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CRYSTAL GARDENS

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MUST HAVE SHRUBS FOR YOUR GARDEN

 

Whether large or small no garden should be without shrubs. And never mind the space you have; balcony, porch or  rooftop-shrubs will serve you right. Even if you are not colour crazy, surely a little bloom can raise your moods.

Shrubs look good all the year round, giving you uniformity, colour, contrast and longevity because they are perennial. Besides they create a sense of vitality and flow in your garden.

 

Acalypha                                      Eranthamum                                     Brenia

Brunfelsia                                         Bougainvillea                                  Hibiscus

 

 

What are shrubs?

Shrubs are woody plants that ordinarily start branching from the base. Shrubs differ from trees in that while the later usually are single stemmed; a shrub has several stems arising from or near the ground level. On average, most shrubs will not grow more than 5 m in height.

What to consider when choosing shrubs?

Conditions at your place

Does your place receive ample sun or is it dappled shade? In urban areas what may appear sunny, in the morning soon turns into a shaded garden in the evening, thanks to adjacent apartments at the back. If you know the amount of sunlight your garden receives you can then select appropriate plants that will fit. Some shrubs require full sun; others can flourish in semi shade. In general plants with variegated foliage survive semi shade conditions .


Colour-

Start with your favourite colour.  Shrub colour can be due to the flowers they give or the colouration of the foliage. Since you already know the light conditions at your site, look for plants that give your favourite  colour but suitable for your grounds.  This colour could be in form of attractive, striking foliage or flowers.

Growth Habits

Some shrubs like Hibiscus if left unattended will grow into big bushes.  A majority of the shrubs and Cultivars on the other hand attain smaller stature. Meanwhile most will lend themselves to being potted.

 

Management

Do you have time to attend to your plants? Roses need round the clock pruning, deadheading, spraying and feeding. Others like Croton not so much.

Some Shrubs worth having-;

1 .Hibiscus

 Who has not encountered the glory of hibiscus?

Hibiscus are hardy shrubs  that occur on stream sides, moist woodlands and dry  rocky sites in  subtropical, tropical and warm temperate regions. Their range of colour is diverse; red, yellow pink, white, purple and blue. Their flowers are showy and long lasting - the reason for their enduring popularity. Funnel shaped, the flowers can be solitary or clustered. 

Where to plant: Grow your hibiscus in a mixed border in a sunny place or dedicated shrub border or pot. You can also insert them within the lawn or use them as a hedge

With over 200 species, the choice can be difficult to make.  The most popular though is Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (Hawaiian hibiscus, Rose of china, Chinese hibiscus). It is evergreen, bushy with glossy dark green leaves and gives  5 petaled  bright crimson  white, yellow or orange  solitary flowers.

Hibiscus can be prone to aphids, mealy bugs and white flies but these are rarely a serious issue.

 

2. Codiaeum (Croton)

Commonly known as Croton.  Crotons are euphorbias   occurring only in   6 species that are found in Malaysia and E. pacific. Their attractive often variegated leaves are deeply lobed and leathery. Crotons actually produce tiny star shaped yellow flowers, but these are overshadowed by their showy brightly coloured leaves.

Growing tips: Grows well in humus rich soil either in full sun or partial shade.  If your croton is dropping leaves, it’s probably due to draughts and fluctuating temperatures. Scale insects and red spider mites can be a problem.

Where to Grow: Use the as specimen plants in the lawn, as hedges, or in pots.

 

3.  Roses

The ever ubiquitous rose is a flower for the ages. Some rose varieties have been in cultivation for centuries. Roses are found on the four continents of Europe, Asia, North America                                                 and North Africa. Roses have attractive flowers that come in a range of colours

Where to grow: You can grow roses as standards, in a shrub or mixed border or simply go rose crazy and have a dedicated rose bed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Better still use your roses as climbers to garland your pergola, pillars, tree or walls. Whatever you apply your roses to, there is an added benefit; cut flowers for your vases. Indeed apart from their remarkable flower colours, roses are cherished as cut flowers garlanding offices, ballrooms, occasions and as symbols of compliments.

4. Sanchezia nobilis

A nice bushy shrub with glossy dark leaves with yellow, ivory or white banded midribs and main veins. It bears yellow flowers with red bracts. It originates from Peru and Ecuador.

Sanchezia brightens up a dull shade area owing to its dramatically contrasting leaf colour.

Where to Plant: The best spot is a place with dappled shade or full sun with midday shade. Use it in a border with other foliage plants.  

5. Acalypha

Another arresting marvel of a beauty. Though acalyphas give flowers, it is their leaf colours that are the prize. Acalpha’s alternate   leaves are simple and toothed, oval to ovate. The flowers are tiny and petal-less. They are borne in terminal or auxiliary catkin –like racemes and  are mostly small and less prominent. In some species though they can be large and brightly coloured.

Growing tips. Grow in full sun or partial shade. The soil should humus rich moist but well drained.

Where to Plant. Grow acalypha as a hedge, as specimen plants or in a border with other foliage plants.

6. Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea has small flowers surrounded by 3 colourful petal- like bracts. More often it is the colour of the bracts that you will notice from afar.  It consists of 14 species of evergreen trees, shrubs and thorny climbers from South America. However there are   many cultivars of bougainvillea as plant breeders keep developing new varieties.

Growing tips

  Bougainvillea’s popularity hinges on its hardiness. It literally thrives on neglect, and in the tropics you have to keep cutting it back. Grow in full sun in well drained soil. Root from semi ripe cuttings.

Where to Plant.  Bougainvillea is useful as a hedge, Standards, pot plant or as a specimen plant. Popular as driveway plantings.

7. Euphorbia leucocephala(Snow mountain/snow Flake)

You may actually think this plant is perpetually in flower but it is the white bracts that give this illusion as they enclose  greenish-white flowers not so visible from a distance. With white bracts and white flowers, is it any wonder that its name leucocephala means white head.

Growing tips. It prefers full sun and well drained soils. The more light they get the denser and more beautiful they become. No major diseases or pests of note.

Where to plant. It is ideal as a rear plant in a mixed border or a stand alone specimen plant providing contrast and consistent colour.

Note that the milk sap can be skin irritant so wear gloves while pruning.

 

8. Breynia Disticha (Ice Cream Bush)

 

Breynia  are grown for their small, simple, flattened and  delightful oval foliage that grow on wiry red-tinged stem. Evolving leaf colours start off as mottled pink, fading to white before turning light green. The species also has green-white variety. The flowers are insiginificant.

Growing tips . Requires full sun and well composted soil. In the semi shade or dappled shade. Frost tender so Nyahururu and Kinangop may not be suitable.

Where to plant Use in a border or help light up a shaded area.

Breynias are originally from Pacific islands, Asia and Australia.

 

9. Eranthemum(Pseuderanthemum)

 Forget about the leggy, foliage scarce eranthemums you see in nurseries and gardens. If you care   for this plant well, you will have thick showy shrub.

 They are cultivated for their beautiful tubular flowers. The leaves are prominently veined.

Where to plant : Grow in fertile, moist but well drained soil in full sun or shaded border.

Eranthemum  is occurs naturally  in forest and scrub  in  tropical Asia.

 

10. Brunfelsia pauciflora

Commonly known as Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow due to its evergreen nature. It has leathery, glossy deep green leaves. The wavy-margined flowers open purple and age almost to white.

Its scent is heavenly and gets more pronounced at night.

Growing tips: It grows well in full sun in a well-drained soil

Where to plant: It serves well as hedge, border planting or a specimen plant within the lawn.

11. Gardenia grandiflora (.syn G.jasminoides, G.augusta)common gardenia

Gardenia has fragrant and showy flowers. It is a medium to large shrub with lance, elliptic or ovate shaped, glossy deep green leaves. The flowers are strongly fragrant, going from white to ivory.

Growing tip: Requires full sun

Where to plant: Good for border or as specimen plants. Gardenias also form good hedges.

12.  Viburnum

Many variants of viburnum exist. Viburnum are grown for their foliage, fruits and flowers. The flowers may be fragrant-white or cream, pink or pink-flushed.

Growing tip: Grow in full sun or partial shade in well-drained soil. Viburnums tolerate hard pruning.

Where to plant: Viburnums are ideal for shrub border or woodland garden. Against the wall, many thrive well.

13.Ixora

Ixora are grown for their large vibrantly coloured, scented –four petalled salverform flowers. They occur naturally in tropical woodlands and mountains up to 3000m as evergreen shrubs.

Growing tips: They grow best in warm, humid climates. Keep them in shade in hot places and shelter from strong winds.

Where to plant: Grow in a shrub border or as free standing specimens.

 

14.Cestrum elagans

Locally known as “Queen of the Night”. It is a loved shrub due their tubular or funnel shaped flowers and the strong scent emitted at night. They also give red or purple berries ideal as food for wildlife.

Where to plant:  Grow in a sheltered border or against a sunny wall.

Cestrums are from Mexico, Central and South America.

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