Can you handle the amazingness of such a vision?! The architecture, the color, the opulence...it's out of hand and The Plant Provocateur loves it! Mother nature has outdone herself again. Welcome to the world of the plant genus Tricyrtis commonly known as the Toad Lily. Tricyrtis come from places such as the Himalayas, the Philippines, Japan, and Taiwan. So, what's with the common name Toad Lily? How on earth could something so spectacular be considered 'toad-like'? Well, there's this crazy story. Let me set the scene. It's the early 1970's. The place is the Philippines. It is alleged by some that an eccentric millionaire politician came up with a hoax to increase tourism. This hoax involved the discovery of a Stone Age Tribe, known as the Tasaday, living in what was described as a 'Primeval Eden' somewhere in the Philippines. The world and other enquiring minds wanted to know more! Their tribal skills included catching frogs for food. The method in which they demonstrated this was to crush Tricyrtis and rub the plant's juices all over their arms and hands. The odor supposedly was a 'frog attractant' that caused wayward amphibians to jump into their hands making hunting for them a snap. No more digging around in the muck. It was, allegedly, that easy. After much speculation about the authenticity of the tribe itself, many considered it all to be an act. Regardless, the common name Toad Lily remains. The Plant Provocateur Silverlake, Los Angeles.
What in the world?! As if from the future, comes this fascinating flower formation that's sure to get your mind reeling. What look like spotted upside-down hats were once flat flying-saucer like flower buds. The Plant Provocateur is a sucker for the freaky flora and this super cool evergreen Australian shrub delivers the goods. Don't know if you've met before but let me introduce you to the suavely supercool Correa baeuerlenii commonly referred to as the Chef's Cap Correa. Correas are commonly referred to as Australian Fuchsia. Correa baeuerlenii grabs The Plant Provocateur's attention a bit more than most correas because its flowers are so surreally sumptuous. Check it out. The Plant Provocateur Silverlake, Los Angeles.
Aechmea cylindrata comes to us from Brazil. It produces stiff, upright rosettes of deep green leaves similar to those of a pineapple, that can exhibit blushes of red in lots of light. Rosettes of foliage can reach up to 1 1/2 feet tall and wide. In spring and summer, Aechmea cylindrata sends up spectacular flower spikes that explode with riotous rosy fuchsia bracts and dreamy 'draizy' blue buds of 'beauticiouness' that are then followed by polite pink berries. the Plant Provocateur Silverlake, Los Angeles.
What in the world?! Is it some sort of Tarantula? No. It's a new form of beauty. Old world avant-garde for those seeking something a little different in their floral flair. Welcome to the world of Mimetes cucullatus also commonly known as the Common Pagoda or Rooistompie (meaning 'Red Stump'). This south african term is derived from the stump or stumps of this plant left after a fire and the new red growth that sprouts from it. Mimetes cucullatus comes to us from the southwestern climes of South Africa's Cape Province. It's in the Protea family and has not spent much time in the floral limelight. Well, now is its time to shine. The Plant Provocateur Silverlake, Los Angeles.
That's right. Let yourself go. Fall into a kaleidoscope of color. But where are you headed? Where will you end up? You are going to a place of chic grandeur, far far away from the ordinary. A place that soothes the soul and opens the mind with its stylish beauty. Welcome to the fashionable fantasia of Phragmipedium schlimii. Phragma-what you say? Phragmipedium schlimii is part of a group of elegant plants commonly referred to as South American Slipper Orchids. This orchid comes from a history of obsession and greed. One such species of it was discovered in Peru in 1981. Once word got out, orchid hunters and paparazzi went wild, pillaging and destroying the site where it was found. These orchids have the power to move or destroy mountains, so-to-speak. Their beauty is that special! Luckily, they are still with us by the power of loving cultivation. Why not grow some?! The Plant Provocateur Silverlake, Los Angeles.
Here's one for the fashionable floranista lovers out there. Nothing says power-color like orange. Orange stimulates our feelings for adventure, exoticism, and pleasure. It induces a passion for excitement. Such is the case of Juanulloa mexicana commonly referred to as simply... The Goldfinger Plant. Very James Bond wouldn't you say? Well, here we have a tropical 'twiner' that definitely has the midas touch. Check out that flower! So provocative. So mysterious. The bud, a brilliant 1 1/2 - 2 inch bell-shaped calyx, inflates to a point and bursts at its seams to reveal an emphatically exciting tubular flower. Together, calyx and tube create a vibrant vision of electrical voluptuousness that both hypnotizes and arouses the senses. The Plant Provocateur Silverlake, Los Angeles.
I fell in love with Tricyrtis many years ago when a friend gave me a rather distressed looking clump in an old terra cotta pot. He told me to be patient. I was well rewarded! Tricyrtis are perennial and resemble the woodland plant Maianthemum racemosum commonly referred to as False Solomon's Seal. They grow as arching stems that get about 2 to 3 feet tall. The species Tricyrtis formasana var. stolonifera spreads with runners to create clumps of plants up to 2 feet wide. The species Tricyrtis hirta does not run, but does form clumps up to 2 feet wide. In spring, Tricyrtis sprout and send up arching stems flanked with foliage. Depending on the species the foliage can be spotted, fuzzy, outlined with colorful margins, matte, or glossy. In late summer/early fall, inch long flowers of the most elaborate configuration, color, and pattern are produced. They resemble jewel-encrusted orchids. Seriously stunning!
In general, Tricyrtis like partial shade to bright shade conditions, rich, organic, well-draining soil, regular water, and are hardy down to -25 degrees fahrenheit/-31 degrees celsius. Also, as Tricyrtis grow they tend to sprawl. If control is your thing, stake and secure stems according to your aesthetic taste. In fall, plants die back and wither. Cut back in late winter/early spring in time for emergent new growth. They do well in containers and are best observed if you plant them close to pathways or place them somewhere where their amazing flowers can be seen, up close and personal, when they bloom. They are indeed a guilty garden pleasure; an opulent overload of horticultural hotness! The Plant Provocateur Silverlake, Los Angeles.
Sometimes in life beauty comes from above. It rains down on you like snow. So delicate yet so powerful; so beautiful, it causes you to stand still and bask in its spectacle. Such is the case of Fuchsia boliviana 'Alba'. It's a semi-evergreen, erect shrub that produces graceful clusters of slender trumpet-like flowers that open and flare their downward tips in opulent color. It looks like the type of plant Bacchus would have had present at one of his rituals of ecstasy and madness. Fuchsia boliviana 'Alba' comes to us from the high altitude cloud forests of Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina. When blooming is in full swing, something about the multiple bunches of buds and bloom displayed is somewhat reminiscent of the visually delicious clustering of lusciously promising grapes.
Fuchsia boliviana 'Alba' can grow to be 12 feet tall and 4 to 8 feet wide. Slightly arching branches outfit themselves in plushly textured deep green leaves and throughout the year produce dangling clusters of two-tone narrow white trumpet-like buds that open to reveal engaging, tropically pinkish red flowers. When flowers finish their display, they leave behind edible, subtly flavored, capsule-like black fruits. Fuchsia boliviana 'Alba' looks amazing grown among other structured plants, where it can subtly weave its branches here and there, later producing clustering ornaments of color in surprising places throughout its supporting plant.
Fuchsia boliviana 'Alba' likes part sun to shady situations, fertile, well-draining soil, and regular water. It doesn't like extreme temperatures and needs protection from frost. It's hardy down to around 30 degrees fahrenheit/-1 degrees celsius. It makes a tropically elegant feature plant in a garden or container where in bloom its tropical tassels of color create an alluring air. For a sophisticated display of tropical temptation try using branches with blooms as cut flowers in supportive vessels indoors or out. The Plant Provocateur Silverlake, Los Angeles.