Plants, Get Thee Behind Me

Just wanted a quick outing, a bit of plant gawking after a week of far too much sitting.

But the flesh, as usual, was weak. Too many mid-summer temptations at the nursery.


The eggplant-colored beauty is Pseuderanthemum ‘Black Varnish.’ I ordered this from Kartuz Greenhouses last fall, very poor timing to bring this heat lover on board even in Zone 10, and it slipped away over the winter. I think these “repurchases” go in an entirely separate category of commerce, more akin to honoring a commitment, even if repeatedly at full price. The ‘Mojito’ colocasia was a good bargain in a gallon. Nuff said there.

The firecracker plant, Russelia equisitiformis ‘Yellow,’ is new to me, and I’m completely smitten with its spilling, horsetailish ways and tiny, pale yellow, phygelius-like blooms. Hopefully, a better photo soon, this one being purely illustrative of its growth habit. Morning sun and afternoon shade will suit all three newcomers.


An overgrown Helichrysum petiolare was pulled out of the large pot it shared with a little manihot tree, whose trunk is visible in the above photos. Kept the manihot, improved the soil, and added the new tropicals. Typical of manihots, its leaves are several feet out of frame, sprouting at the very top of its 5-foot trunk.


At the nursery, something strange happened as I walked briskly past the tables full of summer annuals.


Meet Petunias ‘Phantom’ and ‘Pinstripe.’ So incredibly velvety. Now, I’m definitely not a plant snob, but I just haven’t felt the need to bring a petunia home in, oh, 20 years or so. Chalk it up to mid-summer plant madness, or maybe I was mesmerized by that Joker pinwheel, unhinged by the splashy colocasia, or just plain succumbed to how smashing all these plants looked together in the nursery basket. But I think these oddities deserve — no, require — a pot to themselves. Perhaps in an out-of-the way corner.

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9 Responses to Plants, Get Thee Behind Me

  1. hahaha you bought petunias! Sorry…I’ve always wanted to say that to someone. I knew you could take it. Thy color combination is definitely tempting. Now as for your other purchases I love everyone of them,I’ve never seen or heard of the Russelia equisitiformis but I am experiencing plant lust over it. And the manihot tree…WOW…very sexy.

  2. Kathy Stoner says:

    Jeesh Denise, you had to post a photo of that Colocasia didn’t you !?
    As far as Petunias go, none around here either, nor Marigolds (though I would consider Tagetes lemonii if the space were available) nor bedding Begonias. I admit to a few white impatiens and Calibrachoa …but those two numbers you picked up are pretty cool looking !

  3. Denise says:

    Loree, there’s a variegated manihot that I bought from Kartuz last fall too that didn’t make it thru the winter. Talk about sexy…
    Kathy, I’ve got a dwarf T. lemonii that I love. The species gets hedge-like, but such a cool plant.

  4. Cindy says:

    Denise — love the combos — I first saw that Russelia eq. at Wave Hill a few summers ago – and was mesmerized by their huge hanging pots of it from a pergola — it makes for quite the statement with some growth. One has to forgive you for that petunia purchase — who would ever have guessed they’d become so exotic looking. Great scores and truly worthy of the 3-times-the-charm for repurchase investment. I hope they take this time.

  5. Megan says:

    Of course replacement purchases fall into their own category. I have a similar “doesn’t really count” category for any plant that is on my list, and by on my list I mean I once thought about buying it in the past. Love the manihot, I wish I would run into one at a nursery here.

  6. ryan says:

    Those look great together. I really like colocasias. I find they aren’t all that thirsty if you plant them somewhere that doesn’t drain too fast. I like those petunias. I find that almost any flower is acceptable if you are matching the flower to a foliage color.

  7. Grace says:

    I think it’s fair to say your mid-summer nursery jaunt falls into the category of economy stimulus. It’s always good to share the wealth and keep the plant proprietors in business–a win-win. Great plants!! [I take a trip to one of a half dozen nurseries at least once a week. Gotta feed the addiction.

  8. Nicole says:

    Love that colocasia-I could use one of that! I also have a Russelia equisitiformis ‘Yellow,’from a cutting I took from the garden of an apartment I rented years ago in Antigua. I actually have a half dozen plants I got from cuttings, seeds and offsets in that garden LOL. I agree, its a hard plant to photograph esp when small. Also like all your other pics and plants.

  9. Denise says:

    Hi, Nicole – running to check your blog to see if you posted on that apartment in Antingua where you grew russelia…
    Grace, same here with the nursery hopping. I’m sharing the wealth, believe me.
    Hi Ryan — I think you’re right about the colocasias. I never plant them in the ground, always a pot, but am reconsidering. Certainly less thirsty in the ground than in a pot.
    Hi Megan, this manihot was found at a chain nursery, really neglected, no one knew what it was. So even searching around unlikely places might find you one.

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