Leucospermum (Pincushion Protea) is a genus of about 50 species of flowering plants in the family Proteaceae, native to Zimbabwe and South Africa, where they occupy a variety of habitats, including scrub, forest, and mountain slopes.
They are evergreen shrubs (rarely small trees) growing to 0.5-5 m tall. The leaves are spirally arranged, tough and leathery, simple, linear to lanceolate, 2-12 cm long and 0.5-3 cm broad, with a serrated margin or serrated at the leaf apex only. The flowers are produced in dense inflorescences, which have large numbers of prominent styles, which inspires the name. (Ref: Wikipedia)
Agave americana ‘Mediopicta Alba’, which is gray-and-cream striped, and grows to about half the size of the others (to four or five feet tall and as wide), is hardy to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. This elegant, midsized agave is perfect for smaller gardens and also does well in pots. Because of its formal silhouette and coloration-and since its botanical name is unwieldy-I have given it the common name “tuxedo agave.” Learn more the San Diego Floral Association.
Zamia furfuracea is a cycad native to southeastern Veracruz state in eastern Mexico. The plant has a short, sometimes subterranean trunk up to 20 cm broad and high, usually marked with scars from old leaf bases. It grows very slowly when young, but its growth accelerates after the trunk matures. Including the leaves, the whole plant typically grows to 1.3 m tall with a width of about 2 m. Learn more on Wikipedia.
Many of you who have been by home know that I am a bit fanatical about landscaping, especially drought tolerant Mediterranean style plant material. Years ago we had a front triangle planter island that had a Crepe Myrtle that was planted with the house before changing to the Mediterranean style. The house was a Rossmoor Classic bluish/grey stucco before we remodeled. When I transformed the house, I thought the Crepe Myrtle would work well as it was a mature tree but I decided against this. I started looking for something more exotic.
Bismarckia Nobilis, also known as a Madagascar Blue Palm, is a very dramatic plant with greyish/green leaves. It is very slow growing but will often reach 50 feet or more. I had a hard time finding a plant larger than very small 5 or 15 gallon containers in the local area but eventually found a 36 inch box in Chino. This was expensive and a challenge to get to my home but worth it.
We dug out the entire planter to remove the old clay and amended the soil with gypsum, sand, grow power and amended soil to top it off. The gypsum and sand help to continue breaking up the old clay in the bottom of the hole. The tree looked huge in the box and then looked small when in the ground. Now, 6 years later, it has shown tremendous growth from the original planting. Seeing this tree in person is the best way to really get a feel for how dramatic it is. If you are in Rossmoor at Rush Park driving on Silverfox, you will dead end on Blume and you can’t miss the Bismarckia Nobilis.
I have had several people stop by to see what kind of palm it is. This has also happened with our Arbutus Marinus, also known as a Strawberry Tree, near our garage which has turned out to be a masterpiece. It was one of the first planted in Rossmoor and we have seen the copy-caters plant their own. I will take this as flattery of a nice plant choice.
Aloe striata is a small, stemless South African Aloe. The leaves of this Aloe are not toothed, but have a smooth pink margin. The Coral Aloe’s species name, “striata”, means “stripes”, and refers to the long lines on its blue-green leaves. Learn more at Monrovia.
The centerpiece of this island planter is the Blue Glow Agave. This is a handsome, smaller Agave with solitary and symmetrical rosette. The rosette consists of smooth, blue-green leaves with red margins edged in yellow, with tiny, soft spines. Each leaf tip bears a short red spine. This beautiful, yet tough and drought tolerant plant is an elegant choice for sunny, dry gardens and well-suited to containers. Learn more at Monrovia.
Once you see a beautiful triangle palm tree, you’re definitely going to want one! Unique looking and easy to grow, they are adaptable to many growing conditions. It displays a unique shape of arcing leaves that seem to come straight out of top of the tree on three sides, thus the name. The leaves are feather like, blue-green or silver green color. This tree will flower all year and will produce an inedible fruit. Read more here.
Blood red blooms cover the top of this dwarf grower for an extended season. Dense branches are covered with blue-green leaves. Versatile compact size is perfect for today’s smaller gardens. Evergreen, with its lower spreading habit, this hummingbird magnet fits into any garden.
Use as a foundation cover-up in drought-resistant gardens or as middle-of-the-border accent plants. Line up several for a hedge or mass them like groundcover in very hot planting areas where other plants wilt. Ideal for desert landscapes. Learn more at Monrovia.