It has been quite some time since I took inventory of the rare tropical plants in my greenhouses.
I did some potting up in Greenhouse #2 tonight but did not take inventory just yet.
In Greenhouse #1, which is the one directly off my office, I decided to go ahead and see what was alive in there tonight.
Of course I will lump the “houseplants” in with these because there are only a few of those.
Holmskioldia tettensis, Chinese Hat Plant
Holmskioldia tettensis, or Chinese Hat Plant as it is commonly known is alive and kicking.
I have not been lucky enough to see this bloom yet, but hopefully it won’t be much longer, especially since the typical bloom time is fall to spring.
Although it is from Tropical Africa and Asia it can withstand temperatures into the 30’s.
Gee, I wonder if that is why it has survived for me?
Holmskioldia is a shrub that will grow to eight feet if it is not trimmed.
It prefers full sun to partial shade and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
Hmm, there aren’t any of those here in the winter.
Brunfelsia floribunda, Morning, Noon And Night
This particular plant, Brunfelsia floribunda which is also known as Morning, Noon and Night, is one I grew from seed.
It is approximately three years old and has been a rather slow grower for me that has not bloomed yet although this variety is supposed to bloom all year long.
It is also said to be the most fragrant variety.
The common name comes from the fact that the flowers fade over the course of three days from dark purple to white.
This plant makes an excellent bonsai specimen and does well in a container.
Herbs – Lemon Verbena, Pineapple Sage And Sweet Basil
As far as I am concerned what is the point of a greenhouse if you don’t have some edible plants in it and I ablsolutely love growing herbs.
This year I am overwintering a rather large lemon verbena that I have had for several years which is beginning to look a lot like a small shrub.
I am also overwintering a new pineapple sage plant I bought this spring and some sweet basil I grew from seed.
I love basil leaves in my salad and as far as I am concerned I like the pineapple sage better on chicken than plain sage.
Cinnamon, a plant I cannot do without!
I grew this particular plant from seed three years ago.
It is finally beginning to grow like a weed and I can’t wait until it is large enough that I can begin to harvest branches to make cinnamon from.
Grumichama, Brazil Cherry
I have both the purple and the yellow varieties of Grumichama, also known as the Brazil Cherry.
I would estimate my plants are approximately four years old.
They are not fast growers by any means and I have not had any of them fruit or flower yet.
Euphorbia, Crown Of Thorns
This particular plant was sent to me by a fellow garden writer, Ellen Zachos.
It needed to be rooted and I succeeded in doing that.
I do not remember the exact variety or the color of the flowers and it has not bloomed yet.
This is the most common edible passionfruit.
I grew this plant from seed as well.
I have not seen it flower yet although I would estimate it is approximately three to four years old.
Strelitzia nicolai, Giant Black Bird Of Paradise
I grew this bird of paradise from seed three to four years ago.
It is supposed to be a rare variety, and I am anxious to see what the flower looks like when it blooms.
It is about a foot or foot and a half high now.
Of course it has not flowered but maybe one day.
What a thrill it was to see this bloom for the first time this year!
It began blooming about two months ago for the first time after having it for four or five years.
I almost could not believe it when I saw the blooms and it is still blooming!
Hibiscus Red Road
This was sent to me in a trade by Gwenn of Tropical Flower Farm.
I thought for sure I had lost it this spring and then I saw a few tiny green buds.
Now it is full of leaves – no blooms yet – but it has grown quite a bit and as I learned from growing Hibiscus schizopetalus, patience is the key!
Bauhinia, Orchid Tree
I grew this from seed and do not remember what color this was supposed to be.
The tree is about three years old now.
I have not seen blooms yet but since it blooms in the fall and winter, maybe I will soon.
Billbergia nutans, Queens Tears
It was such a thrill when I looked out into the greenhouse last winter and saw the flowers on these plants.
I received them in a trade about three years ago.
Last winter was the first time they bloomed.
They did not bloom near long enough but the colors were spectactular!
This is the only Nepenthes I have been able to keep alive.
It was a cold winter day two years ago when we went to the Chicago Flower and Patio Show on a bus with the local garden club.
I saw the Nepenthes hanging in a booth and just had to have it.
Briefly I forgot about the cold it would have to endure waiting on the bus.
I also forgot we were stopping for dinner and the bus would get cold inside not to mention once we got home we would be getting into a cold truck.
The poor plant almost died that spring.
I don’t really know how I managed to get it to snap out of death’s grip but now it is blooming like mad and growing so fast I think I will need to remove a shelf in the hothouse it is in so it can have more room to grow.
Pitcher plants are definately worth growing and it seems once they are happy, they are a fairly easy plant to grow.
Other Rare Tropical Plants
Of course I have other plants too.
There are the Philodendron ‘Pink Princess,’ Theobroma seedlings, a shrimp plant, Crinium lilies, a dormant Gloriosa, Orchids, Aristolochia, a miniature Hoya, a Ceropegia, Oxalis, Kong Coleus, Musa basjoo, Cynara, Cyad, Hibiscus, assorted Cactus, Scented Geranium ‘Citronella,’ Diffenbachia and an ant plant, Dischidia.
What rare plants are you growing?
Are there plants in this post or other plants you would love to know more about?
Let me know in the comments!