Gardening

Flower bushes that give your garden texture

flowers

Pentas flower flowers planted in Lavington Nairobi in this picture taken on Wednesday, January 12, 2022. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

Summary

  • Flowering bushes are a plus because they effortlessly take the place of trees especially when you are tight on space.
  • Most flowering bushes grow well under partial to full sunlight.
  • Because flowering bushes are still bushes, capable of growing wildly, gently nudge them on the path you want them to take.

Adorn your garden with flowering bushes to add texture, colour, and fragrance to your green space. “These are easy maintenance plants and are perfect for layering, which adds form to your garden,” Mrs Emily Omunga says from her garden in Nairobi, which has more than 10 varieties of flowering bushes, all less than a year old.

Flowering bushes are also a plus because they effortlessly take the place of trees especially when you are tight on space. “Their beauty is also easily spotted eye-level, unlike trees, cheering up your hedges, front yards, and balconies.

They also don’t have intrusive roots that will damage structures,” Mr Gideon Mutua, a programme manager and passionate gardener.

Most flowering bushes grow well under partial to full sunlight. Location of their planting and climate and whether they are potted or planted determine their watering needs. “Because Machakos is hot, the potted bushes I’ve kept in the balconies receive relatively less water because they’re shaded,” Mr Mutua says.

However, according to Mrs Omuga, flowering bushes do best grounded and planted in proper draining, compost mixed soils. “They can live on rainwater making them low maintenance once they’ve matured.”

Ensure that plants are well fed and protected from pests, which find the flowering bushes irresistible, just like you and I.

“Periodically, I’ll throw slug pellets in my garden to keep these slow-moving creatures away and spray neem oil banning aphids and termites. For the hydrangeas and roses, I add Omex foliar feed and Garden Rose Magic to maximise their bloom power. To keep the leaves shine on during the rainy season, I’ll apply leaf shine,” explains Mrs Omuga.

Because flowering bushes are still bushes, capable of growing wildly, gently nudge them on the path you want them to take. “I tie up the branches using zip ties so that they can be up there chasing the sun,” the interior designer turned farmer shares.

Prune the bushes to create an appealing shape and desired size, and deadhead to remove spent blooms. “Keeping spent blooms causes the plant to divert its resources to make fruits from the flowers instead of making more flowers, which is what we all want,” she explains.

With those tips, these two gardeners share with us some of the flowering shrubs that make their hearts sing.

At Emily’s garden

Pentas

Growing well whether potted or planted, Pentas in their blooming clusters light pink or red in colour, flower all year round. They are easy to grow, low maintenance and do well under full sun. Water regularly in dry seasons, prune and deadhead to keep them neat and encourage more flowering.

Hibiscus

Bearing large, showy flowers that come in shades of pink, yellow, red, orange and white, this flowering bush should be a staple in your garden.

“The best thing about it is that it blooms all year long and can grow as tall as a tree but with less destructive tendencies,” Mrs Omuga says adding that they are classified as singles, which have five petals or doubles which have more than five. “Keep an eye out for aphids on your double hibiscus flowers, getting rid of them at first show.”

Lantanas

Choose a sunny location for this flowering bush, whether potted or planted. Sirens to butterflies, they come in a multitude of bold colours. From the dazzling yellow, fiery red, bright white, joyful orange, rosy pink and royal purple. Water regularly once planted. When rooted, reduce watering since it’s a fairly drought resistant plant.

Snow bush

Perfect for hedges due to its amazingly coloured foliage, Mrs Omuga, a commercial interior designer, says that this tropical sweetheart is unique since its flowers appear under the leaves. Plant it in a partly shaded area to keep the soil moist and to bring out its best colour which comes with some good roasting.

Mona lavender

This quick-growing tropical beauty is ideal for new plant parents because it is impossible to kill. It has long tubed purple, showy flowers, with shiny green serrated leaves that grow side by side on a purple-coloured stem. It thrives under partial shade.

Crimson red cestrum

Fragrant after dark and flowering all year round, this wonderful ornamental shrub can grow up to three metres tall with a generous portion of red flowers arching that turn to berries, at the edge of a single stalk. “My garden is one and a half years old, and this plant thrives in well-draining soil, and is generally pest resistant.”

Milkweed

Petite with star-shaped flowers that come in a bright-orange colour, these self-seeding flowering bush is perfect if you want your garden to be a haven of butterflies as they are sweetly scented. It prefers a spot right under the sun, with proper pruning and dead-heading for maximum benefits.

Mutua’s Garden

Night Blooming Jasmine

Perfect as hedges and screens, if you turn your nose in its direction in the evening, you’ll be met by the delicious scent of this tropical shrub that’s hidden within its small, tubular yellow flowers up until the sun disappears from its view. Relatively drought resistant and minimal care, its evergreen leaves adds to its charm as it can be enjoyed all year round.

Roses

“Choose your roses wisely for maximum benefit, plant them in well-mixed soil and water accordingly,” Mr Mutua says of the most popular flowering bush. Not even thorns taint their reputation!

They will bring much-needed colours to your front porches, and as trees, their attractive blossoms add interest to the skyline. Watch out for aphids and keep your leaves healthy by not watering on them. “Aim at the soil.”

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