Asian Beauties in Your Garden
By Ama H.Vanniarachchy Ceylon Today Features
Gardening is a lovely hobby. It was noted that during the time of the first lockdown, many embraced gardening as a hobby, as a way to pass their time, as an extra source of income, as a small home business, and even as a full-time profession. Urban gardening became immensely popular during this time and gradually it fell out of the grace of many as the new normal began.
Talking about urban gardening, there are many categories and styles in it. Balcony gardens, forest gardens, backyard gardens, rooftop gardens are to name a few. No matter what purpose you grow a garden, having wildlife in it is bliss. Birds, butterflies, bees, dragonflies, garden lizards are essential to maintain a gardens’ natural balance as well as to add life into it.
By planting plants that will attract wildlife and by providing homes to them in your garden is how you could attract them. Among the many plants that attract wildlife and add beauty to your garden, the Pinna flower plant is one of the best. Known as the Pagoda flower plant, this is a plant that has a beautiful large flower that comes in two colours, vermilion, and white.
Although Pinna is a common plant in the local natural landscape, this is not a favourite plant among many local gardeners and garden shops. This is because there is a trend among many to embrace new ornamental plants which are sold at garden shops for notable prices and ignore naturally grown local plants.
However, Pinna is a plant that is adored and grown in many foreign countries including the US by plant lovers as it is identified as a valuable plant. Pinna or the Pagoda flower plant is scientifically known as the Clerodendrum paniculatum and belongs to the Lamiaceae family. This beautiful flowering plant is native to Asia and Papuasia.
Why grow it in your garden?
The plant has evergreen large foliage which is a vibrant shade of green. The flower is large and has the shape of a pagoda, hence the name pagoda flower. It’s a collection of a large number of small flowers. There are two colours of flowers which are white and vermilion. The flower has a sweet aroma. The bright colour, sweet aroma, and nectar attract plenty of wildlife including hummingbirds and butterflies.
Growing the plant
Choosing the right spot, sun, and shade...
The plant needs a warm temperature, plenty of sunshine, and abundant moisture. Although the plant grows fast and spreads, it is not known as an invasive plant. However, it needed to be pruned and watched carefully. Pinna is a plant that needs care and demands the gardener’s attention. You have to choose a sunny place to place the pinna plant. But make sure it is sheltered, and not an open place without any shade.
Remember that these plants are naturally grown as shrubs and under and among many other plants and trees. Therefore, it is important to create a similar natural environment for your pinna plant. Although these beauties grow in the naturally warm yet humid regions in Asia, they prefer shade and water as much as they prefer sun and temperature. That is why this plant is known to be a demanding plant. If you miss care, the plant will die. It is the gardener’s responsibility to create an environment that is not too hot, not too moist, and not too shady.
If you know what sort of natural soil these plants thrive well naturally, it is easy for you. They need soil that is well-draining, but not at all boggy. The soil should be moist. So, water the plant regularly if there is no sufficient rainfall. When the plant has flowers, you can reduce the water amount, but keep checking the soil. If it is dry, water. Make sure the top layer of the soil up to two layers is moist. Do not overwater, as it may cause the root to rot. Add fertilizer to the soil. Liquid fertilizers are more successful.
Propagating the plant
The rhizomes of the plant can be used to grow new plants. You can grow the plant in pots but that will need extra care with regards to the soil as constant watching is needed to maintain the moisture and nutrients of the soil. Although rhizomes are the successful way to have more pinna plants, some gardeners use the root to propagate the plant.
Once the plant blooms and the flowers are dropped, cut the plant back to about half of its height. Remember that pruning is important as it will encourage lush growth and make the plant bushier and produce more flowers. This magical Asian beauty, although demanding, is worth all the hard work. It will lighten your garden like a large illuminating lantern, the evergreen large foliage will keep your garden lush and bright, while hummingbirds and butterflies will always be in your garden.