Grow some Tasty Asian Water Chestnut Eleocharis dulcis in the Backyard

Off we go, starting our own water chestnuts again. In case you ever had them in stir fry, the fresh bulbs are 100 times better than the canned. Delicious. Plus, I know in what water they are growing  (clean water) ;)

Eleocharis dulcis is tropical Asian aquatic sedge having an edible corm and cylindrical leaves. The succulent corm of this plant ist used in Asian cooking.  

This is NOT to be confused with the aquatic invasive European water chestnut (Trapa natans)!

Asian water chestnuts (Eleocharis dulcis) and European water chestnuts (Trapa natans) are two unrelated water plants that carry the same name.
The Asian water chestnut resembles a small muddy tulip bulb and is sweet and crunchy; the European water chestnut resembles a tiny horned bull’s head and is quite starchy. 

Americans are most familiar with the Chinese water chestnut. Chinese water chestnuts grow underwater in mud, have brown or black scale-like leaves, and are round, though somewhat flattened. They are the roots of an aquatic plant that grows in freshwater ponds, marshes, lakes, and slow-moving rivers and streams in Japan, Taiwan, China, Thailand, and Australia. They are difficult to harvest, explaining their generally high price. Chinese water chestnuts have mildly sweet, crisp, white flesh and are excellent raw on skewers with dip/

The European water chestnut or water caltrop has seed capsules with four spikes and is named after the caltrop, a vicious medieval weapon with four iron points. This hard-shelled ebony black fruit has two prominent, down curved horns resembling a bull’s head and a woody, sculptured surface that looks like a face or a bat. It grows abundantly in Indonesia, Southeast Asia, southern China, Japan, Italy, and tropical America. Its Chinese name, ling ko, means “spiritual horn.”

Storage: Store water chestnuts, unwashed and unpeeled, in a loosely closed paper or plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper for up to 2 weeks. Keep water caltrops in a cool, dry place.

To Grow: Easy to grow in a tub filled with dirt about 4" high . Water to 2" above soil level. Consider appropriate spacing as each corm produces quickly about 8-10 new corms. The closer they sit the harder it is to separate them.

To Buy: 
  1. Tricker Aquatics: Water Chestnuts
  2. COTW Rare Seeds: Fresh Asian Water Chestnuts 

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Grape Smelling Purple Texas Mountain Laurel

Also known as Grape Soda or Cool Aid Tree due to it's grapelicious fragrance. Indigenous to Texas, New Mexico and Mexico, this large shrub or small tree is evergreen, thornless and long-lived. Glossy dark green compound leaves provide a lush look for desert gardens. Showy clusters of purple wisteria-like flowers perfume the air in the spring. The thick seed pods contain orange-red seeds. Plant in full sun to part shade and in well-drained soils. Temperatures as low as 25F and as high as 120F. Native Indians used to make stunning jewelry from the bright red seeds.

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Droping and Weeping Showy Coast Silk Tassel Bush Garrya elliptica

 Garrya elliptica (Coast silk-tassel) is an evergreen shrub native to the coastal ranges of California and southern Oregon, south to Los Angeles County. It reaches a height of 7–15 ft.
Garrya elliptica is appealing as an ornamental plant with a neat growing habit. It is low-maintenance plant that thrives in a range of locations, but is typically seen growing against a wall, or as a windbreak in coastal areas.
It is very much sought after for its wavy, leathery leaves and luxuriant growth, and of course the pretty dangling whitish catkins. Produces purple berries, small (0.25 - 0.50 inches). Full sun to partial shade, zones 8 - 10.
This is a rare shrub with a long winded germination process; start seeds in late summer or fall.

Other Names: silk-tassel bush, wavyleaf silktassel, rare shrub, rare seeds, rare ornamental.

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Richea Pineapple Heath - Fascinating and Unusual Flower

Richea dracophylla is a tall, erect shrub 4-12 feet high but often smaller. The leaf bases sheath the stem and the leaves are arranged spirally up the stem. The leaves are about 1 foot long and taper to a sharp, red point.
Dense flowering spikes appear at the end of the few branches. The petals of the small flowers form a pointed cap which falls off when the flower opens
and a mature flower spike appears bristly due to the prominent stamens and lack of petals. Flowering is early to late summer. Very unusual, protect from high winds. Zone 7+.

Other Names: Pineapple Heath, Dragon Heath, Cystanthe dracophylla, Dragon Leaf

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The Exotic Peruvian Sweety Drop Pepper aka Biquinho Pimenta De Bico

If you love the flavor of hot chili peppers, but have problems with their spicy "heat," then a variety of heirloom chili pepper from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais might just be the solution to your problems.
Pimenta De Bico, also known as "Little Beak" or Chupetinha peppers, are mildly hot, small, round and a brilliant scarlet-red with a small beak-shaped protuberance hanging from the end.
The highly productive plant makes a beautiful ornamental plant, and many of these plants grace Brazilian gardens and yards. 

Works well for Chili Pepper Bonsai ( Bonchi )

The incredible rich flavor of these small chilies are perfect served as a "red Hersheys kiss"garnish or as an appetizer with cheese, drink decoration or can be used to make chutney and perk up almost any soup, stew or braised dish.

Other Names: Biquinho, Chupetinha, Little Beak, Rubber Nipple, Peruvian Sweety Drop pepper, Teardrop pepper, Pimenta de Bico ou Biquinho, Biquinho Iracema, Brazilian pimenta,
Biquinho Iracema

Seed Source
Plant Source

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Blue Nasturtium Tropaeolum azureum

Wow. The stunning and rare blue climbing nasturtium has thin twining stems which produce many dazzling cobalt blue flowers from the leaf axils of delicate, attractively-lobed leaves.
One of the fabulous perennial plants of dry places in Chile, it dies down to deep resting tubers in winter when it must be kept as dry and protected as possible. Quickly develops a

Perennial, USDA zone 9-11. The plant does not tolerate snow, but can tolerate occasional freezing spells. Requires well-drained slightly humid soil, neutral pH, high luminosity and full sun.

Other Names: Soldadillo azul, Pajarito azul

 Seed Source: Blue Nasturtium Seeds

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Rare Chilean Nasturtium Tropaeolum tricolor

Tropaeolum tricolor, Soldadito is a winter growing plant found in Chile and Bolivia, with very delicate looking
shoots appearing usually around October. The shoots twine around any support and grow to a height of around 3 Ft.
As the leaves open they are a lovely fresh green and very fragile looking, unlike the common nasturtium.
It is however the flowers that are the main interest of the plant. As the specific name implies,
they have three colors being red and blackish violet with a yellow lip, a combination that sounds like a
miss-match but on these dainty flowers is very appealing.
The long-lasting flowers appear in generous profusion and always make me think of a school of tropical fish.

After flowering the plant then goes dormant for the summer. USDA Hardiness Zone 8.
The plant tolerates low temperatures 18F and can tolerate occasional snow cover for up to a couple of weeks per year. Excellent in a container.

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Showy Flowering Shrub - Rare Blue Abutilon

Abutilon vitifolium is a large, handsome ornamental flowering plant from the mallow family. Native to Chile is was first introduced to western garden in 1836. It is an evergreen species and can almost be considered hardy in the cooler temperate climates of northern Europe. However if extended periods of cold are experienced then Abutilon vitifolium is known to drop its leaves. When grown under favorable conditions you can expect it to reach an overall height of almost up to 9 foot.
Stalked, axillary clusters of blooms are produced from May until October, can vary in color from pale to deep mauve. The saucer-shaped flowers open flat when mature and measure approximately 2 - 3 1/2 inches. They produce an abundance of fertile seed, and this normally produce seedlings true to parent forms.

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An Elephant headed Wildflower!

Pedicularis groenlandica is a showy flowering plant in the broomrape family which is known by the common names elephant's head and elephanthead lousewort. This erect plant can grow to a height of 31". Its sharply-toothed fernlike leaves are located low on the stout stem. The stem is topped with a large inflorescence of bright pink to purple or white flowers. Each flower has a long, pointed beak which curves upward, superficially resembling the trunk of an elephant, and the lateral lobes of the flower resemble an elephant's ears. Like other louseworts and related broomrape genera, this is a root parasite which obtains nutrients from the roots of other plants by piercing them with haustoria. This plant is found in the high mountain ranges of western North America, particularly the Cascades and High Sierra, much of Canada and Greenland. It grows in wet environments such as riverbanks. It is said to have medicinal values and is used for skeletal muscle pain. A very cool flower. Very hard to find.

Seeds found here

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Iochroma fuchsioides Red Mini Angles Trumpet

This beautiful and rare and  perennial gem from South America is a relative of the Angel Trumpets (Brugmansia) with smaller leaves and more refined flowers. Lower-growing than other Iochromas, it forms a bushy, spreading plant that is often covered in clusters of fiery red, long tubular flowers that flare 5/6" wide at the tips. Iochroma fuchsioides is absolutely dazzling and breathtaking in full bloom! Hardy from zone 8 onwards. 4 feet tall and wide. Full sun to part shade. Average garden soil. Moderate water needs. Lovely! 

  • Seeds found here
  • Plants found here (none - please provide a source if you have one)

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Rare Fried Egg Poppy Romneya

These tall, branching, deciduous, extraordinary member of the poppy family, has gray-green foliage up to 5 inches long with 3-5 lobes and a waxy texture. One of the tallest members of the poppy family, this species also boasts the largest blooms in the genus which closely resemble fried eggs. In summer, many four-inch, delicate, crepe-like blooms are formed at the tops of tall stems each bearing six white crinkled petals and fluffy centers comprised of many yellow stamens. Blooms have a faint citrus scent most noticeable when in full bloom. Mature height is 3-8 feet with an indefinite spread.

Perennial in zones 7-11. Performs best in full sun with a light, sandy soil that is fertile but well-drained. Spread can be difficult to control in ideal soil as plants spread by underground rhizomes

Romneya’s natural habitat is quite diverse and plants will adapt to a wide range of conditions. Plants resent transplanting and therefore careful consideration should be given when choosing a permanent location. Plants require weekly watering while getting established, but are highly drought tolerant after their second year of growth. Cut back hard in fall to encourage uniformity and keep plants tidy. Blooms are attractive to honey bees and other pollinators. Idea for use as a specimen planting, low privacy screening or for the back of mixed beds and borders.

Smoke treatments are beneficial in promoting germination. -
In their natural habitat these seeds only germinate after bush fires due to heat and the toxins in the smoke attacking and helping to break down the protective seed coat. A good seed supplier will provide smoke primer or you can smoke the seeds yourself.


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Red Angels Trumpet Floripondio

Brugmansia sanguinea, the Red Angel's Trumpet is a small, 4 to 12 feet tall, perennial shrubby tree native to Peru and the Andes. Brugmansia is a fast grower. It is closely related to Datura, belonging to the same nightshade family, solanaceae. Brugmansia may be grown in containers or in the garden.

The plant is commonly grown as an ornamental for its flowers. The most spectacular flower display of the genus. The flowers are 8 to 10 inches long, trumpet shaped, pendulous, brilliant orange-red at the mouth with yellow veins, and fading to yellow at the base, not fragrant. It makes an extraordinary display in late Spring through Summer, but can bloom for most of the year. They are borne in abundance, up to 40 at a time. The stem is erect and branching. Plants require minimal pruning, simply removed old flower heads, although plants can be cut back to base during Spring to rejuvenate every few years. It requires cool Summer and cooler nights to bloom.

Leaves are 7 inch long, ovate, shining green on the upper side. The fruit is top-shaped, spineless, 3.5 inches long. All plant parts are highly poisonous and should never be injested.

Hardiness zones 9-11, (-5°C/25°F, 4°C/40°F) in Winter. Reputedly the hardiest of the Brugmansias, it will stand short frosts, but generally does best in areas where the temperature rarely drops below 32°F. Provide a minimum Winter temperature of 7°C and reduce watering over the Winter. In cold Winter areas plants can be brought indoors.
Seeds available here:

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The Giant Viper Echium "Tower of Jewels"

Echium wildpretii and Echium pininana

I've never seen anything like this. Looks like this huge (also called) "Tower of Jewels" grows this size in within 2 years. How gratifying is that? :) I got seeds for the blue/purple variety Echium pininana Pride of Tenerife, the color other being red to pink.
Some other Echiums are white and maroon red.

This evergreen plant can be found as a garden ornamental but is intolerant of low temperatures. As for most Echium it is favored by bee-keepers for its high nectar and pollen content.

Wildpretii is an interesting plant that produces a basal dense rosette of narrow hairy silvery leaves during the first year and in the third year produces an erect inflorescence between 3-9 foot tall. The plant blooms from late spring to early summer. The plant dies after fruiting, leaving lots of seeds.

This amazing plant can grow up to 10 feet tall, but 6 feet is more usual. It doesn't grow much in its first year, but concentrates on sending down a very thick tap root. The next year it grows a lot and may bloom under optimal conditions.
 The narrow silvery Grey leaves have a stiff texture. You can expect flowers in year two or three, and these are impressive and worth the wait. The wildpretii flowers from March to May in the lower regions or August in the mountains. From the center of the Tower of Jewels rosette, grows a stately inflorescence with thousands of blue flowers, which forms a thick column, sometimes up to 1 foot thick. 
Suitable for xeriscaping. It is an excellent plant for; seaside garden, shrub borders and containers.

  • Plant Source Link (none available, please let me know if you have a source)
  • Seed Source Link

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Pendulous Tropical Conifer Podocarpus

Podocarpus henkelii (Henkel's yellowwood) is a South African species of conifer in the Podocarpaceae family. It is grown as an ornamental specimen in gardens for its strikingly neat, attractive form and its elegant, drooping foliage. It is a protected tree in South Africa and officially South Africa's national tree.
An attractive ornamental tree, this is one of the most recognizable of the yellowwoods. It can easily be distinguished from its
close relatives by its long, slender, 7" drooping leaves. It has a straight, well-formed trunk and naturally assumes a pyramid-shape as it grows, eventually becoming very tall. It is highly recommended in the exterior landscape yet may become a stunning indoor specimen when kept pruned to size. 

It is fairly easy to cultivate, tough once established, and incredibly long-lived. It can also be pruned if necessary, to change its shape. However, although it is mildly frost and drought resistant, it is healthiest (and grows fastest) when planted in deep, moist soils. Zones 9-11. Bonsai suitable.
Seeds should be planted promptly in a moist, semi-shade position. The fleshy fruit that surrounds the seed must be removed as this inhibits germination. 

Other Names: African conifer, Henkel-se-Geelhout, Umsonti  

     - Plant Source Link
     - Seed Source Link


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Worlds Hottest Chili Pepper

The Carolina Reaper, originally named the HP22B,is a cultivar of chili pepper of the Capsicum chinense species. It is red and has a gnarled, lumpy pod with a tail like a scythe.[2] As of 2013, Guinness has dubbed it as the hottest chilli in the world, surpassing the previous record holder, the Trinidad Scorpion.

Bred in a Rock Hill, South Carolina greenhouse by "Smokin" Ed Currie, proprietor of the PuckerButt Pepper Company in Fort Mill, the Carolina Reaper has been certified as the world's hottest chili pepper by Guinness World Records since August 7, 2013. The original crossbreed was between a Ghost pepper (a former world record holder) and a red habanero called 'Red Savina' and is named 'Reaper' due to the shape of its tail.

The official Guinness World Record heat level is 1,569,300 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), according to tests conducted by Winthrop University in South Carolina. The figure is an average for the tested batch; the hottest individual pep
per was measured at 2.2 million SHU.

Hot Pepper Seeds Source

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Exotic Climbing Pandanus

Native to Tropical Asia, Malesia and Philippines, Freycinetia is an evergreen specimen climber with stems that can grow from 1-6 foot long. The slender roots of Freycinetia grow along the stem attaching the plant to the tree, shrub or trellis on which it is growing.

The leaves of Freycinetia cumingiana are dark green, linear-oblong, and leathery and can grow up to 12-15” long. The male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers are found on different plants and both are densely arranged within cylindrical spikes (inflorescences). Clusters of 3 or 4 inflorescences containing either male or female flowers are borne at the ends of branches above several showy pinkish-orange bracts that form beneath the inflorescenses.

Flowers are good for cutting. Tender Perennial. Protect from frost. Suitable for indoors.
Syn: Freycinetia multiflora

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Alpine Tufted Horned Rampion Physoplexis comosa

Wow, something very unusual...

From a fat, fleshy rootstock grow tufted rosettes of shallow to deeply toothed, reniform leaves. The erect to decumbent stems have smaller, short-stalked, lanceolate leaves and are 2-4” inches long. Tight, globular heads of 20 or more flowers, each to 1” inch long, are held at the ends of each stem, and each flower is a delicate object in itself. A pale lilac inflated flask or club-like base that, as it tapers to a very thin neck, changes color to a deep or almost blackish purple. From the end of the thin neck protrudes the deep purple forked and twisted stigma.
It grows in narrow, lofty crevices of limestone cliffs in the southern Alps and the Dolomites to around 2000 m, where the roots creep through any narrow cracks and anchor the plant firmly to the rocks. There is no humus in the crevices, but a very sandy substratum. It prefers to grow on shady, damp, limey rocks and does not like low winter temperatures nor dry, hot summers, but a humid and cool climate. Very rarely white forms or red colored may occur. Zones 5-8.
This is not an easy plant to grow. It needs slug protection and is best placed in a crevice or containers.

Seeds found here....

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Elephant Ear Roxburgh's Fig

The Elephant Ear Fig tree is an impressive Fig species and it makes a great indoor plant for large rooms. Roxburgh's fig is native to India, Nepal, China, and Southeast Asia. 

This is a evergreen to semi-deciduous, spreading, large shrub or small tree reaching 15’ feet tall and as wide.
Ficus auriculata is the Fig tree with the largest leaves in the rain forests of the Chinese Yunnan province. 

The young evergreen leaves are starting intensely red, and turn the greenest when reaching their ultimate size of up to 20” inches length. It can also easily be trimmed and the plant reacts with even more shoots and leaves on a thicker stem. The new growth is a deep red. Figs form in clusters on the trunk and larger branches, are green and red on the inside. 

The whole fruit tastes fairly sweet. It is full of an attractive jelly-like substance, which is much sweeter than the pulp. The absence of acidity, however, makes it slightly flat in taste. The overall fruit quality is good and is used to make jams, juices and curries. Zone 9+


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Mediterranean Spurge

The whole plant grows 3-5’ feet tall and wide, making it a perfect focal point for a spot with well-drained soil and full sun. The milky sap may cause irritation to skin and eyes. Do not eat! USDA Zones 7 to 10.Seeds Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii is a dramatic perennial plant that grows into a large robust plant. 

In late winter to early spring great club-like inflorescences emerge from the crown. Bright chartreuse flower-like bracts glow in the garden of particularly large flowers with an intense color. 

The overall effect is eye-catching and lasts well into June. At about the same time, new shoots emerge holding narrow, grey-green leaves.

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Rare Calico Monkey Flower Mimulus pictus

A truly rare gem. Calico Monkey Flower Mimulus pictus

This wildflower is endemic to California, found only above the southeastern San Joaquin Valley within Kern County and Tulare County.

It is known only from the western Tehachapi Mountains and southernmost Sierra Nevada foothills, at elevations of 443–4,101 ft.  It grows in open California oak woodland habitat, in bare rocky soils around granite outcrops.

Nothing like any Mimulus you have ever seen. A very rare and unusual plant with creamy-white rounded petals delicately patterned with fine dark-red to purplish brown spider web-like lines. Foliage is velvet fuzzy textured. Loves a well drained but moist soil in light shade. Zone 8+. Low growing about 6" to 12" in well drained, moist soil, sun or part shade.

It is a listed Endangered species on the California Native Plant Society Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants.

Seeds available here:

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Dioscorea elephantipes Elephant Foot Caudiciform

A fascinating plant. 

Dioscorea elephantipes (syn. Testudinaria elephantipes), also commonly known as turtle back, elephant's foot, Hottentots' bread is one of the most beautiful, weird and wonderful, caudiciform plants around!

It has a deeply fissured surface, resembling an elephant's foot, hence its common name. It makes a most interesting container plant. The stems grow in a climbing fashion. The leaves are heart-shaped. Flowers are pale greenish yellow and normally appear in winter.

It is believed the Khoisan used to bake the starchy, bread-like trunk which was used as a food source. Other members in the genus Dioscorea are used to extract steriodal saponins which are used to produce cortisone and and contraceptives.

Easily grown in any well drained inorganic soil. 

Seed Source: Dioscorea elephantipes

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Rare Heirloom Giant White Choclo Corn from the Inca empire - Cuzco

Choclo, is a variety of corn, also referred to as Peruvian corn or Cuzco corn (named for the capital city of the Inca empire - Cuzco), is a large kernel corn from the Andes. It is consumed in parts of Central America and South America, especially in Peru, Bolivia and Colombia. Kernels are 1/2" inch and cobs grow to 8" inches.

Choclo is used in the making of humitas in Bolivia, choclo arepas (Corn Griddle Cakes) in Colombia and for pastel de choclo (Corn Pie). 

In Peru, choclo is commonly served as an accompaniment to dishes such as ceviche, and its toasted, salted form, similar to corn nuts, are customarily given free to restaurant patrons upon being seated. Full ears of choclo are also a popular street food in Peru and other Andean countries, typically served with a slice of cheese as choclo con queso. Finger foods like choclo con queso mirror the popularity of corn on the cob as a convenient street snack in Latin America.
I wonder if it makes giant popcorn as well :)

Seed Source: Choclo Perivuan Giant White Corn

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Grow Your Own Pistachio Nuts!

Pistachios are a great source of vitamins and minerals and are naturally cholesterol free. A serving of pistachios contains 170 calories and is a good source of many key nutrients containing over 10% of the Daily Value of fiber, protein, vitamin B-6, thiamin, phosphorus, magnesium, and copper.
In addition, scientific evidence is mounting to show that consuming nuts can play a role in managing your weight.

They aren't hard to grow and the seedlings potted up in a cute container will make a nice exotic Holiday Gifts for colleagues at the office.

Pistacio makes broad feathered, glossy, dark leaves and terminal clusters
of small flowers followed by red-skinned fruits on female plants.

The fruits contain the well-known Pistachio nut inside. The reddish, wrinkled fruits are borne in heavy clusters somewhat like grapes. Although known as a nut, the fruit of the pistachio is botanically a drupe, the edible portion of which is the seed. The oblong kernel is about 1 inch in length and 1/2 inch in diameter and protected by a thin, ivory-colored, bony shell. Normally the shells split longitudinally along their sutures when mature.
Pistacia vera develops strictly either male or female plants, thus several plants have to be grown together for pollination. An ornamental container plant suited for any well drained, rich soil in a sunny spot.

Pistachios should be planted in full sun. The size of the slow growing trees can be further controlled by pruning. When planting, avoid rough handling since the budded tops are easily broken away from the understock.
The trees do best on soils that are deep, friable and well drained but moisture retaining. It can, however, survive in poor, stony, calcareous, highly alkaline or slightly acid, or even saline soils. The root is deeply penetrating.

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Puya alpestris Turquoise Metallic Flowers

Wow!  The plant kingdom at its flamboyant best. 

The highly ornamental Sapphire Tower is a hardy bromeliad relative native to regions of Argentina and Southern Chile along the slopes of the Andes Mountain Range.
It grows in areas with relatively dry and well drained soils with plenty of sunlight and does not require a lot of water.

It produces 2-3 foot wide rosettes of marginal-spined leaves that are silver-gray and striped beneath. 

When mature, the 4-5 foot tall, thick branching spikes produce long-blooming flowers that are neither sapphire blue nor sapphire green; they are an intense combination of the two colors. Bright orange stamens provide a lively contrast. A truly unique and incredible flower color. Blooms faster than the related Puya berteroniana.
In South America, the fleshy hearts of Puya flowers are frequently shredded, similar to cabbage in coleslaw and eaten in salads.
This plant makes a good specimen accent in a dry garden. It also works well in containers. Zones 8-11. 

Seeds found here:  Puya 30 Seeds for sale

Plants found here:  Puya Plants for sale

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Red and White Peppermint Candy!

This intriguing half hardy alpine produces crimson striped, funnel shaped buds like tiny striped barbers poles! The striking petals open to reveal pretty white flowers with crimson margins. A fascinating talking point for a frost free greenhouse. In exceptionally mild areas it can be grown outside at the front of borders or in sheltered rockeries.
Grows up to 8" tall. Prefers full to partial sun. Blooms from July until October, giving you months of enjoyment of this unique garden sorrel.. Hardy in zones 7-9.

Does not produce seeds!  

Seeds on Êbay, offered mostly from China, turned out to be grass seeds. Not a shock, China is well known for their "rainbow rose" seeds, which does not exist either.


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Fruit Salad Plant Monstera

Native to the rain forests of Central America, Monstera is a popular foliage plant easily recognized by its large glossy leaves that are dissected with deep splits and perforated with oblong holes. Other common names are Ceriman, Swiss cheese plant (or just cheese plant), splitleaf philodendron, monster fruit, monsterio delicio, monstereo, Mexican breadfruit, locust and wild honey, windowleaf, balazo, and Penglai banana. 

It is said that the ripe fruit of Monstera taste like a combination of banana, pineapple, and mango, hence the name Fruit Salad Plant. To get to its pineapple-like flesh, the scaly exterior must be flaked off and delicately prepared. 

The fruit is ripe when the hexagonal plates fall off. That happens slowly, from the base of the fruit upwards, and the fruit may be eaten in stages for this reason. Unripe fruits should not be eaten and is said to cause irritation and rashes.
Makes a great house or container plant. 

Hardy zone 10+, however, in zone 8 and 9 you can trim larger leaves back in fall and cover the remainder of the plant, it comes back just fine every spring.

Fresh seeds are seldom available but found here:
Monstera Deliciosa Seeds

Best sown indoors at 70-80°. Seeds will germinate in 30-60 days. Take care to procure seeds that have been freshly harvested and are shipped wet, being sure to sow seeds immediately upon arrival. It is not recommended to sow these seeds out-of-doors.
Transplant seedlings when there are at least two sets of true leaves. Monstera is tender below 59°, so it can only be grown outdoors in a few areas of the United States. Outdoors, site it in partial shade and provide a tree, arch, or pergola for it to climb. It makes an ideal house plant as it tolerates dry air and low light. Indoors, provide indirect light, a rich soil kept evenly moist, and 65° nights. The large leaves show dust in a conspicuous way, so clean them from time to time to keep them shiny.

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Beautiful and rare Guaiacum

What a stunning show.

Guaiacum Officinale, is a small, highly ornamental tree /shrub introduced from the West Indies. 

Growing to about fifteen feet in height, Guaicum Officinale produces five-pealed lavender to blue and white blooms and is the national flower of Jamaica. It is a glossy-leaved evergreen with twisted trunks. 

Lignum-vitae is also reported to be a medicinal plant and was listed as an endangered species by the IUCN in 1998. It has been over-exploited for its valuable wood and medicinal products. Originally, the plant extract, called guaicum, was used for treating rheumatism, tonsillitis, snake bites and gout. In modern times, guaicum has been used to synthesize guaifenisen, which is an expectorant found in many cough syrups. Frost tender, Zone 9-11.

Seeds Available

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Ornamental Rose of Siam Ginger

Just beautiful! 

An absolutely stunning species known to generate more blooms per square yard than any other Etlingera. The foliage is only 6-9 foot high and prefers partial shade.
Plants of the ginger family called Zingiberaceae are a diverse group of perennial herbs with over 50 genera and 1500 species spread throughout tropical and subtropical regions.

All gingers are closely related to heliconias, flowering bananas, cannas, and marantas. Although gingers are found throughout the forests of Malaysia, they are relatively new to our landscaping industry. Due in part to their large showy flowers, they have gained rapid popularity as garden elements. Excellent and long lasting cut flower.

Fresh ginger seeds

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Australian Apple Berry Billardiera

A wild and very unusual evergreen climbing shrub. Also known as climbing blueberry, Cherry Berry or Climbing Appleberry, Billardiera longiflora, it was described by French botanist Jacques Labillardière in 1805. 

It is a small Australian vine found in cool, moist forests from southern New South Wales to Tasmania, where it is native. Deliciously scented, small bell shaped green yellow flowers are sometimes purple tinged and produced in summer. Electric purple blue, edible fruits follow in the autumn and winter.
Happy in borders and containers, can be grown on a trellis or over shrubs where the woody stems will twine and climb. Prefers well-drained soil in partly shaded sheltered site. Height 6Ft. Hardy perennial. 

Seeds available here


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Rare Willow Gentian asclepiadea

Gentiana asclepiadea is a species of flowering plant of the genus 'Gentiana' in the family Gentianaceae, native to central and eastern Europe. Hundreds of upturned deep blue trumpets on arching stems with willow like leaves bloom through summer and into late autumn. The easiest, longest lived, latest flowering and most rewarding of the taller gentians. Requires partial or full shade and moist soil. Gentians are long-lived perennials that thrive with little care. Plants seldom need division and dislike root disturbance. Zone 5-7.

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True Fragrant Corkscrew Shell Vine Cochliasanthus Vigna caracalla

Super cool Collector Vine the true Cochliasanthus Vigna caracalla! Definitely a to "drool" over Plant. Very hard to find.
Cochliasanthus caracalla is a leguminous vine from the family Fabaceae, originating in tropical South America and Central America. The species is named caracalla, a corruption of the Portuguese caracol, meaning snail.

The true Corkscrew Vine (or Shell Vine), Cochliasanthus Vigna caracalla, is difficult to find but worth the effort. This vigorous and well-mannered garden plant produces very cool spiral flowers with an incredible scent that's reminiscent of Chinese wisteria and noticeable from 15 feet away. The intricate, curly flowers are produced for several months during the summer. Originally from South America and grown by Thomas Jefferson at Montecello, these are memorable plants. If you've seen one in a private or public garden, locked on the amazing scent and fanciful flowers, and always wanted one of your own, now you can make that happen. 

There are two similar looking plants called Vigna caracalla.  Both produce pretty, spiral-form flowers in soft pastel shades. And the foliage of both is heart shaped, looking much like that of pole beans which makes sense because these are legumes and are therefore related to beans. In fact, both plants will produce slender, bean-like pods under good growing conditions.

The other awesome snail vine (this is not a Caracalla):

The Purple Snail Vine, Phaseolus giganteus, is a little more aggressive, sometimes invasive plant that tends to root where the branches touch the ground and can be difficult to eradicate.
The flowers of the Snail Vine lack the fragrance that represents a key reason gardeners choose to grow these plants. Snail vines are often erroneously sold and labeled as Vigna caracalla.



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