- It must look good for most of the year.
- It must be suitable for our sub-tropical climate - able to cope with long dry spells as well as the occasional drenching and with heat as well as the occasional frost.
- It must be low maintenance. I don’t have time for constant preening and fussing.
- Ideally, it should grow from a cutting. I like the idea of buying one or two and propagating more.
This plant is not a climbing plant but it lends itself really well to being tied to some kind of support. The long, trailing woody branches can be easily directed and tied up to look like a vine. Without support, you can prune it into a gorgeous shrub. They need to be pruned heavily in spring and summer to keep their shape and encourage flowers. You can grow new plants from the prunings. Alamanda also come in single & double flower, white, purple, pink or orange.
What’s not to like. Dark green foliage and beautiful flowers in a huge range of colours. Some can grow to around 5m if not trimmed. They are pruned each Winter. Flowers can be single or double. Foliage can be variegated eg "Snow Queen".
They like a full sun and well drained soil. It's important they don't get wet feet. I fertilise my grafted bushes with a specialised hibiscus food to promote flowering, but the older varieties seem to flower without any special care. I have some as feature plants and some along a fenceline as an informal hedge.
. Calliandra tweedii is a smaller growing calliandra (up to 2m). For most of the year it is covered in red pompoms – at its best over winter. It’s a tough plant and will tolerate dry conditions. An occasional trim keeps it in shape. (I haven’t grown one from a cutting but they self-seed)
Although ixoras can grow to 2m in height, mine are about 1m or less in height. A couple are dwarf varieties. They rarely need pruning, will grow from cuttings and add great colour.
9. Mock Orange (Murraya paniculata) has rich, glossy, green foliage and makes a great hedging shrub. It grows in full sun to part shade and will tolerate most soil types. I’ve propagated them from both cutting and seed. Very easy to grow but requires trimming to maintain height otherwise can become quite large. Highly scented, white flowers are prolific after rain.
10. Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulchemima) A favourite because they provide bright colour in winter. If you want a plant that will grow easily from cuttings, these are the best. They need to be pruned heavily at the end of winter and should be pruned again in February to keep their shape. We have a red double and a white poinsettia. They also come in pink and yellow and even with variegated leaves.
When I started to write this post I intended combining flowering and non-flowering shrubs but I have so many favourites I’ll cover non-flowering shrubs in another post.
What are your favourite shrubs?