24.7.14

Plants We Love- Double Orange Shrimp Plant

Sid's Double Orange Shrimp Plant


Justicia spicigera 'Sidicaro' bush form
Some plants just have charisma, and this species is one of them. Some years ago, Sid Gardino from Gardino Nursery in Delray Beach, Florida brought this plant to plant sales. He is widely accorded as being the "originator" of the plant, but its true provenance is a bit fuzzy. Usually considered the double form of the nearly-weedy single-flowered J.spicigera, this variety is much more manageable. It has been in cultivation for some 20 years or more, yet is still fairly uncommon.  This plant has been such a good performer in our gardens, whether in light shade or strong sunlight, that I started planting them in many other gardens. I recommend them to other gardeners locally, and with few complaints, the responses have been quite positive. The only negatives I hear about the plant is that it can grow quite large, therefore it needs to be pruned every few months. The plant tolerates pruning very well, and quickly make a bushy specimen. Hummingbirds and butterflies both enjoy the bright orange tubular flowers, and the plant is in bloom much of the year. This is one member of the shrimp plant family that is robust, not too demanding about its diet, and can grow effortlessly from cuttings. Why then, with all these attributes, is it not more common ?     
'Sidicaro' up close


 
Craig Morell
Pinecrest Gardens
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

10.7.14

A Small Flowering Tree with Promise

The Kunming Tree Jasmine
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Radermachera yunnanensis
The Kunming Tree Jasmine
 
This small and densely branched tree produces its 2-inch pale pink  flowers almost all year, but with especially abundant flowering after heavy rains in the warmest months here in Miami. The flowers are produced in bunches on the tips of the branches, and have a pleasant sweet fragrance, but never overpowering. 
 
I see this species from China in landscapes more frequently than ever before, but not nearly as often as I believe we should see. The tree has few problems,  requires only moderate  fertilization and watering, and grows in a wide variety of soil conditions. As yet, I have heard few reports of it being especially cold-sensitive in South Florida, and it prunes nicely to a small rounded bush or as a well-branched small tree. In the last 10 years, this species has gained popularity, and I have high hopes for it to become a staple in the landscape architecture trade.
 
In my own home garden, this little tree graces my front door, and rarely disappoints me with just plain foliage. A close relative of a more common genus-Tabebuia- I look forward to seeing it and its relatives such as R. ignea  come into our local landscapes. Growing to about 15 feet, but comfortably grown as short as 6 feet, this fairly new addition to our plant palette deserves more trial and attention. The plant world is endlessly diverse, use your options... 
 
 
Craig Morell
Pinecrest Gardens