf cuttings are usually inserted vertically in the rooting medium, whole leaves are often simply laid flat on the surface. In this case, large veins on the under surface are partially cut through and new plants arise at these points.


Root cuttings

These consist of sections of root and are often used when suitable stem material is not available. Roots also have polarity so that it is important that they are inserted into the rooting medium with the proximal end (nearest the parent shoot) pointing upwards, although in many cases it is satisfactory to place the root sections horizontally and so avoid confusion. Since they have no photosynthetic tissue, successful root cuttings must have a supply of stored carbohydrates to support metabolism until new shoots emerge above ground. Consequently plants with thick fleshy roots are usually more successfully propagated root cuttings; than are plants with thin, fibrous roots.

Anemone is propagated by root cuttings.



Division is a simple technique that can be applied to plants that produce a mass of closely knit shoots or buds, forming a clump that can be split up into smaller pieces. Each portion will have shoots and/or buds and roots and will, therefore, be capable of independent growth. Although division is most commonly used in the propagation of herbaceous perennials, some woody and semi-woody plants can also be divided. Most of these plants, if left alone, develop into a crowded patch which often dies out in the center.

The division of herbaceous plants with fibrous crowns is done either by pulling the mass of shoots and roots apart by hand, or by teasing them apart with two forks placed them back to back. Herbaceous plants with tough compacted crowns with fleshy roots and buds are difficult to divide by hand and often need to be cut carefully with a sharp knife. The cut surfaces should be dusted with a fungicide as the fleshy roots are prone to rotting. The semi-woody herbaceous plants that can be divided produce sword-like leaves in dense terminal clusters, each with its own root system. Because of their tough, woody nature, they are difficult to divide by hand and are usually divided by cutting with a knife. The small number of woody plants that can be divided produce clumps of stems from suckers arising below ground level.

The best time to divide most subjects is at the start of the dormant season, when the plant dies back.

Aster is propagated by division of clumps. Gerbera is propagated by removal of basal shoots form the rhizome.





The main storage parts of a bulb are the fleshy modified leaves (scales) that enclose the flower bud and are attached to a base plate, which is the compressed stem from which the roots grow. Some bulbs, such as daffodil and tulip, have tightly packed scales and are called non-scaly or tunicate bulbs, because the bulb is enclosed in a protective papery tunic. Others, known as scaly bulbs, such as lily (Lilium spp.), have loose, easily separated scales without a protective tunic.

Bulbs differ in their longevity. Tulip bulbs, for, example, are replaced annually. When the mother bulb dies after flowering, it is replaced by a number of daughter bulbs arising form buds between the scales of the parent bulb. In contrast, daffodils bulbs last for several seasons because they have a complex branching system which persists form year to year. After flowering, more than one new growing point may become active and two or more bulbs arise within the old scales. The optimum time for propagation is usually in late summer or early autumn for spring and summer flowering bulbs, and in spring for those that flower in autumn and winter.

Amaryllis, Hyacinth and tuberose are propagated by bulbs.



Epiphyte (tree-growing) orchids have two methods of growth, namely sympodial (terminal growth ceases and growth is continued by a lateral bud) and monopodial (growth of the terminal bud continues). Sympodial orchids, such as Cattleya and Odontoglossom species and hybrids, have creeping rhizomes. Each season, growing points arise from new growths on the rhizomes and develop into new pseudobulbs. These can be divided to produce new plants. For most orchids, two or three new growths should be retained in each division. Cattleya and its relatives need at least one leafy pseudobulb on the back growth and a prominent bud at its base if they are to have a chance of success. Lycaste and Odontoglossom are usually separated into pieces with two or three pseudobulbs. Cymbidium species are easily propagated from old leafless pseudobulbs removed from the back of the plant. New plants propagated from pseudobulbs may reach flowering size in two to three years.



A corm such as Crocus and Gladiolus is a compressed stem covered with dry scales. The growing point of a dormant corm is in the depression at the center of the upper, flattened surface and there are also axillary buds, both here and at the equator of the corm. Most corms produce several buds near the apex, each of which will form a new corm. Miniature corms, or cormels, may also develop during the growing season. They arise at the tip of the stolon-like structures growing form the base of the mother corm. The stock can be increased by lifting and dividing the corms or cormels and replanting in pots or in the garden.

Freesia and Gladiolus are propagated from cormels.



These are specialized under stems, which also serve as storage organs. The main shoot dies at the end of the season and is replaced by one or more lateral buds in a typical sympodial branching pattern. These secondary rhizomes, in turn, produce an aerial shoot after a single node, as in Peruvian lily (Alstoemeria), or after many nodes, as in lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis). Rhizomatous plants (e.g. rhizomatous irises) are propagated by cutting up the rhizome into portions, each with one or more growing buds.

Iris is propagated by rhizomes.



These are also specialized stems and may arise either above or below ground. Unlike rhizomes, they do not have a storage function. Probably the best known garden plant that it propagated from stolons in the cultivated strawberry (Fragaria ananassa). The above-ground stolons emerge from the mother plant and a new plant develops at every other node. Propagation usually pegging the stolon into the soil at the node until the young plants have rooted, when they can be cut from the parent and either planted or potted up. Strawberry stolons develop only in the long days of summer.



There are two types, both having a storage function. Root tubers, as typified by Dahlia, consist of swollen portions of roots near the base of the stem. The tuber itself is unable to develop shoots as it consists only of fibrous roots and is unable to produce buds. When propagating by division, therefore, it is important to see that each piece has at least on dormant bud and one tuber.

Stem tubers are pieces of swollen stem and can arise in different ways. Potato tubers, for example, develop at the end of underground stolons, whereas the tubers of gloxinia (Sinningia) are modified, swollen hypocotyls which increase in size annually. The method of propagation from stem tubers depends on how the tuber is formed. In Cyclamen, tuberous Begonia and gloxinia, which are all modified hypocotyls, the tuber can be divided when it is sufficiently large and more than one growing point has formed.





Anthurium spp.


The lacquered-looking, wrinkled blooms of flamingo flowers often fool people into thinking they must be artificial. Each flower can last two to three months. This upright, many-stemmed plant can grow to 50 cm tall, with long, graceful, leathery, green leaves. The flowers can be 7.5 to 15 cm long and range in color from deep red to pink, salmon, white and speckled. Plants need medium indirect light or partial shade. Year round warm climate with an ideal temperature conditions are 30° C of days and 18° C night are favorable. To encourage plants to bloom, reduce the nighttime temperature to 16° C for six weeks. It requires constant moisture and high humidity while plants are actively growing. Let the soil to dry out a bit between watering in winter, but never allow it to get bone dry.

Grow in a mix of equal parts potting soil and sphagnum moss. Repot plants in spring if needed. Fertilize with an all purpose, organic fertilizer twice a month from early spring to early fall; do not fertilize in winter. Flamingo flowers can not tolerate cold temperatures and hard water. Keep the temperature at least 16° C.

Remove offshoots with attached roots from the parent plant or root two- or three-leaved terminal cuttings under mist. Seed propagation is lengthy process requiring 18 months to 3 years for flowering, and cultivars do not come true from seed.



Clivia miniata


Clusters of trumpet-shaped blooms and handsome, glossy leaves make this flowering houseplant a favorite of many indoor gardeners. Clivias may take several years to flower. The strap-like, leathery, green leaves of clivia emerge from bulbous base. Mature plants can reach 60 cm tall and 90 cm wide. Clusters of winter blooms are usually orange-red with yellow interiors. Medium to high indirect light is best. Average room temperature in spring and summer; much cooler in fall and winter is required for better plant growth. Keep the soil evenly moist in spring and summer; allow it dry out between waterings in fall and winter.

Grow clivias in small clay pots. Use a blend of three parts of three parts of clay and one part sand. Clivias seems to grow best when crowded, so leave them in their pot for about three years before repotting them in late winter. Feed with liquid fertilizer twice a month during spring and summer. Divide when repot them, or remove offsets in late winter.



Hippeastrum hybrids


Spectacular and astonishingly easy to bring into bloom, amaryllis makes a perfect winter gift plant. Keep the plant cool when it is in bloom so the flowers last longer. The large bulb of amaryllis sends up a 60 cm tall bloom stalk, along with or slightly before the long strap-like leaves. One to ten trumpet-shaped, red colored, single or double flowers bloom atop the stalk for up to a month. It requires medium light when planted; increase to a half-day of sun when the flower stalk is 15 cm tall. Optimum growing temperatures are 21° C day and 16° C nights are best.

Moisten the soil thoroughly at planting time, then wait until growth starts before watering again. Keep the soil evenly moist while the plant is actively growing. Position the bulb in well-drained loamy soil so the top quarter is sticking out of the soil. Choose the pot that is 3 cm wider than the bulb. Feed monthly with fertilizer while the plant is growing; stop fertilizing and watering when the leaves turn yellow. Allow the bulb to rest for a month, then repot or replace the top 2 cm of potting soil with fresh soil. When the pot is too large, the plant will produce lots of leaves but no flower, so use small pots for its cultivation.

Propagated by offsets. Bulb offsets will flower the second year. Bulb cuttings can be made in late summer. Dry membranous seeds are borne in dehiscing capsules. Seed germinate under warm conditions 20 to 30° C. Seedlings take two to four years to produce flowers.


GIANT ONION                  

Allium giganteum


This hardy herbaceous perennial is native to Siberia. The large bulbs of giant onion produce showy flower heads. Plant perennial or summer-blooming annuals at the base to fill in when the bulbs go dormant.

A 15 cm globe that is densely packed with many small, reddish purple flowers tops each tall, slender stem. The flower color from the top of the inflorescence to the base, changing from green to reddish purple.  Flowering time is from early to midsummer. Height of leaves usually 15 to 30 cm and flower stems grow to 1.5 m. Spread to about 30 cm. Giant onion is very easily grown if placed in full sun and well drained soil. It tolerates light shade.

Plant bulbs in early to midfall or in early spring. Set them in individual holes or larger planting areas dug 20 cm deep. Protect bulbs over winter with loose mulch; remove this in spring. Cut down spent flower stems. Leave established bulbs undisturbed in the garden.

Propagated by seed. Plants grow from bulbs, which produce offsets, clumps can also be divided. Seed can be sown in early spring and will bloom in 2 to 3 years. The bulblets that form at the base of mature bulbs can be removed in the fall and replanted.


TUBEROUS BEGONIA                

Begonia tuberhybrida 


The bushy plants produce an abundance of attractive single or double flowers up to 10 cm wide in almost every color except blue. Flowers borne in 3’s with 1 male flower between 2 females, or in pairs. Begonia is native to Brazil.

Begonias bloom in a wide range of colors, except for blues and purples; many are edged or shaded with other colors. Flowering time is from summer through fall. Height to 45 cm and spread 30 to 45 cm. Evenly moist but well-drained soil that has been enriched with added organic matter. Partial shade is necessary.

Buy thick tubers that are (3.7 to 5 cm) across. Start growing indoors about 4 weeks before your last frost date. Give developing plants bright light, and keep the soil evenly moist. Set plants out when night temperatures stay above 10º C. Water and mulch to keep the soil evenly moist. Fertilize several times during the season. Pinch off spent flowers to keep plants tidy.

Seeds, which are very fine and need light, germinate in two to four weeks at 22º C. Sow on moist, light medium with little or no covering. In addition to seed propagation, these can be grown from tuberous stems, which are divided into sections, each bearing at least one growing point. Leaf, leaf-bud, and short-stem cuttings (preferably with a piece of tuberous stem attached) will root readily.

Plant in shade beds and borders, containers, hanging baskets and window boxes. Can also be grown in protected spots under trees. Low edging, carpet bedding, pot plants for indoor landscaping. Begonias are valued for perpetual bloom, low care, profuse bloom, and brilliant flower colors.



Convallaria majalis


This is one of the easiest plants to grow. It is native to Europe and North-East-Asia. Established clumps compete well with weeds and can thrive in the same spot for decades with or no care. It spread by creeping roots. It has dark green, pointed, 2 or 3 leaves. Arching flower-stems carry drooping white bells along one side.         

It has fragrant, bell-shaped, waxy, white flowers. Glossy, orange-red berries may follow the flowers in summer. Flowering time is late spring. Foliage height is from 15 to 20 cm while flower-stems 20 to 25 cm tall. Spread unlimited. Any type of shade. Humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil. However, addition of organic matter each year is beneficial.

Set out plants 10 to 15 cm apart in late fall or very early spring. The deciduous leaves turn brown in mid- to late summer; place them where their unsightly appearance won’t be a problem. If desired, you can cut down the brown leaves to tidy up the planting. Apply compost or leaf mold each fall if the area isn’t fertile. Thin out crowded plantings if they stop blooming well.

Hardy perennial that grows as a rhizome, whose end develops a large underground bud, commonly called a “pip.” In fall, the plants are dug, and pip, with attaching roots, is removed and used as the planting stock. Digging should be take place in early autumn. Single pips may be stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator, and then planted in late winter for spring bloom.

Providing a quickly spreading groundcover in shady borders and foundation plantings, and under shrubs and deciduous trees. Cut flower, good for naturalizing or wild gardens. It is a potentially poisonous plant; the berries should be removed if young children are present.



Crocus vernus


Crocus is native to southern Europe and Asia Minor (including Kashmir). The leaves are almost grass-like, dark-green, curved, and often with a silver-white stripe down the center of each leaf. The leaves are generally shorter than flowers and appear at the same time or slightly later than the flowers. As the flowers appear above ground, they are wrapped in one or two shielding spathes. The flowers can be borne singly, or occasionally in cymes; they have 3 inner and 3 outer segments, creating a global appearance when the flower is closed. The flowers close at night and remain closed during cloudy days; they are star-like when open in sunlight.

Cup-shaped, stem-less flowers up to 7.5 cm across bloom just above the leaves. The flowers are white, lavender, purple, or yellow; they may be striped with contrasting colors. Flowering time is February to April. Leaves to 20 cm tall; flowers usually to 10 cm tall and plant spread 2.5 to 7.5 cm.

Full sun to partial shade (under deciduous trees and shrubs) full shade will tend to keep the flowers closed just as a cloudy day would; average, well-drained soil.

Plant the corms in fall, pointed side up, in individual holes or larger areas dug 5 to 10 cm deep. Space 5 cm apart. Crocus usually returns year after year and spread to form showy clumps.

Seeds germinate as soon as ripe in summer; several years are required for plants to flower. When leaves die in fall, plants are dug and corms and cormels are separated and planted.

Include them in beds and borders for early color. Grow them in containers for outdoor spring bloom. Crocuses are found planted in lawns, rock gardens, and at the base of trees that creates a spontaneous effect in early spring.


CALLA LILY                     

Zantedeschia elliottiana


Area of origin, South Africa. This tropical perennial has a solitary, showy spathe. It is almost impossible to understand why they are so slow to be adopted in cultivation when they are such extraordinarily attractive plants. The leaves are long-stalked, shortly oval, heart-shaped, with numerous white, transparent ‘windows’. It is tenderer than most of the other cultivated callas.

The flowers are quite large, 15 cm long and 7 to 10 cm across. Calla has a trumpet-shaped, bright, deep-yellow spathe. Usually it is grown as an easy and most effective summer-blooming pot plant. It grows about 90 cm high above.

Plants grown under full light except during the summer when partial shade is required. Well-drained, porous soil helps to minimize the root rot problem. Their rhizomes require absolutely dry conditions in winter. Optimum growing temperatures are 25 to 30º C.

Year-round production of calla lily can be achieved. Plants are spaced 70 cm apart, in benches. Some plants are grown in pots to reduce spreading root and rhizome rots to which callas are very susceptible. Strict attention to proper watering is needed. Rhizomes should be treated with a fungicide prior to planting. In spring the rhizome should be transferred to a fresh potting mixture composed of peat, sand and loam, and watering should be resumed; water as well as fertilizers should be applied liberally throughout the growing season.

Plants grow by thickened rhizomes that produce offsets or rooted side shoots; these are removed and planted.

It is a very popular houseplant. It is excellent for summer bedding and borders. All calla lilies make superb container plants, and may be over-wintered indoors near a cool window as a foliage houseplant.



Amaryllis belladonna 


It is native of South Africa. Flowers are sold in the market as cut flower. The flowers are borne at the end of a long, hollow but stout stem. The flowers are large (15 to 20 across), trumpet shaped and are borne in umbels having 3 to 7 florets in small flowered varieties whereas 2 to 4 florets of giant size in Dutch hybrids.  Flowers have a pleasant fragrance. The leaves are long, dark green and strap shaped. The bulb is hardy and blooms in early summer in the plains and from winter to summer on the hills. The bulb of the belladonna lily is large and long-necked and covered with numerous dark skins.

The color of the flower varies from white, deep pink, dark red, scarlet, crimson, salmon to orange. In some varieties flowers also bear stripes on white with red or white stripes on solid colors. The plants are about 75 to 90 cm tall.

The planting time is September-October in the plain and March to April on the hills. Cultivation is not difficult and the plants may be grown outdoors in the garden as well as indoors. In spring, when the leaves appear, the plants should be watered liberally and placed in a sunny location. In exceptionally warm areas it may also be planted freely in the ground, but then the bulb must be covered with a thick layer of leaves and perhaps also a sheet of plastic as protection against winter cold and damp. The optimum growing temperature for summer is 15 to 25°C; while the winter temperature should be 5 to 10°C.

Propagation is by bulb which may be left in the ground for 3 to 4 years or lifted annually. Propagate by bulb cuttings, and separation of bulbs. The plants may also be multiplied from seed, but such plants take many years to flower.



Anemone coronaria


Its area of origin is Southern Europe to Central Asia. These flowers are perennials of the buttercup family and have solitary flowers without petals but with petal-like sepals on stalks 25 to 45 cm long. Single, double, and semi-double flowers can be as much as 7 cm in diameter. Flowers come in shades of red, blue, pink, lavender, and white.

Anemones do best on the high hills but can be grown in the plains of the country having a long cool winter. Seedlings are planted in April and May. High temperatures can cause short stems and small flowers. Temperatures of 4 to 7°C are satisfactory. Plants grown from seed in early spring will flower the following March and April. The growing medium should be a sandy, humus mixture with some peat added.

The primary method of propagation is by seeds (35,000 seeds/28 gm). The seeds are rubbed with sand before sowing. Germination temperature is critical (16°C) as the seeds are adversely affected by higher temperatures. It requires 5 to 6 weeks for germination to occur. Light is not a factor in germination. Plants grown from seeds are favored since they tend to be more disease-free than those grown from tubers. The tubers are soaked in water for 24 to 36 hours before planting.



Freesia refrecta


It is native of South Africa. Plants are tender perennials grown from corms. The flowers are borne in a spike which is at a 90° angle to the rest of the stem. There are four to eight florets per spike. Each floret is up to 5 cm in diameter. Leaves are linear. Flowers are very fragrant; funnel-shaped and are produced on wiry spikes during March.             Flower color varies from white, creamy white, lilac blue, orange, pink, red, and brown. Plant grows about 30 cm.

It is planted in September-October in plains. The medium should contain 2 parts of good garden loamy soil and 1 part of FYM. In heavy soils sand is also added. The corms should be planted with the apex just above the soil line. A minimum temperature of 16°C should be maintained until three to four leaves are visible and then the temperature should be lowered to 13°C. The plants should be stalked. After flowering is over, irrigation is stopped gradually and when the foliage is dies off, the corms are removed for the next season planting.

Seeds planted in fall germinate in four to six weeks and will bloom the next spring. A germination temperature of about 18°C is best. The plants are commercially propagated from cormels that are planted in spring and dug in fall.



Gladiolus hortulanus


The word gladiolus is derived from the Latin word gladius, meaning a sword, because of the sword-like leaves of this plant. The gladiolus is popular for its attractive spikes having florets of huge form, dazzling colors, varying sizes, and long keeping quality. Gladiolus is a tender perennial grown from a corm. It produces tall fans of flat, sword-shaped, green leaves. A slender flower stem (spike) rises from the center of each fan in summer to early fall. As such, the individual florets are attached directly to the axis. As in the case of many monocoty­ledons, gladiolus florets also possess floral parts in threes. The outermost three segments make up the calyx and the next whorl of three segments comprise the corolla. Each flower bud is enclosed separately within its own spathe which consists of two green bracts. The fruit of gladiolus is termed as capsule.

A flower spike with many buds produces open, funnel-shaped flowers in nearly every color but true blue; many have spots or splashes of contrasting colors. The color range in gladiolus is fantastic and almost any color from near-black to white, pink, violet, lilac or mauve, greenish, “smoky”, and combinations of these colors is available. Flowering time is from summer to early fall (depending on the planting time). Plant height is about 60 to 150 cm and width is 15 to 30 cm wide.

Gladiolus can be grown in the plains and up to an altitude of about 2,500 m. It should be grown in well-drained soil and in a sunny situation. Adding of too much manure should be avoided as this tends to make the flower spikes too tall and slender.

The best planting time in the plains is between September and October. Planting by the middle of August can also be tried if the weather is cool. Planting in October and November may be done to obtain flowers in the winter. Planting can also be practiced at other times of the year with varying degrees of success. Planting during January and February is not advisable as the flowers appearing in the hot weather of March to May will wither away very quickly. It was noticed that flowering could be obtained round the year with varying degrees of success. In the hills, the gladiolus flowers during May-June or August-September. Hence, planting should be undertaken during March-April. Successive planting, at an interval of 7-10 days, should be done to get continued flowering over a longer period.

When the spikes start emerging, staking with strong bamboo stakes should be provided, so that the spikes do not break or fall down during winds. Staking is not needed if the plants are grown closely or in clumps. In cold areas, dig the corms before or just after the first frost and store them indoors. It is best to manure with well-rotten FYM while chemical fertilizers are net used generally. But, recent researches show that nitrogenous and phosphate fertilizers used in judicious quantities give good results. Watering once a week will be quite sufficient. In the winter, irrigation should be given only once in 10 days.

Seed propagation is used for developing new cultivars. Seeds are planted in spring either indoors for later transplanting or outdoors when danger of frost is over. Commercial propagation is from cormels or division of the corm, at any time, leaving at least one bud (eye) per piece. The flowers will be quite small in the first season.



Hyacinthus orientalis


Origin of hyacinth is Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Turkey, and Asia Minor.  Hyacinths grow from plump bulbs. Sturdy shoots with wide, strap-shaped, green leaves and upright flower stalks emerge in early spring, to be followed by the wonderfully fragrant flowers. A dense spike of starry, 2.5 cm wide, powerfully fragrant flowers tops each stalk. The present-day hybrids have stout stems with racemes of 30 to 40 florets of bell shape. Flowering time is mid-spring. The single or double flowers bloom in a wide range of colors, including white, pink, red, orange, yellow, blue, and purple. Height 20 to 30 cm; spread to 15 cm.

Hyacinths flower well only on the hills, but plants grown from imported bulbs or those obtained from hills flower satisfactory in plains.  Plant bulbs in mid-fall. Remove spent flower stalks. After the first year, hyacinth bloom spikes tend to become smaller; in some cases, they may not flower at all. Plant new bulbs every year or two to ensure a good display. Before planting in September-October in the plains and February in the hills the bulbs are sprouted by keeping them in cool, dark place in soil or peat for about 8 to 10 weeks.

Removal of offset bulbs gives small increase. For commercial propagation, new bulbs are obtained by scoring or scooping mature bulbs. For multiplication 1.5 cm deep incision is given to the mother bulb across the base and planted. Small bulblets will be formed at the cut end. Seeds may be planted outdoors in fall, but up to six years are required to produce blooms.



Iris cristata 


Various species of Iris are native to eastern North America, Southeast Asia and Southern Europe. The flattened, 5 cm flowers are sky blue to lavender and purple with a white-and-yellow blaze. Flowers are fragrant. Flowering time is early spring. Flowers up to 10 cm tall; leaves 15 to 20 cm tall. Each plant is 7.5 to 10 cm wide; clumps spread indefinitely. Moist, humus-rich soil in partial to full shade. Plants bloom more heavily with some direct sun.

Clumps may become so crowded that plants bloom less. If this happen, lift plants after blooming and tease the rhizomes apart. Replant into soil enriched with organic matter.

Divide rhizomes in mid- to late summer after blooming. Discard the older portion and use only the vigorous side shoots. Leaves are trimmed to about 15 cm. Seeds should be planted as soon as ripe after being given a moist-chilling period; germination is often irregular and slow.



Lilium hybrids


Lilies are native to many regions of the world. The Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum) is a native of Japan. Most of the lilies thrive best on the hills and in places having mild climate. Besides various Lilium species there are several beautiful cultivars. This hardy perennial bulb has many, crowded, narrow leaves. Flower few to many, sleepy, open and spreading.

Flower buds open to showy, flat or funnel-shaped flowers in white, orange, red, rose, pink, yellow and bicolor. Flowering time is from June to August (depending on the hybrid). Height 60 to 150 cm; spread usually 15 to 30 cm.

Full sun or partial shade. Provide fertile soil and mulch to keep the root zone cool. Drainage is very important for this species.

The cultural requirements for various Lilium species will vary. But it is possible to give a general guideline. As a general rule, lilies are planted two and half times the depth of the bulb. Similarly, bulbs with stem roots (roots arising from the stem above the bulb which acts as support to the plant) are planted deeper than the bulb with basal roots only. In heavier soils shallow planting is recommended. If any time a lily throws up roots above the ground level these are to be covered immediately by earthing up. Plant the bulbs in fall or early spring. Water during dry spells, especially before flowering. Pinch off spent flowers. Cut stems to ground when leaves yellow.

Divide clumps when the leaves turn yellow. Sow seed in early spring in shallow rows. Shoots generally emerge 3 to 6 weeks after planting at moderately high temperatures. Seed-grown plants will take several years to flower.



Narcissus hybrids


Daffodils are native to Europe and the Mediterranean region. To clear a misconception in the nomenclature it may be explained that while daffodil is the popular name, narcissus is the Latin name, but both are the same. But often the large trumpet types only referred to as daffodils, while the short-cupped types are called narcissus. The leaves are basal, strip-like. Leaf and flower character may differ with the cultivar selected. The flowers are distinctive in form.

Flower color

The sometimes-fragrant, single or double blooms are commonly white or yellow but may also have pink, green, or orange markings, with a long and tubular or short and ring-like corona (trumpet) separate from an outer ring of petals. The corona may be the same color or different from that of the Perianth. Corona colors are white, yellow, orange, and orange-red. Flowering time is from early spring to early summer. Height             15 to 50 cm and width is usually 10 to 20 cm.

Full sun or partial shade in well-drained soil. Lighter soils will need no amendments, but course sand and organic material should be added to heavy clay soils.

Plant the bulbs in early to mid-fall. Allow the leaves to turn yellow before cutting them back or pulling them out. Fertilize in early spring with a complete organic fertilizer.

Easiest propagation is by division of the dormant bulbs that are produced at the side of the parent bulb; do this after the foliage has died in late spring.



Tulipa hybrids


Tulip is native to Turkey. Tulips are one of the most easily grown bulbs. Leaves are generally radical, broad and thick, stems are sometimes branched. Tulips are low-growing plants with about four oppositely placed leaves. Hybrid tulips often bloom poorly after the first year. For a great show each year, pull them out after flowering and replace them with summer annuals; plant new tulips in fall. Flower color and shape vary with type and cultivar. Most flowers are erect, bell or saucer-shaped with 6 Perianth segments.

Showy, single or double flowers, to 10 cm across, come in almost every color; white, yellow, red, orange, pink, purple, lilac, violet, blue, green, brown, black, and bicolor. Flowering time is from early spring to midsummer. Height 15 to 90 cm depending on the cultivar; 15 to 25 cm wide.

Full sun to partial shade; seems to prefer a heavier soil than other bulbs, average, well-drained soil that’s dry in summer.

Tulip does well only on the hills but some odd specimens may flower in plains from imported bulbs or bulbs brought from the hills. Plant bulbs in mid- to late fall. Pinch off developing seedpods after flowering. Allow leaves to yellow before removing or pull out bulbs after bloom.

Divide bulbs after the foliage has died back. Seeds are used to reproduce species and for breeding new cultivars. They germinate readily after stratification.



Polianthes tuberose


Tuberose is native to Mexico. The grass-like leaves in tuberose are long and narrow and the plant is dwarf, hardly exceeding 15-20 cm in height. The leaves are light green in color and crowded in an arching form. The flower buds are either single or double with tubular shape. The waxy flowers are pure white in the single cultivar and tinged with red in the double cultivar. The flowers are 5 cm across and borne in terminal racemes. A semi-double cultivar somewhat resembling double also exists. The flower is single with little tinge of red in bud stage but turning to white when opened fully. The flowering stalk (or spikes) arise from the center of the cluster of leaves and are usually from 50 cm to 90 cm high or sometimes a little more in case of variegated and single cultivars. The flowers are highly fragrant in ‘single’ tuberose compare to ‘double’ cultivar where the fragrance is less.

The plants are grown from bulbs. Bulbs are planted before or during the rains in the plains and in May-June in the hills. The old roots are cut away at the base of the tubers before planting. The larger tubers in the center of the cluster are best for planting. The smaller ones take 2 to 3 years to come to flowering depending on their size. The tubers are planted 7-10 cm deep

Tuberose thrives best in fertile and well-drained soil and sunny places, though sometimes it can also be grown in partial shade. The peak flowering season in the plains, is between June and October. The main flowering season is during the summer. After flowering is over, it is advised to cut down the spikes to encourage more flowering. The tubers are left undisturbed in the ground during the winter. The tubers are lifted after about 2 to 3 years, separated and replanted. If tubers are not uprooted every 2 to 3 years the spikes tend to become smaller from the third year. The tubers do not have any prolonged rest period and can be replanted four to five weeks after harvesting. During flowering, the unhealthy and dried leaves should be removed occasionally.



Dahlia pinnata


It is originated in Mexico. Dahlias are tender perennials treated as bulbous annuals, consisting of hundreds of cultivars. Flower sizes range from less than 0.5 cm to almost 30 cm across. The dahlia flower consists of a certain number of outer ray florets in which the male organs are modified into a strap-shaped petal, arranged round a central disc of bisexual florets. Actually the ray florets in dahlia have all the flower colors, whereas the disc florets are generally yellow. In the double flowered cultivars more of the male organs get converted into ray petals with proportionate reduction in the number of discs. There are many flower colors except blue. Stem length varies from 30 cm to 1 m, depending upon the type of dahlia.

The plants require stalking or some type of support. A medium textured soil of neutral pH or little acidic (pH 6.5) should be preferred. The site should receiving ample sunshine. Dahlia is not a deep-rooted plant. Potash promotes tuber growth and improves flower quality. Too much application of nitrogen impairs the keeping quality of the tubers. One top dressing with FYM at the time of the appearance of flower buds will be quite beneficial especially in poor soils.

Many types are grown from seeds but the prominent cultivars are propagated by stem cuttings or division of the tuberous roots. 10 to 15 cm cuttings are taken in late winter and rooted under mist at 18°C. Clumps are dug in the fall, stored at   –1° to 10°C, and covered with soil to prevent drying over the winter. In the spring the clumps are divided so that each tuber has one or more sprouts or eyes.






Cyclamen persicum


The butterfly-like blooms of cyclamen flutter gracefully over beautiful silver-marked leaves. The flowers come in pink, red, lavender and white. Cyclamen forms compact, 30 cm tall clumps of heart-shaped leaves that grow from an underground tuber. The single-stemmed flowers emerge from October to April. It requires high indirect light while in bloom; medium light after bloom. It prefers 20° C day temperature and 10° C. Keep the soil evenly moist while plant is blooming.

Grow in loamy soil. Repot crowded plants to a slightly larger container only when nights are above 13° C. Fertilize twice a month from fall to early spring. Plants need a cool, dry rest period in the summer to rebloom. Put them outdoors in the shade and turn the pots on their side; water occasionally to keep them barely moist until new leaves begin to appear.

Sow seed in September and keep it dark until seedlings appear. Put seedlings in a cool, bright spot for the winter; repot them in May.



Kalanchoe blossfeldiana


This Madagascar native has beautiful glossy foliage and huge clusters of winter flowers held high above the leaves. Remove the stalk when the flowers fade. Kalanchoe forms clumps of succulent, deep green 7 cm long leaves. Plants blooms for two to three months with clusters of red, pink, yellow, orange, or white flowers on 30 cm stems. It requires high indirect light or partial shade. Provide cool conditions (10-16° C) in fall while buds are forming, then move to average temperature. Let the soil dry between waterings. Do not over water.

Grow Kalanchoe in loamy soil with added sand. Fertilizer should be applied once a month from when blooms end until late summer. Put the plant outdoors for the summer, and then give it a cool, drier rest period in fall to encourage bud formation. It is propagated by stem cuttings in summer, or grow new plants from seeds.



Saintpaulia hybrids


The colorful blooms and compact habit of African violets make them the most popular of all flowering houseplants. Grow them on window sills or under fluorescent lights. African violets have velvety, green or variegated, fleshy leaves. Single or double blooms to 5 cm wide appear just above the leaves on and off year round. The blooms can be blue, purple, pink, red, white or green; some are multicolored or marked with a white edge or star. Medium to high indirect light is best for its growth. It requires warm conditions, with a temperature around 18° C. Allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Try to avoid wetting the leaves.

Grow in soil-based mix in shallow pots, repotting yearly. Fertilize every two weeks in spring and summer. A lack of flowers may be caused by not enough light, the temperature being too high, or the soil too dry. Cold water can cause spots on leaves.

Propagation is by seed, division, or cuttings. The very fine seeds, which germinate in three to four weeks at 30° C, should not be covered. Seedlings are subject to damping off. Vegetative methods are necessary to maintain cultivars. Plants can be divided. Propagate it through leaf cuttings (blade and petiole) and replant with the stem in a moist medium or in water.



Sinningia hybrids


Gloxinias’ velvety leaves make a beautiful background for the showy blooms. The plants grow from firm, rounded tubers and thrive in the same conditions as African violets. The trumpet-shaped, wavy-edged flowers range from reds, pinks, and white to purples and blues. They bloom primarily in summer but may flower year-round. They need medium to high, diffused light. Gloxinias also grow well under fluorescent light. Warm conditions around 18° to 21° C; are best for optimum growth, cooler conditions are necessary for dormancy after bloom.

Keep the soil evenly moist and use tepid water. Provide high humidity. Pot in mix soil, positioning the tubers with the cupped side up. Repot each year when new growth begins. Fertilize during growth with suitable fertilizers. If the leaves starts to die down after bloom, give plant a rest period; cut down on watering and reduce temperature to 10° to 16° C. Cold water can stain leaves. If the leaf edges curl under, the plant is not getting enough light.

Commonly grown from seeds, which are very fine and require light. Sow in uncovered, well-drained peat moss medium; they germinate in two to three weeks at 20° C. Vegetative methods are required to reproduce cultivars. Plant grows form a tuberous root on which a rosette of leaves is produced. The root can be divided. Softwood cuttings or leaf cuttings taken in spring from young shoots starting from the tubers root easily. Take leaf cuttings and replant the leaf with its stem in a moist but loose medium.



Gerbera jamesonii       


Gerbera is native to South Africa & Asia. Gerbera is a dwarf tender perennial herbaceous plant. The genus consists of about 50 species of Asiatic and African origin. The plants are stem-less, and are hairy throughout. The flowers are solitary and occur on hairy stalks. The rays are very showy. Gerbera is a tall plant with prostrate leaves and erect flower stems. The foliage is arranged in the form of a rosette at the base. Leaves are basal, mature leaves very woolly beneath, petiole 15-20 cm long. The flowers are daisy-like. The flowers may be single or double and are available in various single-colored cultivars as well as in bicolor. The flowers are 5 to 12 cm across, but in certain hybrids these may be as large as 15 cm across. The flowers are borne on long and slender stalks. Stem length ranges from 25 to 40 cm. The long stalked star-like flowers are pretty and long lasting both in field conditions and in vase and hence the flowers are very popular for garden decoration as well as for the vase.

Many colors are known in the cultivated strains ranging from shades of lemon-yellow, salmon, pink, orange, red, and white. Almost throughout the year, as the plants generally bloom perpe­tually. Height is 30-45 cm and width is 90-150 cm.

Plants should be located in a sunny situation for a succession of blooms. Gerberas are planted with the crowns slightly above the soil level, to avoid crown rot. The plants apparently do not respond to daylength, but they flower best under high light intensity. A night temperature of 16ºC is satisfactory.

Gerbera is a fairly hardy plant and can be grown both in the plains and in the hills. Gerbera needs a well-drained soil with plenty of moisture in it. Gerbera grows in a wide range of soil types except heavy clayey soils. But the best soil is a well-drained loam or a sandy loam. Gerbera requires a soil with plenty of organic matter. Gerbera is a deep-rooted plant and hence dislikes trans­planting. The crown of the plant should remain above ground level. Immediately after planting, water is given abundantly, but then it is restricted until the new sprouts start coming. Gerbera needs an open sunny place and will not thrive in shade.

The fertilizer requirement of gerbera is not perfectly known. However, if a good basic dose of organic manure is applied at the time of planting, the plants may not need any other additional fertilizer doses until the time of flower bud appearance. Fertilizers high in nitrogen are not good for gerberas.

Gerbera flowers only at the end of the second year when raised from seeds. The plants flower well only in the third year. Vegetatively propagated plants flower much earlier.

Gerberas are propagated from divisions with two or more growing points in June. Single divisions or rhizomes divisions may be made. Gerberas can also be started from seeds but the quality of seedlings is not uniform. Many gerbera plants grown from seed, close flowers at night, and this is a detrimental quality for use as cut flowers. Seeds germinate in two to three weeks at 20ºC, it is important to use fresh seed.



Dendranthema morifolium      


Chrysanthemum is one of the most widely cultivated garden flowers and ranks probably next to the rose in popularity. Chrysanthemum has a diverse and beautiful range of color-shades, widely different flower shapes, and height range. Chrysanthemum is native to Japan and China. Hardy chrysanthemum has stout stems clothed in lobed leaves. They grow from creeping stems with complicated fibrous roots. It has been described as “the last smile of the departing year.”

Broadly speaking, the florist’s chrysanthemum is a short-day plant, which under normal circumstances fails to form the flower buds if the day length exceeds 14.5 hours, nor develops the buds if the day length is beyond 13.5 hours, with the exception of certain early flowering cultivars. The plant needs longer days for proper vegetative growth.

Chrysanthemum blooms in rainbow colors, from white to pale pink, rose, brown, red, golden brown, gold, yellow, and cream except blue.  Flowering time is only from November and December. Height is 45-150 cm and width is  30-90 cm.

Pinch the stems once or twice in May or June to promote compact growth. Divide the fast growing clumps every 1-2 year. Replant vigorous shoots into soil enriched with organic matter.

Divide mature plants in spring. Tip cuttings taken in late spring or early summer root quickly and often bloom in the first season. Seeds germinate in two to four weeks at 20ºC. Flowers do not come true-to-type from plants propagated by seeds.



Aster novi-belgii       


New York aster is native to North America. Flower heads are 5 cm wide, with bright yellow centers. White, blue, purple, and pink single or double flowers. Flowering time is from late summer and early fall. Depending on the cultivar, 30-180 cm tall; 30-90 cm wide. Evenly moist, humus-rich soil. Full sun to light shade.

Pinch aster once or twice before mid-June to make them bushier and less likely to need stalking. Divide every 1-2 year to renew the plant.

Seed and division. Seeds germinate in two to three weeks at 18 to 21º C. Cultivars are propagated by lifting clumps in fall and dividing into rooted sections, discarding the older parts as stem cuttings. Divide in early spring.

Use in clumps or masses in flower or mixed borders. Asters look good with chrysanthemums. Various sites in the perennial border depending upon cultivar height.



Canna generalis      


            Cannas grow from thick rhizomes. They produce tall, sturdy stems with large, oval, green or reddish purple leaves from spring until frost. Tall flower stalks are topped with showy flowers. Canna is often divided into two groups; the orchid-flowered and the gladiolus-flowered; the latter is generally the more popular. Showy clusters of broad-petaled flowers up to 12.5 cm across, which bloom in shades of pink, red, orange, and yellow, as well as bicolor. Flowering time from spring up to fall, (throughout the summer). Height is about 60-180 cm; and spread 30-60 cm wide.   Full sun to partial shade; average to moist well-drained soil with added organic matter.

Plant rhizomes directly into the garden at that time, setting them 7.5-10 cm deep and 30-45 cm apart. Cannas are drought-tolerant, but mulch and water during dry spells. Pinch off spent flowers to prolong bloom.

Divide canna clumps in spring; divide the rhizomes into pieces about 15 cm square, making sure each has at least one growth bud. Cultivars do not come true from seed. Seeds, which have hard coats and must be scarified before planting, are germinated in a warm greenhouse.

Alone in masses, or with annuals and perennials in beds and borders. Primary uses are as container plants, background plants, or in center of flowerbeds.



Catharanthus roseus    


This tender perennial is native to Madagascar and India. Periwinkle forms compact, bushy clumps of glossy, dark green leaves with white central veins. Stems are topped with flat, five-petaled, white, pink, or rose flowers up to 5 cm wide. Periwinkle blooms from early summer until frost; it can flower nearly any time of the year in mild climates. Height and spread usually 30-45 cm; larger in frost-free areas.    Full sun to partial shade; average, well-drained soil. Tolerates heat, pollution, and drought. Pinch off stem tips in early summer for compact growth and more flowers.

Grow the plant until it flowers, and then hard prune it in autumn, using the pruning as cuttings. The cuttings root rapidly and survive the winter better than older plants. Periwinkle is major bedding plant grown from seed. Sow seed in February, optimum temperature for germination is from 24 to 27º C in the dark. Do not keep seeds too moist.

This is a beautiful, easy-care perennial for edging flowerbeds, borders and walkways. If called upon to suggest bedding plants that come though heat, drought and even pollution with flying colors, don’t forget to mention periwinkle. Periwinkle is poisonous to humans and livestock.



Euphorbia milii      


Euphorbia milii is native to Madagascar, but now a day may be found growing wild in practically all the tropical and sub-tropical countries of the world. The stem is the only succulent part of this small shrub, furnished as a defense against possible enemies not only with a poisonous milk sap, but also with long, rigid spines, the leaves are flat, oval to elongate-ovate, depending on the cultivar. The flowers, like those of all spurges, are small, nondescript and borne in so-called cyathiums enclosed by two bright red bracts. Flowering continues throughout summer. The whole plant is usually about 1 m high. This species is definitely the easiest to grow. All that is need a warm sunny spot on the windowsill, well-drained soil.

Watering in summer (any excess water that collects in the saucer should be poured off so that the roots do not rot). It recommended lowering the heat and limit watering in winter but this is not a must as the plants successfully survive warm conditions in winter. During the growing period the plants require an occasional application of fertilizers.

Propagation is likewise easy, by means of tip cuttings, which should be immersed in tepid water to wash off the exuding milk, then left to dry for a day or two in the sun and inserted in sand. When they have put out roots they should be moved to more nourishing medium.

Euphorbia milii is a houseplant grown for its decorative flowers.



Hibiscus moscheutos     


            Rose mallow is native to USA. The showy flowers are borne in profusion on a shrub-like plant that grows from a thick, woody crown. The broad, oval leaves have three to five shallow lobes.

The 15-20 cm flowers have five white petals that surround a central, fuzzy column. The flowers have bright red centers. Plant will bloom throughout summer.   Height is about 1-2.4 m and width is about 90-150 cm wide. Evenly moist, humus-rich soil. Full sun to light shade. Tolerates some dryness once established; tolerates wet soil. Space young plants 90-120 cm apart to accommodate their eventual spread. Once established, clumps dislike disturbance.

Take cuttings in summer. Remove the flower buds and cut the leaves back by one-half to reduce water loss. Seeds gathered from the parent plants are variable and often inferior. Sow fresh seed of the true species outdoors in fall. Seeds germinate in one to two weeks at 21-26º C.

Plant rose mallows wherever you need a bold dash of color. They make great accent plants and are lovely in borders with ornamental grasses and airy summer perennials. Best use as single specimens in the border planting. Durable stems allow use of the plants in windy areas. Other uses might be as temporary screens and hedges.



Petunia hybrida       


Petunias are native to Argentina. Petunias are tender perennials usually grown as half-hardy annuals. Plants form clumps of upright or trailing stems with funnel-shaped, single or double flowers. Petunias bloom nearly every color of the rainbow; some have stripes, streaks, or bands of contrasting colors. Petunias are bloom from early summer until frost. The plant is 15-25 cm tall and 30 cm wide. Evenly moist, humus-rich soil. Full sun to light shade. Well-drained soil.

Can be grown from seed, although the fine, dust-like seed can be hard to handle. Don’t cover the seed; just press it lightly into the soil and enclose the pot in a plastic bag until seedlings appear. Seeds germinate in one to two weeks at 25º C. Give light for the first three days then move to the darkness until seedlings emerge. Soft woodcuttings taken in late summer or fall from side shoots root easily. Move the plants to the garden after the last frost date; space them 20-30 cm apart. Water during dry spells. They may self-sow, but the seedlings seldom resemble the parent plants.

Petunias especially the multiflora and floribunda types are favorites for flowerbeds and borders, planted alone in masses or mixed with other plants. They are particularly good for filling in gaps in the garden. No other bedding plant even approaches the petunia for universal dependability, garden value, and long season of bloom.





Aglaeonema spp.


Chinese evergreen offers gorgeous foliage marked with a mixture of green, pewter, silver, cream, and white; some kinds may even show a bit of pink. Few houseplants adapt as well to a dark corner. These shrubby, many-stemmed plants can reach 90 cm tall. They are notable for their patterned, elliptic foliage, which grows up to 30 cm long and 10 cm wide. The need low light intensity or partial shade to even dark. Warm 18° C nights and 29° C day’s temperatures are best for its proper growth. Keep the soil just moist throughout the year. Use unchlorinated water, allowing tap water to stand overnight before use for best results.

Pot in a peat-based mixture of soil, repotting when the plant looks tired, fertilize three times a year, or less if in low light. Putting the plant out in the rain will clean leaves. Brown leaf edges indicate dry air, bad drainage, or too many minerals or salts from tap water. Leaf variegation fades in too much light. It is easily propagated by canes (long stems), shoot cuttings, division, or seeds. Canes should be treated carefully as delicate leaf cuttings. Rooting is enhanced with Indolebutyric acid (IBA) and bottom heat. Take stem cuttings, divide the stalks, or air layer at any time.



Aphelandra squarossa


For dramatic foliage, it’s hard to beat the highly striped leaves of zebra plant. It can also produce bright yellow flowers in late summer and fall. Zebra plant produces oval, glossy, green leaves with cream-colored veins. Individual leaves can reach 30 cm long. The shrubby plants grow to 90 cm tall, although compact cultivars are more popular. The need low light intensity or partial shade. It requires warm conditions, at least 18° C. Provide abundant water in spring through fall; allow to dry somewhat during winter rest. Provide high humidity.

Grow zebra plant in loamy mixture of soil, and fertilize twice a month form spring though fall. After flowering, cut the stem back drastically to just above the lowest node (where the lowest pair of leaves join the stem). Pinch out the tip of new growth when it reaches 15 cm. It is normal for leaves to fall after the plant blooms. It is propagated through tip cuttings taken in late winter to early summer.



Aspidistra elatior


Known since the Victorian age, this Chinese native is renowned for its “cast-iron” constitution. Usually between 45 and 60 cm tall, cast-iron plant has an upright growth habit. Its leaves grow to 75 cm long and 10 cm wide. The foliage is generally dark green, although you can occasionally find variegated forms. Small, bell-shaped, purple blooms may form at the base of the plant. It can tolerate low light, even very dim corners. It requires average room temperature during the day; around 10° C at night. Keep the soil evenly moist at all the times. Repot in mixed loamy soil only every five years. Fertilize once in spring (and again in fall if the plant gets medium light).

For propagation divide the roots in early spring and replant in fresh mix; plant two or three pieces together in each pot.



Beaucarnea recurvata


Native to the deserts of Mexico, ponytail palm has a thick, swollen base that can store up to a year’s supply of water. It’s a good choice if you tend to forget to water regularly! When young, ponytail palm is just a grassy clump of narrow leaves growing from a swollen, enlarged base. As it ages, the base expands, and the plant develops a greenish brown trunk topped with a tuft of thin, leathery, strap-like, green leaves. Mature plants can reach 90 cm tall. It needs High or medium light. It requires average room temperature but cooler than 24°C in winter. Water thoroughly, and then allow the soil to dry before you water again.

Grow ponytail palm in a well-drained loamy soil mix. Wait several years between repotting. Fertilize annually in early spring. Too little sun causes limp, pale leaves; move the plant to a brighter location. Otherwise, ponytail palm is generally easy. Ponytail palm produces only one flush of growth a year in spring. Propagation is easy, just separate and repot offsets.



Chlorophytum comosum


One of the most common plants for a hanging basket, spider plant is beloved for its graceful habit. It produces baby plants at the ends of its long, arching stems. Spider plant grows from rhizomes (creeping underground stems) to produce arching, narrow, 30-45-cm long, green leaves. It also sends out long, pale yellow stems, with small white flowers along their length. It requires medium light; avoid strong, direct sun. It requires average room temperature during the day; approximately 10° C at night. Allow the soil surface to dry between watering. Plants can take dry conditions but prefer extra humidity and rainwater.

Use well-drained loamy soil in small hanging baskets, leaving 2.5 cm between the rim of the pot and the top of the soil. Fertilize twice a month in spring and summer. High temperatures and over-drying can cause brown leaves. Propagate it by dividing the parent plant or grow new plants from seed. You can also remove plantlets and set the base of the plantlet in water until roots begin to form, and then move it to a pot.



Dieffenbachia amoena


Bold, fancy leaves are the trademark of this popular plant; it gets the name dumbcane from its irritating sap, which causes swelling and pain of the tongue if eaten. The upright stems of dumbcane grow to 1.8 m tall, with elliptical leaves. The green foliage is marked and spotted in various shades of green, cream, and yellow. High, indirect light is best, although the plant can adapt to less. For its optimum growth warm conditions at least 16° C is necessary. Allow the soil to dry a bit between watering. Provide extra humidity.

Grow dumbcane in well-drained mix soil, and keep it potbound. Fertilize lightly twice a month in warm seasons. Rinse dust off the leaves several times a year. Over-watering and lack of light can produce thin stems and widely spaced leaves. To rejuvenate the plant, cut the stem to about 15 cm tall. For propagation air layer the stems, or take tip or stem cuttings.



Dizygotheca elegantissima


False aralia sports upright stems clad in lacy leaves. This South Pacific native is a good choice for warm, shaded, humid spots with low to medium light. This elegant, shrubby tree grows to 1.8 m tall, with serrated, fernlike, palmate leaves. The young foliage is coppery bronze, sometimes mottled with cream; the leaves change to dark greenish black as they age. Low to medium, indirect light suits the plant best. Warm conditions; at least 16° C in winter are best for proper plant growth. Allow the soil surface to dry between waterings. Provide extra humidity.

Grow in all-purpose potting mix soil. Repot every few years as needed. Fertilize twice a month in spring and summer. Leaves may drop as the plant ages or if it is over-watered or moved from place to place. Age, cold, and lack of humidity can cause the plant to get scraggly; take cuttings in spring and summer to make new plants and keep them in a warm, humid location.



Dracaena spp.


Dracaenas are tough, adaptable plants that are easy to grow. With age, they produce a thick trunk and lose their bottom leaves. Dracaenas are treelike plants that can grow anywhere from 45 cm to 2.4 m tall. They are noted for their distinctively marked, bold, often sword-like foliage. High, indirect light is best, but dracaena tolerates less. Best temperatures are 18° to 21° C. Keep evenly moist most of the year; allow it to dry somewhat between watering in winter. Provide extra humidity.

Grow dracaenas in all-purpose potting mix. Fertilize twice a month in warm seasons. Low light causes thin stems and faded leaves. Browned leaf edges indicate the plant is over-dry or that there’s a salt buildup. For propagation take tip or stem cuttings, or air layer the trunk.



Various genera


Beloved for their gracefully arching, often feathery fronds, ferns are a mainstay for houseplants growers. These flowerless plants grow from rhizomes and reproduce via spores. Ferns are a broad group of plants that includes many different genera including Boston fern, maidenhair ferns, and rabbit’s foot fern. Medium to high, indirect light suits Ferns best. Average conditions, with day temperatures up to 24°C and nights between 13° and l8°C. Keep evenly moist; water daily if necessary. Extra humidity is a plus.

Grow ferns in small pots in light, well-drained, all-purpose mix with added peat moss and perlite. Repot in spring as needed. Fertilize twice a year—in early spring and early summer. For propagation divide clump-forming ferns, grow new plants from spores, or pin the runners to the soil and repot them when they are rooted.



Maranta leuconeura


This showy foliage houseplant has two special features: The unique markings that look as though a rabbit left tracks down the leaves and the way the leaves fold upward at night. Prayer plant’s branching stems form clumps to 30 cm tall, with 12.5-cm long, oval leaves. The bright green, satiny foliage is very distinctively marked with brownish purple “rabbit tracks” on either side of the midrib. Each leaf has large, rosy pink veins and a red-purple underside.

It grows best in medium, indirect or artificial light. Warm conditions, between 16° and 21°C. Keep the soil evenly moist through most of the year and somewhat drier in winter. Mist often. Grow prayer plant in soil-less mix. Repot into fresh mix each year in early spring. Fertilize twice a month from spring to fall; do not fertilize in winter. Prayer plant likes fresh air, but cold drafts can lead to poor growth and a gradual decline in health. For propagation divide in spring.



Spathiphyllum hybrids


Peace lily is popular for its graceful, shiny, green leaves, as well as its curious, hooded flower spikes. This tolerant plant adjusts to many conditions and is generally problem-free. Peace lily grows to 60 cm tall, with sword-like, long leaves. The many-stemmed plant blooms occasionally throughout the year, first in white, then turning green. The flowers can last for six weeks. Low to medium, indirect light best suits the plant. Warm to average conditions around 18°-21°C. Keep the soil evenly moist.

This easy grower thrives in all-purpose potting mix enriched with compost or other organic material. Fertilize twice a month. Repot in early spring as needed. Provide monthly showers to keep the leaves clean. Too much light actually inhibits bloom. If you want flowers but none are appearing, try moving your plant to a slightly darker spot. Too much fertilizer or too little water can cause brown leaf tips. For propagation remove and repot offsets, or divide the clumps in spring.



Caladium bicolor      


Caladium is a tropical perennial plant. Caladium is native to Amazon (USA). Caladiums are grown for their (foliage) showy leaves, producing bushy clumps of usually heart-shaped leaves that are shaded and veined with combinations of green, white, pink, and red. Plant height is 30-45 cm and width is 45 cm. These shade-loving plants thrive in heat and humidity. Moist but fertile, well-drained soil with added organic matter. Caladium needs abundant water during the growing season. Caladium will perform poorly in areas of low humidity.

Start the tubers indoors in early spring. Set them with knobby side up in pots of moist potting mix. Keep in a warm, bright spot with soil evenly moist. Move out to the garden when night temperatures stay above 16º C. Keep soil moist until late summer. When leaves die, dig up the tubers and store in a warm place.

Propagation is by removing the tubers from the parent plant at the end of the four to five months dormancy period just before planting. Commercially, tubers are cut into 2-cm pieces (chips), each containing at least two buds (eyes).

Caladium provides summer color in shady beds and borders, especially in warm- and hot-summer areas. Also use as container plant, and specimen plant.



Cordyline terminalis       


These are well known and commonly cultivated plants, native to the large area extending from Pakistan up to Australia and New Zealand. In the wild cordylines are found either in forest undergrowth, or else growing on steep rock faces, often on cliffs rising from the sea or on rocky ledges by seaside. The stem of this sub-shrub is slender, only about 15 mm in diameter the leaves are deep green, up to 50 cm long and approximately 10 cm wide, with prominent midrib.

It is one of the smaller members of this genus, for it grows to a maximum height of 2 to 3 m in the wild. Well-drained, moist, fertile soil should be preferred. Full sun to partial shade. The optimum growing temperature is 10 to 30º C.

Cultivars may naturally be propagated only by vegetative means, in this case by root cuttings (a rarely used method). They may also be readily multiplied by tip cuttings or by placing pieces of stem flat on the surface of the compost.

Cordyline can be used to good effect in dish arrangements as a vertical feature and for its strikingly colored foliage. It is particularly attractive in large arrangements planted in-group of 3 to 5 specimens.



Ficus elastica        


Rubber plant is not the most suitable for indoor cultivation, since if the growing conditions are not favorable, it will generally drops leaves, and so one very often comes across specimens with long stout trunks and only a cluster of leaves at the top. Moreover, if conditions are favorable it fairly rapidly grows too tall. This species is native to East Indies and Malaysia. It grows to height of 25 m. It requires relatively cool conditions (about 15º C in winter), while summer optimum temperature should be 25º C. It requires well-drained soil. Full sun is best, while the plant can take partial shade.

Rubber plant is propagated by cuttings taken from 5 to 27 cm  shoots; single buds or “eyes” can be removed and rooted. These cuttings are made in spring, inserted in sand or a similar medium, and held in a warm green house.

Rubber plant can be used to good effect in the house as a vertical feature and for its strikingly colored foliage. It is particularly attractive in large arrangements planted in-group of 3 to 5 specimens.



Hosta plantaginea        


This herbaceous perennial is native to China and Japan. Large mounds of long-stemmed, heart-shaped leaves to 25cm long. Their thick, pleated or wrinkled leaves are the real feature of this perennial, which grows from stout crowns with thick, fleshy roots. Plant grows to a height of 30 to 90 cm and 30 to 150 cm wide.

The species and related cultivars tolerate more sun and heat than other hostas. Evenly moist, humus-rich soil. Partial to full shade. Adaptable to both dry and wet soil conditions. Filtered sun encourages the best leaf color in the gold- and blue-leaved forms. All hostas need protection from hot afternoon sun, especially in warm areas.

Hostas take several years to reach mature form and size; allow ample room when planting. New shoots are slow to emerge in spring, so take care not to damage them during spring cleanup.

Propagated by clump division in spring. Remove the terminal bud and slices the remaining clumps into quarters, which are then placed outdoors in trays, which are winter protected and then planted when they begin to shoot. It takes three years to produce a mature plant from seed.

Hostas are essential foliage plants for shaded gardens. Use the smaller cultivars to edge beds or as a groundcover under shrubs and trees. Choose giants for a mixed planting or alone as accent.



Sansevieria trifasciata


Native to Africa. Leaves are 7 cm wide, blended light and dark green. Leaves are bended yellow on either side with a deep green, lightly banded center. It is strong herbaceous plant up to 1.6 m high with a creeping rhizome. One of the hardiest of the plants, it tolerate both the full sunshine to deeper shade. The optimum growing temperatures ranges from 10-25˚ C. Sansevieria is a tropical plant. Sansevieria can be grown in rather heavy, nourishing soil. Sansevierias are very drought resistant. Nothing will happen if the grower forgets to water even a month, plants are watered every 15 days interval during the growing season. During the winter season the plants are given enough water to keep the foliage from wilting.

The division of the rhizomes at any time of the year propagates sansevierias. They are readily propagated by means of leaf cuttings, leaves may be cut into sections, several cm long and inserted into a rooting medium; a new shoot and root will develop from base of the leaf cutting. The plant grown from cuttings produce green instead of variegated leaves.

Primary use is as container plant, or in the center of flowerbeds. Best as an isolated freestanding specimen or against a background of the evergreen flowering plants massing is not effective.



Solenostemon scutellarioides


Native to Java. Coleuses are tender herbaceous perennials. Square stems carry showy patterned leaves. Leaves opposite 8-20 cm often lobed or toothed on the margin. Each leaf can have several different colors, with zones, edges and splashes of the red, pink, orange, yellow and cream. This bushy plant height is 15-60 cm and spread is 20-30 cm. Coleus can be grown in full sun to partial shade. Coleus is a tropical plant. They are susceptible to cold weather, and outdoors they will die with the first frost. Optimum growing temperature is 10-25˚C. The soil should be acidic, best of all a mixture of peat, loam and sand. The soil should be well drained. It requires constant moist soil. Therefore in summers frequent irrigation is necessary.

Seeds germinate in two to three weeks at 21-24˚ C, but seedlings can be variable. Selected cultivars are propagated by softwood cuttings, which root easily.

Coleus is great for adding all season color to beds, borders, and container plantings and should be grown alone.



Yucca filamentosa.


Native to the warm regions of South East, United States of America. This evergreen, clump-forming shrub produces rosettes of sword-shaped blue green leaves with yellow margins. It grows from a woody crown with fleshy roots. Yucca grows slowly. The plant forms irregular, rising stems, one to three per plant. Leaves are 75 cm long and 5 cm wide. Plant height is 1-4 meters. (1.5 meters is average height) and spread 90-180 cm. Yucca is a tropical plant. It requires full sun. It can tolerate high temperature. Yucca tolerates a wide range of the soil conditions as long as the soil is not too wet. Average to humus rich, well-drained light textured soil is best of growth. The yucca is noted for its drought resistance. Too much moisture results in the black areas on the leaf margins. Thus it should be irrigated infrequently.

Seeds germinate at the 20˚ C. Offshoots growing from the base of the plant can be removed and handled as cuttings. Section of the old stem can be placed on the sand in a warm greenhouse, and new side shoots that develop can be removed and planted.

The plants are best planted alone or in groups in the background, rather at the front of the beds. Plant in dry borders or in rock garden as accents. Contrast the stiff foliage with soft or delicate plants.






The first fact to get straight is this: all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. Since nearly all plants in the cactus family are succulents or water and moisture holding plants, most people think anything with stickers on it and thick leaves is a cactus. Cacti are generally rugged enough for even black-thumbed gardeners. Their brilliant flowers are often surprisingly large compared to the size of the plant. Cacti have no leaves to speak of, just thickened, water-storing, spiny stems. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.



Schlumbergera bridgesii


The showy flowers and distinctive, segmented trailing stems make Christmas cactus an attractive choice for hanging baskets. Put plants outdoors for the summer. This shrubby, 30 cm cactus has arching, flat-jointed, thorn-less green leaves and stems. It blooms abundantly in winter with starry 7 cm flowers. Red is a traditional favorite, although you can also find pink, white, or yellow flowers. Medium to high, indirect light suits the plant best. Average room temperature for most of the year is best. Provide 13° C nights in fall to set buds.

Keep the soil evenly moist most of the year, but reduce watering in fall until buds form. Grow in small pots with a well-drained mixture of soil, sand, peat moss, and compost. Repot in fresh mix in spring. Bring indoor before frost in fall, and set in a cool dark room to promote bud formation. Too much or too little water or water that is too cold can cause leaves to drop. Leaves may turn yellow if the light is too bright. Take tip cuttings at any time of the year.



Astrophytum myriostigma       


The Mexico is the home of this plant. Astrophytums have succulent stems without foliage, the photosynthesis having been taken over by the outer surface of the thickened stem. The thick outer skin is colored greenish grey to whitish grey and thickly covered with white-felted spots. There are usually 5 pronounced ribs (rarely 3 or 4) with sharp edges on which are spaced round or elliptic areoles with brown wool, which later disappears. The body of young plant is almost globose, becoming columnar in age. This species has no spines.                             

The flowers, which appear on the crown, are pale yellow and measure about 5 cm in diameter. Flowers are produced at irregular intervals throughout growing period.

It requires full sun. In summer it should be watered frequently, while in winter it should be watered when the soil become almost dry. It grows well at temperatures ranging from 8 to 25º C.

They should be provided with a well-drained soil; with additional fine gravel thoroughly mixed in. A thick layer of stones should be spread over the bottom of the pot or container before filling it with the compost. Also becoming widespread nowadays are crushed bricks with water, to which nutrients are added from time to time. Cacti grown in this way do very well. The soil for cacti should be alkaline, containing lime.

Star cactus serves as a good specimen plant for the dry rock garden, sunny border, or for stonewalls.



Cephalocereus senilis        


The popular ‘old man’ introduces us to the vast realm of columnar cacti. Naturally the cactus purchased at the florist’s is only a small specimen, but if it could be grown in favorable conditions for several decades (this being the time necessary for it to reach its true proportions) then it would become tall. Young plants (the ones usually available) are covered whit long, soft white hairs, which practically hide the body from view. The stem under the hair is greatly furrowed, the number of ribs being 20 to 30. The edges of these are thickly set with areoles.

Adult plants, when they are about 6 m high, develop a cephalium at the top of the column, the ribs change into spirally arranged tubercles covered with areoles which produce a thick cover of spines.

The flowers are produced from the cephalium. These are almost 10 cm long and 7.5 cm across and colored white and pale yellow. Fruit is lovely red colored and contains a large number of seeds in the dark red pulp. It may grow to a height of 15 m in decades. The optimum growing temperature is 10 to 25º C. It should be grown in full sun and watered infrequently. It can tolerate drought.

The substrate for this cactus must be free draining and should contain some lime, therefore limestone rubble should be added to the compost.

Grown in ordinary pots, columnar cacti are not as attractive as if put in a dish arrangement where the bizarre stems of the succulents make a more striking effect. The dish should be simple in design, ideally off-white ceramic ware. Also very attractive is a group of large porous rocks planted with small species of cacti or either succulents.



Chamaecereus silvestrii       


Peanut cactus is one such undemanding plant, and for good measure, it is practically unbreakable. This cactus is native to the mountains of northwestern Argentina. The ‘branches’ are horizontal and attractively ribbed. The ribs, 6 to 9, are dotted with areoles from which emerge short spines, generally colored white.                                     

Loveliest, however, are the bright red flowers, which are surprisingly large for such a small plant, up to 4 cm long. There are always several on a branch at one time so that plant is truly covered in blooms. It is a small, branching cactus reaching a height of 10 cm at the most.

It is almost entirely hardy. It must; however, in cultivation is that the soil be kept absolutely dry if the temperature drops to freezing point or below. It require full sun, and grows best in summer temperature of 10 to 20º C, while winter temperature of 0 to 5º C. In summer it should be watered once after every 15 days.

They are undemanding plants that reliably produce flowers and because they are small it is no problem to find room for them.



Epiphyllum hybridum        


A complex hybrid derived from crossings between the species themselves and usually also with related genera. True epiphyllum species are cacti that generally flower at night and that is why they are often hybridized; the resulting hybrids have flowers that often remain open for 2 days.

Epiphyllums, as their name indicates, are of epiphytic nature, generally rooting in the forks of branches, their long thin stems twining over the bark to which they hold fast by means of clinging rootlets; the leaf-like expanded shoots either hang downwards or stand away from the trunk.                 

A great many hybrids in colors ranging from pure white to violet purple are cultivated nowadays. The flowers are truly huge, sometimes up to 30 cm in diameter.

Leafy cacti may be grown as epiphytes, but then (because of the other plants) it is difficult to provide them with the necessary dry and cool conditions in winter, without which they flower poorly. It can be grown in full sun to partial shade. It requires irrigation frequently. The optimum growing temperature is 10 to 25º C.

Seedlings often root in the humus collected in the fork of a branch by another plant and so. It is better to grow them in the traditional way in porous humus compost where they make very rapid growth.

Orchid cactus has become very popular, even with those who did not cultivate them otherwise, because of their showy flowers.



Gymnocalycium quehlianum        


Gymnocalycium is native to the mountains of Cordoba in central Argentina. This species is a flattened spherical shape. There are usually 11 ribs broken into tubercles separated by sharp cross grooves. Each areole produces 5 radial spines about 0.5 cm long. The skin is grey green, appearing reddish in the sun. The flowers are relatively large, about 6 cm long, white with a red center. It grows to a height of 15 cm and about 7 cm across.

Because it grows at high altitudes it does not tolerate excessive sunlight and heat combined with a dry atmosphere, in its native habitat it grows in grassy places and thus it is best to provide it with light shade in summer. Summer mean temperatures should be 15º to 25º C, and winter mean temperatures should be 5º to 10º C.

Alkaline soil causes the plant to lose its roots for they are intolerant of an alkaline environment. It is therefore, recommended that Gymnocalycium be grown in fine crushed brick, the required nutrients being supplied by being added to the water. Cultivation will thus pose no problems and the plant need not be moved for years.

This cactus serves as a good specimen plant for the dry rock garden, sunny border, or for stonewalls.



Lobivia famatimensis         


The body of this tiny cactus is shortly cylindrical when grows in the wild; in cultivation, where the plants are frequently misted, it is longish cylindrical. The skin is colored vivid green or greyish green. There are 24 shallow ribs covered fairly thickly with areoles from which grow short, soft, white spines. This cactus is native to Famatima Mountain range, which is part of the Argentine Andes, at elevations of 2,000 to 3,000 m. The flowers are surprisingly large, the same length as the body of the cactus, in other words about 3 cm  and colored pale yellow. It grows to a height of about 3.5 cm and slightly less across.

It is a hardy mountain type of cactus, therefore, it require full sunshine. Summer mean temperatures should be 10 to 20º C, and winter mean temperatures should be 0 to 5º C. In summer it should be watered profusely; in winter, however, it requires a cool and dry atmosphere and completely compost. It can be grown in standard cactus mix of humusy loam, sand and stone rubble.

In clear air and direct sun that it attains its full beauty. However, there is no need to be wary of growing it in a city in the lowlands for it can be relied on to do well even there.



Lophophora williamsii          


In the wild it grows in the Southern USA (Mexico). The body of this cactus is grey green with a bluish shade. It has 8 to 10 shallow ribs. In young plants tufts of stiff hairs grow from the areoles. The turnip-like root is approximately 15 cm long. The flowers are not large, only about 1 to 1.5 cm in diameter, and colored pale pink. Sometimes one may come across specimens with violet-pink flowers. It measure about 8 cm across.

In summer it require frequent irrigation, and the temperature of 15º to 25º C, while in winter it require less water, and the temperature of 8º to 12º C. It grows best in full sunshine. In the wild it grows in heavy, compacting soils.

In cultivation this soft-bodied cactus is considered to be one of the hardiest, practically indestructible plants for room decoration. If it is to bear flowers it must have a period of winter rest at a temperature of about 10º C.



Mammillaria bombycina           


Few cacti are as popular as mammillarias. For one thing they include a vast number of species and secondly they can be relied on to flower. The flowers further more, form a delightful garland on the crown and are followed by crimson red or bright red club-shaped fruits. The name of the genus is derived from the word mammilla, meaning nipple. This species is native to Mexico. It is covered with conical areoles from which grow two types of spines; radial spines and central spines. The first number 30 to 40, are white, and radiate outwards; the central spines are darker, and colored pale carmine, often with a darker center. The body of mammillaria is about 20 cm high and 6 cm across.

It can tolerate very low temperatures in winter if kept dry; therefore, the winter temperatures should be 5 to 10º C. The summer temperatures for optimum growth should be 15 to 25º C. It requires full sunshine.

The thick white wool growing from the axils of the areoles enhances the plant’s attractiveness. Can be successfully grown in a window glasshouse placed outside the window.



Opuntia humifusa      


Prickly pear cactus is native to North America (Mexico). It is a jointed, rather tall, shrub-like cactus. Thick fleshy sections (joints) are 5 to 15 cm long and 10 cm wide, having spines on them. There are small, red-brown hairs on the smooth surface of the cactus, which detach easily and lodge under the skin. Care should be taken in cultivating around the plants. The yellow frilled flowers are borne toward the upper part of the joints; 6 cm across. The flowers are numerous are borne from June to July. A dark red 2 cm oblong fruit will sometimes follow flowering. The fruit is inedible. 60 to 100 cm high, clump forming plant.

Opuntia performs well in full sun and very well-drained soils. The segments become somewhat wilted and shriveled during the winter but regain their turgor during the growing season. The winter temperatures 5 to 10º C, and summer temperatures 15 to 25º C, are best for growth. It is drought resistant plant and therefore requires less water.

Placing cuttings in slightly moist sand can propagate new plants. Division and seed can also be utilized.

Prickly pear serves as a good specimen plant for the dry rock garden, sunny border, or for stonewalls.



Rebutia senilis           


The Argentina is the home of this Rebutia cactus. The spines are many, numbering some 25, about 3 cm long and pure white. The flowers, usually several at one time, are crimson red and measure about 3.5 cm across. A note worthy characteristic is that they are self-pollinating. Rebutia is just about 8 cm high and only a little less abroad.

In the wild rebutia grow on stony slopes together with grasses and low shrubs and their natural environment may be simulated in cultivation. It grows well in full sunshine. In summer season 15 to 25º C, while in winter season 5 to 10º C, is best for its growth. In winter it requires less soil moisture, while in summer it require a lot of water.

Rebutia is an excellent specimen for rock garden, container and window boxes. Grow it in a relatively large dish.





Succulents, of course, may also be planted together to create attractive and striking arrangements. Such arrangements may include members of different genera found growing together in the wild. You can choose any number of combinations according to your taste and fancy.



Adromischus cristatus       


Native to South Africa. Succulent herbaceous or shrubby plants with fleshy persistent leaves. Short branching woody-stems; with a rosette of stiff leaves, wavy at the tip. Green leaves 2 to 4 cm long, convex on both sides and covered with soft hairs; inflorescence to 2 cm long. Flower color is whitish-red. Flowers bloom from July to September. Plant grows often only several centimeters high, and 8 cm across.

Here too, the succulence enables the plants to survive when there is a shortage of water. This is the hardiest member of the genus. For success full growth the plant should be put in a warm and sunny spot.

The compost should be very free draining, best of all a mixture of loam, sand and stone rubbles; fertilizer should be applied regularly. It requires frequent irrigation. Growing temperatures should be 5 to 15º C in winter; and 15 to 25º C in summer.

Stem and leaf cuttings easily propagate plants.

Crinkle-leaf-plant is an excellent specimen for rock garden, container and window boxes. Grow it in a relatively large dish.



Agave angustifolia         


Distributed from Costa Rica to Mexico. The leaves of agaves, which are very variable in size, are arranged in rosettes. Several leaves 50 to 80 cm long, and ending at long terminal spine. The inflorescence is 2.7 m tall spike and usually has thick bracts. The tubular flowers, which are borne in clusters, have six sepals. The fruit is a capsule with black seeds. All agaves are monocarpic, but it takes several years for an inflorescence to be produced. Stem to 40 cm high; rosettes 1 m in diameter.

A good, nourishing compost, a mixture of loam, sand and stone rubble. A thick layer of gravel on the bottom of the container will ensure good drainage. Temperatures of 10 to 30º C, and full sunshine are best for growth.

Cultivation is not difficult. Like most succulents it requires plenty of space for the underground parts and should thus be put in a large container. Fertilizer should be supplied in sufficient quantity during the growing period. Water is required once in a week in summer. It must be provided with a rest period of winter chilling.

It is mainly propagated by offsets or suckers.

They may be encountered in every suitable place, growing in whole plantations or at least in belts marking the boundaries between separate tracts of land.


ALOE VERA                      

Aloe vera       


This evergreen, stem-less perennial forms a dense rosette of leaves with irregular white marks. The leaves are channeled towards tip, leaf margins has spines. Tapering, fleshy leaves become unmarked with age. Leaf margins tinged pink. The leaves are fragile (tend to break readily). It is native to Mediterranean region.         

Plant produces yellow, orange or red, rarely white flowers. The flowers are arranging in a spiral, and when are spent, hang mouth downward. 1 to 2 flowering spikes are produced per plant in autumn. Height is up to 90 cm. plant requires warm, arid conditions.

Summer mean temperatures should be 15 to 25º C, water frequently. Winter mean temperatures should be 10 to 15º C, but watering should be reduced.

Propagated by seed in well-drained sandy soil. Germination takes place in three to four weeks at 20 to 24º C.  Plants produce offshoots that can be detached and rooted. Plants with long stems can be made into cuttings, which should be exposed to air for a few hours to allow cut surfaces to become somewhat dry.

Carpet bedding and potted into containers, rock garden, dry walls, edging, and front of perennial border.



Cotyledon undulata


The genus is distributed chiefly in South Africa. This branching plant has thick stems and erect braches. The leaves are up to 12 cm long and 6 cm wide, and are very wary on the margin. The height of the plant is 50 cm.

In cultivation, it is better to provide a lighter but nourishing mix with extra sharp sand added. It also does well in crushed bricks, with nutrients being provided with water. It requires as much sunlight as possible. In winter it requires cool temperature of 10 to 15º C. In summer it grows best at 15 to 25º C.

Propagated simply by inserting stem and leaf cuttings in sand and peat compost.

The silver crown serves as a good specimen plant for the dry rock garden, sunny border, or for stonewalls.



Crassula commutata  


Shrub-like plant from Namibia. Fleshy, red-margined leaves 1 cm long and 4 mm wide; the leaves are arranged alternatively. Green flowers often tinged with red. The height of the plant is 50 cm only. Full sunshine, average well-drained soil, optimum growing temperature is 10 to 25º C.

Stem cuttings easily propagate Crassula.

Crassula provides summer color in sunny beds and borders, especially in warm- and hot-summer areas. Also use as container plant, and specimen plant.


LIVE FOREVER               

Sempervivum tectorum      


Looking like some rare, exotic, desert plant, sempervivums instead are widely and easily grown plants from the Europe. The perfectly formed, ground-covering rosettes of fleshy, red-tipped leaves comprises the whole plant. Flat, crowded rosettes characterize Sempervivum.            

Purple-red flowers 3 cm wide, on subsequent curving branches; flower stems are 15 to 37 cm tall. The plants flower in midsummer but are more valued for the foliage effect and compact, neat habit. Height and spread of foliage is 8 to 10 cm. Full sun; sandy to average, well-drained soil. The plants do best in poor, rocky soil.

Separating the small outer rosettes from the “mother” rosette easily does propagation. Seed propagation is possible, although young plants are often slow to develop and to produce flowers. It is best to germinate seeds indoors at high day temperatures (29 to 35º C)

Creeping over raised beds, rock garden, edging, dry walls, among stone walks. Front of perennial border, carpet bedding and potted into containers.






Adenium obesum    


            Adenium is a small shrub native to arid East Africa and Arabia. It has pale-gray succulent stems that produce white, poisonous latex when cut. Flowers range in color from pink to crimson. Unlike most succulents Adenium has an almost continuous display of large, trumpet-shaped flowers in spring season.

            Glossy club-shaped leaves are produced at the branch ends, are often fall during wet weather or when the plant is in flower. Leaves have prominent light green veins. Simple, alternate, fleshy leaves are spirally arranged on the plant.

It is an arid tropical and subtropical shrub grows well in desert areas. Intolerant of damp conditions, preferring a sunny location on a balcony or terrace and a well-drained potting soil mixture. It is highly salt tolerant and drought resistant.     Reaching a height of about 1 meter.

Propagation is most often by cuttings, taken in February and planting in nursery under moist condition. After 6 months plants can be transplanted in the landscape.

Frequent application of FYM increases flowering, which in the right location is more or less continuous. It needs regular watering at the establishment stage, gradually decreases after that period.

Adenium is usually seen grown as a pot plant. It may also be used in rock gardens. Suitable for desert landscape. Planting in groups as mass effect of flowering. Background planting in beds. Planting with succulent foliage plants in the landscape.



Brunfelsia calycina       


Brunfelsia has been cultivated since the mid-nineteenth century and at one time was a popular plant of palace greenhouses. In recent years it has been ‘rediscovered’ by European florists. It is a native of Brazil, where it grows in forests in thick humusy layers, particularly in wet places. Brunfelsia is moderately large shrub branching profusely from the base. The flowers are flat, about 5 cm across. They are truly lovely and thus this shrub is found in practically every park in Central and South America. Brunfelsia have storage tissues in the woody parts of the stems and in the wild they undergo a short dormant period in winter.

Flowers are colored purplish-violet at first, turning white as they fade. Late winter and early spring. Shining, dark-green foliage. Brunfelsia is a subtropical shrub, because it has a dormancy period, therefore, it can tolerate light frost.

The soil should be a well-drained mixture of nourishing loam, compost and peat mixed with sand. Full sun shine is best for growth of the plant. Summer temperature: 15 to 25º C; winter temperature: 5 to 15º C. Brunfelsia grows only to a height of about 2 meters.

The prunings may be used as cuttings which should be inserted in a peat and sand mixture in a warm nursery bed. They are slow to root, the pace is not the same for all and the process may take as long as two months.

Due to dormancy they should be provided with at least a three-month period of rest at a lower temperature and with only the minimum of watering to ensure abundant flowering. Soil should be enriched every spring by an addition of fertilizers. The plants should be cut back hard after the flowers have faded to promote branching.

Planting in groups as mass effect of flowering. Background planting in beds. Planting with succulent foliage plants in the landscape.



Caesalpinia pulcherrima      


This attractive shrub, which is probably originated in South America, is sometimes called the Barbados Pride. Caesalpinia is a genus that includes truly magnificent plants. This decorative shrub is fairly easy to grow. The flowers, which appear in clusters on long, erect stems, have exceptionally long stamens and a prominent pistil which projects from the center. The flowers are followed by flat, black seed pods which remain on the plant for sometime.

The most common flower color is red-orange, sometimes with a yellow margin, but one variety has pure yellow flowers and on another they are strawberry-colored. Caesalpinia blooms almost continuously. Caesalpinia retains its leaves year-round. Feathery, compound leaves make the shrub more attractive. Caesalpinia can not tolerate frost.

In summer it require ample sun and the average temperatures should be 15 to 30º C in summer and 5 to 15º C in winter. The soil should be a heavy, nourishing mixture of well drained nature. Caesalpinia grows only to a height of about 3 meters.

The plants are propagated from seed.

Caesalpinia requires hard pruning, especially when young. In summer it requires liberal watering and manuring.

Planting in groups as mass effect of flowering. Background planting in beds. Planting with succulent foliage plants in the landscape.




Cassia surattensis   


            This tall shrub often a small tree derived its common name from continuous display of pale or bright yellow flowers that appear in quantity at the end of the braches. These have five petals and are similar in form to those of Golden Shower Tree but never look as spectacular since they do not hang and occur along with the leaves. This shrub grows rapidly and tolerates a considerable degree of neglect, these characteristics, together with its dependable flowering, no doubt account for its popularity.

There is considerable variation in flower color, from bright to very pale yellow. Flowering time is throughout the year. Evergreen leaves are compound and made up of about eight pairs of leaflets. It is a tropical and subtropical shrub, and cannot tolerate frost. This shrub tolerates poor soil, salt and drought. Thrives well on any well drained garden soil. Plant height 3 to 5 m.

The seeds occur in flat brown pods and germinate easily. Seedlings are ready within 4 months for transplanting. It needs watering at the establishment stage and light watering after that period.

This shrub is very common in gardens and often seen planted along city streets and roadsides.



Cestrum diarnum      


The Solanaceae Family includes tomato, potato, pepper, brinjal, tobacco, and petunia etc, but King of the Day is more important as ornamental flowering shrub. This graceful tall shrub produces clusters of greenish-white fragrant flowers during the day time; hence the name indicates. The flowers are followed by glossy black fruits, which are small in size. Flower color is Pale yellow. Flowering time Spring & Autumn. Evergreen, leathery, oblong and simple leaves 8 to 10 cm long. Leaves are usually alternate or becoming opposite at or near the inflorescence. It is a tropical and subtropical shrub. It grows well in any well drained garden soil. It is fairly a salt tolerant and drought resistant. Height of shrub is 3 to 4 m.

It is propagated through cuttings and by seeds. Hardwood cuttings are planted under moist condition. Plants are ready within 6 months for transplanting.

It needs regular irrigation at early stage of establishment and light irrigation after establishment.

Planting in groups as shrubbery. Planting with columnar shaped trees. This shrub is very common in lawns and gardens and often seen planted along city streets and roadsides.



Cestrum nocturnum     


Native to West Indies, this shrub has loose, open, delicate, and orange-colored branches. Flowers are produced in clusters, on the tips of the branches. The intensively fragrant, tubular flowers with pointed lobs open during the night time. Flowers are followed by blue or black fruits. All parts of the shrub are poisonous.                 Flower color is greenish to pale yellow or creamy-white. Throughout the year, but more profuse flowering occurs during the summer rainy season (Monsoon).

Shining, thin, leathery, evergreen leaves alternate, oval to oblong, have tapering ends and round at base. Leaves are approximately 5 to 10 cm long; and 3 to 5 cm wide. It is a tropical and subtropical shrub. It grows well in any well drained garden soil. It is fairly a salt tolerant and drought resistant. Plant height is 4 m.

It is propagated through cuttings. Hardwood cuttings are planted under moist condition. Plants are ready within 6 months for transplanting.

It needs regular irrigation at early stage of establishment and light irrigation after establishment.

Suitable for the corner and grove plantings. Planting under trees in the gardens. Planting in large parks for the fragrance and sweet smell during night.



Gardenia jasminoides 


            This bushy shrub is native to South China and Japan and has intensely and pleasurably scented, short-stalked double flowers and orange-red fruits. Gardenia flowers are short-lived, soon turning yellow with a black center, which is probably why they are less commonly seen in floral arrangements than other fragrant blossoms. Gardenia has strong woody branches. Flower color is Pure-white. Flowering time is Spring season.

            The evergreen, oblong to elliptic, leathery glossy green leaves have wrinkled surface. The leaves are shining. Regarded almost as an emblem of the humid tropics.  Rich acidic, well-drained soil. Gardenia can grow up to 3 m.

Seeds are sown in small pots individually and placed under moist condition. Leafy terminal cuttings (soft wood cuttings) are treated with 3,000 ppm IBA and rooted under mist from spring to fall. Gardenias are difficult to transplant and should be move only when small. Plants are ready within 6 to 8 months for landscape plantation.

Gardenia is usually kept smaller by pruning. It needs regular irrigation at early stage of establishment and light irrigation after establishment.

Used as a hedge plant, and background planting of flowering beds. Beautiful bedding shrub.



Hibiscus rosa-sinensis    


            There are a few tropical gardens that do not contain at least one, and usually several, of the numerous varieties of China rose. Hibiscus rosasinensis, the most common type, originated in South China, where it had much smaller flowers than the showy hybrids that have been developed over the years. Hibiscus flowers range in size from small to giant (some as much as 10 to 15 cm in diameter), occurs in both single and double forms. Though hibiscus flowers last only one day, most varieties bloom so profusely there are always several open at any time. Hibiscus flowers come in ruby-red color. It blooms throughout the year.

Evergreen, glossy green serrated (saw-toothed) and shining leaves.     Hibiscus’s beauty has been prized for many years and thus it spread to the subtropical and tropical countries of the world. Full sun to partial shade, average to moist, well-drained soil. Optimum growing temperature for summer season is 15 to 30º C; while for winter it is 10 to 15º C. Shrub grows to a height of 3 to 4 m.

Softwood and semi-hardwood cuttings are rooted under mist in liner pots with peat and perlite. Plants are ready within 6 to 8 months for the transplanting.   Whip grafting in the spring or cleft grafting or side grafting in late spring or early summer is successful. Scions of the current season’s growth, about pencil size, are grafted on rooted cuttings of about the same size.

Hibiscus is usually kept smaller by pruning. It needs regular irrigation at early stage of establishment and light irrigation after establishment.

Used as a hedge and specimen plant for the lawns. Planting with trees in gardens and parks. Excellent for the views and privacy. Used as potted plant for indoor decoration.



Lantana camara   


            As soon as it was introduced as an ornamental from its native South America, Lantana escaped the garden and is now found growing as a weed in most parts of Southeast Asia and Pakistan. The approximately 160 species described to date are mostly native to tropical America as well as East Asia, Lantana camara, the most common variety, is a prickly shrub. This vigorous shrub has small, dark, toxic berries and bee-attracting flowers, with a spicy lemon scent. Each flower cluster is made up of florets, tiny tubes which have five lobes. The flower clusters develop from the margin inward and the individual florets often change color during flowering. Flower clusters are flattened. Yellow flowers turn orange-scarlet with age. White, yellow, orange, pink and red color combinations are found in the same flower cluster. Flowering time is throughout the year.

Evergreen, ovate, pointed-toothed, hairy, rough, and dark-green leaves of Lantana have a pungent, sage-like smell when touched, which makes them unappealing to most animals and some people as well.

It is a tropical and subtropical shrub. It is very hardy and rough plant, can exist in severe drought and saline areas. For successful growth being ample light, best of all full sunshine. The soil should be a heavy mixture of leaf mould, loam with a fertile peat which help keep the medium evenly moist in summer. The optimum growing temperatures are 5 to 25º C.  Lantana reaches to a height up to 2 m.

Seeds germinate in six to seven weeks at 20º C. Softwood cuttings root easily.

All the shrub forms need frequent pruning to keep them from becoming leggy. It needs regular irrigation at early stage of establishment and light irrigation after establishment.

Suitable for the hedges in lawns and parks. Excellent for the views and privacy.  It can be used as ground cover. Used for the mass effect of flowers in the landscape.



Nerium oleander    


Oleander is native to a large area extending from Iran, China, up to Japan including Pakistan. It is found growing wild in Pakistan. The branches are smooth, shinning, and have sap in them. The flowers terminal or in clusters with central flowers opening first. There are some other ornamental varieties of oleander, having double flowers, and variegated leaves with white margins. All the plant parts are highly poisonous. Oleander flowers bloom in white, pink and deep red throughout the year. Evergreen, linear, much longer than broad; widening above the base and tapering to the apex, leathery, light green leaves are arranged in whorl on the branches. Leaves are arranged on the branches in 3’s.

It is a subtropical shrub. It is a very hardy plant and can tolerate heavy frost. Grows well in any garden soil. It is highly salt tolerant and drought resistant plant.      Plant height is 3 to 4 m.

Seedlings reproduce fairly true-to-type, although a small percentage of plants with different flower colors will appear. The seeds should be collected in late fall after a frost has caused the seed pods to open. Rubbing the seeds through a coarse mesh wire screen removes most of the fuzzy coating. The seeds are then planted immediately in the greenhouse in flats without further treatment. Germination occurs in about two weeks. Leafy cuttings root easily under mist if taken from rather mature wood during the summer.

It needs regular irrigation at early stage of establishment and light irrigation after establishment.

Used as a hedge plant, border plant, and background planting of flowering beds. Planting with trees in gardens and parks. Excellent for the views and privacy.



Rosa species


Approximately 200 botanical species of roses are natives of the Northern Hemisphere, including Himalayas (Pakistan). Beautiful, single and double, heavy flowering, spiny rose is the most popular of the flowers because of its beauty and fragrance and is rightly called the queen of flowers. No garden is considered complete without roses.

Roses usually are planted in the spring, and flower production may start 2 to 3 months after planting. Rose stems form leaves and increase in length in the early stages of growth. Eventually flower parts to form in the stem tip, and growth terminates with a flower. When the flower is cut, new shoot growth starts in the axils of the leaves below the cut, and the growth and flowering cycle is repeated. Growth and flowering are faster in good light and warm weather, but flowers are formed in the rose at any time regardless of the day length or season.

Roses bloom in rainbow colors, from white to pale pink, rose, brown, red, golden brown, gold, yellow, orange, and cream except blue.

The hybrid tea rose flowers perpetually in summer, in winter if the climate is warm, or in heated greenhouses but it flowers most profusely during the long, warm bright days of summer. Height is 1 to 2 m.

It is a warm temperate bush, but it can grow successfully in subtropical zones. Optimum growing temperatures are 15 to 18ºC at night. For most modern rose cultivars a green house night temperature of approximately 16°C is optimum for growth. Under certain cropping conditions slightly higher or lower temperatures might be maintained for relatively short periods of time without serious ill effects. Day temperatures are generally maintained at 20° or 21°C on cloudy days and 24° to 28°C on sunny days. Flowers of some cultivars developed excessive numbers of petals under low temperature conditions. These flowers had poor color and poor shape (formed cabbage heads) and often had poor keeping qualities even if they opened. In greenhouse where temperatures are maintained too high, flower size is small, petal count is low, and keeping quality is poor owing to soft growth of flowers and stems.

It can be grown on all types of soil. The soil should be slightly acidic (pH 6.5). A rich loamy soil is best. It needs full sun. Plants should be fertilized continuously with small quantities of nitrogen and potassium. Phosphorus and calcium are mixed into soil before planting and should be applied on the soil surface annually. It needs regular watering.

These woody shrubs are propagated from cuttings or by grafting onto a suitable rootstock. T-budding on vigorous rootstocks is most common, although the use of softwood and hardwood cuttings, chip budding, simultaneous budding and rooting, layering, and the use of the suckers are also practiced.

Pinching is nothing more than removing the flower bud at some stage before bloom. As soon as the bud is visible it may be removed along with stem and leaves to the second five-leaflet leaf. This is referred to as soft pinch. Pinches are considered to be soft until the bud develops to the size of a pea or slightly larger. Thereafter it is a hard pinch. There is generally little difference in the subsequent flowering shoot produced from either of these pinches; however, a soft pinch usually requires a few days more time to bloom.

Plants growing tall after one season should be pruned during winter. Pruning is the practice of removing the tops of the plants to a point where cutting and pinching can once again manage plant growth. Most rose cultivars need some pruning during the second year and each year thereafter. The first pruning after planting should be done to remove the tops to a point 60 to 90 cm above the soil line. Cutting back should be accomplished by cutting above a good eye situated on wood having green bark. Through proper pinching and cutting practices the second pruning can be made at a point slightly above that of the previous year. If properly pruned annually, may not have to be replanted for five to eight years depending on the health of the plants and soil structure (porosity), which affects the permeability to water.



Tecoma stans    


            Large, ornamental shrub, native to South America; fragrant-flowers in clusters, with funnel shaped corolla hairy inside; followed by the long narrow pod like fruits with full of seeds. Tecoma bears Bright yellow color in summer and autumn.  Partially deciduous, feather-formed leaves; with the oval leaflets of a compound leaf placed on either side of the axis.

It is a subtropical shrub. Grows well in any well-drained garden soil. It is fairly a salt tolerant and drought resistant plant. Tecoma is 4 to 6 m in height.

Plants are propagated by seed. Seeds are sown in the nursery in germination trays or on raised beds under moist condition. Seedlings are ready within 4 months for the transplanting in the pots.

It needs regular irrigation at early stage of establishment and light irrigation after establishment.

Suitable for gardens and parks. Specimen plant in the landscape. Planting with trees in line plantation for the avenues. Planting for the mass effect of bright yellow color in the landscape.






Acalypha wilkesiana


Handsome bush with woody stem; this species is native to the South Sea Islands. This species is not often cultivated in the home. It is hard to understand why this species tend to be bypassed by European nurseries. The evergreen leaves are a lovely coppery-green, scattered with red and crimson, 12 to 15 cm long, the margin bordered with white to pink lobes.

It is a tropical shrub grows at temperatures ranging from 10 to 30º C. Full sunshine is best for optimum growth. The soil should be as nourishing as possible, a mixture of loam, sand, peat and compost would be ideal. The soil should be moist. It grows to a height of approximately 2.5 m.

Propagation is by tip cuttings inserted in a mixture of peat and sand in a warm nursery bed, under mist.

If a home is sufficiently warm and light then there is no need to fear failure. The plant does not need a winter rest period and will do well if its basic requirements are satisfied. Fertilizers should be applied during the entire growth period, for the plant needs a rich diet. It stands up well to pruning so there is no need to fear that it will get out of hand. It requires frequent irrigation.

Suitable for public parks as well as being used as a potted plant. Suitable as house plant. Planting with foliage trees. Recommended as a group of plants for the mass effect in the landscape.



Atriplex crassifolia       


Atriplex crassifolia is belonging to spinach family. A small shrub forms an open head bush, branches are erect. Evergreen leaves silvery grey in color, 2 cm long, ovate in shape. It is a tropical and subtropical bush. Thrives in arid areas on dry, sandy soil, hardy, salt and drought resistant. It can be grown in marshy areas successfully.  It grows to a height 1 to 3 meters.

It is propagated through cuttings. Cuttings are planted in the field. Plants are ready within 6 months for the transplanting.

Suitable for hedges in arid land. Used as border planting. Planting as massing in depth on bare open spaces. Very useful bush for the greenery of the saline areas.



Bambusa nana     


Bamboos are herbaceous perennials. Bamboos are native to East and Central China. Bamboo has about 1,000 species in some 50 genera. Bamboos are possibly the world’s most useful plants, supplying material for all activities of life. This elegant evergreen has narrow stems that turn from green to an ornamental shiny brown when mature. Graceful variegated reed-like stems. The whole plant gives the colorful look in the garden. Many small fern-like evergreen leaves 4 to 10 cm long, smooth, and variegated (yellow with green strips). Blade-shaped leaves have pointed leaf-tip

It is a tropical and subtropical shrub. Grows well in well-drained garden soil. It prefers humid and moist conditions for the vigorous growth. In full sun plants develop bright color of branches and leaves. This bamboo attain a height of 3 to 4 m.

It is propagated by suckers and cuttings. Suckers are easier to grow and are economical for propagation. Plants are ready within one year for the transplanting.

Used for the grove filling, background and corner planting. Planting under tall trees. Suitable for the border planting.



Dodonaea viscosa


Rough, fast-growing shrub, with many upright branches, small whitish green flowers in clusters; straw like pinkish green seed capsules. It is found growing wild in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, China, North America, South Africa, and Australia.      Leaves are evergreen; narrow, willow-like, 10 cm long, green leaves.

It is a subtropical shrub. It grows at a wide range of altitudes, from sea level to above 2000 meters. The shrub grows in many types of soils, including sandy soil, medium loam soils and acid soils. It is a salt tolerant and drought resistant plant. Plant height is 3 to 4 m.

It is grown from seeds; seeds are sown in the nursery under moist condition. Seedlings are ready within 6 months for transplanting to actual place in the landscape.

It needs watering at the initial stage of growth and then grows on the natural rainfall moisture. But in arid zones it must be irrigated fortnightly. Regular pruning is necessary to keep in a specific shape, particularly when used as hedge.

One of the most common hedges for the lawns and link-road planting in Pakistan. Planting with flowering trees, for foliage beauty. Planting for the privacy and screening. Very use full plant for the dry hilly areas.



Dracaena margirnata   


More than 80 species have been recorded, distributed in the tropics and subtropics of Asia and Africa.  A decorative shrub, branching slender trunk; each cane or branch topped by leaves. The canes have the tendency to grow smoky and twisted, giving branch specimen artistic appearance.

            Evergreen, thick fleshy, dense green, narrow linear 30 cm long leaves, spreading horizontally.

It is restricted to subtropical areas. Grows well in any well-drained garden soil; and likes humid and cool climate for its vigorous growth of foliage. It can grow both in full sun and partial shade. Average growing temperature is 10 to 30º C.

Shrub grows to a height of 2 to 3 m.

Plants are propagated through suckers and through sets. Old canes are cut into pieces with 3 to 4 nodes and planted in the soil under moist conditions. Plants are ready within one year for transplanting in the pots or in the landscape. It is also propagated by air-layering.

It needs regular watering at the early stage of establishment, and light watering after that period.

Suitable for the indoor decoration. Planting with the flowering trees. Specimen shrub for the lawns. Background planting of the flowering beds.



Duranta repens    


            This tall shrub, seen in many gardens, receives its popular name from the small, yellow-orange berries that follow the flowers, in such quantities that they cause the slender branches to droop gracefully. The flowers are either white or a delicate lilac-blue and often appear in combination with the berries. A native of tropical America introduced to South Asia in relatively recent years; the shrub may grow several meters tall but is generally smaller.

Thin leathery, opposite leaves 6 cm long, glossy green and cream white or yellow border. There is another form of Duranta with variegated leaves, which blooms and fruits less profusely, as well as one in which the leaves are bright yellow in a sunny location. Leaves are evergreen.

It is a subtropical shrub. Grows well in any well-drained garden soil. Plant height is 3 to 5 m.

It is propagated through seeds, softwood cuttings and air-layering. Cuttings are planted under moist conditions in air tight low tunnels. Plants are ready within 4 months for transplanting.

Flowering and fruiting are almost continuous but the plant needs regular pruning to maintain an attractive shape. The yellow-leafed variety becomes a large shrub if not kept clipped back. It needs regular watering at frequent interval at the establishment period, light watering after that period.

They are often kept sharply pruned and used as ground covers or as low hedges, though they are sometimes trained into topiary-like standards. Accent plant for lawns. It is also used as indoor plant in pots.



Euphorbia pulcherrima    


            This native of Mexico, this branching shrub has become world-famous for its seasonal displays and offered as gifts in potted form.

Bright red is the most common color, but there are also creamy white and rose pink varieties. The poinsettia is a “short day” bloomer, which means that flowering is conditioned by the amount of daylight received; in most parts of the world, this account for its display of blooms in November and December. The “flowers” are actually bracts, as well as some with double bracts, which surround the real ones, which are unremarkable. A variety seen in Northern Thailand gardens has very small white bracts which entirely cover the plant during the winter months.

It grows well in subtropical climates only. Growth is best in well drained soil. It is a sizeable shrub which can grow to a height of 2 to 4 meters.

Plants are propagated through cuttings, which are planted under moist condition in plastic tunnels. Plants can be transplanted after 4 months.

It needs regular watering at the early stage of establishment, light watering after that period.

Used for the decoration of house. Used as border plant. Usually planted as background plant for flowering beds. Usually grown to produce immediate effect in the landscape.



Thuja orientalis   


This symmetric shrub is native of China and Japan. This evergreen conifer has orange-brown bark and upright cones on the shoot tips. Cones are highly fragrant; female cones 2 cm long, fleshy, bluish before ripening.

            Evergreen; tiny, scaly, aromatic, flattened-sprays of green leaves, needle like. It is a warm temperate shrub. Grows well in sandy loam, limestone, heavy clay and rich loam soils. Humid and cool environment is better for vigorous growth. Plant height is 1 to 2 m.

Plants are propagated by seeds. Germination is relatively easy, but stratification of seeds for 60 days at about 40º C may be helpful. Seeds are treated with boiling water or sulfuric acid before sowing. Seeds are sown in the nursery under moist condition. Seedlings are ready within 4 months for transplanting in the pots. Regular irrigation is necessary throughout its life.

Planting with umbrella shaped trees in the formal gardens. One of the most common hedges for the lawns. Planting along the path and walks in the parks and house lawn. It is grown in pots as house plant.






Allamanda cathartica      


It is only recently that this lovely plant begins to be sold at the florist’s and at garden centers. Allamanda is a woody climber from Brazil, the home of 11 further species of the same genus. The flowers are broadly funnel-shaped, the individual petals opening wide at the mouth, flowers measure up to 12 cm in diameters. All part of the plant including it milky sap, are poisonous. Flower color bright yellow. In cultivation, Allamanda flowers from mid-summer until autumn. In tropical areas it flowers continuously.

            The evergreen leaves 8 to 10 cm long; which are firm and leathery, are arranged in whorls of 3 to 4. It is a tropical climber. Summer average temperature should be 18 to 30º C. The most important requirement in cultivation is plenty of direct sun or at least a position that is very little shade. A sudden change in temperature may cause the plant to drop some of its leaves. It requires humid and cool environments; grows well in well-drained garden soil. In cultivation they rarely reach a height of more than 2 meters. They benefit, however, by a brief rest period in winter, about 2 or 3 months at a lower temperature (15 to 18º C) and with limited watering. The plant should be watered liberally, except during the resting period, and given an application of fertilizer.

They are very good for covering a lattice-work room divider, for framing a window with greenery, as well as for large window glasshouses and indoor glass plant-cases. Suitable for the training on supports and climbing on the walls and pillars. All varieties can be propagated easily by semi-hardwood cuttings in summer and fall.



Asarina erubescens     


            The Asarina is indigenous to Mexico, where it grows at elevation of approximately 1,000 meters.  It belongs to a relatively small genus comprising only about 10 species distributed in Mexico and the southern states of America. It is a relatively robust, persistent shrub that becomes woody at the base. It twines over shrubs and trees to which it clings with the leaf rachises and curved stems. Flowers are up to 7.5 cm long. Flowers are long trumped-like, covered on the outside with glandular hairs. The fruit is a large spherical capsule containing a large number of tiny, flat, winged seeds. The flowers of this species are purple but white or lilac forms are known too; however, are not as pretty. Flowering time mid-summer until autumn.

            It has beautiful foliage, for the leaves are unusually soft, with densely matted soft wool-like hairiness to felt. It is a subtropical climber. The most important condition in culture is rich, rather heavy compost (soil), a warm sunny and sheltered site in summer and if possible cool condition in winter. Optimum growing temperature is 15 to 25º C. It grows to a height of about 2 to 3 meters.

They are readily propagated by means of cuttings as well as seeds, which if sown early enough in spring, will produce flowering plants same year.

In spring plant should be cut back hard to the woody parts, transplanted, and watered more liberally. They should be watered lightly in winter.

Suitable for the training on supports and climbing on the walls and pillars. Planting in groups as mass effect of flowering. Background planting in beds.



Bougainvillea glabra     


Tropical and sub-tropical America is the home of some 14 species of the bougainvillea. Only two however, are of importance in cultivation. These are B.spectabilis and B.glabra both are from Brazil. B.spectabilis a strong twining climber with thick curved spines, the bracts of the type species are colored lilac. The B.glabra is some what smaller. These tropical bougainvilleas are very vigorous, woody climbers with spines. The vibrant color of this climber comes from the 3 large paper-like bracts that surround each flower.

Both types of the species are variable in the color of the bracts. Cross breeding has thus produce many of the new hybrids, with the bract color white, pink, and yellow-orange and all the shades of the red and the purplish-violet. Bougainvillea blooms profusely throughout the year. The foliage slightly covered with soft wool like hairiness. Bougainvillea is an evergreen plant.

Bougainvillea may be said to be sub-tropical rather than tropical plants, they require cool conditions in the winter. During the rest period they drop most of their leaves. Bougainvillea requires full sunlight. Optimum summer temperatures for the growth are 15-25˚C and winter temperatures are 5-10º C. Rain enhance flowering in all seasons. It grows out doors only in the mild climates. Bougainvillea can be grown on all types of soil. But the silt loam, deep, well-drained, humus rich soil is best for the growth. Height of the plant depends on the height of the support.

Bougainvillea can be propagated by leafy cutting taken at any time of the year. Rooting can be aided by supplementing bottom heat. Difficult to root cultivars should be treated with IBA. They grow readily from cutting 10 to 16 cm long, and in 4 to 6 weeks will develop good root system when given bottom heat and mist. Care should be taken in transplanting since the fine roots often do not knit the soil together in a firm root ball, and also roots are fragile.

In the summer season it require frequent irrigations, while in the winter season watering must be limited. These plants flower under stress. It response best to the fertilizers. But high quantities of Nitrogenous and organic fertilizers such as farm-yard-manure (FYM) will promote vegetative growth and bloom little. In Pakistan fertilizers application to Bougainvillea is generally avoided.

It is used as a hedge plant. Although normally climbers, they can be trained to stay bushy as the pot plants, hanging baskets, or the standard 1 meter high. Suitable for the walls covering, trellises, pillars and trees. Beautiful for the training with the front walls of the buildings. Planting for the pergolas and gates or entrances. Planting for the training on stands with other trees in line planting. Specimen plant for the lawn.



Ficus pumila

Ficus villosa       


            If we wish to know what the natural habitat of this species is like then we must go to Southeast Asia, say to Vietnam, where it grows in relative abundance. Arising from the thick layer of humus in the undergrowth are the towering trunks of giant trees. Very little light filters down to the forest floor, however, in the darkest part of the forest, where one would expect to find only shade loving plants, suddenly come across Ficus villosa climbing up the trunks of a tree, its leaves firmly pressed to the bark. Shade apparently, does not bother it, quite the opposing; it seems to shy away from spots touched by sunlight, even occasionally.

Anther commonly-known self-clinging fig, Ficus pumila, the recommended choice for a room with plenty of light. Beautiful, geometric, freely branching creeper, clinging to wall by roots like ivy. It is a wall painted creeper.

            The surface of the dark green leaves, of Ficus villosa, which have shine typical of many shade-loving plants. An unusual velvety-blue sparkle when viewed from a certain angle. Ficus pumila has small cordate, dark green leaves less than 2 cm long. Both species have heart-shaped evergreen leaves.

Ficus pumila is a subtropical plant, while Ficus villosa is a tropical plant.  Ficus villosa is probably the most shade-loving climbing Ficus. Ficus pumila, on the other hand, requires ample diffused light at the very least. Optimum growing temperature is 15 to 30º C. The rooting medium should be a mixture of peat and sand; as well as well-drained fertile garden soil, sandy loam and rich loam are the best soils. Both species needs humid and cool environment for vigorous growth and quick covering of the walls.

Ficus pumila is propagated with 10 to 13 cm long cuttings. The juvenile form, which is a climbing vine with aerial rootlets root easily all year round. The mature form lacks aerial roots, but can be rooted successfully with 2,000 to 3,000 ppm IBA. Ficus villosa is quite readily propagated by means of cuttings, which bleed ‘milk’, however, and should be soaked in lukewarm water for sometime before insertion in the rooting medium in a warm and, what is most important, moist propagator. The cuttings will form roots within 5 to 6 weeks, but not until they have formed 2 to 3 leaves should they be potted up. They need regular watering.

Ficus villosa is very good, for instance, in a dish arrangement that includes a trunk for it can climb on the shaded side. However, it is also attractive if it is allowed to climb up the wall of a room. Ficus pumila is suitable for the walls and trellises. Planting for the symmetric beauty of creeper. Indoor pot plant.



Jasminum grandiflorum (CHAMBELI)

Jasminum humile (YELLOW JASMINE)

Jasminum officinale (CHAMPA)

Jasminum pubescens (MOGRA)

Jasminum rex

Jasminum sambac (MOTIA)


JASMINUM GRANDIFLORUM IS THE NATIONAL FLOWER OF PAKISTAN. Jasmine is native to Pakistan, India and South East Asia. It is found growing wild in the North-western warm regions of Himalaya. While in Pakistan it is growing wild in Salt Range and Rawalpindi. Thanks to its potent fragrance, Jasmine is one of the most popular flowers throughout Southeast Asia and Pakistan, used for floral arrangements. Though there are several species, two are most frequently found in gardens and commercial nurseries, both with white flowers that may be single or double. Jasminum sambac, the most common, is an evergreen climber, sometimes kept clipped to form a low shrub; while not a particularly attractive plant, the flowers are strongly scented and continuous, thus making it popular with gardeners. This variety flowers best when kept dry, well fertilized, and frequently pruned. Jasminum rex, sometime called Royal Jasmine, is a handsome climber with much larger and more beautiful star-shaped flowers which are, however, only faintly fragrant. There are several other climbing varieties as well with small flowers. Jasmine flowers bloom continuously throughout the year only in two colors white and yellow.

            Evergreen, glossy, compound leaves have up to 7 leaflets. The leaves have dark green color. It is a tropical plant but grows well in subtropical, and warm temperate regions.

They require sunny to partial shady places. Sandy loam, loam, and clay loam soils are best for optimum growth. These are fairly salt tolerant and drought resistant plants. Jasmine grows to a height is 2 to 4 meters.

Propagated without difficulty by leafy semi-hardwood cuttings taken in late summer and rooted under mist. Jasminum sambac is propagated by single- or double-node cuttings that root within 4 to 5 weeks. Layers and suckers also can be used. It needs regular irrigation. Irrigation enhance flowering in jasmine.

Suitable for the trailing and creeping on walls and pergolas. Suitable for training on trellises, supports or wire netting and trees. Trained and used as shrub for the lawns. Very useful creeper for the arid areas. Suitable for flowering beds. Used as ground cover. Planting for the privacy.



Lonicera japonica     


Genus Lonicera has 160 species. Graceful climber with woody stem and branches is native to Japan, Korea and China. Fragrant flowers, followed by poisonous black berries. Flowers open white and turn yellow. Lonicera flowering time is spring to summer.

            This evergreen or semi-evergreen has hairy leaves. Ovate-elliptic (oval in outline, being narrowed to rounded ends and widest at or about the middle), opposite, and usually simple leaves. It is a subtropical climber. Sun or part shade. Grows well in any well drained garden soil. They need cool humid environment. In cultivation it reaches to a height of about 4 meter.

Seeds show considerable variation in their dormancy conditions, some species have, seed-coat and embryo dormancy, while other have only embryo dormancy, or no dormancy inhibition. This variability also occurs among different lots of seeds of the same species. In general, however, for prompt germination, stratification for two to three months at about 4º C is recommended. Most honeysuckle species are propagated easily by hardwood cuttings, softwood cuttings (spring), or semi-hardwood cuttings (summer) propagated under mist. Layering of vine types is very easy, since roots form wherever the canes become buried under moist soil.

They need regular irrigation. Training and trimming for proper creeping and climbing is necessary. To enhance its beauty it is necessary to support it.

Suitable for the house walls and verandahs. Planting for the netting work. Planting for the ground covers.



Pothos scandens      


Pothos scandens is native to Pakistan, India and Malaysia, is often found in botanical gardens. Some 50 species growing in tropical Asia, mostly Malaysia, have been described to date. They are generally found climbing over the trunks of trees and stones. The genus Pothos includes only climbing plants. The inflorescence is relatively small, a spadix enclosed by a spathe; the flowers are complete. The base of the plant often rots, leaving only the stem which grows as an epiphyte attached to the growing compost by short clinging roots; this seems to be the rule rather the exception, supported by the experience of gardeners in botanical gardens.

Pothos is an evergreen plant. The entire leaf is about 12 cm long and it has winged stalk; with leaves distinctly composed of a blade and leaf stalk, the latter being wing-like. The leaves are variegated. It is a tropical climber. They require a very moist environment and so are found mainly beside streams and waterfalls where they are continually sprayed with water, often in relatively deep shade. Optimum growing temperature is 15 to 30º C. grows well in well-drained garden soil.

Each section of the stem with at least two pairs of leaves will readily give rise to a new plant if detached and grown separately. It continuously require moist soil, therefore, regular irrigation is necessary.

Pothos should be grown as an epiphyte, primarily in a plant-case on a trunk on bare bark. Suitable for the climbing on trees and pillars. Used as potted plant for the indoor walls and roofs. Planting for the network on wires.



Quisqualis indica


            This vigorous climber is native to Southeast Asia. It is also sometimes popularly called Drunken Sailors, possibly a reference to the way the flowers bob up and down in a strong wind. It produces clusters of small, fragrant flowers, having slender green tubes 6 cm long. A double variety introduced in fairly recent years has unusually large clusters of frilly (ornamental edging of woven material) flowers.  Flowers which start off white and then turn pink or crimson as they grow older. Flowering is several times a year, in some places almost continuously.

            Evergreen, simple, alternate, and light-green leaves (covered with soft short hairs). It is a tropical and subtropical climber. Grows well in well-drained garden soil. It is fairly salt tolerant plant reaching a height of about 6 to 10 meter.

Propagation is by root suckers or by woody stem cuttings.

The Rangoon Creeper grows so rapidly, especially during the rainy months, that it can quickly get out of hand and invade neighboring areas if not controlled by frequent pruning. Some growers believe it should be cut back hard every two or three years and substantially every year at the end of the rainy season. It needs regular watering.

It is most often seen growing over pergolas or walls. Planting for the climbing on trees. Planting for the pillars and roofs.



Rosa marshallniel     


Native to the northern temperate zone; beautiful, single and double, heavy flowering, spiny rose is the most popular of the flowers because of its beauty and fragrance and is rightly called the queen of flowers. Roses are woody perennials. There is a tremendous diversity of growth habit, flower form, and color among roses. Climbing roses are of rather indeterminate growth, possess relatively large flowers and stiff wood, and do not renew them from the base every year.      

Roses bloom in rainbow colors, from white to pale pink, rose, brown, red, golden brown, gold, yellow, orange, and cream except blue. The climbing rose blooms perpetually in summer, in winter if the climate is warm, or in heated greenhouses but it flowers most profusely during the long, warm bright days of summer.

Deciduous, compound, oval in outline; being narrowed to rounded ends and widest at or about the middle, saw-toothed, feather-formed leaves with 5 to 7 leaflets. Most species have hairs beneath the leaves. It is a warm temperate bush, but it can grow successfully in subtropical zones. It can be grown on all types of soil. Roses prefer porous and well-drained, medium-heavy clay loam soils, containing 20 to 30% clay. They do not like heavier soils. A rich loamy soil is best. The soil should be slightly acidic (pH 6.5). Optimum growing temperatures are 15 to 18º C at night. It needs full sun.

These woody shrubs are propagated from cuttings or by grafting onto a suitable rootstock. T-budding on vigorous rootstocks is most common, although the use of softwood and hardwood cuttings, chip budding, simultaneous budding and rooting, layering, and the use of the suckers are also practiced.

Newly set out plants are irrigated immediately after planting. Pruning is the most important, yearly operation. All suckers, weak branches, and dry, diseased, and otherwise undesirable growth is removed. Early spring, before the start of the new growth, is the best time for pruning. If properly pruned annually, may not have to be replanted for five to eight years depending on the health of the plants and soil structure (porosity), which affects the permeability to water. Plants should be fertilized continuously with small quantities of nitrogen and potassium. Phosphorus and calcium are mixed into soil before planting and should be applied on the soil surface annually. It needs regular watering.

No garden is considered complete without roses. Suitable for flowering beds. Specimen plant in the landscape. Used as a hedge plant, border plant, and background planting of flowering beds. It is most often seen growing over pergolas or walls. Planting for the climbing on trees. Planting for the pillars and roofs.





Philodendron spp.


If you’re nervous growing houseplants, start with philodendrons—they‘re durable plants that don’t take much fussing to stay looking good. Philodendrons produce climbing or bushy growth that can eventually reach 2.7 m tall. Their stems carry thin aerial roots and usually lobed green leaves that can be marked with gold, red, or white. The young leaves are often not as distinctively shaped or colored as the older ones.

Medium to high, indirect light; bushy types tolerate lower light. Warm conditions, with nights around 18°-21°C. Keep the soil just moist. Philodendron grows fine in almost any mix; it will even root and grow in water! Repot at any time. Fertilize every three months. Direct sun can produce tan patches of sunburn on leaves; move the plant out of the sun to prevent further damage. Take tip or stem cuttings from vining types at any time. Grow self-heading (bushy) types from seed, or separate and pot up the offsets.



Raphidophora aurea


Pothos is a trailing or climbing houseplant that’s often confused with philodendron. It’s a real survivor that can take some neglect. This vining plant produces long stems that can climb to 12 m if left unpruned. The stems will trail out of a hanging basket or climb a support, clinging with aerial roots. The leathery, heart-shaped leaves grow to 10 cm long. The foliage and stems are bright green and richly splashed with yellow and/or white. High, indirect light is best, although the plant adapts to less. Average room temperature suits very well. Let the soil dry somewhat between watering, especially for plants growing in low light. Make sure the soil is not very wet or dry.

Grow pothos in a soil-based potting mix in hanging baskets or trained on wire wreath forms. Fertilize twice a year, while the plant is producing new growth. Cut the stems back if they get leggy. Wash the leaves occasionally. Pothos is generally pest-free. If you notice the leaf and stem markings are fading, move the plant to a brighter spot. Take tip cuttings at any time of the year.



Cissus spp.


Grape ivies make splendid foliage vines, adapting to low light and dry air without too much fuss. Provide same kind of trellis so vines can climb. These tendril-climbing vines can grow to 3 m. The fleshy, green leaves grow to 10 cm long; they are sometimes fuzzy underneath. Grape ivy (C. rhombifolia), from tropical America, has large, metallic green, lobed leaves and is very easy to grow. Kangaroo vine (C. antarctica) is a vigorous grower with shiny, leathery leaves; it hails from Australia. Dwarf grape ivy (C. striata), from Chile, is a compact climber with small, five-lobed leaves. It needs medium to high light, but keep the plant out of direct sun. It requires warm conditions but cooler than 24°C. Keep the soil evenly moist, but don’t let the plant sit in water. It can tolerate low humidity.

Provide all-purpose mix in very well-drained baskets. Repot as needed. Fertilize twice a month in spring and summer. Pinch sideshoots back frequently to encourage dense growth. Grape ivies are generally problem-free. Take stem cuttings for propagation at any time, or grow new plants from seed.



Hoya carnosa


Wax vine’s long stems can climb up trellises or trail around window frames. This milkweed relative produces clusters of very fragrant, starry blooms from May to September. Wax vine has succulent, 7 cm, silvery green leaves atop trailing vines that climb to 6 m. clusters of small, pinkish, red-centered flowers dangle from the stems in summer. It requires high light, but direct midday sun should be avoided. Climatic requirement is intermediate to warm conditions not below 10° C.

Let the soil dry between waterings. In winter reduce water drastically, just enough to prevent shriveling. Do not use cold water. Grow in a peat moss-based mix in a pot, or in a hanging basket lined with sphagnum moss. Provide potted plants with a trellis or wire hoop; wind the stems counterclockwise around the support. Fertilize once in a spring with an all purpose fertilizer. Once bud form, avoid moving the vine. Wax vine must be 90 cm long to bloom, so avoid pruning. It is propagated in spring by cuttings.



Antigonon leptopus     


            Also variously known as the Mexican Creeper, Bride’s Tears, and the Honolulu Creeper, this native of Mexico (where it is called “chain of love” is a slender climber seen growing on many walls and fences. The flowers have no petals, the colored parts being the calyx; they last for sometime in water and are thus useful in flower arrangements. The plant climbs by means of curling tendrils and grows quite rapidly. Almost continuous sprays of small flowers that are usually pink but also occur in white throughout the year.

            It has rough, heart-shaped, evergreen leaves with heavy waxy edges. Leaves are light green in color. It is a tropical creeper. Coral creeper need full sun to flower profusely and, as their place of origin suggests, do not like damp locations. Grows well in well-drained garden soil. Reaching a height as high as 10 m, if provided with proper support.

Propagation is by seeds, but those from the white variety do not breed true and cuttings must be used.

The lower parts, however, become rather bare after a time and the vine may have to be sharply pruned back if a thick screen is desired. It needs regular watering.

Suitable for the netting work. Planting for the pergolas and porches. Planting for the covering of old and dry trees. Planting of fence covering for the flowering beauty.



Aristolochia elegans      


Climbers include many plants with attractive flowers, but few with such striking ones as those of the calico plant. These are curious to say the least, with their bent tubes expanding to a cup, often fringed on the margin. In many species, the flowers are borne on drooping branches. They are pollinated by insects, which are often captured in the bent corolla tube and ‘released’ after pollination. The genus is so large that it offers a truly wide selection. According to some authorities it embraces 300 species, according to others 500, mostly native to the tropics. Aristolochia elegans is native to Brazil. The flowers are up to 12 cm long and 10 cm across.    Flowers are yellowish; the cup is dark purplish-brown inside with white markings, bloom throughout the year.

            It has dense foliage. The huge, handsome, heart-d leaves have rich, glossy, dark green color. It is a tropical species. Optimum growing temperatures are 18 to 30º C. It should be grown in full sun. The growing medium should be a peat and sand mixture plus loam. Vine height is about 10 meter.

They are readily propagated by means of cuttings or seeds.

It stands up very well to spring pruning so that it can easily be kept within reasonable bounds. Water liberally and fertilized the plant often, for it need a rich diet.

Calico is often used to cover fences and arbors in the gardens. Its rapid, vigorous growth is ideal for a porch, trellis, pergola or archway. It provide opaque screen for complete privacy.



Asparagus myrifolius      


The genus Asparagus contains some 300 species, some of which are extraordinarily lovely and far from mere ‘supplementary greenery’. This species is native to tropical Asia and Africa, where it grows in thin, open forests. Attractive twining vine with thread like stems. The stem branches greatly so that the plant soon fills the space around it.

The leaves of asparagus are not true leaves, for these are shrinking in size and generally form only membranous scales from the axils, in which the stem has taken over the photosynthetic function of the leaves. Fresh, glossy green, little ovate, evergreen leaves to 2 cm long. It is a subtropical vine. Grows well in well-drained rich loam or well fertile soil. It require humid and cool environment for the vigorous growth. Many species require at least a partial resting period with limited watering in winter. Optimum growing temperature is 10 to 25º C. Partial shade is best for vigorous growth. It reaching a height of about 15 meters.

Plants are propagated by seed and through suckers or division of plant. Seeds should never be fully covered nor unduly shaded. One plant is divided into 5 to 10 plants with root and shoot and transplanted in the pots for the establishment. These plants are ready to be planted within 6 months.

Cultivation is relatively easy. It requires regular watering.

Suitable for pillars and supports. Planting under shade for the decoration of the walls. It can be used as potted plant with support.



Bignonia tuicediana     


            Beautiful flowers are borne on this tough, adaptable vine. Climbing is by tendrils, although these will attach well to wood, stone or other porous surfaces. It is vigorous plant, its rather open, see-through form does not cover up the structure supporting it; a useful characteristic when its desire to soften, rather than hide, architectural form. Peachy-apricot (orange-yellow) colored flowers are funnel-shaped followed by fruit with full of seeds. Flowers blooms in late spring and early summer.

            The divided leaves are an attractive dark green, perfect to set off the scads of brilliant flowers. This is an evergreen vine, with 2 ovate leaflets, each to 15 cm long. It is a plant of warm temperate region but can be grown in subtropical areas. This is an easy plant to grow, adaptable to just about any condition, even difficult soils from full sun to shade. Thrives well in rich loam soil. Vine grows to a height of about 30 meters or more.

Plants are propagated by seeds. Seeds are sown in the nursery on raised beds, in pots or in germination trays. Seedlings are ready within three months for the transplanting in pots. Regular irrigation enhances vigorous growth and improves flower quality.

Suitable for the walls and trellises. Planting for the covering of old trees. Planting for the netting on wires to provide privacy.



Ipomoea horsfalliae     


The genus Ipomoea includes not only the species popularly known as Morning Glory but also numerous others, one of them the familiar sweet potato. The Morning Glory bursts into bloom when the sun first strikes it. Morning glories grow slowly at first, and then really take off when the weather heats up in midsummer. Established vines are generally problem-free. A tender perennial vine grown as a tender annual is native to Tropics. The pointed buds of this fast-growing climber open in early morning to reveal showy, trumpet-shaped flowers up to 12 cm across. Each flower lasts for only a day, but new buds open every day through summer. Individual flowers are open in the morning and often close in the afternoon. On the cloudy day the flowers remain open during the day.

The corolla may be purple, blue, pink, red, yellow, or white with a lighter colored tube. Flowering time is from winter to spring. It has evergreen, palmately lobed leaves.  It grows well in tropical, subtropical and even in warm temperate areas.  Full sun is best, although these plants can take some shade; average, well drained soil. High fertility and moisture will produce abundant foliage but few flowers. Optimum growing temperature is 10 to 30º C. Height to 4 m or more; ultimate height and spread depend on the size of the vine’s support.

Morning glory grows easily from seed sown directly into the garden. Soak seed over night, and then plant it 12 mm deep in individual pots. Seeds germinate in one to three weeks at 20-30º C. Thin seedlings to stand 20-30 cm apart. Species can be readily propagated by cuttings.

Before planting, make sure you have a sturdy trellis for the vines to climb. Stick short pieces of twiggy brush around the young plants to support the stems. Water during the dry spells. Pinch off spent flowers to prolong the bloom season.

Morning glory makes a good quick-growing screen for shade or privacy. It also looks great climbing through large shrubs or roses or on a trellis or wall behind a cottage garden. Suitable for training against houses, verandahs and trellis work. Planting for wire netting and walls. Planting for climbing on pillars. An excellent ground cover for the slopes on canal banks and sandy shores. Annual species can be used as a potted plant for indoor/house planting.



Monstera deliciosa   


            Native to the tropical rain forests of the southern Mexico, Guatemala, parts of the Costa Rica and Panama. The plant is fast growing stout, herbaceous vine over the ground and forming the extensive mats if unsupported. The stems are cylindrical heavy 6-7 cm thick, rough with leaf scars, and producing numerous long, tough aerial roots.

The leathery evergreen leaves on strong, erect, flattened petioles to 90 cm long are oval, chordate at the base, to 90 cm or more in length and 80 cm wide, deeply cut into 22 cm strips around the margins and perforated on each side of the mid-rib with elliptic or oblong holes of various sizes.

Optimum growing temperature is 15-20˚ C. The Monstera is strictly tropical and therefore cannot tolerate the frost. It does best in the semi-shade and as requires high humidity. The plant grow vigorously in almost any soil, including lime stone but flourishes best in the well drained, rich loam. It is not adapted to the saline conditions. Climbing trees to the height of the 30m or more.

Monstera can be propagated by means of seed and tissue culture. Generally propagation is by means of stem cutting, which may be simply set in the beds or pots where the vine is intended to grow. Suckers or offshoots, with or without roots, can be separated from parent plants and transplanted successfully.

Care should be taken to keep the soil moist. A complete fertilizer may be applied two times a year. It is also essential to give a dose of suitable organic fertilizer such as farm-yard-manure (FYM).

Although normally climbers, they can be trained to stay bushy as the pot plants, hanging baskets, or the standard 1 meter high. Suitable for the walls covering, trellises, pillars and trees. Planting for the pergolas and gates or entrances. Specimen plant for the lawn.




Thunbergia alata     


If you want to grow bright and cheerful Black-Eyed Susan vine as a climber, install a support; such as plastic netting or a trellis; before planting seeds.  Thunbergias may be said to be still waiting to be ‘discovered’. This species is one of the few that are found in cultivation even though it cannot be said to be the prettiest of the 100 or so known species that make up the genus. It does better indoors where it should be put in full sun. Plants produce twining vines with pointed buds, which open to rounded, flattened, 7.5 cm wide flowers. It is interesting to note that the species primarily grown in cultivation are from South Africa and India.

Solitary flowers on long axillary peduncles, the funnel-shaped corolla is cream-colored and the throat a dark purple. Each flower has 5 rounded segments and the corolla can vary in color from cream to white to yellow to orange. It will flower from June until autumn.

Opposite, triangular-ovate, to 7.5 cm long, base cordate, margin toothed, have hairs on both surfaces; petioles are winged. It is a tropical climber. In a sunny, sheltered spot in the garden. Summer temperatures should be 15 to 25º C; winter temperatures should be 5 to 10º C. Moist fertile soil. Humid and cool environment is suitable for this climber which reaches a height of about 1 to 2 meters.

Seeds germinate in two to three weeks at 21 to 24º C, but seedlings grow slowly. Softwood cuttings taken from new shoots root readily. Black-Eyed Susan is generally grown as an annual sown in March.

Water should not be supplied too copiously even in summer and should be practically withheld in winter. They quickly make new growth after spring pruning when provided with warm conditions and soon bear flowers after about 1½ months.

Nevertheless, it is a nice plant and suitable for growing as a house plant. It is used as trailing plant for containers such as window boxes, pots and hanging baskets. It also well as a screen when allowed to twine on a trellis or fence. The plant is dense grower, literally covering supports with foliage and flowers. This vine is a good fast-growing screen for shade or privacy. It also makes a feature in a hanging basket.







Cycas revoluta


This stately plant resembling a thick-stemmed palm is one of the loveliest evergreen species grown for ornament. This is found in the tropics and subtropics of the Old World from Madagascar to southern Japan. The said species is native to Southeast Asia; its range is extending from the East Indies through China to southern Japan. All have an erect stem covered with woody leaf scars.

The leaves are pinnate, relatively large and their structure adapted to dry conditions. The evergreen leaves are a lovely deep green, up to 2 m long, and last many years. Grows well in temperatures ranging from 10º to 30º C. The soil should be a mixture of loam, peat and sand. Adult plants reach a height of 3 m, but they have a very slow rate of growth.

Propagation is relatively easy: either by means of seeds, which are approximately 3 cm long, or by side-shoots which grow at the base of older trunks. They will root readily with bottom heat and moist soil; however the atmosphere should be on the dry side.

In summer it requires fortnightly irrigation. Fertilizers should be supplied regularly during the growing season.

Suitable for formal gardens and lawn. It can be used as house plant because of its slow growing habit.



Livistona chinensis


Spectacular, large, graceful, fan palm with thick trunk, 6 to 8 m in height; glossy fresh green, planed leaves having one meter width which is larger than length, cut half way in to many narrow, one ribbed segments, petiole arms with small spines; fruit blue olive size.           

It is easily propagated by seed. Seeds are sown in the compost under moist conditions. Seedlings are ready for transplanting within 6 months.

It is a subtropical palm, grows well in sandy loam to loam soil. It needs regular watering and moist condition throughout its growing period.

Suitable for the open space landscape. Planting with flowering shrubs. Specimen plant for the lawns. Used in formal plantation in gardens and parks.




Mascarena regaughanii 


Beautiful massive trunk, thickly swollen from the base, becoming gradually smaller and forming an elongated neck; pinnate leaves few but graceful arching on brown red petiole, almost 2 m long, black fruit 2 cm diameter.

It is easily propagated by seeds. Seeds are sown in nursery under moist and humid conditions. Seedlings are ready within 6 months fro the transplanting in pots and plants are available for the landscape within 2 years.

It is a tropical plant, grows well in well-drained garden soil. It needs regular watering and humid climate. It can grow successfully in subtropical areas with frequent watering and protection from sun heat for the first 3 years.

Used for symmetrical design. Suitable for the roadside avenues. Planting with flowering shrubs. Recommended for the high rise buildings.



Phoenix canariansis 


Very thick trunk; crown 5 to 6 wide, graceful ornamental tree, 10 to 15 m in height, with arching pinnate leaves 4 m long, the short stalk armed with yellow spines, leaflets glossy green in various directions; on female plant small yellow fruits in large clusters.

It is propagated by offshoots and seeds are sown in pots. Offshoots are produced at the base of the plant. Mostly, plants are ready with roots within 2 to 3 years for the transplantation.

It is a subtropical plant, grows well in sandy loam soil. Prefers rich moist soil for fastest growth. It is reasonably salt tolerant and drought resistant plant. It needs regular watering at the early stage of establishment, light watering if and when required after that period.

Suitable for desert landscape plantation. Planting with flowering shrubs. Recommended for the formal gardening. To be used in areas where a regular and bold vertical shape is needed. Good Boulevard and street tree. Excellent slow growing container plant when young.



Roystonea regia 


Handsome smooth, erect grey trunk tree, 15 to 20 m in height, with a terminal crown of graceful aching fronds regularly pinnate 2 m long, bright green and prominently ribbed and arranged in double rows.

Plants are propagated by seed. Seeds are sown in nursery under moist and humid conditions. Seedlings are ready within 6 months and plants in pots are available after 2 years for the transplanting in the landscape.

It is a tropical plant, grows well in sandy loam to loam soil. It is reasonably salt tolerant plant. It needs regular watering and humid climate.

Suitable for formal gardening. Used for the roadside planting. Used with flowering trees mixed planting. An excellent specimen plant.



Washingtonia filifera


Beautiful massive erect grayish trunk palm, 15 to 20 m in height, usually clothed by the densely shiny older leaves and looking like a skirt, unless burnt off; the top, with a crown palmate, grey green, leathery fronds 1.5 m long, divided more than half way to base and with many long threads attached to segments. Trunk ringed with leaf-scars. Flowers in July/August, with small, creamy-white flowers abundant in loose panicles emerging from the crown and developing into small black, spherical fruits.

It is propagated by seed. Seeds are sown under moist and humid conditions. Seedlings are ready within 6 months and plants transplanted after one year.

It is a subtropical palm, grows well in desert and drier areas. It requires dry hot climate. It is a salt tolerant and drought resistant plant. It needs watering at the early stage of establishment and gradually stopped.

Used for the desert area landscape. Suitable for the roadside planting. Planting with flowering and foliage trees. Used for background planting.



Washingtonia robusta


Tall graceful fast growing palm, 20 to 25 m in height, glossy bright green foliage, the painted fan-shaped leaves are stiff and lightly cut to 1 meter long and with fibrous threads during developing stage, fruit black brown.

Plants are propagated by seed. Seeds are sown in nursery under humid and moist conditions. Seedlings are ready within 4 months and plants are transplanted within one year.

It is a subtropical palm, grows well in arid land climate. It needs watering at an early stage of establishment and then gradually decreased. It is a salt tolerant and drought resistant palm tree.

Suitable for arid zone landscaping. Planting with flowering and foliage trees in large parks and gardens. Used as house plant for the first 2 to 3 years. Used for background planting. Recommended for the corner plantation.







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Acclimatization.  The adaptation of an individual plant to a changed climate, or the adjustment of a species or a population to a changed environment, often over several generations.

Adaptation.  The process of change in structure or function of an individual or population caused by environmental changes.

After ripening.  Physiological changes that must take place in a primary dormant seed before it can germinate.

Alternate leaf arrangement.  An arrangement characterized by one leaf per node on different sides along the stem.

Anthesis.  Full flower; the period of pollination. Flowering; strictly, the time of expansion of a flower when pollination takes place, but often used to designate the flowering period; the act of flowering.

Background plant.  A plant similar to a hedge or screen plant but often is flowerless and provides a backdrop or framework for smaller or showier plants.

Bed.  A garden spot with definite dimensions that stands as a distinct landscape unit, and can be viewed from all sides. It may be composed of one or more plant species.

Blade.  Usually, the flattened, green, expanded part of a leaf.

Border.  A garden spot similar to a bed, but generally including more than one plant type and often is lined by larger plants or walls. Borders are typically viewed from the front and sides only, but not from the back. Plants described only as border plants often have a rangy or irregular growth habit that makes them undesirable as specimens or difficult to mass.

Bract.  Modified leaves, frequently present at the base of flowers. Bracts may be very eye-catching and appear to be part of the flower. A much-reduced leaf, particularly the small or scale-like leaves in a flower cluster or associated with the flowers; morphologically a foliar organ.

Branch.  Lateral portion of the tree that originates from the trunk or from another branch and gives rise to shoots, twigs, and leaves.

Break.  New lateral shoot often developed following removal of apical dominance by pinching.

Bush.  A low and thick shrub, without distinct trunk.

Carpet bedding (carpet bed).  Plants that, due to their evenness of growth, symmetry, and/or, lateral spreading qualities, produce a flat-topped or carpet appearance; usually require close planting.

Chimera.  A plant composed of two or more genetically different tissues. Plant part consisting of tissues of diverse genetic constitution, often observed in flowers.

Climate.  The long-term average weather conditions.

Columnar.  A plant shape in which it grows upright, narrow and has rounded top. Somewhat rigid in appearance and has branching strongly vertical.

Compound Leaf.  A leaf of 2 or more leaflets. A leaf with the blade divided into several leaflets or sections.    

Container plant.  Plant with one of two (or both) qualities; (1) drought tolerance and willingness to stand root constriction; (2) upright growth combined with lateral spread.

Corolla.  Inner perianth (petals) of a flower. Inner circle or second whorl of floral envelops.

Corona.  A crown like out growth from a corolla tube. Any appendage or extrusion that stands between the corolla and stamens, or on the corolla. It is especially prominent in daffodils (Narcissus).

Creeper.  A trailing shoot that takes root mostly throughout its length; sometimes applied to a tight-clinging vine.

Crown.  The base of a plant, where stem and root meet. That part of the stem at the surface of the ground.

Cultivar.  Cultivated variety. Plants derived from a cultivated variety that has originated and persisted under cultivation, not necessarily referable to a botanical species, and of botanical or horticultural importance, requiring a name. The subdivision of a species that originated through human efforts, such as breeding program or selection.

Deciduous.  Falling at the end of one season of growth or life, as the leaves of non-evergreen trees. Refers to trees and shrubs that lose their leaves every fall.

Dew point.  The temperature at which a given mixture of air and water vapor will reach 100 % relative humidity or at which condensation will start to occur.   


Dioecious.  Type of sex expression where plants produce staminate (male), and pistillate (female) flowers on separate plants.

Diurnal.  Opening only during hours of daylight.

Dormancy.  A state of suspended growth or the lack of outwardly visible activity caused by environmental or internal factors.

Double flowerSaid of flowers that have more than the usual or normal number of floral envelops, particularly of petals.

Edging plant.  A plant similar to a hedge plant; edging plants generally have a mounded appearance, contribute softness to the bed or border margins.

Evergreen.  Remaining green in its dormant season; sometimes applied to plants that are green throughout the year; properly applied to plants and not to leaves, but due to the persistence of leaves.

External dormancy.  The inability to grow caused by unfavorable external conditions such as moisture, temperature, oxygen, or light.

Family.  A group of closely related genera or, in a few cases, a single genus.

Fastigiate.  A plant shape in which it grows upright, narrow and tapers to a point at its top.

Filler.  Nondescript plants (at least when massed or for most of the year) used in a garden area to back up, surround, or “fill” around a specimen plant; filler plants should be green for most of the season.

Floret.  The individual small flower, especially when part of a dense inflorescence.

Floriferous.  Flower-bearing.

Flower.  A shoot of determinate growth with modified leaves that are supported by a short stem; the structure involved in the sexual reproductive processes of angiosperms.

Foliage plant.  Any plant grown primarily for its foliage and utilization for interior decoration or interior landscape purposes. While it may have flowers, these will be secondary compared to foliage features.

Formal garden.  A landscape laid out mainly in straight lines, which may include complicated bed designs, hedges, and/or specimen plants of extreme or contrived shapes.

Formal landscape plant.  A plant that is rigid, dense, or compact in form or can be pruned to be so.

Frost.  The weather condition in which the temperature drops below 0º C.

Groundcover plant.  Any plant that spreads laterally to “cover the ground” surrounding the plant. Though low vining or trailing plants usually make good groundcovers, larger arching plants will also serve effectively. The best groundcovers are usually those that reproduce themselves asexually on surrounding ground and form a dense mat that serves as mulch against soil evaporation and weed growth.

Growth.  An irreversible and permanent increase in volume, dry weight, or both.

Hedge.  Plants that have a naturally dense growth habit and will grow together to form a tight continuous line when planted in a row. These plants may also function as screen plants and usually will stand shearing though they do not require it.

Herb.  Plant naturally dying to the ground; without persistent stem above ground; lacking definite wooding firm structure.

Humidity, relative.  The ratio of the weight of water vapor in a given quantity of air to the total weight of water vapor that quantity of air is capable of holding at a given temperature, expressed as a percentage.

Indoor pot plant.  A plant that will tolerate pot culture and indoor conditions of lower light and humidity.

Inflorescence.  A flower cluster; arrangement of flowers on a plant; flowering part of a plant; or the flowering habit of a plant.

Informal garden.  A landscape indifferently designed with few straight lines. An informal garden may be set in a wild area or may be planned to appear wild.

Informal landscape plant.  A plant that is loose, often disorderly, in growth habit, that may propagate itself asexually, and that usually appears similar in form and texture to temperate plants.

Landscape.  Any definable or singularly distinct space, whether artificially arranged and designed or natural, that includes all objects and structures in that area.

Landscape design.  The profession concerned with the planning and planting of outdoor space to secure the most desirable relationship between land forms, architecture, and plants to best meet human needs for function and beauty.

Landscaping.  The process of arranging soil, water, plants, and structures to develop a space with a particular tone or appearance.

Lateral.  On or at the side.

Latex.  Milky white fluid found in stems, foliage, and bracts.

Leaflets.  One part of a compound leaf; secondary leaf.

Leaves.  Vegetative plant parts that are lateral outgrowths of stems which have developed special structural adaptations for photosynthesis.

Long-day plant.  Plant that flowers when the day length is longer than the critical.

Massing.  Using large groups of plants or large plants to provide mass or visual bulk in a garden planting. Massing is also used to achieved landscape balance and/or proportion and may serve as filler or specimen as well.

Media.  Substrates in which plants are grown. Can include soil, sand, peat moss, vermiculite, and pine bark humus.

Micronutrients.  Elements required in small amounts for plant growth and flowering.

Mist.  Haze, fog, water-vapor, steam, spray, moisture, humidity.

Monocarpic.  The plant dies after flowering and seeding. For example, all the annuals, biennials and some perennials including banana.

Monoecious.  Type of sex expression in plants by which they produce staminate (male), and pistillate (female) flowers on the same plant.

Naturalistic (wild) garden.  A garden developed through plantings that either add to an existing native site or completely create an area that appears native. The creation of such a garden may be as simple as the addition of non-native flowering aquatic plants to a swampy area or the further massing of existing plants to make a showier garden. The wild gardens may have foreign species; it can be shady or sunny, a deep woods, or a meadow. Plants used are usually loose in habit, often spreading, and, if not native, then similar in growth and appearance to the species that are native.

Naturalizing effect.  This is achieved in beds or gardens by the use of plants with loose or broad growth habit or those, which multiply by roots or stems. Naturalizing plants are usually the same as those used to add unity and continuity to a garden.

Nocturnal.  Said of flowers that open at night and close during the day.

Opposite leaves.  Leaves arising from opposite sides of the same node. Two leaves at a node, on opposing sides of an axis.

Origin.  A geographical area in which a species is thought to have evolved though natural selection from its ancestors.

Palmate leaf.  A compound leaf with all the leaflets arising from one point at the end of the petiole.

Parallel venation.  Leaves with large veins that are essentially parallel to one another and are not connected by lateral veins. The well-known character of monocot plants, e.g. banana, date, onion, garlic, daffodil, pineapple, grasses, orchids (orkids), and coconut, etc.

Parts per million (ppm).  Equivalent to milligrams per liter.

Peat moss.  Partially decayed plant material often used as an ingredient in a growing medium, usually acidic. It is a good source of organic matter, but contains no nutrients.

Pedicel. Flower stalk.

Peduncle.  Stalk on which an inflorescence is borne.

Perennial.  Plant that lives more than 2 years. Plants, which do not die after flowering but live from year to year.

Pergola.  The entrance to a landscape site made up of framework of crossed-wood-strips used to support climbing shrubs and/or vines. Synonyms: covered entrance, exhibition area, pavilion, spectator area, marquee, portal, gazebo, gateway, and tent.

Perianth.  The petals and sepals of a flower, collectively.

Perlite.  Volcanic rock heated to 980º C. Expanded, porous aggregates are used in growing media to facilitate drainage and improve aeration.

Pinch.  The removal of the shoot apex to overcome apical dominance and promote lateral shoot development.

Pinching.  Breaking off the terminal growing point, thus allowing the axillary buds to start to grow.

Pine bark.  Ingredient in potting mix, usually used as pine bark humus. Obtained primarily from pine trees.

Pinnate leaf.  A compound leaf with the leaflets arranged along the both sides of the midrib.

Propagation.  Increase in numbers or perpetuation of a species by reproduction.

Pruning.  Removal of lateral vegetative shoots, or the shaping of plants by trimming with shears.

Pyramidal.  This type of plant form is cone like in appearance, gradually tapering from its base to an observable point. Pyramidal plant forms are very sharp and distinct in their outlines in addition to possessing an easily noticeable pointed top.

Receptacle.  Portion of the flower stalk or axis that bears the floral organs.

Rock garden.  A rock garden is a sunny, sandy or dry garden spot having either natural or placed rock outcropping.

Rogueing.  The elimination of undesirable plants, which might be diseased, inferior, or non-typical.

Round top.  A plant shape in which it has distinct rounded or spherical appearance. It has dense foliage. In large trees a heavy shade is cast.

Scaffold branches.  The large limbs that give the tree its basic shape and structure.

Screen.  Those herbaceous plants that grow tall, grow broad, and stay full to the ground so that views are blocked.

Shoot.  Stem, one year old or less, that possesses leaves.

Shrub.  A woody plant that remains low and produces shoots or trunks from the base, not treelike nor with a single strong un-branched trunk; a descriptive term subject to strict circumscription.

Simple leaf.  Said of a leaf when not compound into leaflets. Leaf blades consisting of one unit.

Spadix.  A succulent stalk bearing an inflorescence.

Species.  The basic unit of classification. It is both singular and plural.

Specimen.  An individual plant, group of plants, or bed that is sufficiently colorful, massive, or distinctive in shape or texture to have stronger visual interest than surrounding plants and so provide focalization.

Spine.  A strong and sharp-pointed woody body mostly arising from the wood of the stem; usually modified from a leaf or part of a leaf.

Spreading plants.  Low groundcover plants.

Spreading.  A plant shape in which it grows high, wide and spreading; mostly the width and height are nearly equal at maturity.

Stalk.  The “stem” of any organ, as the petiole, peduncle, pedicel, filament, stipe.

Stem.  The main axis of a plant, leaf-bearing and flower-bearing as distinguished from the root-bearing axis.

Stock plants.  Plants from which cuttings are taken for propagation.

Succulent.  Juicy; fleshy; soft and thickened in texture. A succulent plant is one, whose leaves and/or stems are fleshy and possess the ability to store water. Succulent plants are able to survive drought because of this trait.

Sun scald.  High temperature injury to plant tissue due to intense sun’s rays warming the trunks of trees during winter, cracking and splitting the bark. It can be prevented by shading or whitewashing tree trunks and larger branches.

Tender.  A plant that is killed by frost or freezing temperature is considered tender.

Terminal.  At the tip, apical, or distal end.

Topiary.  The clipping of trees and shrubs into fantastic shapes.

Tree.  A woody plant that produces one main strong trunk and more or less distinct and elevated head.

Trunk.  The main stem that supports tree to better expose leaves to the sun.

Variegation.  Variegation is the condition of more than one color in a single plant organ, typically the leaves.

Variety.  A subdivision of a species that exhibits inheritable characteristics that are perpetuated through both sexual and asexual propagation. Variety is originated in nature rather than through breeding.

Vase shaped.  A plant shape in which it grows high, wide and spreading; mostly the width and height are nearly equal at maturity.

Venation.  Veining; arrangement or outlook of veins.

Vermiculite.  Mica platelets, formed by heating to about 738º C, and used as an ingredient in growing media.

Water edge plant.  Plants that either require or desire large amounts of water or have the coarse texture or large leaves usually associated with water plants.

Weather.  The short-term atmospheric conditions, including temperature, relative humidity, wind, sky conditions, precipitation, and atmospheric pressure.

Weeping.  A weeping plant form has predominantly pendulous or downward arching branches. Other plants can not be grown beneath these plants.

Windbreak.  A planting of trees or shrubs, usually perpendicular or nearly so to the principal wind direction, to protect soil, crops, homesteads, roads, and so on, against the effects of winds.

Winter hardiness.  The ability of a plant to tolerate severe winter conditions.

Wood.  Secondary nonfunctioning xylem in a perennial shrub or tree.


Acalypha wilkesiana 77

Acclimatization 26

Acid rain 11

Adenium 69

Adromischus cristatus 66      

African Violets 45

Agave 66

Aglaeonema spp 52

Air pollutants in house 12

Air Pollutants10

Allamanda cathartica 81     

Allium giganteum 35

Aloe vera 67

Amaryllis 34

Amaryllis belladonna 38 

Anemone 38

Anthurium spp.34

Antigonon leptopus 89

Aphelandra squarossa52

Arborvitae 80

Aristolochia elegans 90

Asarina 81

Asparagus myrifolius 90

Aspidistra elatior 52

Aster 48

Astrophytum myriostigma60

Atriplex crassifolia 77      

Baby Smilax 90

Bambusa nana 77

Barbados Pride 70

Beaucarnea recurvata 53

Beefsteak Plant 77

Begonia 35

Bignonia tuicediana 91     

Black-eyed susan vine 93

Bottle Palm 94

Bougainvillea 82

Bougainvillea glabra     

Brunfelsia calycina 69      

Bulbs 32

Caesalpinia pulcherrima 70

Caladium 56

Calico Flower 90

Calla Lily 37

Canary Palm 95

Canna 48

Carbon Dioxide 9

Cassia surattensis 70

Cast-Iron Plant 52

Catharanthus roseus 49

Cephalocereus senilis 61

Ceriman 92

Cestrum diarnum 71

Cestrum nocturnum 71 

Chamaecereus silvestrii 61

Chambeli 83

Champa 83

China Rose 72

Chinese Evergreen 52

Chinese Fan Palm 94

Chlorophytum comosum 53

Christmas Cactus 60

Chrysanthemum 47

Cissus spp.88

Climbers 81

Clivia 34

Clock vine 93

Coleus 58

Containers and Display 16

Convallaria majalis 36

Coral Vine 89

Cordyline 56

Corms 32

Corn Plant 78

Cotyledon undulate 67

Crassula 67

Creeping Fig 83

Crinkle Leaf Plants 66

Crocus 37

Crown of Thorns 49

Cycas revoluta 94

Cyclamen 45

Daffodils 42

Dahlia 43

Dendranthema morifolium 47

Desert Fan Palm 96

Desert Rose 69

Dieffenbachia amoena53

Division 31

Dizygotheca elegantissima 54

Dodonaea viscosa 78

Dracaena 54

Dracaena margirnata 78

Dumbcane 53

Duranta repens 79

Dust 11

Environmental Factors 4

Epiphyllum hybridum 62

Euphorbia milii 49

Euphorbia pulcherrima 79

False Aralia 54

Fern Leaf Bamboo 77

Ferns 54

Fertilizers 13

Ficus elastica 56

Ficus pumila 83

Ficus villosa 83       

Flamingo Flower 34

Flowering Bulbs 34

Flowering Shrubs 69

Fluorides 11

Foliage Plants 52

Foliage Shrubs 77

Freesia 39

Gardenia 72

Gardening in Dishes 24

Gardening in hanging baskets 19

Gardening in Tubs or Urns 18

Gerbera 46

Giant Onion 35

Gladiolus 39

Glossary 98

Gloxinias 46

Golden Dewdrop 79

Golden Trumpet 81

Grape Ivy 88

Growing Medium 15

Gymnocalycium 62        

Hardwood cuttings 30

Herbaceous Perennials 45

Hibiscus moscheutos50

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 72    

Hippeastrum hybrids34

Honeysuckle 84

Hosta 57

Hoya carnosa 89

Humidity 7

Hyacinth 40

Importance of houseplants 2

Introduction 1

Ipomoea horsfalliae 91     

Iris 41

Jasmine 83

Jasminum grandiflorum 83

Jasminum humile 83

Jasminum officinale 83

Jasminum pubescens 84

Jasminum rex 84

Jasminum sambac 84

Kalanchoe 45

King of the day 71

Kiss-Me-Quick 69

Lantana 73

Leaf and leaf-bud cuttings 31

Leafy shoot cuttings 30

Light 4

Lilies 41

Lilium hybrids 41

Lily-of-the-valley 36

Live Forever 68

Livistona chinensis 94

Lobivia famatimensis 63

Lonicera japonica 84

Lophophora williamsii 63

Mammillaria bombycina 64

Manures 13

Maranta leuconeura 55

Mascarena regaughanii  94

Miniature Garden 23

Mogra 84

Money Plant 85

Monstera deliciosa 92   

Mor Pankh 80

Morning Glory 91

Motia 84

Narcissus hybrids 42

Nerium oleander 73   

Nipple Cactus 64

Nutrients 12

Old Man Cactus 61

Oleander 73

Opuntia humifusa 64

Orchid Cactus 62

Ornamental Palm 96

Ozone 10

Palms 94

Paludarium 27

Peace Lily 55

Peacock Flower 70

Peanut Cactus 61

Peat Moss 15

Periwinkle 49

Perlite 15

Petunia 50


Philodendron 88

Philodendron spp.

Phoenix canariansis 95

Poinsettia  79

Polianthes tuberose 43

Ponytail Palm 53

Pothos 88

Pothos scandens 85     

Prayer Plant 55

Prickly Pear Cactus 64

Propagation 30

Pseudobulbs 32

Queen of the night 71

Quisqualis indica 86

Rangoon Creeper  86

Raphidophora aurea 88

Rebutia Cactus 64

References 97

Repotting 29

Rhizomes 33

Root cuttings 31

Rosa marshallniel 86    

Rose Creeper  86

Rose Mallow 50

Roses 74

Royal Palm 95

Roystonea regia 95

Rubber Plant 56

Sacred Mushroom Cactus 63

Sago Palm  94

Saintpaulia hybrids 45

Salt Bush 77

Sanatha 78

Sansevieria 57

Schlumbergera bridgesii 60

Scrambled Eggs 70

Selection of House Plants 3

Sempervivum tectorum 68     

Silver Crown 67

Silver Ruffles 67

Sinningia hybrids 46

Sky Flower 79

Smog 11

Softwood cuttings 30

Solenostemon 58

Spathiphyllum hybrids 55























Spider Plant 53

Star Cactus 60

Stolons 33

Succulents 66

Sulfur Dioxide 10

Swiss-Cheese Plant  92

Tecoma 75

Temperature 6

Terrarium 27

Thuja orientalis 80   

Thunbergia alata 93

Topiary 19

Training and grooming 29

Trolley 18

Trumpet Flower 91

























Tuberose 43

Tubers 33

Tul­­ip 42

Vermiculite 15

Vertical Garden 25

Vines 88

Washingtonia filifera 96

Washingtonia robusta 96

Watering 9

Wax Vine 89

Window Rock Garden 23

Yellow Jasmine 83

Yucca 58

Zantedeschia elliottiana 37

Zebra Plant 52




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