Monday, 31 December 2012

Best New Plants of 2012

Twenty twelve saw me move house presenting me with the chance to start again. Of course I didn't want to get rid of all of my plants as I had them in the first place because I liked them. But the new garden was full of tat that I really do dislike, and was also a lot larger.
However, I do have something of a love for the exotic so as a result tend to have rather too many as houseplants. After the move some of them struggled (including my Ceropegia sandersonii) and it became clear that they were not happy in their new home I gave them away. Naturally they were replaced with something else, so this short list will include some of those too.

10; Kalanchoe x houghtonii

Not a rarity, but it is such a willing plant and produced blooms for months on end.

Easy to care for, this plants has a strange characteristic - it produces baby plants (lots of them) on the leaves. These then drop off and root.

9; Cerinthe palestina

I was very kindly sent seed for this beauty by a forum acquaintance in Isreal. I'm not sure yet that it's as hardy as the common C.major, but it produces seed equally as freely so I'll be able to build a better picture as to its hardiness over the next year or two. The cream flowers are offset beautifully by the blue green foliage..................

8; Brugmansia sanguinea

A plant that I have long admired, I had in the past baulked at the price and the reported trickiness of getting it to bloom in the UK. I took the plunge this year and was not disappointed. Aided by one of the lousiest summers that I can remember it bloomed well. Not uber fragrant like the common Brugs, it is to my eyes the best looking!

7; Fuchsia procumbens

Grown from seed sent to me by another forum contact (this time in New Zealand) this small ground hugging Fuchsia is a simple gem!

6; Kohleria "Sunshine"

Another forum member kindly sent me some tubers for this rather stunning Gesneriad. Easy to grow and free flowering over the summer months, it is a perfect houseplant because over the winter you just allow it to go dormant and shove the pot somewhere out of the way.

5; Manfreda elongata

I bought this very much on a whim at a fantastic nursery called Cotswold Garden Flowers (for UK readers, this place must be visited at least once!). An Agave relative that is reportedly hardy down to zone7, it has taken -7°c already. There were plants there with multiple flower spikes but I selected mine as it had four side shoots (it now has seven). The sideshoots were important as I was (and still am) unsure as to whether it is monocarpic or not.

Total height of the flower stem was about five feet (sorry for the poor photo)..................

4; Passiflora alata

Whilst P.quadrangularis is my favourite Passion Flower, P.alata runs it close and in the UK climate a better bet. Sadly, 2012 was a poor summer and this struggled. I got four blooms for my efforts, but take comfort from the fact that it performed poorly at Oxfords Botanic Gardens too this year.

3; Tricyrtis ishiana

I am slowly building up a nice collection of Tricyrtis and was chuffed to bits to find this at Cotswold Garden Flowers. 

It needs shade and proved to be very happy under the weeping willow at the top of the garden..............

2; Bird of Paradise/Strelitzia reginae

This is not a new plant. In fact the seed germinated seven years ago. But in April this year it bloomed for the first time! So in my eyes it counts as a new plant!

It started off flowering indoors but continued to bloom well after it was moved outdoors too...............

Up close the colour combination is stunning!

1; Bomarea hirtella

Just Beautiful! Need I say more...............

So there they are - my favourite new plants from 2012.