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30 Apr 2018

Alyssum (Cruciferae)

The name derives from the Greek lfisa «anger», with a privative in reference to a possible property to cure anger and insanity. It is a genus originating from the Mediterranean basin, widespread throughout Europe and Asia, up to the mountains of Russia, precisely in arid and mountainous areas. Includes all-perennial species; once it was also attributed to annual species, now classified as Lobularia. The floriculturists continue to name the Lobularia maritima as Alyssum, cultivated more frequently due to its great adaptability. Alyssum includes many species and var. dwarfs, almost all with yellow flowers and greyish leaves, preferred for the rock garden, while the highest species are to be preferred for flowerbeds and borders.

Alyssum saxatile lends itself very well with its dense inflorescences to embellish rocks or walls.
Alyssum saxatile lends itself very well with its dense inflorescences to embellish rocks or walls.

Cultivated species of Alyssum:

A. alpine (7-8 cm), hairy appearance, blooms in June; A. argenteum (cm 45), suffrutescent, ie partially woody at the base, intense yellow flowers in dense corymbs, is spontaneous in Italy in stony places where it blooms from April to June; A. flexicaule (7-8 cm), covered, in spring, with fragrant yellow flowers; A. idaeum, creeping, with yellow flowers in May-June; Alyssum moellendorfianum (cm 15), with silvery leaves and flowers in long racemes; A. montanum (25 cm), widespread throughout the Mediterranean area, spontaneous in Italy in the arid and stony areas, has flowers in lassi racemes, slightly perfumed, bright yellow, leaves pelosette; Alyssum pyrenaicum (cm 8-10), bushy, dwarf, velvety white leaves and also white flowers in summer; A. saxatile (cm 30) has a tendency to spread, slightly hairy, very abundant flowers in yellow-gold inflorescence during the »April-May period, it is not spontaneous in Italy, but it is widely cultivated for its adaptability to different climates and soils; the var exists. lemon-yellow citrinum flowers; A. compactum (cm 15-20), for a long time in cultivation, with yellow-brownish flowers, in the Dudley Neville ‘cultivar; plenum, dwarf, double-flowered; A. variegatum, with yellow and green leaves; A. wulfenianum (10-15 cm), with a thin appearance, silvery-white leaves, light-yellow flowers in the inflorescences that bloom in summer.


the A. does not require difficult care: well drained and very sunny normal land. Alyssum saxatile, as well as for rock gardens, lends itself very well to embellish rocks or walls and is also suitable for pot culture; after flowering it is necessary to prune the plants to prevent them from spreading excessively. It is sown in late spring in seedbeds, in light soil and the seedlings are planted during the autumn or the following spring. New specimens can be obtained by dividing the adult plants after flowering, or by making cuttings at the beginning of summer and by placing them in a shady area. The latter system is generally used for variegated or double-flowered cultivars.

Also read: Althaea (Malvaceae)

For more information about  Alyssum (Cruciferae) for your garden design you can contact our Landscape architect team

29 Apr 2018

Althaea (Malvaceae)

The name derives from the Greek althala, used by Theophrastus in his “History of plants” for the wild mallow, deriving from the verb which means “to heal”, due to the pharmaceutical qualities of the plant. It is a genus comprising annual, biennial and perennial plants, herbaceous rather rough or tomentose, with axillary flowers, stem height ranging from m 1,50 to m 3, depending on the species. They are all rustic.

Althaea rosea, better known as a villain, can reach m 2-3 in height. There are varieties and cultivars with pink, red, yellow or white flowers, simple or double.
Althaea rosea, better known as a villain, can reach m 2-3 in height. There are varieties and cultivars with pink, red, yellow or white flowers, simple or double.

Perennial species:

A. cannabina, from Eastern Europe, with typed leaves and pink or red flowers in some varieties; Althaea officinalis, altea, typical of moist or semi-wild Eurasia, with pink flowers, used in pharmacies especially for the roots; the leaves and flowers that contain mucilage are often used as a folk remedy in the form of an infusion, emollient and expectorant. Biennial cultivated species: Althaea rosea, malvone, is, strictly speaking, a perennial plant, but it is used as a biennial because the young plants are more vigorous and floriferous. It is a plant erect with lobed leaves, which shrink towards the top of the stem, making the axillary flowers appear, large and showy like a flowering spike; in the most favored climates, it can reach m 2-3. There are varieties and cultivars with pink, red, yellow or white flowers, simple and double; we find nomenclaced cultivars, but mostly the seeds are sold in the mixture, or for separate colors or for double flowers only.

Cultivation of Althaea:

they need rich and heavy soil, as long as permeable, sunny position, frequent waterings during the driest periods. Reproduction is for summer sowing, the planting should take place in autumn, preferably with clods, except where strong frosts are feared; in this case, it is better to report and keep indoors until ready to place, as soon as time permits. The plants will flower in the summer after sowing; the older ones will produce spring shoots that can be cut and used to make cuttings, especially if you want to multiply exactly a given variety.

Also read: Alternanthera (Amaranthaceae)

28 Apr 2018

Alternanthera (Amaranthaceae)

The name derives from the Latin alternus “alterno” and from the greek anthercí “flowered” due to the fact that fertile stamens alternate with sterile stamens (staminodes). The genus includes dwarf or semi-tropical perennial grasses of South America, bushy and suffrutescent, cultivated for foliage brightly and variously colored and used for groups of color in the flower beds and for mosaics. The flowers are incalculable and are usually removed before development.

Alternanthera (Amaranthaceae)

Cultivated species of Alternanthera:

A. amoena (8 cm), lanceolate leaves mottled in orange and red; variety: amabilis, orange and scarlet colored leaves; very bright, bronzed leaves variegated in red and yellow; rosy. Alternanthera bettickiana (cm 8-12), with spatulate leaves stained in yellow and red; the most commonly used varieties are derived: aurea, with yellow-gold obovate leaves; magnificent, with leaves similar to the type species, but more brilliant in color; spathulata, high up to 20 cm, with stems and red leaves. Alternanthera versicolor (8-12 cm), with sharp and twisted leaves, veins of carmine and with white and pink margins.


the A. are not rustic and can not bear the frosts, therefore the plants must be repaired in winter at a temperature of about 16 ° C, with the maximum possible brightness and kept rather dry. In spring, they can be placed outside, in a sunny position and with permeable soil, dividing the tufts that have survived the shelter. It can be multiplied by cuttings in August, naturally sheltering young seedlings before the onset of cold.

Also reed: Alstroemeria (Amaryllidaceae)

27 Apr 2018

Alstroemeria (Amaryllidaceae)

Name given in honor of Baron Clas Alstroemer, Swedish botanist and friend of Linnaeus. The genus includes tuberose of South America, especially Chile and Peru, rustic, which require the only shelter in case of strong frost. Very useful for the garden, have leaves of various shapes, erect flowering stems that bring flowers of various colors, long enough and can also be used cut.

Alstroemeria aurantiaca. Numerous horticultural varieties of this kind are very decorative for the garden; in them the color of the perigonium segments can take on the most diverse nuances.
Alstroemeria aurantiaca. Numerous horticultural varieties of this kind are very decorative for the garden; in them the color of the perigonium segments can take on the most diverse nuances.

Cultivated species of Alstroemeria:

A. aurantiaca, with orange flowers often streaked with red, var. lutea, yellow; Alstroemeria brasiliensis, one of the most rustic, with yellow and red flowers stained in brown; Alstroemeria chilensis, with red or pink flowers; Alstroemeria ligtu, with lilac or pink flowers streaked in violet; Alstroemeria pelegrina, with individual flowers, lilac streaked in violet, has a var. white, delicate and excellent for cold greenhouse; A. violacea, with large flowers of a brilliant lilac color. Many hybrids and cultivars have been taken from all these and other species.


the height of all species varies from 70 cm to one meter and makes them particularly suitable for borders and flowery crops; they are very sensitive to transplants and to any damage to the roots, therefore, if they are grown in pots, the utmost caution is necessary for placing them in a dwelling, to avoid damage to the ground bread and consequently to the root system. The same care must be taken in multiplication by the division of the tufts. The soil required must be humid, of vegetable origin; for these plants, the preferable position is the sun or sun in the cooler climates. Reproduction is by seed in autumn, under glass, with fresh seed, since it has no long germination period; the planting must be done with clod and without trying to divide the young plants.

Read also: Alpinia (Zingiberaceae)

26 Apr 2018

Alpinia (Zingiberaceae)

Name given in honor of Prospero Alpino, an Italian doctor and botanist of the sixteenth century, who was a professor of botany in Padua and director of the Botanical Garden of that city. The genus includes herbaceous plants, tropical, evergreen, greenhouse, from Asia and the islands of the South Seas. They are rhizomatous with lanceolate leaves, sessile or crushed petiolate, sheathing single stems, not ramifying and that, acceding, they form in large numbers; in some species, they can reach a remarkable height. The flowers are showy, bracteate, with a trilobed corolla and are born in terminal panicles. The plants are aromatic like almost all the members of the Zingiberaceae family.

Alpinia (Zingiberaceae)

Cultivated species of Alpinia:

A. allughas, more than a meter tall, has red flowers; A. mutica, with white and yellow flowers, veined in carmine; A. nutans (sin A. speciosa), a beautiful plant that can reach three meters, with long and lanceolate leaves, long terminal pendulous racemes of flowers similar to small orchids, irregularly colored in white, violet and yellow, perfumed; A. Rafflesiana, with rather small flowers, with a yellow-gold corolla with red margins; A. sanderae does not reach the meter of height and is cultivated for its ornamental foliage, since the long lanceolate leaves from the very short petiole, alternated, are striated longitudinally by wide irregular white stripes. It is perhaps a variegated variety of the raffiesiana.


the A. require rather large vessels because their rhizomes can expand freely, producing new groups of stems; the temperature must be high, the soil rich and organic, the watering abundant during the period of maximum vegetation. With high environmental humidity, very strong luminosity and regular fertilization, they should flourish quite easily, however less freely, than other genera of the same family. After flowering these plants will need a period of semi-iridescence, in which the watering will have to be thinned out without however allowing the soil to dry completely. The multiplication occurs by division in spring when the vegetative growth is evident.

Read also: The rock garden