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Achimenes species and hybrids are commonly grown as greenhouse plants, or outdoors as bedding plants in subtropical regions. The species have been extensively hybridized, with many of the hybrids involving the large-flowered species A. grandiflora and A. longiflora. Many of the species and their hybrids have large, brightly colored flowers and are cultivated as ornamental greenhouse and bedding plants.
The Lilly Pilly is fairly hardy and needs only a subtropical climate to flourish. Protection should be given from long or hard freezes. Plants enjoy profuse amounts of water, but will grow in drier areas. They grow best in areas of light sun or shade. Flowers are small and fluffy, with a creamy, white color. Flowering is generally Spring, and is followed by large bunches of the fruit which ripen a couple of months later.
Acnistus arborescens is a large shrub native to Central and South America known as Hollowheart. In its natural habitats, it grows in full sun and reaches heights of as high as 10 feet, or as a small tree up to 20 feet in height. It is also known for its abundance of white, off-white, blue, lavender, and purple flowers, as well as for its ability to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
This plant is best grown in USDA zone 9-11 in well-draining soil and with regular waterings. In warm climates, it can have year-round growth, while cold climates may require bringing the plant indoors in winter or providing frost protection such as an insulating wrap. If planted in a pot, it is recommended to place it in a sheltered location and use a balanced fertilizer on a regular basis. If a cold snap is predicted, the pot should be moved indoors to a sunny location.
Traditionally, Acnistus arborescens has also been used ethnomedically to treat cancer. However, no scientific evidence is available to attest to its efficacy as an herbal remedy.
In conclusion, Acnistus arborescens is an attractive, fast-growing shrub or small tree that is easy to care for and provides a splash of color to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. While it can have ethnomedical advantages, more research is needed to verify the claims of its healing properties.
This shrub is one of three members of the genus, Acokanthera. It belongs to the same family as many popular subtropical ornamental plants such as frangipani, allamanda and oleander, as well as the impala lily and num-num. This family is characterized by having sweetly scented flowers and sticky, milky sap which is very poisonous. The Bushman's poison is a hardy drought. It's a frost resistant, evergreen shrub that tolerates full sun but prefers shade, it also does well as a container plant.