2009 Annual Garden Tour~'Beyond the Gate' Highlighted Plant Info ~ Smith Gardens
(Acanthus mollis)
This fast growing perennial, up to 5' tall with spread of 3', has huge scalloped leaves and tall spikes of upright showy mauve bracts revealing white flowers in late spring or summer. It prefers light shade in our area, rich well-drained soil, and regular moisture during the growing season and mulching.  It occasionally dies back to the roots. Trim after it finishes blooming to keep the foliage longer.  Propagate by division or root cutting. Root system can be invasive.  Zone 7-10.
(Megaskepasma erythrochlamys)
Also called Brazilian Plume and Red Justicia, this tender, fast-growing, evergreen shrub bears dark scarlet, terminal flowers in the winter which are impressive against the huge leaves.  It reaches a height of 12-15'.  Plant in sun to partial shade in mildly acidic soil. Keep soil consistently moist without allowing it to dry out between waterings.  Mulch and feed occasionally with fertilizer for acid-loving plants.  Deadhead spent flowers; check for mealy bugs/scales.  Zone 9B to 11.
CHALICE VINE (Solandra maxima)
Also called cup of gold, chalice vine is a heavy, thick-stemmed scrambling tropical climber, reaching up to 30', with evergreen  6" long leaves. Fragrant flowers which appear in late winter/early spring are golden or cream yellow, shaped like a chalice, 6-10" long, flaring open to 4-7" across. Each lobe of the corolla is marked with a narrow purplish-brown ridge on the inside. Plant in full sun or partial shade in well-drained soil. Water regularly until it produces vigorous shoots, then only minimally water to promote blooming. Continue this cycle to promote subsequent blooming. Since it blooms on new growth, it can be cut back at any time. It requires a very sturdy support. Zone 10-11. Minimum temperature 35 degrees F.
(Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Lemon Sensation’)
Lemon Sensation, also known as Lemon Sunsation, has frilly chartreuse/yellow foliage with deeply-lobed edges that have a red pencil-thin rim.  Height is 12-18".  Planting instructions state that Lemon Sensation may be planted in sun to partial shade.  Water regularly, but do not overwater.  Removing the
Inconspicuous flowers may help avoid stem elongation. Pinch back the tips to encourage bushing.  Coleus may be affected by downy mildew and damage from thrips. Zone 10B-11. Propagate by seeds or rooting cuttings in water.
(Cuphea llavea ‘Flamenco Rumba’)
Cuphea llavea are often called Bat Face, Bunny Ears, or Tiny Mice, in that each tubular flower is topped with two round petals of a contrasting color, resembling little faces with big ears.  The four varieties in the Flamenco Series of batface are each a slightly different color and generally form 24” tall rounding clumps.  ’Flamenco Rumba’ has coral red petals spotted with purple, blooming almost continuously during warm weather. As annuals or tender perennials, they prefer regular watering, acidic to neutral well-drained soil, and ample sun for best flowering and fullest growth. Excellent for hanging baskets and mixed containers and can even be used as groundcover.   Zone 8+
(Alocasia x ‘Portadora’)
These gigantic Elephant Ears grow 6-8' tall with huge upright scalloped, ruffled leaves.  They are clumping in nature and may periodically need to be thinned.  Plant in sun to partial shade or light shade and allow plenty of space since it will clump. Preferred soil pH is 6.1 to 7.5.  Keep soil consistently moist. This plant is suitable for bogs and water gardens.  All part of the plant are poisonous if ingested and handling the plant may cause skin irritation.  Zone 7b-11.
HAWAIIAN SUNSET VINE (Stictocardia beraviensis)
This tropical vine is a fast grower, covering a trellis or fence within a few weeks to two months.  It is equally happy with full sun to complete shade and blooms sporadically year round. Blooms look similar to Morning Glory, crimson with yellow and orange streaking, scented, and 2-3" across.  Leaves are heart-shaped and velvety, 5-6" in diameter in full sun, but as much as 1' in filtered light.  This evergreen vine (in warmer areas), can take a few hours of frost, but may come back from roots in longer periods of cold.  It may also be grown in a container, (final container size 7-10 gal.) Train the branches around a strong wooden trellis; trim to encourage new blooms.  Keep moist.
(Alternanthera dentata ‘Party Time’)

‘Party Time’ is an annual, compact, 18-24" high and wide, with bright green and  fuchsia-pink distinctive foliage, each leaf being unique.  Plant in the garden or in containers with afternoon shade, well-drained soil, and slow-release fertilizer. Allow to dry out somewhat between waterings. Heat, humidity, and drought tolerant; pest and disease resistant. Zone 8-11.
(Salvia longispicata X farinacea)
Mystic Spires, a dwarf selection of Indigo Spires salvia, grows 18-24" high and 18-24” wide. Blue flowers during spring and summer attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. It is drought and heat tolerant and deer resistant. Plant in well-drained, well-prepared soil in full sun.  If winter drainage is good, it is quite cold hardy. Medium water requirements; fertilize every two weeks.
PALAY RUBBER VINE (Cryptostegia grandiflora)
Also known as India Rubber Vine, Indian Rubber Vine, Purple Allamanda (although not truly an Allamanda), and Rubbervine, this is a self-supporting scrambling vine, almost similar to a straggling shrub, which can quickly reach 12-15'  tall.  Leaves are thick and shiny green about 2" long.  The flower looks much like the Pink Allamanda, but colored either lilac purple or red purple, 2.5" with a broad funnel-shaped tube and five petal-like spreading lobes. It is capable of blooming from January through September, but this may be dependent on the temperature.  Seedpods are 4-5" long and 1-2" wide, containing seeds with long hairs similar to a dandelion.  It is easy to grow, adaptable to many planting sites, drought and pest tolerant, and requires little supplemental fertilizer. It is potentially invasive.  All plant parts, especially the seeds and the latex it produces, are often poisonous as well as irritating to the skin.
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