Buxus Sempervirens 'Variegata' or Variegated Boxwood 1/17/14
Hardy, slow growing shrub. Zones 6-8. 3-5'T x 3-4'W. Likes sun to part shade. Full, strong sun however, can cause some burn damage on the leaves, so this shrub is not recommended for blazing full sun areas. Evergreen variegated foliage provides incredible winter interest, especially in a snowy backdrop, as seen here. Pictured is a very young plant, but boxwoods in general make excellent low growing, bushy hedges, and are famous for their ability to be shaped and pruned into the perfect form. This variegated leaf is a gorgeous addition to any landscape. The boxwood does bloom in the spring, but blooms are insignificant. This shrub is all about the foliage and less about the flowers. Use as a hedge row up against a low deck or porch, or as a defining border hedge in the landscape. Also can be very cute as a stand alone meatball in the garden mixed with some lower growing perennials. A Bohemian favorite!
Mini Grocery Store Orchid (Phaleonopsis) 1/26/14
I've been seeing these everywhere lately and couldn't resist. Also known as a moth orchid, phalaenopsis is the most commonly available orchid. Likes bright indoor light, but not direct sun as it can burn the leaves. The natural habitat of most of these orchids is nestled in the crevasses of tropical trees below the canopy. Most like h...umidity as they pull their water and nutrients from the air and environment that surrounds them. To successfully grow an orchid at home it should be potted in an orchid bark mix (available in big box stores) to simulate life in a tropical tree. Luke warm water is best and they love to be sprayed with a mister. Do not let them sit in water. Also, a good orchid food will keep your plant happy. These can be very rewarding plants year after year. If they're happy, they will reward you by reblooming around the same time each year.
Schefflera actinophylla 'Amate' - 2/7/14
Great tropical plant. Likes bright light indoors, paying special attention to getting light to lower foliage to maintain bushy appearance. Best in an indoor greenhouse, heated sunporch, or next to a patio door. Beautiful bright green foliage provides excellent contrast to the typical foliage houseplant. When fully mature, can reach 15'T x 6'W in a container, and more when outdoors in tropical climates. It grows slowly in a pot, and if you find it getting too large it takes a pruning very well. This plant does not flower, but the foliage is definitely striking. Around here, in the warmer months, it would also make an incredible addition to any mixed container, as the leaves are large and a beautifully bright shade of green. They usually come in an 8-10" pot, but we recommend you keep it in at least a 12" pot with a rich organic potting mix to promote new growth, and prevent root rot. It's recommended that you feed this plant monthly when it's actively growing, and every 3 months if it's in a dormancy stage. Great plant to bright up your indoors while it's still pretty dreary outdoors.
Alocasia amazonica - 2/28/14
Tropical houseplant. Zones 8+ can plant outdoors as perennial. 1-2'T x 1-2'W. More commonly called elephant ears, though elephant ears describe many, many different kinds of tropical plants. This particular plant prefers bright, indirect light, such as indoor light close to a window. Do not exposed to direct strong sunlight as this will burn the foliage. Foliage is a deep green with striking white veins running through leaves and as a borderline. Plant is upright in form. The more light it gets, the shorter and bushier it will grow. The less light it gets, the taller and leggier it will grow. The plant does flower when it's very happy. Blooms are similar to that of a peace lily, and are fragrant. These guys are tropical. As such, they enjoy warmth, humidity, and moist conditions. Use a potting soil mixed with compost to provide good drainage. Do not let soil dry out. This plant is excellent on its own indoors, or you could make an incredible mixed container with other flowering/foliage plants in a shady area outdoors in the warmer months. These days this plant is readily available. We've been seeing them everywhere lately. Definitely a great little funky addition to anyone's winterscape!
Hypoestes phyllostachya - 3/7/14
AKA Polka dot plant, or pink splash plant. These little tropicals have become very popular small grocery store plants. Available in pinks, whites, and reds, it's all about the foliage with these bright miniature cuties. Often sold in a small pot by itself, it has become a regular houseplant for a bright indoor spot. Can also be used as an annual in the garden bed during the warmer months, or as a spectacular foliage plant in a mixed container. The bright color of the leaves provides excellent contrast to more green leafed annuals. This compact, low grower prefers full sun to part sun. The more sun it gets, the brighter the leaf color. If it's not getting enough sun, the foliage starts to turn all green. If this happens to you, move it to a sunnier spot. This plant does flower, but the show is really about the leaf color. After flowering, this plant typically goes into dormancy. If you don't add it to your compost pile by then, it's best to water extremely sparingly until new growth emerges.
Pink Narcissus or Pink Daffodil 4/25/14
Perennial bulb. Zones 3-8. Sun to part shade. Plant bulbs in fall for early to late spring blooms, depending on the variety. Blooms can last upwards of two weeks and make beautiful cut flowers. Fragrant addition to any garden, and a great early start for the wonderful pollinator population. 16-18" T with 3-4" wide blooms, some bigger. This daffodil, and all daffodils are deer resistant, which makes them an excellent alternative to tulips, a.k.a. little deer ice cream cones. If you have deer, but want bulbs, plant daffodils. Do not plant tulips or crocuses as chances are they'll be toast by the time they would bloom. When planting bulbs, follow directions included in the package, but remember, when it tells you how deep to plant them, most of the time the depth is from the BOTTOM of the bulb to the surface. For example, if directions say plant 4" deep, make a hole 4" deep, and place bulbs inside. DO NOT plant bulbs too deep as most of the time they will rot out, or not perform as well as they should. I like to plant them just deep enough that the top of the bulb is right at the surface. Then the mulch we add in the spring time covers the bulbs just enough for them to break through something. We get a lot less rot that way. Also should be noted that not all bulbs are created equal. Quality bulbs mean quality plants. If your bulbs were cheap, or they don't look healthy, chances are your plants will look cheap and unhealthy as well.
Pulmonaria or Lungwort - 5/2/14
Perennial. Zones 2-8. Most are deciduous, but there are a couple evergreen types. Silver and green foliage with small hairs on both sides are the show stopper for this beauty. Foliage and flowers appear in early spring. Flowers can be blues, purples, pinks, whites, or a combination, depending on variety. Blooms April - June. 8-12"T x 2'W. Likes semi shady conditions. Strong sun can burn foliage. Fast growing, both up and out. Great container plant as the foliage provides excellent contrast. Mixes well with plants with white flowers, or other silver foliage plants. Also great texture wise due to tiny hairs on leaves. The flowers are sweet, small bells that rise above the foliage in clusters. Excellent performer time and time again. You can't go wrong with this one!
Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart' or Gold Bleeding Hearts-5/16/14
Perennial. Zones 3-9. 30"T x 30"W. Likes part shade with no direct sunlight as it can burn foliage. Lime green fern-like foliage appears on orange hued stems in early April, seeming to jump out of a freshly mulched landscape. Established plants give the appearance of a small shrub. Every year this plant gets a little bigger and a little fuller. In May-June, pink and white heart shaped flowers drape down from the foliage. This plant behaves the same as more traditional and popular dicentra varieties, but the lime green foliage truly sets it apart as a jewel in the garden. The color and the textural element of the foliage truly make this a one of a kind performer that's sure not to disappoint. It is deer resistant, and shade tolerant. While it's sometimes hard to find, it's worth going out of your way to get this beauty. It goes strong through spring into early summer, but then goes dormant in the warmer summer months, so it's best to plant it with companions that do well in heat. If you see this plant, buy it. You wont' regret it! Definitely a Bohemian Rose favorite.
Irises - 5/23/14
Perennial Rhizome (bulb). Zones 3-9. There are many, many different types of irises. Bearded, unbearded, Japanese, Siberian to name a few. Some can be used as water plants at a pond edge. Some rebloom, some only bloom once. The majority bloom in spring, around now. They enjoy sunny conditions, with a minimum of 6 hours of sun a day for optimum performance. The rhizomes should be planted in late summer, early fall for blooms the following spring. Plant rhizomes 16-18" apart as they produce more rhizomes as they get older, and can spread to fill an area. For this reason, it can be necessary to divide the clumps if they get too dense. That is, dig up sections of the iris bed, and either give away unwanted bulbs to a friend, or put them somewhere else in your garden. The irises will reward you with more blooms and fuller plants if they are not so dense as to choke themselves out. We've also heard it's best to prune off any seed pods that the iris may produce post bloom as the energy the plant uses to produce the seed pods is much better put to use as stored energy in the rhizome for the following year's blooms. Fertilize twice a year, and enjoy the show! Happy Memorial Day Weekend!