Garden Plant of the Month December: Helleborus

Helleborus flowers in the middle of winter

It’s always spectacular: a plant that blooms when most garden plants are hibernating. Helleborus (also known as the Christmas rose) treats you to large white flowers with a fantastic crown of stamens at their heart from November to March. The plant can cope with snow or frost: branches might droop a bit, but as soon as the temperatures climb again, Helleborus will straighten up.

Range

Helleborus niger is most widely offered in December. This clump-forming, usually evergreen perennial is loved for its nodding clusters of bowl-shaped white flowers in winter and early spring. The dark foliage consists of multiple smaller leaves. There are various cultivars, usually with white flowers such as the cultivars ‘Christmas Carol’, ‘Dafine’ , ‘Shining Star’ and Jushua.
Helleborus orientalis has yellow, pink and dark purple flowers, and there are also varieties with spotted flowers. Like Helleborus niger, this Christmas rose comes in various sizes, from small enough to be used in a hanging basket through to a tall bush which needs a substantial pot or a spot in the border.

Trivia

• The common name of Christmas rose derives from an old legend in which the plant emerged in the snow from the tears of a girl who had no gift for the baby Jesus in Bethlehem.
• In the Middle Ages Helleborus was cultivated by people to keep away evil winter spirits.
• The plant has been known for a long time. The physician Melampus referred to it in 1400 BC.
• Helleborus symbolises pioneering and survival.

Origin

Helleborus is a member of the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family. The plant is native to the forests of south and central Europe and west Asia. The plant can be spotted in the wild in the Alps, Carpatrhian and Appenine mountains.
What to look for when buying
• Check the balance between pot size and bush, the plant must have a number of viable buds and be free of pests.
• The soil must be sufficiently damp to prevent the plant from drooping.
• Yellow leaves can indicate leaf-miner flies; botrytis manifests itself as black spots on the white petals.

Sales and display tips

As the star of December, the Helleborus likes to be placed alongside red and white patio Cyclamen, Poinsettias and Christmas accessories for an attractive display. It’s also a very popular plant for large-scale outdoor arrangements, combined with checkerberry, ornamental wood, heather, moss and – for example – small outdoor lanterns.
Care tips for customers
• Place Helleborus in a sheltered sunny spot. The more the plant is shaded, the fewer flowers of it will produce.
• The plant shows when it needs extra water with its drooping leaves. After a couple of hours the Helleborus will have perked up completely.
• Don’t water when it’s freezing: the plant consumes hardly anything at those times.
• Some plant food once a fortnight encourages extra-long and profuse flowering.

Garden Plant of the Month

Helleborus is the Garden Plant for December 2018. The ‘Garden Plant of the Month’ is an initiative from the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant with an amazing look or unusual characteristics to put in the spotlight. Sometimes it will be a green star that’s highlighted, and sometimes an undiscovered treasure that deserves to be better known and merits a place in the garden, on the patio or on the balcony. Because everyone is happier with more plants.

Houseplant of the Month for December: Anthurium

Red, white or green, and shiny too if you want – for a beautiful modern Christmas. How ‘happy holidays’ can you get?

Classic or funky – Anthurium can do both

Alongside plenty of volume and enthusiasm, Anthurium also offers pure natural design that even a Christmas tree struggles to compete with. It’s available in classic December colours, but if you want something a bit different combine a pink Anthurium with some silver baubles or a salmon Anthurium with gold accents to create an instant festive effect in a very different style.

It’s not what you think

A handy tip to make you an instant Anthurium expert: although most people think the coloured part is the flower, it’s actually a coloured bract. Anthurium’s flowers are very small and are all located on the spike.

Anthurium guide

The tailflower (with the shiny bracts) is available in white, red, pink, lilac, lemon, green, brown and even bicoloured. The flamingo flower is very similar, but has matt coloured bracts. There is also an Anthurium which derives its decorative value primarily from its green foliage. Almost all of them are available in large and small sizes and in compact and loose shapes so that you can use them to create a December mood entirely in your own style.

How to help your Anthurium last till Christmas 2019 (and beyond)

  • Anthurium likes a light spot, but preferably not in full sun.
  • It tends to feel the cold, and prefers the thermostat to be between 18-22°C.
  • Don’t allow the soil to dry out, but also avoid leaving the roots standing in water.
  • A misting from time to time will make Anthurium think it’s back in the tropical rainforest.
  • Wilted flowers can be cut off or pulled out stem and all.
  • Plant food once every three weeks will keep Anthurium blooming.

Botanical Brazilian

Anthurium originates from tropical rainforests of Colombia, Guatemala and the Amazon region of Brazil. The plant grows there as an epiphyte: that means that it grows in and on trees with relatively few roots without drawing nutrients from the tree. The plant gets enough light there but no bright sunlight and is always nice and warm with a high level of humidity. It likes a similar position in your home. If it’s very dry because of central heating, choose an attractive bowl that matches the planter. Pour water into the bowl and place the Anthurium in it, complete with planter. That allows the water to evaporate around the plant and instantly increases the humidity: win-win!

Fancy a flowering bauble?

Red, white and green Anthuriums are perfect for fresh, contemporary festive arrangements. Display them with some Christmas decorations. Keep it sleek and modern: black shiny pots, silver and gold. Give the plant some space: the profusion of stems and flowers looks best if it’s not restricted. Anthurium has attractive thick roots that can be displayed in a glass pot or vase. Small specimens can be wrapped in moss (kokedama) to shine as an alternative bauble on a plate or bowl or under a glass dome.

Houseplant of the Month

Anthurium is the Houseplant for December 2018. ‘Houseplant of the Month’ is an initiative by the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant which is particularly popular with consumers or is not (yet) well-known, but does have the potential to do well in the living room.

Houseplant of the Month for November : Rhipsalis

This turbo grower makes the dark days of winter greener, cosier and more mysterious, whether you let it hang wild or drape it over your table.

Strokable cactus

It’s very unusual: Rhipsalis is actually a cactus, but without spikes. This rapid grower hangs down in long, messy tendrils or grows upwards in a bushy shape, as the mood takes it. As a houseplant it’s dark green on top, thinner at the ends and fantastic for exciting peepholes and tabletop pastures. The plant is also known as Mistletoe Cactus, and is virtually maintenance-free. Rhipsalis can cope well with forgetful waterers, doesn’t give up and makes a stunning feature.

Air purifier

Rhipsalis grows in rainforests in Central and South America, Africa and on a couple of islands in the Indian Ocean. Rhipsalis’ jungle origins make it a houseplant with air-purifying properties according to research by NASA.

November is an intimate, restrained month. It is particularly Rhipsalis’ hanging forms that accentuate that sense of enclosure

Rhipsalis is not fussy

  • A light spot, full sun, partial shade: Rhipsalis is not fussy about where it’s placed.
  • Moderate water once a week. The soil can dry out a bit between waterings.
  • Spraying from time to time will make Rhipsalis very happy.
  • A bit of plant food once a month keeps the growth going.
  • If the tendrils get too long, they can just be cut back to shape.

Hanging or trailing?

Depending on how much space you have, it can look spectacular to place several Rhipsalis together or allow them to grow downwards standing in a line. You can emphasise the plant’s jungle roots with pots made of wood, bamboo or earthenware with a bark pattern, or by hanging them from a sturdy branch. If you want to use Rhipsalis for a table display, opt for a bowl that is not too shallow (the plant has fairly deep roots) and decorate it with attractive stones, conkers and other natural finds.

Houseplant of the Month

Rhipsalis is the Houseplant for November 2018. ‘Houseplant of the Month’ is an initiative by the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant which is particularly popular with consumers or is not (yet) well-known, but does have the potential to do well in the living room.

Garden Plant of the Month November: Skimmia

Skimmia, the four season wonder

This shrub (officially called Skimmia japonica) constantly manifests itself in new ways throughout the year. In November the plant displays the buds of its sturdy, attractive flower spikes. The colour and the buds continue to look beautiful all winter long. In April/May the buds open and Skimmia flowers with white/pink flowers with a strong scent: bees love them. The first new buds appear at the end of August. And one constant is the leathery leaves that remain beautifully green throughout the year.

Range

The Skimmia range has expanded in recent years with many new cultivars. They vary in terms of the colour of the bud, the leaf colour (green or variegated) and the compactness of the plant. There are both compact dwarf Skimmias and specimens that have a much larger, looser shape. The most common cultivar of Skimmia japonica is ‘Rubella’, with its red buds. There are also other red varieties such as ‘Rubesta’, ‘Rubinetta’ and ‘Red Dwarf’. Plants with green/white buds are: ‘Finchy’, ‘White Globe’, ‘White Dwarf’, ‘Godries Dwarf Green’, ‘Fragrant Cloud’ (scented). Some red berry-bearing Skimmias are: ‘Pabella’, ‘Obesssion’, ‘Veitchii’ and ‘Temptation’.

Skimmia trivia

• The first Skimmia came to Europe in 1838 and ended up in the greenhouses of Kew Gardens.
• The Latin name was created in 1784 from ‘Miyama shikimi’, the Japanese name for Skimmia.
• Skimmia japonica ‘Pabella’ is a cousin of Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’, which is known for its beautiful sprays of flowers.
• For the plant to thrive in your garden, you need to place a male Skimmia alongside a couple of ladies to ensure pollination. The male plant can be identified by its shape, it flowers slightly more vigourously and the flowers have pistils.

Origin

Skimmia is a member of the rue family (Rutaceae), which also includes citrus trees. The family resemblance is clear from the leaves: if you crush them, it releases a citrus fragrance. In the wild Skimmia grows in the forest of China and other parts of Asia such as the Himalayas. However, the version in your garden was created in a Dutch greenhouse.
What to look for when buying
• Check the balance between pot size, the number of stems per pot, the shape of the plant and the number of birds on the plant.
• Skimmia is only offered with coloured buds in November. These buds have formed in August, and will retain their marvellous colour until they flower in April. There’s therefore no need to check the ripeness in November.

Sales and display tips

Skimmia is a perfect transition plant between all the red and orange of early autumn and the approaching December festivities. Highlighted alongside other autumn successes such as heather and ivy, and supplement the display with some home accessories that match the season, such as lanterns, a boot jack and a rake. Because Skimmia is a popular front door plant (one either side of the door) it’s a good idea to display the plants symmetrically, already placed in an attractive pot or zinc bucket.
Care tips for customers
• Skimmia prefers to be in the shade where the berries will develop best.
• The plant prefers a lightly acidic soil such as rhododendron soil.
• If the leaves turn yellow the soil is not acidic enough.
• Skimmia does not like having wet feet, and therefore likes to be planted near trees that draw a lot of moisture out of the soil. In pots the water must be able to drain away.
• It’s better not to cut branches off the plant since that will harm the next flowering.
• Skimmia is moderately hardy, and only needs to be wrapped in fleece or bubblewrap during hard frosts.

Garden Plant of the Month

Skimmia is the Garden Plant for November 2018. The ‘Garden Plant of the Month’ is an initiative from the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant with an amazing look or unusual characteristics to put in the spotlight. Sometimes it will be a green star that’s highlighted, and sometimes an undiscovered treasure that deserves to be better known and merits a place in the garden, on the patio or on the balcony. Because everyone is happier with more plants.

Garden Plant of the Month October: Pyracantha

The glow of autumn: Pyracantha

Pyracantha (also known as firethorn) is a shrub with flaming berries in the autumn and green leaves in the winter and early spring. In May and June the plant blooms with a host of cream flowers, so that the shrub provides beauty in the garden all year round. Pyracantha likes to grow against a wall or frame, and is also suitable as a hedge plant. It’s a spectacular feature plant that can make an entire wall glow with the colour of its berries.

Range

The Pyracantha range offers a rich palette of colour in the form of red, yellow and orange berries. The plant is offered in various forms: as a pyramid, as a plant tied to stakes, or growing against a frame. The most common cultivars are ‘Soleil d’Or’ (yellow), ‘Red Column’ (red), ‘Orange Charmer’ (vermilion), ‘Orange Glow’ (orange).

Pyracantha trivia

• Pyracantha’s berries are not very popular with birds, which means they remain on the plant for a long time, well into winter. Only when the supply of food for birds really starts to run short will blackbirds and thrushes in particular eat the berries.

• The study thorns mean that pyracantha is not strokable, although small songbirds in particular like to hide their nest in the bush because the thorns protect them from cats.

• The thorns also provide natural protection against burglars and vandals. It’s not pleasant to clamber across this plant to reach a window or get over a fence.

Origin

Pyracantha is a member of the rose family, which explains the presence of thorns, and is a close relative of the thornless Cotoneaster. This garden plant grows wild from south-east Europe to southeast Asia, and has been cultivated since the 16th century. It’s widely used in gardens and parks as a colourful berry-bearing shrub because it lasts a very long time with comparatively little maintenance.

What to look for when buying

• Pyracantha should primarily be chosen for the shape. Pyracantha is offered as a plant tied to stakes, with a frame or as a ready-to-use hedging plant.

• The plants are available as a climber all year round, including without berries, but it is particularly berries that increase Pyracantha’s visual value. There should be plenty of colour on display at the time of purchase.

• Pyracantha must be free of pests and diseases.

Sales and display tips

Enrich the display of the Pyracantha range of seasonal products such as a locally grown apples in crates, pumpkins, squashes and a selection of bird food and birdhouses. Because the plant in a pot does not always do justice to the effect it will have in a garden, inspirational image material as a backdrop will enhance its appeal.

Care tips for customers

• Pyracantha will do well in shade, partial shade and full sun. • Ensure rich well-draining soil.

• Younger Pyracanthas and Pyracanthas that are used as container plants should be watered regularly. Older Pyracanthas planted in the soil can cope better with drought due to their extensive root system.

• The plant can reach a height of 4 to 5 metres and can grow quite wild. The best time for cutting back is at the end of the winter. This encourages both flowering and the formation of berries.

Garden Plant of the Month

Pyracantha is the Garden Plant for October 2018. The ‘Garden Plant of the Month’ is an initiative from the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant with an amazing look or unusual characteristics to put in the spotlight. Sometimes it will be a green star that’s highlighted, and sometimes an undiscovered treasure that deserves to be better known and merits a place in the garden, on the patio or on the balcony. Because everyone is happier with more plants.

Houseplants of the Month for October: Pet-friendly plants

Lovely to look at, beautifully green and no cause for panic if your dog or cat has a nibble on them: these are ideal plants for people with pets.

Every cat and dog owner knows that plants have an irresistible appeal for pets. There isn’t a cat in the world that won’t vigorously shove something green in a pot off the windowsill in order to be able to keep an eye on what’s going on whilst lounging in the sun. And there isn’t a dog that doesn’t see a plant as a potential digging project. We can’t do anything about that, but with spider plant (Chlorophytum), umbrella plant (Cyperus), cat grass (Hordeum), elephant’s foot (Beaucarnea) or bamboo (Banbusa) you can at least be sure that they won’t suffer any ill effects. And they’re also attractive to look at, even if you don’t have a pet.

The worst that can happen with these plants is that your furry friend 🐶 / 😻 / 🐰 / 🐦  finds it a little too tasty

Introducing…

Spider plant Long wide pale green leaves with white stripes amongst which new ‘babies’ constantly emerge.

Umbrella plant Tall stems topped with a crown that is reminiscent of a parasol or umbrella.

Elephant’s foot Sturdy trunk crowned by a cheerful curly top of narrow green strips

Bamboo Green leaves grow sideways out of sturdy trunks with a broad crown at the top.

Cat grass Fresh green and soft, this is extremely decorative roughage for your cat #hairball

Bamboo’s study trunk can also serve as a scratching post for a 😻

Multicultural and safe

The selection of Pet-friendly plants has an international background. The spider plant originates from southern Africa. Elephant’s foot grows wild in Texas, California and Mexico where can reach a height of 5 to 6 metres. The umbrella plant grows on the banks of the Nile in Egypt. Bamboo originates from China, and cat grass is actually barley from the Middle East.

Go Green!

  • All Pet-friendly plants likes a light spot, but not in full sun.
  • The plants like to drink, so do not allow the soil to dry out.
  • A bit of plant food once a month keeps them strong and healthy.
  • If your pet has developed an excessively close bond with the plant, damaged leaves can be cut away. Your green friend will produce new ones of its own accord.

 😻 usually find cat grass so irresistible that they leave other plants alone.

How to display them

All Pet-friendly plants will benefit from a sturdy pot so that they’d don’t topple over too quickly when prodded by an inquisitive nose. Spider plants look best as a hanging plant: if you’re placing it on a shelf a heavier pot is also advisable. Because all the Pet-friendly plants are green, they can benefit from some livening up with their container, such as pots in cheerful colours, with eye-catching reliefs or attractive patterns.

Houseplant of the Month

Pet-friendly plants are the Houseplants for October 2018. ‘Houseplant of the Month’ is an initiative by the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant which is particularly popular with consumers or is not (yet) well-known, but does have the potential to do well in the living room.

Houseplant of the Month for September: Phalaenopsis

The contrast between the slender stem and the heavy comb with flowers makes Phalaenopsis a fairytale creation in many beautiful colours.

Blooming Corps de Ballet

Radiant white, vivid yellow, but also lemon and pale orange. Pink from powder to hot. Purple from lilac to fuchsia. And also with spots, stripes, freckles and raffish edges if required. In multiple colours, because the possibilities are endless with Phalaenopsis’ flowers. This green ballerina produces an opulent comb of flowers on an elegant tall stem. They can continue to bloom for up to three months, and all that time you hardly need to think about it: this orchid is ‘easy care’.

Showpieces

Whether you have a single stem of flowers flirting with you or create your own mini Shangri-La in a bowl with several plants together, a Phalaenopsis always makes an impression. It’s the ultimate flowering houseplant for creating glamour and style. And by playing with different colours it can help to make the mood serene or energetic, whether your taste is modern minimalist or colourful exotic.

Endless flowers

  • Phalaenopsis likes a light spot. From mid-October the plant can even tolerate direct sunlight.
  • Immerse the pot in water for half an hour once every 10 days, leave to drain and the job’s done!
  • Bathtime can take place weekly in summer.
  • Adding plant or special orchid food to the water once every three weeks helps all the buds open.
  • Finished flowering? Count upwards from the bottom to the second node (thickening) on the stem and cut the stem just above it. Carry on immersing as before, and the plant may re-flower after six months.

What’s with the blue plants?

Blue Phalaenopsis do not occur in the wild. The blue flowers are created by a grower’s trick whereby a white orchid is injected with a harmless colouring agent (alongside blue there is also red, black and green) which colours the petals. In the next flowering the plant will be increasingly light until the added colour has disappeared completely.

Jungle Queen Trivia Top 5

  1. The name Phalaenopsis derives from the Greek word ‘phalaina’ which means ‘moth’ and refers to the shape of the flower – hence the common name ‘moth orchid’.
  2. The orchid was brought to Western Europe by explorers in around 1700 from the tropical rainforests of Asia, New Guinea and Australia.
  3. It was one of the first tropical flowers to appear in the flower collections in Victorian orangeries.
  4. There are more than 60 different species and thousands of hybrids.
  5. In the symbolism of flowers, Phalaenopsis indicates charm, refinement and beauty.

Upside down? Not a problem.

Phalaenopsis collect moisture and nutrients with its distinctive aerial roots. A pot is always an option, but it’s not a necessity. This orchid can also be displayed upside down, from a hook on the wall or laid on a bowl. Or in an attractive glass vase in which the roots are displayed nicely. Wrapped in moss, bare and naked – Phalaenopsis doesn’t mind, as long as the roots have a soak or a misting from time to time. If you do opt for a pot, soft and bright colours or a gold or silver lustre give this orchid’s glamour levels a big boost.

Houseplant of the Month

Phalaenopsis is the Houseplant for September 2018. ‘Houseplant of the Month’ is an initiative by the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant which is particularly popular with consumers or is not (yet) well-known, but does have the potential to do well in the living room.

Garden Plants of the Month September: Garden Palms

Enjoy an Indian summer with garden palms

Sizeable, lusciously green and with an exotic look the keeps that summer feeling going a bit longer: garden palms bring the right vibe to September to carry on enjoying outdoor life a little longer. The selection contains a true date palm (Phoenix caneriensis) with green feathered leaves and a distinctive trunk. The Chinese windmill palm (Trachicarpus) with its distinctive fan-shaped leaves. The other stars of September are not officially palm trees, but look a lot like them, so that they combine perfectly. The Yucca and the cabbage palm (Cordyline australis) have an exotic look with attractive rosettes of leaves. With the Yucca the leaves can be green, yellow or white variegated, and green or russet on the Cordyline. Perfect for a seamless transition from summer to Indian summer.

Range

The date palm is available in two species:: P. canariensis with rugged, upward-pointing feathered leaves, and P. roebelenii with softer, more elegant curved leaves. They’re available in various sizes with slender trunks, sometimes with several in a single pot. The best-known species of the cabbage palm is Cordyline australis. The plant offers a fabulous rosette of leaves, and is available in both small sizes for planting as bedding plants, and larger sizes that look lovely on a balcony of patio. The most common varieties are ‘Red Star’ (red leaves) and ‘Verde’ (green leaves). The Yucca is available as the hardy species Yucca flaccida, Y. gloriosa and Y. filamentosa. All three have rugged leaf rosettes on which the leaves are always different. In the summer they flower with an elegant spike of flowers. Yucca elephantipes wants to overwinter in frost-free conditions. It’s primarily a container plant, but also works very well as a houseplant. The Chinese windmill palm (Trachycarpus) is characterised by its fan-shaped leaves. This species is available in substantial sizes, which makes it extremely suitable for dressing patios and driveways, and it can even cope with frost

Garden palms trivia

• It’s unlikely that the date palm will actually produce dates, but anything is possible if the summer is a long and good one.

• Placing palms in the garden is the modern version of the palm houses that the aristocracy had built in the past, and offers the same chic botanical atmosphere.

• For the Romans the palm branch was a symbol of Victoria (Nike), the goddess of victory.

-Trachycarpus is known as the most hardy palm. It’s therefore a plant that you can enjoy in your garden in both summer and winter.

Origin

The selected garden palms have very different roots. The Yucca’s habitat lies in Central and South America, whilst the Cordyline grows in New Zealand and Australia. As the name suggests, Phoenix canariensis originate from the Canary Islands, and P. roebelenii’s home is in Laos. And finally Trachycarpus is native to the Far East.

What to look for when buying

• For garden palms, both the size and the age determine the price: the older the plant is, the more expensive.

• The trunk should be well-rooted, the pot must offer room to grow and the soil must be heavy enough that the plant can stand independently in the pot without falling over as a result of being top-heavy.

• Garden palms must be free of pests and diseases. Especially look out for mealybug and scale insects.

• If the plants have been kept too dry, they can suffer from red spider mite, which can be identified by grey discolouration of the leaves.

• Brown leaf tips indicate insufficient humidity, while yellow leaves mean that the soil is too wet or too dry.

Sales and display tips

Garden palms are soloists that sell themselves best if they are given some space. Displaying them freestanding in an open conservatory setting is more appropriate for this time of year than the Robinson Crusoe feeling. A pedestal or garden vase can give a garden palm a very different look. Different garden palms placed together on various levels show how a patio can be transformed into a paradise. Care tips for customers

• Garden palms like a warm spot, ranging from partial shade to full sun.

• Do not allow the soil to dry out – garden palms need moisture.

• Feed once a month during the growing season.

• Wrap garden palms in the event of frost, or overwinter them in a frost-free location.

Garden Plant of the Month

Garden palms are the Garden Plants for September 2018. The ‘Garden Plant of the Month’ is an initiative from the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant with an amazing look or unusual characteristics to put in the spotlight. Sometimes it will be a green star that’s highlighted, and sometimes an undiscovered treasure that deserves to be better known and merits a place in the garden, on the patio or on the balcony. Because everyone is happier with more plants.

Garden Plant of the Month August 2018: Hebe

A garden party in late summer: Hebe

Hebe is the ideal plant for giving your garden and patio boost in late summer. White, purple, pink or lilac flowers instantly lend fresh energy, and Hebe’s foliage varies in colour from pale green to dark green and very pale grey. In the winter and spring some varieties even have claret leaves. Thanks to the somewhat random structure, the plant has a loose, natural look, and the clusters of flowers are very popular with butterflies and bees. Because Hebe is so versatile, it’s often used in beds and borders, rockeries or as pond planting, but it also works well as a container plant on the balcony or patio. Hebe is evergreen, bringing life to the garden throughout the year.

Range

The Hebe range can be divided into two groups: – The largest consists of generally hardy evergreen species with decorative foliage. The bestknown are H. ‘Emerald Gem’ syn. Green Globe’, H. ochracea ‘James Sterling’, H. ‘Autumn Glory’, H. pimeloides, H. buxifolia and H. pinguifolia. – Completely different but also utterly Hebe is the H. andersonii group, also known as shrubby veronica. This flowers in late summer and autumn, and is particularly popular around 1 and 2 November (All Hallows – All Souls Day).

Hebe trivia

Hebe travelled to Europe from New Zealand in 1835. The resultant cultivars are able to cope well with European winters thanks to crossbreeding.  • In Greek mythology Hebe, the goddess of youth, was the daughter of Zeus and Hera. She was given as a bride to Hercules.  • Hebe can cope relatively well with salty air, making it an ideal plant for seaside gardens and balconies.

Origin

Hebe grows wild in the southern hemisphere, particularly in New Zealand, but also in French Polynesia, the Falkland Islands and South America. There are around 30 species that are fairly tough: the plant grows both along the coast and in mountainous regions at considerable heights, although they do have smaller leaves there.

What to look for when buying

Check the balance between pot size, plant diameter and number of buds, and ensure that the plant is free of pests and diseases.  • The plants are cultivated both outdoors and in greenhouses, depending on the species. Good growers ensure that a Hebe grown outdoors is also supplied in a clean pot. • The larger the plant, the greater the decorative value and the easier Hebe is to look after.  • There should be no dry or dead parts on the plant at the time of purchase.

Sales and display tips

Hebe is the classic late starter in the summer garden: it starts flowering when most plants are past their peak, and  carries on until late autumn. That makes it the ideal plant for people who want a cheerful boost for their garden when they return from holiday. Give the plant a prominent position, emphasise the long, late flowering, and decorate the display with butterflies and insect houses and some patio furniture. The deep colours combine well with summery farmers’ market produce for this time of year, such as pots of jam and juice. Together they create a picture of warmth, enjoyment, and lingering in the garden.

Care tips for customers

Hebe likes a sunny spot, and can even tolerate full sun, but will also thrive in partial shade.  • The plant prefers airy, humus-rich soil. • Water must always be able to drain. The soil can be left to dry out a little between waterings.  • Give some plant food once a fortnight during flowering. Remove wilted flowers. • Hebe is fairly hardy, but if there’s a hard frost it’s better to wrap the plant, particularly if it’s a container plant. Shrubby veronica prefers to overwinter in frost-free conditions.  • Cutting back after the winter keeps the Hebe attractive and strong.

The ‘Garden Plant of the Month’ is an initiative from the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant with an amazing look or unusual characteristics to put in the spotlight. Sometimes it will be a green star that’s highlighted, and sometimes an undiscovered treasure that deserves to be better known and merits a place in the garden, on the patio or on the balcony. Because everyone is happier with more plants.

More information:  Facebook: thejoyofplants  Twitter: @thejoyofplants

Thejoyofplants.co.uk is an initiative by the Flower Council of Holland to enable consumers to discover that you feel better with plants around you.

Scindapsus: houseplant of the Month for August

Multitasker Scindapsus not only makes your home more beautiful with fabulously marked green leaves, but also helps clean up the air indoors.

Domestic wonder

Upwards, downwards – you can go in all directions with Scindapsus. This houseplant is easy to live with, and stands out because of its fantastic heart-shaped satiny leaves. They have fabulous markings with silver, pale green, yellow or whitish spots or a flame pattern. It’s also a reliable companion: if looked after well, this domestic wonder can grow very old yet remain beautiful.

Jungalow Scindapsus is a member of the Araceae family and grows in south-east Asia, Indonesia and on the Solomon Islands: so it brings the tropics to your home.

Give and take

If you look after Scindapsus well it will do something for you in return. According to the NASA Clean Air Study, Scindapsus is one of the plants that help improve the quality of the air in your home. It does this with very small stoma on the leaves. They remove carbon dioxide from the air, convert it to energy for growing, and exhale oxygen. The stoma also emit some moisture, so the plant helps prevent the air in your home from getting too dry.

 Green monkey – In tropical rainforests Scindapsus likes to climb up trees and then hang off stems.

 How to get the best from your Scindapsus

  • Scindapsus enjoys a light spot, but preferably not in direct sunlight or a draught.
  • Rule of thumb: the lighter the leaves, the lighter the position that the plant prefers.
  • The soil can be a bit damp, but try to avoid flooding it.
  • Some plant food once a month will make Scindapsus a power grower.
  • A session with a plant spray is greatly appreciated.
  • If the tendrils get too long, they can just be cut back.

 Happy home – Scindapsus is known as a lucky plant that helps to bring its owner wealth and good fortune. 

Scindapsus styling

The many forms of Scindapsus make the plant very suitable for homes with little space. Hence the tendrils can wrap themselves upwards around a pole like a slim green pillar and the plant can provide plenty of life high up in the room as a hanging plant. Because Scindapsus has a strong rainforest look, it looks best in a natural container: wood, leather, coarse earthenware in natural shades or hanging pots made out of coconut shells.

Houseplant of the Month

Scindapsus is the Houseplant for August 2018. ‘Houseplant of the Month’ is an initiative by the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant which is particularly popular with consumers or is not (yet) well-known, but does have the potential to do well in the living room.

Plants can be bought at: https://hamiplant.com/en/buy-on-line/

For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.uk

Thejoyofplants.co.uk is an initiative by the Flower Council of Holland to enable consumers to discover that you feel better with plants around you.