Summer plants and flowers - For your home and gardens
Most people in our country think that summers have no attraction but only lots of troubles for humankind. However if you look at this weather with a different point of view, you will see that summers have many lovely gifts for you in form of flowers, plants and trees etc. Summer season has so much beauty on offer for us in form of tasty and healthy fruits; flowers etc that would make you wonder why did you miss and not knew all about these before!
A garden lover can enjoy the season in so many ways that could not be possible in other seasons. However, the fact remains that every season has its own positive and negative points but summer certainly has lot to offer only if you know how to take full advantage of summers. Let us look at some of the blessings Mother Nature has provided us to enjoy summers-
You can call summers the season of aromas as most sweet smelling flowers like Motiya Bela the Jasmine also known Madan Mogra (Madan is another name of Kam Dev the God of love) the flower with most sexy smell in the world. Mogra Bela the Jasmine Sambac, known for most wonderful fragrance that can bloom both in your garden and inside your home in form of vines or small shrubs, Raat ki Rani the night blooming Jessamine or queen of the night with a fragrance that has such a sweet fragrance that smells like out of the world. Although the plant is evergreen but the fragrance smells ever so sweet during summers if you water your garden and sit there the lovely breeze and the aroma takes you to a different world.
Gandhraj the Gardenia Jasminoides, Cape Jasmine or as we now its white flowers the king of fragrances that blooms during April through August and its smell takes you to a dreamy atmosphere with imaginations working overtime. Then who can forget the roses especially the local variety that bloom in big quantity in this particular season. We can see big number of flowers on every plant. This variety of roses is also used for many commercial purposes like scents, Itra and Gulukand a sweet made of rose petals mixed with sugar, considered very useful for keeping body and brain healthy. The local variety of roses bloom in the month of March and April which is used for manufacturing oils, fragrances and other health related items.
Tips to keep you plants healthy
If you have a garden where you have flower plants the end of winters, normally end of February is the right time to maintain your plants. The best way to keep your plants healthy is to remove all dried branches by cutting them out neatly and trim them properly where the overgrowth is making them bend downward. Use compost to give a booster dose to your plants, you can use all rotten leaves, domestic waste of your kitchen, used tea, peels whatever to keep your plants healthy.
I should mention at this point that flowers bloom at new growth of branches, so while you trim your plants you provide your plants a better chance to bloom in far bigger numbers. If you have plants in pots this is right time to clean your pots by taking plants out of the pots, use fresh soil with mixing compost and replant them. In case the growth has become too thick, you can multiply these plants by dividing and using more pots. Make sure to shake your plants, while dividing them that will fully remove old soil from the roots.
Trees – Source of shadow
The spring season brings along flowers and leaves to most plants. Champa the Frangipani blooms with lovely yellowish flowers and Him Champa the Magnolias with big white flowers bloom to glory to make us full of joy and enjoy the summers. The sweet and mild fragrance of pink and white flowers of Mahua makes us toxic in the morning . Akash Neem or Akashjai also Indian cork tree also known as Tree Jasmine or Neem Chameli with golden white flowers is like a treat to have around us. Almost every tree and plant begins to show signs of new leaves, presenting a wonderful sight with so lovely and tender looking greenery by the end of March or early April. Mango begins to flower attracting cuckoos with their lovely songs and a fragrance that spreads in atmosphere that provides a heavenly feeling. Every tree in new leaves looks clad in new garments provided by Mother Nature.
Jacaranda branches covered with blue and purple and Gulmohar the Delonix regia also known as flame tree in its different colors and shades, Gular, pakad, Kachnar the Bauhinia variegata with different shades with no leaves on the branches is treat to watch. Amaltas Also known as golden shower flower with golden yellow is another verity in flowers that make the summers wonderful. I think the flowers, plants and tress provide us a reason to enjoy our lives joyfully with lots of fun. The blooming plants and trees give us every reason to look forward, develop sense and relation with nature and enjoy summers to the maximum.
Here I suggest a few plants and flowers for summers you would love to see in your garden and to top it all, your visitors would feel envious of you. Have a look-
Portulaca - Also known Portulaca Oleracea better known as Office Plant because it begins blooming at 10am and goes to sleep at 5pm sharp 10 to 5, a perfect Indian office worker. Looks like rose flower but has no smell although attractive, sensitive and small in size. Portulaca has many varieties but two varieties in particular are more popular, magic carpet and Grandiflora. Portulaca is available in multicolor and multilayered varieties also the second variety has more colorful than single layered variety. The flower is available in seasonal and evergreen varieties; the evergreen variety can grow by planting cuttings in a separate pot or in garden.
Kochia – Also known Summer Cyprus as Bassia Scoparia is a spring shrub that spreads in circular shape. Its tender fiber shaped light green colored leaves make it one of the most beautiful plants for indoor and for garden purpose equally well. The plant has a life of almost six months, which can survive until the end of rainy season. The plant has no floral value but it in itself with a dome type shape is a treat to watch. If you have Kochia in your garden or pots, you should take special care to shape it, as it’s a self-seeding shrub which spreads too fast so you shall have to be very careful.
Alpinia – Also known Alpinia Zzerumbet is shellflower which blooms in summers on an evergreen plant although it flowers only once in a year but for a long time. Alpinia has very long leaves up to 50-60 cm long, dark green, soft and silky, with sweet smell like cardamom. Some people in our country name it as cardamom plant. It has flowers are combination white, pink and yellow shades. Alpinia has many health benefits especially for heart patients and its leaves used as green tea. Its flowers grow downward and grow fully within fifteen days.
Zinnia – Zinnia is a long stemmed beautiful, multicolored flower from sunflower family. This flower is available in combination of red, white, pink, yellow and purple or any of the single colors mentioned here. The flowers found in multi layered petals as well single with small and big varieties. Zinnia is another variety that blooms until the beginning of winters as these flowers are also summer flowers, which you can keep indoors and in gardens alike. Zinnia is sown in Beginning in February because it’s a sunny weather flower.
Gaillardia - Another plant that grows in February or March with round ball shaped flowers in red, yellow and brown color combination. The flower grows in good quantity throughout the year whether indoors of out in gardens. Flower lovers find Gaillardia easy to maintain which needs very little care.
Celosia – Cockscomb As the name suggests the Celosia flower looks similar to cockscomb, in red velvet colored is such a beautiful flower that attracts attention immediately. Celosia is available in different colors and combinations of dark pink, yellow, light yellow, Cream, maroon and dark purple. The black colored shiny seeds of this particular plant are sown in February and March. People use its stems and leaves for eating purpose.
Torenia – Torenia is flower with white, blue, violet and pink colors, which blooms through summers to winters.
Beloperone – Also known as Justicia californica is a lovely flower that looks wonderful in summers with yellow and tobacco colored blooming from bushes. A cluster of Beloperone shrubs is a treat to watch. Although a summer flower but few flowers remain almost throughout the year. Beloperone can adjust in sunny and shadowed atmosphere as well. That makes it a good choice for indoor plants lovers.
Pentas – Pentas can bloom whole of summer in closely-knit clusters. The flowers in soft red, light pink, white, blue etc fill the garden with beautiful effect. Pentas has small dark green leaves. Pentas is seeded in February or March.
Crossandra - Crossandra is a plant that grows well in green houses but you can grow it in your garden and indoor as well. Lovely Crossandra flowers in orange, golden yellow and beige are real treat, which take away effects of summers immediately. It can give you an instant cozy feeling if you happen to be in a garden full of Crossandra. The plant grows round the year in south India and Shri Lanka where women use it for making hair accessory. We call these flowers Aboli in our area although the flower looks beautiful but it has no particular use here apart from making our gardens beautiful.
Ruselia – Oh, it’s a wonderful plant often mentioned with different names like coral plant or plant that flows like a fountain with very long leaves and shining green stems. The small red colored up to 2 inches long flowers in tubular shape give this plant kind of out of the world look. Almost meter long stems giving it almost flowing fountain look make your room look wonderful with proper lighting arrangements. The plants flowers round the year has the added advantage of planting through grafting technique. You must shape it properly to give it a better look since pruning makes it grow faster.
Jatropha - Jatropha is a bushy plant with difference because it’s kind of natural bonsai because the stem of this plant takes shape of a bottle. The plant grows in numbers fast and there is no need of cutting or punning. With lovely red, pink and other shades of red flowers the plant blooms in summers and rainy season. The Jatropha is used to produce bio-diesel.
Calliandra- Calliandra with its powder puff shaped red and pink flowers is a unique item in your garden. Calliandra blooms in summers although its cuttings are planted in rainy season. Some of its flowers remain all through the year but the best result appears in summers.
Sadabahar - Catharanthus- meaning ever blooming flower, Sadabahar with its multicolored varieties is a must for every garden. Sadabahar comes in different varieties of red, pink, white and beige flowers, which bloom round the year, and makes a wonderful effect. Sadabahar has many medicinal properties.
Gurhal – Also known as rose mallow, reminds me of my high school classes, where we were required to practice draw and color this flower for two consecutive years in our geometrical art classes as part of the subject. Gurhal flowers round the year in different varieties and colors. Gurhal with big green leaves needs pruning in December to give best results. While describing about it I must add that Gurhal is national flower of Hawaii Island.
Cosmos – Cosmos is another flower with petals as soft as fern and this summer flower looks very beautiful in yellow and orange shades although in few places in southern America it is available in few other shades according to the atmosphere in those places.
Proper care is must for summer plants
Summer plants mentioned in my article including Motiya Bela the Jasmine also known Madan Mogra Gandhraj the Gardenia JasminoidesCape Jasmine, Champa the Frangipani, Portulaca, Kochia, Alpinia. Zinnia, Gaillardia, Celosia, Torenia, Beloperone, Pentas, Ruselia, Crossandra, Calliandra, Sadabahar, Gurhal etc needs your proper care and punning to keep them in shape and grow properly.
Make sure your plants watered well but allow drying the roots between two watering that helps plants absorb right quantity of water and reach to every part of a plant. Over watering can cause roots damage. The right times to water your plants is morning or evening, avoid watering during harsh sunny hours.
Let me suggest you to get a quick start on growing your summer plants, you should pot them up properly few months before time to transfer them out in your garden. It's better to keep them in an especially designed planting area, however big or small according to your need. If you are using seeds to grow, your plants make sure the seeds are of right variety and proper season or if you opt for nursery plants, ask your nursery owner for healthy and suitable plants or seeds according to season and proper time to sow
Vines, the plants those grow fast on walls, balconies, pillars, trees or whatever they find for support are a good way to beat the heat. These plants do not take much space but give a beautiful look with their greenery and flowers. There is plenty of variety in this section for summers with vines like bougainvillea, Ipomoea palmate (Railway creeper) Jhumuklata - Quisqualis indica (Rangoon creeper) Morning glory (Ipomoea learii) Jasmine grandiflorum (Chameli, Juhi, Bela) Vishnukanta also known as Aparajita.
Bougainvillea- bougainvillea is perhaps the most popular plant allover the world with its beautiful growing ability round the year with lovely flowers. You can find bougainvillea vine loaded with flowers in summers when most of flowering plants lack flowers in general. Bougainvillea is available in different flower colors like white, pink, red, yellow, white, magenta and mixed varieties.
Bougainvillea needs sunny atmosphere but not much of fertilizers or water to keep its growth of leaves limited. Bougainvillea grows too fast so proper cutting and pruning is must to keep it trim otherwise, it may bring its supports down. Bougainvillea does not need much water but it should have a good drainage so that water does not stay in its roots for long periods. The best time for cutting and punning Bougainvillea is March end or early April for better flowers and rainy season to keep it from growing too thick, which may cause damage to its supports.
Juhi – Juhi is one of the sweet smelling vines in its category available easily in our country. With white tiny flowers, evergreen nature, ability to sunny weather people generally let it cover their porches, pillars and balconies to enjoy the aroma provided by Juhi in summers. It can plant through use of cuttings in the rainy season but flowers throughout the year.
Jhumuklata- Jhumuklata is also known as Madhvilata or Rangoon creeper. The flowers of this vine resemble so much like ear jewelry (Jhumke) that they have named it after them. The flowers of this particular vine, evergreen in nature, has five long petal flowers in white and red color combinations which have a very sweet smell. Its leaves paper thin and shining light green have their own beauty. Rangoon creeper can be planted through grafting or cutting in rainy season.
Bela- Evergreen flower vine in Jasmine grandiflorum family that has very sweet smelling white flowers. These flowers have a good commercial value in our country as no auspicious occasion celebrated without its flowers and women use it as hair decoration. You can plant it by using cutting or grafting technique in the month of December to January or rainy season.
Bushes and plants with beautiful leaves
Apart from plants, trees and vines you have another option to keep your summers cool. You can plant some wonderful shrubs. Some plants have leaves look as beautiful as flowers. Mother Nature has provided some leaves, as much beauty even flowers would feel shy. If we have to name some of these plants, we have fern, asparagus, monstera, croton, maranta, a household plant for its leaves close up as the sun sets down. Philodendron, Caladium, dracaena, dieffenbachia, Syngonium, Nolina, touch me not etc.
Most of the above-mentioned plants may not have flowers but the leaves of these plants are wonderfully beautiful. Almost all these plants have beautifully shaped leaves with different colors which cater to decorate houses and offices giving them a cool look. All these plants can be grown in pots and need very little care. However your house office with such plants transform into a garden that gives immense satisfaction and takes you to nearer to Mother Nature.
All you have to maintain your plants is to wash them with water to remove dust particle and in the process water them too. These plants have new leaves in the beginning of summers and remain so by the end of rainy season. You must replace old soil at the beginning of summer with adding up compost to soil to have better leaves. It is also advised to avoid keeping such plants under direct sun and keep changing their direction occasionally. As for suitable pants for your house or office, you should know better according to your area or consult your nursery. .
Plumbago Capensis is an evergreen medium sized bush which may begin blooming from February but while its peak of summer the number of flowers are some thing special to be seen. The star shaped five petal flowers with a blue line at the center of every petal and sky blue color of flowers make them more attractive. Plumbago Capensis is considered one of the best gifts Mother Nature had on offer for humankind in form of these flowers.
Plumbago Capensis has almost twenty flowers at every branch bending earthward. The leaves of the plant oval shaped, green small in size have added attraction of their own. There is another variety of Plumbago Capensis with white flowers known as Plumbago zeylanica or Plumbago Alba. Plumbago must have enough sunlight but does not need much water especially during hibernation. Plumbago zeylanica must have enough fertilizers including potash during plantation.
Plumbago zeylanica can also be planted by cutting method during February in pots or open garden in soil containing compost and sand. You should plant approximately 10-15 cm long soft pieces and keep them where mild sunlight is available. Once the plants gain height of about 30 cm, cut their top about an inch to allow the plant to spread naturally.
Lily gift of Mother Nature
My article would not be complete unless I do not mention Lily here. Lily is a flower that grows a plenty in summers, perhaps to cover the lack of flowers in hot weather conditions. Lily has many popular verities like football lily, tiger lily, amaryllis lily etc.
Football lily - Football lily is one of the most amazing members of Amaryllis family of lilies which blooms in summers with big red football like flowers. That perhaps is the reason behind its extra ordinary name. Football lily is popular for its beautiful leaves as well because irrespective of presence of flower on the plant it looks as lovely. The leaves of football lily measure up to 25 cm in size, oval shaped with one flower on one stem in between a bunch of leaves.
You can grow football lily outdoor as well indoor in right size of pots having combination of soil, sand and compost. You must see to it that your pots have proper water holes to drain out extra water. You can find suitable bulbs of lily in your nursery if you are a first timer because later the bulbs multiply themselves to give you more options. You should finish planting of bulbs by middle of March. One bulb per pot is enough and if you are doing it, outdoor in your garden you must keep a distance of at least 15- 20 inches in between two bulbs. Football lily is one of the most attractive flowers which would take your visitors by surprise.
Amaryllis lily - Amaryllis lily is another variety of big red and white flowers that you can plant in pots and keep them in different places of your office and homes. Amaryllis lily can stand sunny climate therefore it makes no problem if you plant these outdoors, which you should finish by the mid February. Leaves of amaryllis lily are long and flat those remain green round the year. Amaryllis lily is considered for home decoration or gift purpose because its flowers stay fresh for days together therefore it is one of the choicest flowers of florists. Amaryllis lily is grown by Lily bulbs planting technology also.
Zephyranthes lily- One of the most beautiful species of lilies, looks so beautiful with its pink, white and yellow flowers. Plants of Zephyranthes bloom with big number of flowers that makes it a unique for a house or office with decoration point of view. Leaves of Zephyranthes are small, grass like and flat which make them a point of attraction in themselves. Best season to plant bulbs in pots or outdoor is now, at the most mid April as it would begin flowering by May or June. There is another suggestion- once the plant stop blooming, keep them in a dry and cold place in open boxes until next season.
Photo source wikipedia
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