Ornamental foliage plants

The shrubs are grown in the garden for handsome and richly variegated foliage e.g. Acalypha tricolour, Nandina domestica, Codium variegata, Manihot variegata, etc.

Some shrubs have handsome foliage and produce good flowers too. They add to beauty in the garden tremendously e.g. Bougainvillea, Buddleia asiatica, Buddleia madagascariensis, Hamelia patens, etc.

Propagation of shrubs

The shrubs are propagated by seeds, cuttings and layering.

By seeds

Seeds are collected when they are fully ripe. They are dried in the shade and stored in airtight bottles in dry places. In rainy season, nursery is prepared and seeds are sown. Seedlings are transplanted in prepared ground. The shrubs which are mainly propagated by seeds are: Stenolobium stans, Thevetia peruviana, Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Calliandra sp. etc.

By cuttings

Majorities of the foliage shrubs are propagated by cuttings. The best season for propagation by cuttings is rainy season, although cuttings can be made in February-March if water supply is not limited. The cuttings are made 15-20cm long and planted in pots or beds containing ample of sand. The plants raised from cuttings are planted in the next planting season. The shrubs propagated by cuttings are Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Achania malvaviscus, Jasminum sambac, Hamelia patens, Bougainvillea, Cestrum diurnum, Cestrum nocturnum, etc.

By layering

The shrubs which are not easily propagated by seeds or cuttings are propagated by this method. In rainy season, layering is dome by removing the bark of 2.5-3.0cm long and wrapping by garden soil and sand mixture or sphagnum moss. The shrubs like Bougainvillea, Ixora sp. Jasminum sambac and Jasminum multiflorum (ground layering) etc. are propagated by layering.

Acalypha (Euphorbiaceae)

It is native of East India. This shrub is famous for its copper coloured and variegated foliage, which is highly desirable for contrast effect in landscaping of garden, buildings etc. It is a medium shrub growing upto 1.2 – 1.5m prefers semi-shady situation flowers are red and long like catkin. This herb produces the flowers throughout the year but profusely from February to July, and is very easily propagated by cuttings.

Achania malvaviscus (Malvaceae)

The foliage is dull green but flowers are bright scarlet, pink half-open, producing throughout the year. Easily propagated by semi-hardwood or hardwood cuttings.

Hamelia patens (Rubiaceae)

It is native of tropical and sub-tropical America. This shrub is very famous amongst gardeners for attractive foliage and scarlet flowers, which are produced throughout the year. It is a tall shrub growing about 2.4-3.0m high. Due to profuse branching it shapes well appears elegant. Foliage is green and greenish bronze, which stands clippings and trimming to any shape. This shrub can serve very well either as standard, specimen or hedge in the garden. It can be very easily propagated by cuttings.

Iresine lindenii

Grows upto 11/2’ to 2’ even having rose red coloured foliage. There are tow distinct species of great value. Suitable edging for large plants in the garden.

Pilea muscosa

There are a few varieties with spreading habit. Useful as covering plants in shade for edging rockeries etc. Thrives in shady and semi-shady conditions. Grows from 3’ to 8’. It has fern like foliage and the plants are succulent in nature.

Peltophorum ferrugineum

A quick growing tree with fine feathery foliage. The tree gives a good show and shade. The flowers are borne in panicles. Brown spots in clusters, which adhere to the branches for quite long, time and are very attractive. Propagated by seeds. Good for avenue.

Callistemon lanceolatus

It is a small erect growing tree with a near habit of growth. The foliage is attractive which consist of narrow stiff, lanceolate leaves and beauty of its blossoms. It is very beautiful in April with its bottlebrush like crowded cylindrical spikes of brilliant crimson scarlet flowers. Propagated by seed and air layerage.

Sweetheart plant

Philodendron scandens, sometimes called P. Oxycardium, is one of the more popular houseplants. It comes from the tropical jungles of the South and the Central America. It has heart-shaped deep green leaves and is a rapid climber sticking on supports with roots produced from the nodes. Leaves of juvenile plants reach 10 to 15 cms in length on six to eight cm long stalks. Leaves of mature plans are larger. The leaves, which have acutely pointed tips, look transparent when they are new, but quickly become deep green as they grow to maturity. Regular pinching out of the growing tips makes the plant bushy. The climber can be planted in window boxes, to cover trellises and as a cascading plant in hanging pots provided the plant is not in direct sunlight. Being a jungle plant, it needs good watering and frequent misting or wetting with clear water. Philodendron scandens loves to grow in a leaf mould based friable soil. Being a fast grower, the trailing stems of the plant should be occasionally turned back and tied on the supports. As the plant roots at the nodes, propagation is easily done by keeping two or three leaved cuttings in sand or loose soil.