Types of Flowering Shrubs – Growing Guide

Types of Flowering Shrubs – Growing Guide

The following selection are some of the most attractive flowering shrubs for the house.

Abutilon belong to the Mallow family. Several of the shrubby or semi-climbing plants of this genus make ornamental house plants. The evergreen Brazilian A. megapotamicum makes a graceful plant with heart-shaped slender-pointed leaves and flowers produced freely from the leaf axils. These are bell like with a red calyx, yellow petals, and a head of purple-brown stamens and pistils, which grows to about 3 feet. A. striatum thompsonii has mottled green and yellow leaves with orange flowers, opening in early summer. It is easily cultivated where temperatures in winter of 7° to 13° C, and in summer 15 to l8°C can be provided. Plenty of water should be given during the growing season and these plants like mild applications of liquid fertilizer during the flowering season.

Azalea indica (Indian Azalea) is a very popular winter-flowering plant, usually purchased when in flower and will remain so for many weeks, if looked after properly. They can be obtained in shades of pink, scarlet, maroon, purple and white. It is best to buy plants that are mainly in bud, one or two showing the colour to ensure that one is getting the shade preferred. This will give more flowering time and less risk of azalea indica damage during transit. It will not need feeding when in bud or flower. Rain water should be used, if possible, for watering, preferably at room temperature. Azaleas do not like cold water out of the tap. An occasional bucket-bath is appreciated, immersing the plant in a bucket of water and removing it only when the air bubbles stop rising. Normally the buds or flowers show their need for water by wilting slightly. When flowering is over, all dead flowers should be removed, the branches lightly pruned, the plants kept in a warm position and, although less water is required, they must not be allowed to dry out. The plant can be allowed to harden and when all risk of frost is past they can be put outside in a moderately shady position. They should then be watered moderately and will benefit from some fertilizer. Before there is any risk of frost they should be brought back into the house, placed in a well-lit position, feeding stopped and only a moderate amount of water given until buds begin swelling. More water will be required now and heat can be increased to 12 to 15 deg C.

citrus mitis Citrus mitis {Calamondin) is a miniature orange tree which fruits earlier in life than C. sinensis, for example, which takes a long time to mature. The calamine orange fruits are edible but rather sharp tasting. Light and air are essential for growth and a minimum winter temperature of 10°C should be arranged. When it is in flower it will need a moist atmosphere which will keep the flowers and set the fruit. Plants are at their best in winter and during the summer the pots can stand outside in the sunniest position available.

Cytisus canariensis is popularly known as Genista. A free branching shrub, it bears its bright yellow, pea-like flowers in short racemes on young shoots in spring. They like a moderate temperature, about 12° C, plenty of light and moderate watering. After flowering it should be pruned lightly and, when all risk of frost is over, it can be put outside in the sunniest possible situation. It should not be allowed to dry out and should be fed every three weeks with a liquid fertilizer. It must be brought under cover before autumn frosts.

Euphorbia pulcherrima is the botanical name for the Poinsettia which was discovered in Mexico in the late 1820s by a Dr Poinsett. In its wild state it grows as a large shrub, and this made it difficult for growers to produce a conveniently sized pot plant. Chemicals for dwarfing the plants are only available to commercial growers at present, so poinsettias must be bought Euphorbia_pulcherrima already in flower from florists or nurseries. They have a vigorous root system and thrive well in a temperature between l5°C and 18 deg C, although a temperature of 10°C is sufficient if necessary. The plants will not require much water. A bought plant will have been well fed, and will need no further feeding during its flowering period. When flowering has finished the head must be cut off and watering stopped. In spring the plant should be put in a warm position, given a good watering and then cut back, leaving about 4 inches of stem, and allowed to start into growth. When growths are about 3 inches long the plants can be potted up into small pots and put in a welllit position in a warm place. When the new roots appear round the edge of the soil ball and the shoots elongate, plants can be put into larger pots and should be kept at a temperature of 15 deg C. Many other related species are also popular as house plants. E. bojeri is commonly known as the Crown of Thorns for it has prickly spines and tiny scarlet flowers like drops of blood. It is a semi-succulent and requires little water, especially in winter. Regular feeding in summer will encourage flower growth.

Hydrangea is one of the most popular flowering shrubs grown for the house. Although there are a large number of hydrangeas in general cultivation the species that is grown as a flowering pot plant is H. macrophylla. Normally forced in a 5-inch pot they are ready for sale in late spring and have about a five month flowering period as a pot plant. The Lace Cap varieties are becoming very popular and are being grown in increasing numbers each year. When hydrangeas are bought in flower they should be placed in a very well lit position, but not in direct sun. They need a lot of water, regular feeding and should not be allowed to dry out. They can be stood in a small quantity of water, but not deeper than 1/8 inch. They do not require great heat at any time. Plants from shops have often been forced too much and ought to be discarded after flowering, unless you have a garden where they can be planted in a westerly or south westerly aspect.

jasminum-polyanthum Jasminum polyanthum, from China, is a vigorous climber, with pinkish white, sweet smelling flowers. It is often bought as a pot plant already in bud, with a supporting wire hoop inserted in the pot, around which the growing shoot is twined. As the plant is a vigorous grower it will twine around the hoop many times. It will grow best with full exposure to sun. It should not be fed and little watering is required, but it must not be allowed to dry out completely. If possible, it should be stood outside in the summer.

Passiflora caerulea, a native of South America, is used extensively throughout Europe for indoor decoration, either as a trailing or climbing plant. It has white, green and blue flowers. It should be planted in a large pot and given a position in light airy conditions and supports up which it can climb. Water must be given liberally in the warm months and it should be sprayed frequently. Plants should be kept fairly dry in winter, temperature at a minimum of 10 deg C, and flowered shoots must be cut away to within two basal buds.

Plumbago capensis is a lovely climbing South African shrub that, grown as a house plant, reaches 3 to 6 feet high and needs some support for its tendrils. The pale blue spikes of flowers, with long corollas, are produced freely in summer. It likes a light airy position and to be watered freely in summer, decreasing gradually thereafter. When it has finished flowering, the flowered shoots should be pruned back to within an inch of their base, as flowers will be produced on new shoots of the current years growth. The plant needs a summer temperature Plumbago capensis of 13 to l8°C. A winter temperature of 7°C is essential, preferably in a cool greenhouse or plant room, and it should be given just sufficient water to keep it from drying out. Propagation is by cuttings of side shoots in spring or summer. Rosa, Red Garnette is now becoming popular as a flowering house plant. Originally patented in the United States after it had been discovered in Germany, it was not very popular when it appeared on the English market, although it was much sought in the United States. It is now, however, very popular in many areas. The red variety is known as Red Garnette. Other varieties are Carol(pink), sometimes known as Pink Garnette, and a yellow one. Red Garnette has small flowers, which are double and slightly fragrant, and healthy dark green foliage. It grows about 18 inches high and usually has one strong shoot with a truss of flowers, surrounded by smaller shoots with fewer flowers. The foliage being tough and a good dark green makes an excellent setting for the flowers and the general effect is of a bushy compact plant. It grows best in a light situation and should be kept rather . Moist. When the plant has finished flowering it can be lightly pruned and planted outside in the garden, where it will do well, provided heavy pruning is avoided. Indoor temperature should be about 13C.

Stephanotis floribunda, a native of Madagascar, is very similar to Jasminum polyanthum but the flowers are more waxy and the plants need much more heat. If at all possible they should be given a temperature of about 21°C in spring and summer and a minimum of 12°C during the winter. There should be plenty of watering in the summer and moderate watering in winter. The shoots must be cut back after flowering to keep the plant compact.

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