If you're looking for a low-maintenance plant that provides both texture and color, consider the variegated flax lily (Danella tasmanica “Variegata”). Although this drought-resistant perennial produces late-summer flowers, it is grown primarily for its variegated strappy foliage. Variegated flax lily grows from 1 to 3 feet tall with an equal spread and does best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11.
Although the variegated flax lily does well when planted in shady locations, it does best when it receives full or partial sun for most of the day. In fact, plants grown in the shade are more susceptible to scale, a tiny insect that attaches itself to the undersides of the flax lily’s leaves and feeds on it by sucking out the juices.
The variegated flax lily requires consistently moist soil during its first growing season. This helps it establish the strong, deep root system that allows it to tolerate drought conditions later in its life. In its second and subsequent seasons, water it only during periods of extreme drought. If other plants in the garden are experiencing drought stress, the flax lily probably is as well, so water it slowly to a depth of 10 inches.
To keep the variegated flax lily looking tidy, remove old, yellow or pest-infested leaves throughout the growing season. Use sharp pruning shears and cut the leaf as far back into the plant as possible. Avoid composting diseased or infested parts of the plant. To avoid spreading diseases and pests, bag up affected foliage and remove it from the garden. The variegated flax lily can be divided in early spring. Dig it up, drive a shovel through the root ball and replant the pieces.
Fox Tail Fern
Foxtail asparagus ferns are unusual and attractive evergreen flowering plants and have many uses in the landscape and beyond. Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myers’ is related to the asparagus fern ‘Sprengeri’ and is actually a member of the lily family. Let’s find out how to take care of a foxtail fern in the garden.
Foxtail ferns are not really ferns, as they’re multiplied from seeds and produce no spores. The common name likely came from the clumping habit of the plant that is similar to that of a fern. Foxtail asparagus ferns have an unusual, symmetrical look. These fern-like plants have arching plumes of tightly packed, needle-like leaves that look soft and delicate. Foxtail fern plants bloom with white flowers and produce red berries. The plants appear fragile and may cause gardeners to shy away from them, expecting difficult and extensive care of foxtail fern. Don’t let the appearance deceive you, however. In reality, foxtail ferns are tough and hardy specimens, flourishing with limited care.
Foxtail fern plants are drought resistant once established. Plant the outdoor foxtail fern in a lightly shaded area, particularly avoiding hot afternoon sun in the hottest zones. The potted specimen outside can take gentle morning sun with light shade for the rest of the day. Indoors, locate the foxtail in bright light and even direct morning sun in winter. Provide humidity to plants growing indoors.
The name Cordyline originates from Greek; the word kordyle, meaning "club," is a reference to the plant's enlarged underground stems. Cordyline typically has leathery leaves shaped like a spear or lance with a variety of coloring including green, red, yellow, white, purple, and purplish-red. Caring for these plants indoors is simple and straightforward, but they must be kept warm and they need a lot of light.
Cordyline needs bright light, but avoid direct sunlight in unhabituated plants. Also, green-leaved cordyline tends to do best with direct light, while those with other colored leaves may prefer bright indirect or filtered sunlight.
A mature, well-trimmed plant should have stems of various heights, up to 3 to 4 feet, and be clothed in leaves to the soil level. Over time, cordylines tend toward legginess so you will want to trim back individual stems in a staggered pattern.
Red Sister plants (Cordyline fruticosa "Red Sister") are a variety of evergreen tropical shrub that belongs to the lily family. Also known as the ti plant or the Hawaiian good luck plant, the many varieties of cordylines are prized for their foliage. The Red Sister plants are cultivated for their dense, leathery leaves. They are not invasive, can be grown outside in extremely warm climates and are grown as houseplants in cooler areas. The leaves range from pink through deep burgundy, depending on growing conditions and light received.
Croton Petra is a plant you can't miss, as it has some of the boldest and brightest foliage around. Often vividly marked with bright yellow, orange, and red, Crotons add a tropical touch to your home. These exotic plants have a reputation for being high-maintenance due to their tropical nature, but hey, sometimes it requires a little work to stay beautiful!
Croton Petra is native to southern Asia and the western Pacific Islands where the humidity levels are higher. In addition to lots of bright light to encourage their deep and varied coloring, this beautiful plant will appreciate regular misting. Don’t be afraid to group a few of these stunning plants together— it helps raise the humidity level naturally and benefits all the plants.
The Yaupon Holly, also called Cassina (the latter shared with the Dahoon Holly), is an evergreen holly found in the southeast United States. It is a shrub or small tree reaching 15 to 20 feet tall with a similar spread. The Yaupon is one of the most durable and adaptable evergreen hollies grown. It has a moderate to fast growth rate, tolerates drought once established and can adapt to many different soils.
Female plants produce prodigious amounts of bright red, persistent berries. The ornamental twigs with small, shiny, gray-green leaves and numerous red berries have been used as holiday decorations and make cheerful accents in the landscape. The small white blooms are not showy but attract pollinators. This is a small tree or large bush with pruning. Birds are very attracted to the berries. Use this small tree or large shrub in partial sun to full sun and in moist to dry, drained soil. It is a popular and hardy plant for mixed borders or as a specimen tree or shrub.
Youpon holly grows well in a full-sun to partial-shade location. It thrives best with plenty of sunlight.
Purple Fountain Grass
For a hardy splash of color in the garden, purple fountain grass is hard to beat. This ornamental grass is a short-lived perennial that has purple to reddish-burgundy foliage and colorful plumes. It's known scientifically asPennisetum. Some types ofPennisetumcan be invasive, so use only cultivars that won't reseed. The flower plumes of purple fountain grass dry well and can be used in floral arrangements, making it a unique choice for a cutting garden.
Purple fountain grass is virtually pest-free, grows from two to five feet tall, and thrives in full sun. Propagate by division during the dormant season. Use purple fountain grass en masse, as an accent, or in containers.
Sometimes called flame of the woods, ixora is a member of the Rubiacea family which includes coffee, gardenia, firecracker vine, and pentas. While using scientific names to identify plants can be helpful in avoiding confusion between common names, figuring out how to pronounce a word written in Latin can be tricky. So if you find yourself struggling remember, ixora is pronounced “icks-SORE-ah.”
These plants are dependable bloomers, love the sun, and fit nicely into any size landscape. Often planted in groups or rows for maximum color, ixoras work well with informal gardens, tropical beds, or more formal and manicured landscape designs. These plants bloom heavily during warm months, and then off and on through cooler weather. These evergreen plants need full to partial sun to produce the most flowers. This shrub is a moderate grower and can be kept about 2-1/2 to 3 feet tall.
Serissa is a genus of flowering plants in the family Rubiaceae, containing only one species, Serissa japonica. It is native to open sub-tropical woodlands and wet meadows in southeast Asia, from India, and China to Japan.
It is an evergreen or semi-evergreen shrub, 45–60 cm high, with oval, deep green, rather thick leaves that have an unpleasant smell if bruised (hence its name foetida). The upright stems branch in all directions and form a wide bushy dome. It is grown for its neat habit, good coverage of branches and long flowering time. It is also valued for its rough, grey trunk which tends to get lighter in color with age.
Serissa flowers practically all year round, but particularly from early spring to near autumn. The 4- to 6-lobed flowers are funnel-shaped and 1 cm wide. They first appear as pink buds but turn to a profusion of white flowers. Fertilizing is especially important during the long flowering period.
Agave Blue Tequilana
A fast growing agave that grows to 5 feet tall and wide with 3 to 4 foot long narrow leaves of a beautiful shade of blue gray and brown sharp terminal spine and margin teeth. It sends out pumps, both near the plants base and several feet away on rhizomes so give this plant some room.
Agaves are not difficult plants to grow. If you are the type of person who likes to set it and forget it, and have a sunny window, Agave might be the plant for you. In general Agave doesn't need to be repotted every year. Most of the species commonly found in cultivation grow very slowly and will take a long time to outgrow their pot. It is also best to handle your plant as little as possible, since they do not like to be disturbed.
Plant in full sun in a well drained soil and irrigate very little. This plant needs to be grown where temperatures do not drop below 25°F or even below 27°F for extended periods. This is the plant used in the Jalisco, Mexico as the base ingredient of the distilled spirit called Tequila where it has been cultivated since before the Spanish arrived. Other products derived from this plant include aguamiel and pulque. It is considered a domesticated species without any wild populations known to exist.