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gardening fuerteventura

Gardening in Fuerteventura
Have you got or seen a plant that is growing well in our challenging conditions?

Please post pics/info/sizes/preferred conditions etc to help forumers that might like to plant one themselves. Please keep to tried and tested plants/shrubs, not a pot picked up in Lidl last week that may not survive our conditions on the island! It can be in your own garden, a neighbour or friends, or a park. Don't worry if you don't know the name - I'm sure others will help to identify them.

It would also be good to know if you bought it as a mature plant, grew it from seed or cutting, and how old it is - -post as much or little as you know.

I'll start the ball rolling with one of my favourites:

Caesalpinia gilliesii, Desert/Yellow Bird of Paradise

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I planted this on the southern side of a wall/fence 2 years ago as a 12 inch seedling grown by a friend, but it still gets a lot of wind. It is now about 7 feet tall and 6 feet wide. During the 'winter' I pruned it back by about half as it had grown out over a path - within 2 months it has recovered growth all over the bare area and is blooming like mad. It gets a little water about twice a week through an irrigation system and a nightly feed via the depuradora! It produces masses of seeds and has a fairly good germination rate. Locally it has self sown in cracks in the tarmac at the side of the road - it gets regularly chopped down and rebounds!

This was the shrub after 1 year:
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Last year the shrub was the subject of terrorist attack by moths or butterflies. The flower buds provided sleeper cells for the eggs that hatched into these pesky caterpillars that ate their way out leaving holes in loads of the buds. I picked the caterpillars off daily, put them in a saucer on the floor and the lizards loved them!
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Thunbergia Grandiflora

A vigorous climbing plant once it gets its feet dug in. Scambles over fences and other plants. Needs a reasonable amount of water but good drainage as well. Overwatering or lack of minerals results in these paler leaves with the veins showing. When the leaves are pale they are more susceptible to sun and wind scorch. Most of these pics show one or two flowers near each other but when it is in full bloom there are long bracts of flowers. They also look a deeper mauve than how it shows in the pics.

These pics show Thunbergia in amongst other plants - the paler growth is the relevant plant here!

After less than 1 year the plant had reached the top of the 6' fence and spread 10' wide. (On the depuradora irrigation/feed system each night! and a small supplement of fresh water twice a week during the growing season. Mineral supplements regularly.)

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Original stock plant from Happy Plants at Tefia. I have successfully propagated from cuttings.
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Thunbergia Erectus

A much smaller plant than Grandiflora - it doesn't climb. Stays quite tidy with numerous upright or horizontal stems. The flower is much richer in colour than Grandiflora and doesn't seem as prone to the paler leaves. After 1 year the stems were reaching 2' in length and there were about double the number of stems to when I had planted it. Hasn't needed any special attention. Nightly feed via depuradora, no additional water in this bed. It is between some Bouganvilleas, filling the bare gap near the ground.

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Original stock plant from Happy Plants, Tefia. I have yet to try propagating it.
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Well done Tamara, what a great idea and what interesting post you have already. Thank you.
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Guaydil (Convolvulus floridus)

[Image: W38jSCl.jpg]  [Image: uAFX8aF.jpg]  [Image: AaloWxu.jpg]

Guaydil is a fairly common plant here growing well in poor but well-drained soil, wind, full sun and needing little water. I currently have 3 in a border, that have been in the ground for 3 years after getting them as freebies in the Cabildo giveaway in Nov 2015. They looked similar to this when received:

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they have exceeded all my expectations! In 2 years they were 5-6' tall and this year they are 7-8' with multiple stems. They can be pruned quite hard if required. The flowers apparently have a light scent but I am unable to detect this. They self-seed and I have another 5 in pots ready to plant elsewhere in the garden from this method so I haven't bothered trying cuttings.

The lower half of the plant can look a bit bare being just a clump of stalks:

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Mirabilis jalapa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
or four o'clock flower, is the most commonly grown ornamental species of Mirabilis plant, and is available in a range of colours. Mirabilis in Latin means wonderful and Jalapa (or Xalapa) is the state capital of Veracruz in México. Mirabilis jalapa was cultivated by the Aztecs for medicinal and ornamental purposes.
The flowers usually open from late afternoon or at dusk (namely between 4 and 8 o'clock), giving rise to one of its common names. Flowers then produce a strong, sweet-smelling fragrance throughout the night, then close for good in the morning. New flowers open the following day. It arrived in Europe in 1525. Today, it is common in many tropical regions and is also valued in Europe as a (not hardy) ornamental plant

[Image: E6TKNI0.jpg] This plant does very well in the Fuerteventura climate, holding up to the wind as well as the full sun. I love the way that each 'flower' (they're not really the flowers, but look like it!) is different to each other. Some fully one colour, some with stripes or splashes - you can even get completely different colour schemes on one plant. My seed were appropriated from plants around The Atlantico Centre in Caleta where the main colours were an orangey/yellow and yet my plants have a pink/white colour scheme. It self seeds easily if you have a casual garden or can be grown from seed in pots and planted where you want. Most or all of the top growth will die back or look tatty and need cutting back after the flowering season but it will shoot readily again the next spring. It is also a favourite of the Hawk moth caterpillars  Big Grin
My plants average 2-3' in height - sometimes a stem gets blown down but it will continue to grow and bloom. Doesn't need much water, sometimes looks 'tired' on a hot, windy day but perks up again overnight, don't get tempted to keep watering- you are more likely to rot the roots.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedi
Gazania  is a genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, native to Southern Africa.
They produce large, daisy-like composite flowerheads in brilliant shades of yellow and orange, over a long period in summer. They are often planted as drought-tolerant groundcover. [/size]

This is a low growing, self seeding daisy/marigold looking plant where each seedling can produce different colour flowers. Easy to grow, needs little watering, so cheerful! I started with one seedling appropriated from somewhere and now have loads of plants with a great assortment of colours/patterns.

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Today's plant is a rabid climber! They are just coming in to full bloom across the island so you are likely to see them anywhere/everywhere. We seem to have 2 main varieties on Fuerte, the vivid purple/blue flower and a paler mauve flower. 

Ipomoea purpurea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[Image: 330px-BlueMorningGlory.jpg]

Ipomoea purpurea, the common morning-glory, tall morning-glory, or purple morning glory, is a species in the genus Ipomoea, native to Mexico and Central America. Like all morning glories the plant entwines itself around structures, growing to a height of 2–3 metres (6 ft 7 in–9 ft 10 in) tall. The leaves are heart-shaped and the stems are covered with brown hairs. The flowers are trumpet-shaped, predominantly blue to purple or white, and 3–6 centimetres (1.2–2.4 in) diameter.

The flowers only last for a day but there are plenty of fresh ones each morning. The flower colour is a deep iridescent blue/purple early in the morning but gradually looses intensity during the day. The picture below is outside a garden in Tindaya where this plant has completely smothered all the other shrubs and trees in the garden! As much as I love the flowers, especially the morning colour, I have removed the specimen I had from my garden as it was threatening to do the same. If you have lots of space and no other plants this is the one for you! No special care other than initial watering while it gets it's roots going - then just stand back and almost see it grow while you watch! Don't believe the 2-3 metres quoted in Wiki, mine went to 12M wide, both sides of a 2M wall/fence, in just 12 months. A friend took a piece of the root I dug out (with great difficulty) and planted it at the base of a fan palm - it is now winding it's way up the trunk (about 5M in 6 months) and loving it.

[Image: 5ncFP6Y.jpg]  [Image: ifKGhrB.jpg] later in the day as the colour was waning.
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Today's plant is also going in the Wildlife section!

Asclepias curassavica or tropical milkweed

I've been on the lookout for a Milkweed for a while as I'd heard it was a favourite of the Monarch butterfly and grew well out here. I popped in to the large garden centre on the ring road at Puerto today and was surprised and delighted to see a display of Milkweed being promoted in a prominent spot. On closer inspection all of the plants contained at least one large Monarch Caterpillar. It's not often you see a shop selling plants where the leaves are being chomped as you queue to pay! The sales girl was even checking that each plant had at least one caterpillar as they were sold.  Big Grin

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I bought 2 so the caterpillars had each other for company, well that's my excuse. The plants grow to about 1M high and have bright orange flowers on and off all year so a welcome addition to any garden. I've been told they are tolerant of our sun and wind and do like a regular drink.

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More about the Monarch and lifecycle in the Wildlife Gallery post.
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Today's plant grows outdoors here as well as indoors which is where you will see it as a common houseplant in the UK.

Monstera deliciosa, the ceriman, is a species of flowering plant native to tropical forests of southern Mexico, south to Panama. It has been introduced to many tropical areas, and has become a mildly invasive species in Hawaii, Seychelles, Ascension Island and the Society Islands.

Commonly known as the Swiss Cheese plant

I rescued a very unhappy looking specimen from beside some bins 3 years ago and planted it at the base of a drago in my garden - it loves life there in the semi shade!

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About the same time I bought a small plant (2 or 3 leaves, perhaps 12" high) to grow in a room with both the North and West walls virtually all glass so it only gets direct sun very late in  the day - again this is thriving.

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the final pics are from the airport where the plants are grown under an overhang opposite the Arrivals area. Pic 2 shows a tightly furled new leaf and pic 3 a developing flower/fruit.

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from Wiki:

This member of the arum family Araceae is an epiphyte with aerial roots, able to grow up to 20 m (66 ft) in the wild high with large, leathery, glossy, heart-shaped leaves 25–90 cm (10–35.5 in) long by 25–75 cm (10–29.5 in) broad. Young plants have leaves that are smaller and entire with no lobes or holes, but soon produce lobed and fenestrate leaves as they grow. Although it can grow very tall in nature, it only measures between 2 and 3 m (6.6 and 9.8 ft) when grown indoors. The leaves are large (up to 1 m or 3.3 ft long), heart-shaped and pinnate. The older the plant, the more the leaves are covered with large perforations which earned the name of "swiss cheese plant" in English.

Wild seedlings grow towards the darkest area they can grow until they find a tree trunk, then start to grow up towards the light, creeping up the tree.
The flower of M. deliciosa is composed of a special bract called a spathe enclosing a spadix and the inflorescences are adorned with a cream-white spathe uniform, velvety appearance, covering, like a hood, a yellowish white spike 10 to 15 cm (3.9 to 5.9 in) high and about 3 cm (1.2 in) in diameter. These flowers are bisexual, meaning they contain both androecium and gynoecium.[8] Since they contain both structures, this plant is able to self-pollinate.

Monstera deliciosa is commonly grown for interior decoration in public buildings and as a houseplant. It grows best between the temperatures of 20–30 °C (68–86 °F) and requires high humidity and shade. Growth ceases below 10 °C (50 °F) and it is killed by frost. In the coastal zones of Sicily, especially in the Palermo area, where it is called "zampa di leone" ("lion's paw"), it is often cultivated outdoors. In ideal conditions it flowers about three years after it is planted. Flowering is rare when grown indoors. The plant can be propagated by taking cuttings of a mature plant or by air layering. The Monstera deliciosa is a plant with rapid and vigorous growth. As a result, it is widely used as an ornamental plant in the tropics and subtropics. Its ease of cultivation also makes it a very widespread plant in apartment in temperate regions.
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