Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

This shrub or small tree – 2-5 m (6V2-I6 ft) high – is easy to prune so that it does not take up too much space in doors. The dark green leaves are glossy on the upper surface and toothed on the margins. The calyx of the large flowers – up to 15 cm (6 in) across – is typically subtended by an epi-calyx. The petals are pink, but there are many cultivated forms with carmine-red or yellow flowers. The protruding stamens are very decorative; their filaments are joined to form a column and separate only at the top. There are also many popular double forms (flore pleno – fig. ). Specimens with spotted leaves (cv. Cooperi) are common, too.

H. rosa-sinensis is widely grown in the greenhouse and is also a popular indoor plant. It requires abundant light and can tolerate full sun. Provide a rich compost and adequate room in the pot for the roots to grow. Water liberally from spring until autumn and feed with compound fertilizer twice a month. When young the plants should be cut back to obtain bushy growth. Transfer the plants in their pots to the garden or balcony in the summer. The flowers do not last long, but new ones are produced continually so that the plant is never without blooms. Propagate by stem tip cuttings.

Pittosporum tobira ‘Variegatum’

P. tobira and P. undulatum (with sinuate leaves) are the two most commonly grown of the 160 species of Pittosporum.

This relatively rare, sub-tropical woody plant was brought to Europe in 1804 from its native habitat in China and Japan. It is a very bushy shrub with attractive, glossy, leathery leaves which are longish ovate. They are 10-12 cm (4-5 in) long and 3-4 cm (1-1 ½ in) wide, and coloured deep green spotted with white in the cultivar shown here. The fragrant, yellowish-white flowers are borne at the tips of the twigs, surrounded by clustered leaves. The shrub is attractive even when it bears fruits, for the capsules, leathery at first, later become woody and remain on the plant a long time.

Cool greenhouse conditions are suitable. Propagate either by stem tip cuttings in late summer or from imported seeds. Sow seeds immediately as they rapidly lose the power to germinate.

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