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Antigonon leptopus is an attractive ornamental plant that easily climbs with its tendrils, over arbors, walls, or tree branches to a height of up to 40 feet. The succulent vine or creeper native to Mexico and Central America produces an abundance of small, lantern-shaped flowers in shades of white, off-white and pink that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. It has very dense glossy green foliage, which is perfect for use as a ground cover or screening plants.
Growing Antigonon leptopus requires ground that is well-drained, slightly acidic and moisture retentive. The plant prefers full sun to semi-shade, and thrives in hot, dry climates. When planting in cold areas, it is best to keep the plant in a pot and bring it indoors during the cold season. The plant requires regular watering and dormant season irrigation to ensure continued growth. However, it does not favour very wet soil and there should be plenty of air circulating around its roots. To ensure bright and frequent blooms, it is best to avoid excess fertilizer, as this can cause excessive vegetative growth which suppresses flowering.
Antigonon leptopus is also known to be a tough and resilient plant, able to withstand even salty, seaside environments and mature plants can survive short periods of cold temperatures down to 30s F. An important point to note is that the Mexican Coral Vine is somewhat invasive, so it is worth keeping an eye on to make sure it does not take over other parts of the garden! Overall, with adequate light and the right moisture levels, Antigonon leptopus can be a wonderful addition to any garden.
Atraphaxis sp. is a large shrub native to Central Asia which grows to a height of 5-10 feet. It is a deciduous plant, meaning it will lose its leaves in the fall. This plant thrives best in full sun or semi-shade, and it prefers a moderate amount of water. This hardy plant is suitable for USDA Zone 5-9.
Atraphaxis sp. also produces edible fruits, which are small and round. The plant can produce up to 200 fruits per plant, each containing an abundance of healthy benefits. These fruits can be eaten fresh, dried, or even processed into jams and jellies. The fruits are known to be an excellent source of Vitamin C, as well as providing essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. These fruits have also been known to aid in digestion, help strengthen the immune system and even prevent cancer.
In colder climates, Atraphaxis sp. can be grown in pots and over-wintered indoors. The plants should be kept consistently moist, but not overly wet as this can lead to root rot. Additionally, make sure the pot has adequate drainage. Once the temperature consistently stays above freezing, the pot can be placed outside in the sun in a sheltered area. Make sure to water regularly to ensure the plant is getting enough water. Additionally, mulching the soil can help retain moisture and provide additional insulation during the winter months.
Requiring full sun and sandy, well-drained soils, this plant is excellent for seaside locations since it is highly salt- and drought-tolerant. Plants should be well-watered until established and then should only require occasional pruning to control shape and develop structure. The contorted, twisting trunk (which can grow to 2 feet or greater in diameter) and upright branching habit makes this an interesting, picturesque shade tree or specimen planting.
Red-flowered Sea Grape. Coccoloba Rugosa very rare collectible, related to the Sea Grape Tree. It has very thick leathery leaves that are really huge. This beautiful tree occurs in the wild in the north-east and east of Puerto Rico. The record from St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands dates from over 100 years ago and the habitat there has largely been destroyed. The main extant population consists of 121 plants in Palmas de Mar, Puerto Rico.
About 150 species of mainly evergreen shrubs, trees and vines make up this tropical American genus. They have leathery leaves of variable shape and produce spikes or panicles of very small separate male and female flowers. The flowers are succeeded by segmented purple fruit, edible in some species (Coccoloba uvifera) and of economic importance locally.
These tropical plants will not tolerate prolonged cool temperatures and do best in moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Some are highly adapted to seashore conditions. Propagate from seed or cuttings.
Species and varieties:
Sea Grape is now found growing wild along many seashores and is also used as an ornamental in gardens subjected to salty winds and drought. It has stiff, rounded platter-like leaves shading from yellowish to olive green with prominent veins. The flowers are inconspicuous but the long clusters of berry-like fruit which follow are striking and give the tree its popular name. Somewhat acid in taste, the fruit can be used to make jelly. Other members of the genus have even larger leaves and make attractive ornamental plants when grown in a glasshouse. Coccoloba prefers full sun. Pruning improves the shape when it is used in a garden landscape. It is both flood and drought tolerant.
The quickest cover for an ugly wall or building is the Fallopia baldschuanica which can make 20ft of growth in one summer. But take care it does not get out of control. Cutting back side shoots will give you thicker, grape-vine like stems.
They prefer full sun (with some midday shade) and moderately fertile, moist but well-drained soil. Prune to keep in bounds and shape. Propagate from seed or summer cuttings or pre- rooted layers.
The Ribbon Bush is a terrific, leaf-less plant from the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific with long, flattened stems resembling tapeworms - hence its nickname "Tapeworm Plant". It's hard to capture the unusual beauty of this plant in pictures. This is an awesome, offbeat plant that will get people asking: "What the heck is that??". This plant needs very little care, makes a great houseplant, and is very hard to find.
The Ribbon Bush (Homalocladium platycladum) is an odd member of the rhubarb and buckwheat family. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'homalus' meaning "flat" and 'klados' meaning "a branch" and the specific epithet is from the descriptive botanical word platyclade, which is used to describe flattened, photosynthetic shoots, branches or stems which comes from another Greek word 'platy', that also means "flat". The common names Centipede Plant or Tapeworm Plant aptly describe the stems. What you see are the stems. The plant does make small leaves, but they only appear occasionally on the new growth. The segmented stems are perfectly flat, and are smooth and durable. They branch out and weave their way up eerily, forming a tall, bushy mass of ribbons. Once it reaches 4 or 5 feet tall, it tends to flop over unless you stake it upright. But the stems continue to grow upward regardless, giving it an artsy, eccentric look! In bright light, the plant produces white flowers and attractive red fruit.