Ophiopogon japonicus ‘nana’ aka Dwarf Mondo Grass

This makes a great grass replacement for part to full shade areas. I’ve had some growing on the driest parts of the garden, some even in full sun and it just slowly mounds into pom-pom like clumps.

Once a year on a rainy fall day I’ll divide it up and spread it a bit further. It’s great for edging or grass replacement.

One of the nicest things about it is that it is a slow growing plant. It’ll look like you just planted it a year later. If you’d like it to grow faster, just add water

Propagate by division
Prefers shade, will grow in sun
Drought tolerant, will grow if you add water
Slow grower – forms mounds 4″-6″ across, ~ 3″ tall

Ruellia Elegans

Ruella, I just put this in a few hours ago
Ruella, brand new plants
What I hope it looks like in the near future

There are many varieties of Ruellia, I have some that tops out at about 6″ tall, this one is about 4′

Perennial
Native to Brazil, Chile
Blooms late spring through fall
Height: 4′
Drought tolerant, prefers moist, well drained soil
Loves the heat, may be damaged in cold winters. Just remove damaged parts in spring
Propagate by division or seed

Attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Excellent caterpillar food

It’s brand new, more information as I have some time to watch it

Shrimp Plant Justicia brandeegeana

Red Shrimp Plant

Evergreen shrub ~ 3′ tall
Well drained soil, drought tolerant
Protect from freezing
Morning sun, afternoon shade
Prune heavily in fall to promote bushy growth

Propagate by cuttings

Native to Mexico

Attracts hummingbirds

I’ve grown other varieties of shrimp plants. They are pretty easy to grow if you keep them warm in the winter and in an area protected from afternoon sun. A heavy pruning once the weather cools down (Nov or so) will keep it looking good

Phyllanthus urinaria Chamberbitter aka Gripeweed aka Little Mimosa

At 6′ tall it’s not so little
ChamberBitter

 

The weeds are the plants I have the most difficult time ID’ing. No one puts out books on weeds.

This showed up a few years ago and it’s been impossible to eradicate. On the upside they are tall and pull up easy so it’s not a lot of work to remove them. Best practice is to pull them before they have a chance to reseed. Seeds require light to germinate

Height: up to 2′ (see photo of 6′ plant at top of page)
Annual
Prefers warm, moist, shady soil, but will grow in full sun
Native to Asia

Don’t try this at home:
– plant may have anti-tumor, antiviral properties. This is folklore, I couldn’t find any scientific studies to back this up

Chamberbitter

Dendrobium Smilliae aka Bottlebrush orchid

The flower and the extra long stalks are a show stopper once the plant fills out. It’s pretty cool even now.

Epiphyte, warm growing (70’F-86’F), bright, filtered light, high humidity. Keep wet in summer months, a bit drier in the winter. The drying in the winter is a trigger for blooming. It’s planted in semi-hydro ( small pebbles in a shallow glass container with about an inch of water at the bottom)

Australian and New Guinea native, typically found in low land areas growing in the branches of trees and rocks in a bog forest.

This is one of a few orchids that is pollinated by birds, the yellow honeyeater is a small, yellow, hummingbird like bird that hovers near the flowers, feeds on the nectar and pollinates the orchid in the process.

I’ll fill in more details after I have more time with this one, It was just acquired it at the orchid show last month.

Encyclia Green Hornet ( cochleata x trulla) aka octopus orchid


I first saw this at the Houston Orchid Show and was lucky enough to find a vendor with one for sale. It reminds me of little space aliens descending.

I’ve only had it a month, so I’m still relying on basic orchid care for Encyclias: keep warm, medium light. I have it potted in a glass container with clay pellets ( semi-hydro ). Most orchids require cooler weather to bloom, time will tell if this one does as well. One greenhouse claims it is a winter bloomer, which means a temperature drop will be required. Others claim it is a year round bloomer, in which case no temperature drop is required. Time will tell.

It should max out between 12″-18″ in height

It is supposed to be a scented orchid, I haven’t noticed any scent yet.

The forums claim it is a fast growing, easy to care for plant

I’ve seen it listed as a cross between cochleata x trulla and cochleatum x lancifolium

I’ll upload better photos and care tips after I have time to see how it does.

Lycoris radiata ( Red Spider Lily, Hurricane Lily, Corpse Flower )

Hurricane lily blooming 3rd week of Sept

Look who’s back. It’s late Sept abotu a week after the first real rain we had in a moth

Like most flowering bulbs in Houston this is a member of the Amaryllidaceae family. It only flowers after heavy rainfalls. I had forgotten all about it, and there it was blooming as I left for a morning run. It’s been a rainier year than usual. The total rainfall is typical, the frequency is much higher.

First brought to US in 1854 when Japan and the US opened trade. They are planted in Asia along the edges of rice patties to keep rodents out of the rice.

Prefers full sun, this one is in shade with dappled light only.
Not frost hardy, but this one has been out there for several years, through several cold winters.
Toxic: I think all lilies and Amaryllis are toxic
Prefers lots of water, does best along the edges of rivers
Blooms in Autumn after heavy rain
Propagate by division
Planting depth ~4″

Origin: China, Korea, Nepal