In addition to the well-known pepper, the capsicum belongs to the Solanaceae family, originating in the Americas but currently cultivated throughout the world. It includes almost 50 species of plants, perennial and annual. The plants look like shrubs from 40 to 80 cm high (depending on the species) with light green leaves; also the resistance to cold and hot climate varies on the basis of the variety. The fruits have to be picked during the summer until autumn.
The Cuphea, originating from Mexico, Peru and central-southern America, produces peculiar long-lasting tubular flowers, red or pink: mostly cultivated as outdoor plant, it has very thick and decorative bushes about 80 cm high (30 cm for the dwarf varieties). Its blooming is ideal for a summer terrace with something new. It fears excessive cold and warmth. It needs abundant waterings during the summer.
It belongs to the family Apocynaceae and it originates from central and south America regions. The Dipladenia is an evergreen climbing plant with smooth, oval and bright green leaves. It produces many trumpet-shaped flowers with five flaps, red, pink and white with the yellow pastel inside part, gathered in racemes. Thanks to its extraordinary flexibility and speed of vegetation it perfectly conforms to the most original ornamental habitats (pyramidal, espalier, double arch, etc.).
It is a fruit tree belonging to the family Moraceae and originating from Western Asia. Equipped with a particularly broad root system, which makes it resistant to drought, it is characterized by a robust, greyish-colored trunk and by broad wrinkled leaves variously lobed within which a viscous and milky sap flows. The Ficus Carica has two different botanical forms: the “male”, “Caprifico” and the “female”, “Fico vero”. Both of them produce the common round and fleshy fruits with the green or violet peel. Just the fruits of the female plants are edible since they are fertilized (the principal responsible for the process of “caprification” is an insect, the Blastophaga psenes).
It is an evergreen shrub belonging to the family Malvaceae and it originates from Asia (Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis) and it is spread throughout Europe and in the tropical areas of America. It has large indented and glossy green leaves and it produces the five-petal funnel-shaped flowers, very large and very colorful, from white to pale pink, to yellow, orange / salmon, up to the classic deep red. In the central throat of the flower, usually of different color (in contrast) than the petals, there is the large stamen.
It belongs to the family Verbenaceae and it originates from south-central America. The Lantana is a perennial and bushy shrub that has intense green leaves, wrinkled and dentate that, if broken, give off an unmistakable aroma. The Sellowiana variety has a hanging shape and smaller leaves. Throughout the summer, until the autumn the Lantana produces tubular flowers gathered in corymbs, characterized by the pecularity of changing shades during the blooming, thus resulting in being multi-color (although there are monochromatic varieties). After blooming, poisonous berries appear when they are still unripe, but they become edible when they are ripe.
It belongs to the family Liliacae and it originates from Southern Europe and Western Asia. It is a bulbous perennial plant with erect shape. It has bright green and long leaves. It produces a peculiar panicle-shaped inflorescence with many small flowers with orange petals (there is also the “Arabicum” variety with white flowers) that reminds exactly the cockscomb.
The Pentas Lanceolata originates from Africa and the Middle East and it is widespread in the cultivation. They are perennial plants that, in right climatic conditions, bloom for a long period of time; if the heat is sufficient, they start blooming at the end of the winter and they continue until autumn. Pentas are very suitable for the butterfly garden, meaning that their continuous blooming attracts butterflies, bees and other useful insects into the garden. They prefer sunny positions, they well withstand heat. Watering should be regular.
It belongs to the family Campanulaceae and it originates from Asia. The Platycodon, also known as “Grandiflora bluebell” or “Japanese bluebell”, is a perennial shrub that has a thick bush with oval, slightly indented, light green leaves. It produces large, balloon-shaped buds from which blue, white and, rarely, pink flowers bloom. It is characterized by abundant summer flowering and, therefore, it is ideal for ensuring color in the gardens in the least “flowery” periods of the year.
The Polygala Myrtifolia (variety that is better to cultivate in the greenhouse) is an evergreen shrub belonging to the family Polygalaceae, hybridized by crossing species originating in Southern Africa. It has a basically bushy and round shape with a very thick vegetation. Thanks to its flexibility it can easily be cut in order to have different shapes (pyramid, espalier). Its leaves are similar to the myrtle’s ones but bigger and of light green color. It produces lilac flowers collected in bunches at the apex of the branches.
It is known in different regions with different names: in Italian it is called porcellana, procaccia, purselana (Liguria), erba grassa (Lombardia), barzellana (Sardegna). In ancient Egypt it was already known as medical plant. It probably originates from Asia. It has reddish, fleshy, very branched stems and a prostrate shape which makes it an excellent groundcover plant: from June until the first autumn cold numerous rose-shaped flowers bloom on the apex of the branches, with wrinkled looking petals that close in the dark. It needs sun and regular watering.
It belongs to the Punicaceae family and it is a shrub with very ancient origins from Southwest Asia. It is mostly known with the name of pomegranate (“malum punicum” in Latin to remind the origin from the city of Carthage where for the first time Romans found it out. This plant produces red tubular flowers from which edible red/orange fruits are generated, with coriaceous rind, with sour and tasty pulp, typically fragmented in grains.
Its common name is Rhyncospermum but it could also be called Jasmine. It is a climbing shrub belonging to the family Apocynaceae. It prefers full sun zones in which it creates very vigorous branches and inflorescences. If it is preferred to lengthen the branches, compromising the level of the blooming, it is necessary to place the plant in a semi-shaded area.
The Vinca or Pervinca is a herbaceous and evergreen plant originating from Europe (very common in Italy) and it belongs to the family Apocynaceae. It could be cultivated both with erect shape and hanging shape (Vinca so-called “Mediterranean”, transplanted in basket). It has a thick shrub with oval leaves, extended and shiny green. It produces a lot of little and delicate flowers, with five pastel colored petals, from white to pink, red, lilac and purple.
It belongs to the Violaceae family and it originates from Europe and America. It is a small and evergreen plant known for its white, yellow, orange, red, lilac, violet or speckled bicolor flowers. It is a green light bush with little and curved leaves. The shades of the colors are different and there are varieties with petals that have a dark spot inside (“Pansy” or “Saint Joseph violet”, since the shades remind the ones of the cape of the Saint). In the mild climate zones the blooming could be forced and it is in autumn until winter.