Ideally, you’d want to have an inviting front porch that will invite your guests to stay for a while.
Your front yard is the first place that anyone visiting your home interacts with. Ideally, you’d want to have an inviting front porch that will invite your guests to stay for a while. Having the best plants in your front yard adds pomp, life and colour to your home.
Peter Munene runs Grand Gardens, a plant nursery in Ruiru. He takes us through the best plants for front yards that are not only beautiful but also affordable. The majority of the plants that Mr Munene recommends range between Sh100 and Sh1,000.
Anthuriums are the first flowers that Mr Munene recommends for anyone looking to transform their front yards.
“Anthuriums are perennials and thrive in partly shaded areas away from the direct sun. They like fertile soil and are happy when fed with compost,” he tells us.
For healthy growth, one should always keep the soil wet. Therefore, Mr Munene says that the best time to plant anthuriums is during the rainy season.
“In the dry areas, you could water the anthuriums every alternate day. If it is potted, you can water it even once a week. Potted plants do not require so much water,” he says adding, “To plant anthurium, you can pluck a sucker from the main mother and plant.”
You can propagate petunias from seeds. They will do well in direct sunlight and must be watered after every alternate day.
“You can use any loam soil, add some goat manure and your petunias will be fine. Petunias are seasonal; they do wither after some time, probably after six months or a year,” Mr Munene, a member of a gardening group, Kenya Horticultural Society, says.
Because they self-pollinate, when their seeds fall, they will grow on their own.
Mr Munene introduces us to different types of daisies that do very well. The African Daisy is a perennial flower that comes in pink, yellow, or red petals. The Gloriosa Daisy comes in yellow and is a favourite of the bees and butterflies. Daisies can be propagated from a cutting.
“All the different types of daisies require the same plant conditions including manure and planting. Water them every alternate day for ideal growth. If well taken care of they can last for about two months. However, they require quite a lot more water compared to petunias,” Mr Munene tells us. For sunlight, petunias appreciate bright and direct sunlight.
The agapanthus, also known as the African Lilly, is a hardy plant that requires little maintenance and will keep your front porch looking green.
“Agapanthus are easy to maintain as you can always water them at least once a week. They are hardy and don't have any issues with the type of soil that you use,” Mr Munene says.
The African Lilly blooms well under full sunlight and can survive well if they get a weekly dose of water.
“I have the English Lavender and the French Lavender. You take care of both of them in the same way,” Mr Munene tells us.
Give them well-drained soil, water, some manure and your front yard will not only be fragrant but it will also have a beautiful shade of purple.
“They rely on full sun. The French Lavender is very generous with aroma and flowers. It can also do well in partial sun,” Mr Munene notes.
Well-drained soil and goat manure work wonders for the bird of paradise flower. “For lush foliage and flowers, you can also do top dressing with foliar plant spray.
When you propagate from a bulb, the bird of paradise can take six months to bloom and its flowers can last for a month before it dies.
The red phormium grass will give your front yard a beautiful and colourful cover. “The beauty of phormium is in the foliage. It requires well-drained soil and regular topping up with manure every six months for it to flourish. Propagation is from its suckers. It takes six months to properly grow and it is a perennial plant that will not die on you. To care for it you have to be removing the dry grass regularly. Watering should be done once a week as it is also a hardy plant,” Mr Munene tells us.
Roses are one of the best-scented flowers that you can have in your front yard. “I have ordinary roses, miniature roses and climbing roses. Roses tend to be sensitive. There are times when they are infected with insects or aphids. They require a lot of work but if you manage to spray them every few days they become very generous with their flowers.”
Mr Munene advises that once a rose plant flowers you need to cut them so that they can sprout again.
Mr Munene says that for the spacing of the plants in your front yard, you need to consider the size of the plants.
“Some like petunias, and daisies are small so you can plant them closely with a spacing of around 1 feet. However, for roses, anthuriums and the birds of paradise, which are big plants, you have to really space them out, at least a metre.”
To properly take care of the plants, Mr Munene advises that you need lots of love.
“I have seen so many people come, buy the plants and leave them just like that and after two or three months, all the plants are dead.”