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WBITG - July, 2010

So I haven't been posting much, because it's so hot here, I haven't really been gardening much.  It's all I can do, with the heat sensitivity of the lupus, to even keep up with mowing and weed whacking.  I took a few pictures the other day of what is blooming, or was when I took them, so here they are.  Enjoy!

 A Blackberry Lily volunteered itself behind the Jatropha tree last year. I have no idea where it came from, some seed probably washed in on a storm.  It bloomed this year for the first time.

Angel Wing cane begonia and Religious Radish Coleus.  These two plants seem to live in spite of me.  I've killed so many coleus and begonias, but these just go on and on.

Aechmea bromeliad.  I don't know the exact variety, because there are a lot that look just like this one. I usually get more blooms, but the freeze hit this one, and it just didn't bloom this year like usual.

I bought this crape myrtle at a small garden center outside of Ocala on my way back from SC once.  It's "Dallas Red", which I thought was a true red, but really isn't.  I like it, though. It's a deep red-pink that is pretty, but I still want a true red one.

"Dancing Ladies" globba gingers.  I love these. They are so delicate and beautiful. I wish I had the pink. If anyone has one, I'll be glad to trade "bulblets" with you.

My firebush died down to the ground in the freeze, but is about 3 feet tall now and blooming. I have another that I want to plant alongside this one to make a hedge. If I plant them far enough apart, they'll actually get large enough to fill in the space.  These bushes are amazing with how fast they grow.

Gloriosa lily. This picture doesn't really show the bright colors. I'll try to get a better one later.

Jatropha shrub that I can't seem to get rid of. I had truly hoped that it was dead this year after the freeze, but it came back up, and is really pretty. Unfortunately, it's in a very bad place, and will start leaning toward the sun as it gets larger. Do you know how huge the root ball is on these plants?  I tried to dig it up. No way.

The Jatropha tree is doing well after freezing completely down to the ground. Several trunks have come up, and I've chosen one that I will make the new tree out of .  I will cut off the rest and root them to give away.

I thought I would get no Key Limes this year, because the blooms all blew off of the tree in a big spring storm, but it seems it is blooming again, so maybe I'll get enough for a pie.
Native spider lilies.  These are really large plants. This one was rescued from the house next door after its owner died, and the new resident was just letting the yard go to hell. 

This is some unknown variety of Euphorbia Milii, Crown of Thorns.  The stems are square, and twist as they grow, which makes it very interesting.

 Yellow Thai Crown of Thorns, which is doing very well after some freeze damage caused me to have to prune it back severely.  I had thought I would have to start it over from cuttings, but it came back out with a vengeance.

Weeds are taking over, as they do every summer, but this last little late blooming double orange ditch lily was determined to bloom despite the weeds choking it out.

Speaking of weeds, this is what happens to your African Iris if you don't weed around it regularly.  This is for anyone who thinks I must have a beautiful yard. Actually, my yard is ugly.  It's the plants that are pretty.

Why are the Leaves on my Hibiscus Turning Yellow?

Hibiscus are sensitive plants that develop yellow leaves regularly for many reasons. Diagnosing the cause of yellow leaves on hibiscus can be frustrating.

Hibiscus, simply put, are temperamental plants. Seasoned growers are used to sudden yellowing or periodic dropping of leaves and tend not to panic, but novice growers can become quite frustrated at trying to diagnose the cause. While the potential causes are many, sometimes there is no cause at all.


Hibiscus like to be kept moist, but not wet. Keeping a hibiscus too wet or dry will cause yellow leaves. Since hibiscus are very sensitive to changes in soil moisture, do not let a plant dry out completely between waterings, especially container grown plants. A good rule of thumb is to stick a finger into the soil, and if it is dry to the second knuckle, water. Never plant a hibiscus in an area that is prone to flooding or standing water.


There are several Hibiscus diseases that can cause yellowing leaves and leaf drop.

  • Canker fungus causes branch and twig death, and can kill an entire plant. All diseased wood should be pruned off and destroyed.
  • Mushroom root rot causes a sudden wilt and death. Remove dead and dying plants with as much of the rootball as possible. Sterilize the soil thoroughly before replanting in that spot.
  • Leaf spot is caused by various fungi and bacteria. Damage is usually minor. the primary control is to remove and destroy all diseased leaves.


Nematodes are microscopic worms that can invade and damage the roots of hibiscus, causing yellow and dropping leaves. There is no available treatment for nematodes other than soil sterilization prior to planting.

Insects that can cause yellow leaves on hibiscus include aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, and whiteflies. Ants always indicate the presence of aphids. Fungus gnats in too moist soil can damage roots and cause leaf drop. Hibiscus scale can suck the juice out of the plant and cause yellow leaves.

Always check all parts of the hibiscus plant carefully for pests, including the bark and underside of leaves.


Hibiscus are sensitive to any abrupt change in environment. Sudden cold, heat, water and even a cold draft can cause yellow leaves on hibiscus. While outdoor plants are at the mercy of nature, providing consistent environmental conditions for indoor plants will help eliminate leaf drop.


Hibiscus are heavy feeders, but overfertilization can burn roots and cause yellow leaves. Underfertilization, especially a lack of minor elements such as iron, can cause leaves to yellow. Using a balanced fertilizer with minor elements is recommended.


Hibiscus are sensitive to chemicals, and some stringent rules apply to their use. Use oil sprays at half strength and never in the winter. Never mix insecticide and fungicide when treating hibiscus. Never spray a hibiscus during the heat of the day. Avoid using herbicides around hibiscus.

Unknown Causes

Hibiscus regularly drop leaves during the change of seasons in spring and fall. Being such sensitive plants, hibiscus may develop yellow leaves for no reason that can be determined. Experienced growers accept the fact that hibiscus are rather temperamental, and unless there is an obvious cause, do not worry much about yellowing leaves. Luckily, hibiscus grow back lost leaves very quickly in most instances.

What's Blooming in the Garden (WBITG) in May

Everyone knows my yard is a mess, an ongoing work in progress that I can never seem to keep up with. It's already getting out of control, but that's what yards do in Florida, especially when you can't do it, and can't afford to have someone do it.  So ignore the weeds (some are actually kinda pretty), and the mess lying around (like bricks and hoses), and just enjoy the flowers. Click pics to view full sizeflowers. Click pics to view full size

O.K., this isn't really "in the garden", but it will be outside when these blooms fade. This is the second branch of the orchid cactus to bloom, and it was just too pretty not to include.


 I've had this aloe since I was 25 years old., at least the top of it.  It gets too tall, I lop the top off and replant it. My mother gave it to me as a birthday gift.

The geranium is called a "tree geranium".  It's one of the tall growing species of geraniums, and this is the only one I've been able to keep alive for very long.  It gets up to 4 feet tall, and hopefully, I will get this one that size this year.

 A Versicolor Peach Brugmansia I thought was dead from the cold, coming back up in a pot full of blooming purple oxalis.  I love this oxalis, but the purple is coming up all over my yard.  Little spots of purple everywhere.  Can't see it well in this pic, but the blooms are a pale pink, very pretty contrast.
 Tutti Frutti plumeria.  I lopped this off of the one that was planted outside this winter so it wouldn't freeze.  Just stuck it into this pot, and it seems to be happy.

I love these caladiums.  There are also celosia and a Alabama Sunset Coleus in there, but you can't see them from this angle.  I may have to move the caladiums, because they are already showing a little sun stress.
 My new "rescued" Calibroachoa (Million Bells).  This was an almost dead plant I got from Wal-Mart for half price.  I don't know why I buy these things, but I do, and it seems happy now. It will have its own home soon.
 Pot of celosia.  The pink and yellow don't seem to be doing as well as the red.  May take them out and put them into their own pot.

 Cucumbers blooming. These are from the seeds I'd had in my freezer since 1991...seriously.  I did not even think they would come up.
Double Purple Datura growing in a pot of Ruellia Squarosa.  This Ruellia is so pretty as a ground cover, and nearly bullet proof.  It's called Water Bluebell, because it will grow in standing water.  It also withstands drought, or it wouldn't have survived my yard, believe me.
Elderberry in bloom.  Had my neighbor saw this thing down to the ground last year.  The original trunk was about 2 feet around. This came up from around the trunk. I tried to grow this as a tree, but it's much prettier and easier to care for as a bush.
Mimosa Strigillosa, finally taking over my side yard.  This was so strange. It grew from my yard over into my neighbor's yard (towards the sun), then back into my yard.  It's moving into the front lawn too now, which is fine with me.  I'd transplant some, but somehow, I've had no luck with that.  People say it's easy to root, but I haven't been able to get any to live in pots.O

A somewhat wilted Pereskia Grandifolia.  I have another one that is just coming into bloom, so I'll have better flower pics later.  This thing has some baaaaad thorns on it.
There are so many fruits on this Surinam Cherry, they are falling all over the ground.  I eat as many as I can, but nobody else I know likes them, so they just fall off.

I'll have part 2 of WBITG in May soon, but I don't have time right now to resize all the remaining pics.  I think I took 63 this morning.

Flying Flowers in the Garden

I'm always saying nothing is blooming in my yard, and that's hardly ever true.  I went out today to see what WAS blooming, and found a friendly Giant Swallowtail on a Hippeastrum.  He tried to find something else, but couldn't, so he kept coming back, and I kept snapping.  Finally got one with his wings open.