- Author: Carolyn Allen
This spring I have been surprised by blooms from plants that I didn’t think bloomed and/or haven’t bloomed since owning them for the last several years. The first delightful bloom came in May. I have owned a night blooming cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) for many years, reveling in its short lived, oh-so-fragrant, night-time blooms in late summer.
At a succulent show, I purchased several different epiphyllum hybrids (often called epis) after being told they have spectacular color and bloom during the day in spring. The flat, leaf-like stems are a medium green growing 18”-30” long with an average width of 2”-4”. While succulent like, epis like regular water and bright light or shade. They also need protection from frost. After 3 years in my greenhouse, one bloomed with flowers of two different colors on the same stem (the flowers bloomed one after the other). Each bloom was 8”-10” wide and lasted for 3 days. While not fragrant, it was still quite a sight!
Next, my Sansevieria trifasciata laurentii (commonly called Mother-in-law’s tongue, Snake plant) put up a 12” flower spike and bloomed! I’ve owned this plant for at least 10 years and really didn’t think it bloomed at all (if I’d done some research I would have learned differently). Since I haven’t repotted this plant in many years, its overcrowded roots certainly got my attention in a most beautiful way! This easy houseplant likes bright, indirect light, completely dry soil between watering (to almost no water in winter), and ¼ strength complete fertilizer application in summer. Watch for spider mites and mealy bugs. Maybe it will flower for you too.
Lastly, just this week I saw that my Cuban Oregano (Plectranthus amboinicus) has put out a bloom. This is the 3rd year this plant has been living with me. It has struggled as I gave it too much shade initially, then I failed to move it into a warmer location when winter came. It has been happily filling out the pot it’s in, so I’m happy to see it bloom. Hopefully I will have more than one spike as I saw a hummingbird circling the plant. This strongly pungent perennial is drought tolerant, but frost tender and reproduces easily by cuttings.
So my patience (or is that benign neglect) has been rewarded this spring.
- Author: Betty Victor
I have a new addition to my garden, Cuban oregano, not knowing anything about this very fragrant succulent I started to learn what I could.
Cuban oregano (Plectranthus amboinicus) is related to Coleus and has several common names: Spanish thyme, Indian borage, and Mexican mint.
It has thick gray-green saw-tooth leaves that are fuzzy underneath. My plant is young so it has not bloomed, but next summer when it does, its blossoms could be white, pink, lilac or purple. Like most succulents it is easy to grow. This oregano needs shade in the hottest part of the day, but will not do well in very cold weather, so it will need protection from the frost. You can grow it in a container and then when winter arrives, move it inside.
Sunset Western Garden Book says that it is used in Cuban cooking but too much of the herb will overpower other ingredients.