Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Pink Bananas - Musa velutina

This is one of the most rewarding bananas to grow. The pink banana, Musa velutina, has grown for me at an astounding rate, sprouting one leaf per week in winter and went from being a single stemmed 20cm high plant to a 2.5m, multi-stemmed flowering clump in just 6 months.

The fruits appear after the erect flower stalk emerges; they have a velvety texture to the skin and are bright pink.

When the bananas are ripe, they peel themselves - effecting inviting any nearby creature to a feast. Although the fruits are edible, they are full of small seeds and therefore eating them is quite a chore.
The inflorescence is quite attractive and would make a rather kitsch house decoration.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Bengali Clock Vine (Thunbergia grandiflora)

This vine should be planted a lot more than is. A beautiful, easy to grow and vigorous creeper with stunning light-mauve blooms, the Bengali Clock Vine deserves a place in any frost-free garden.

The vine blooms all year round, and I have seen it flowering in Sydney even in mid-July. The foilage is very attractive, glossy and dark green.

Unfortunately, it is not permitted to be distributed or sold in the State of Queensland, where it has been declared a Class 2 weed. It has naturalized along some waterways in the far north of the state and unfortunately has been slapped with this unfortunate status. Of course, outside the far north the plant is not a problem, and infestations remain highly localized around Cairns. Yet the ban applies to the entire state, and this has made the vine hard to fine generally as most suppliers of warm climate species are located within Queensland.

Although highly vigorous, the plant is extremely easy to control should it grow beyond it's allotted space. In fact, its vigor makes it a great choice for a quick and attractive privacy screen.

Above is the white cultivar known as "Alba". If not provided with a support, the vine will use the nearest tree as it clambers for sun.

Propagation is not easy - they don't root very well and if they do, it takes months.

I adore this plant :)
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