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  • Aspidistra
    • elatior   CAG03170

      (Cast iron plant)
      Height40cm
      Width30cm
      Flowering SeasonSummer
      WaterM - L
      LightShade
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      These are divisions from a plant I inherited from my grandmother who used it in pots in the dining room to frame the view of Geographe Bay, even more special is that your grandmother / great grandmother / great great grandmother grew it too. Renowned for its durability and tolerance of low light levels Aspidistra has been grown as a houseplant since at least the 19th century when even the wealthy considered windows an extravagance and homes were dimly lit.

      Broad, upright, lance shaped leaves emerge from rhizomes that slowly creep just below the soil surface, forming a loose knee high clump, dark and plasticky (this may be more an emotional response since they appear unchanging). From Taiwan and southern Japan. For where all other indoor plants have failed or for mass planting in the oppressing leaf litter beneath broad leafed evergreens (Ficus macrophylla) with Clivia (another plasticky plant) for a spot of colour.

      Easily grown in any well drained shady soil, tolerant of regular drying out dryness though arid winds and frost will mar the plastic effect.

      Beach houses may be less affordable today but Aspidistra elatior is still a cast iron plant.

  • Chlorophytum
    • comosum Narrow Stripe   CAG03174

      (Spider plant, Ribbon plant)
      Height20cm
      Width30cm
      Flowering SeasonSummer
      WaterM - H
      LightShade
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      The humble Spider plant, a tuberous rooted, evergreen, clump forming perennial whose arching ribbon-like foliage is found adorning bathrooms the world over, though it is actually native to forest floors of southern Africa. The tiny, six petalled, white flowers, borne on long arching stems are followed by rapidly growing plantlets (clones of their parent) that cascade down the side of a pot or root into the ground to form extensive colonies.

      Nearly indestructible it is at it's best in moist well drained soil in a sheltered shady spot in the garden (or bathroom). In our dry summer atmosphere it invariable suffers from burnt leaf tips so is never quite picture perfect up close but its groundcover potential or impressiveness as a well grown pot specimen remain undiminished when viewed from a distance of more than a few metres.

      Similar to C. ‘Vittatum’ but with a much narrower central white stripe to provide more greenery overall, smaller growing too.

  • Plectranthus
    • scutellarioides Lollo Rosso   CAG03017

      (syn. Coleus blumei, Solenostemon scutellarioides)
      Height1m
      Width80cm
      Flowering SeasonAll
      WaterH - M
      LightFilt.Shade
      Plectranthus scutellarioides Lollo Rosso
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      Shrubby, perennial plants with juicy four angled stems, Coleus come in a wondrous range of leaf colours and forms and while this has attractive deep red, ruffled, velvety foliage, with a little green mottling, it is no more outstanding than many others. Where it does differ from the norm is in its durability in our climate, where others succumb to dry heat or cold this sails through unsullied.
      Quite nice spikes of tiny, pale blue flowers are borne throughout the year.

      Originally from tropical Asia the species is widely cultivated as a house plant.

      Aside from direct frost or midday summer sun, both of which will scorch it, it is easily grown in any moist, well drained soil though pot culture seems to suit best, perhaps thanks to warmer root temperatures.

      Very quick growing it is often more desirable to decapitate and replant cuttings, which strike very readily even in a glass of water on the windowsill like grandma did, than persevere with an old woody subject.

      Named for convenience it may actually be an old cultivar or just a generic seedling.

  • Ruellia
    • makoyana   CAG03185

      (Trailing velvet plant)
      Height20cm
      Width40cm
      Flowering SeasonWi - Sp
      WaterM - H
      LightShade
      Ruellia makoyana
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      A charming low grower with bright magenta, trumpet shaped flowers electrifying its velvet, white veined, red backed, elliptic leaves. A stunning groundcover for shady tropical gardens or as a feature in a hanging basket or on the windowsill.

      For a plant most at home with high humidity (it's from Brazil) it is remarkably hardy here and I've failed to kill it after several decades of neglect, allowing it as a scrambling compliment through various orchids and ferns. Easily grown in any well drained soil in sheltered sites that never desiccate.

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