Friday, 9 March 2018

Tropical Splendour

While there is snow and ice in much of the northern hemisphere with freezing temperatures to match, south of the Tropic of Cancer we are waiting for the rains to give some relief from the heat. People and animals are sweltering but the flowers are exuberantly competing to show their most magnificent shapes and colours!

Pink Bougainvillea with variegated leaves

Bougainvillea is a favourite to grow over walls and fences, colours ranging from white to light pink and deep pink as well as orange. Best flowering time is during the dry season.

Basketlily or Spiderlily (Hymenocallis calathina)
Basketlilies are very elegant flowers, blooming in profusion from the end of February. Often used for borders or against walls. They give a stunning display when at their peak. Spiderlilies or basketlilies are also suitable to be grown in pots. In temperate climates they require a greenhouse because they do not tolerate cold. Otherwise they are not too demanding.

Cape Leadwort (Plumbago auriculata)
Plumbago or Cape Leadwort is treasured for its profuse sky-blue flowers. It is a bushy plant which should be trained against a trellis or other support for best results. Originally from South Africa, it can be grown in pots in cooler regions but must be protected from cold temperatures. Here we grow plumbago as borders or edges even though they can easily reach a height of 50 centimetres or more.

Alpinia coccinea
This plant has no common English name as far as I know but belongs to the ginger family. This picture shows the emerging bracts which, when mature, open to produce orange coloured flowers beloved by sunbirds for their nectar.

Crown of thorns (Euphorbia milii)
Native to Madagascar this plant has conquered the rest of the tropical world, but can also be grown in containers in temperate zones. Care must be taken in handling them because they not only have vicious thorns to defend themselves but also a poisonous sap, like all euphorbias. The most common colour is red, but white or pink (as shown here) are equally lovely.

This time of year is probably the best for ixora to show off their beautiful flower clusters, tiny stars in bunches. Here are yellow and red ones but white and pink can also be found. This is one of the best hedge plants, able to withstand serious pruning. Ixora flowers all year round but is best during the dry season.

These are some of the plants I meet when out walking; more are still waiting to be discovered. And that will be another post.

 Bougainvillea in the afternoon sun


  1. What a beautiful post with a beautiful showcase of flowers. Truly glorious in all their colourful splendor

  2. Thank you. They are lovely. Hopefully I can find more.

  3. Beautiful..they look happy! I like that you put the names with these flowers we know so well (probably cooked some as children!). Learning is always ongoing.

    I hope you do the extra round of walking to cover for the photo shoot time ������

  4. Walking is walking, as long as I am on my feet!


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