Connect with us

Lifestyle

Plant names can be confusing

Published

on

0207258_Debby_Looney_1000x600.jpg

By Debby Looney, gardening expert

Common plant names really can be confusing… and one plant name which could not mean more different things to different people must surely be the ‘Lily’.

If we take size, lillies can be the tiny ‘Lily of the Valley’ or convallaria, 15cm tall, to the stately ‘Himalayan lily’, or Cardiocrinum, 5m tall. Alphabetically, lillies can be the ‘Peruvian lily’, or Alstroemeria, or ‘St.Joseph’s lily’, aka, ‘Altar lily’ which is at the opposite end of the alphabet, being a Zantedeschia…. Confusing? Absolutely! When I think of lillies I automatically think of those found in bouquets, but even then, are they Stargazers - oriental lillies, Easter lilles - longiflorums, or tiger lillies - lancifolium?

I am not writing this article in order to frustrate, rather to clarify and explain. Many people, when they ask a ‘straightforward’ question about lillies, are met with a perplexed look, and then the ‘smart’ question: ‘which type?’ So I will go through the broad groups in order to show that everyone has a different plant in mind when they say the word ‘Lily’!

Most frequently people mean the Calla lily. These are the plants which have long, strappy leaves which appear directly out of the soil, and the ‘flower’ is truly a spathe around a spadix. A spathe is a coloured bract, a spadix is a spike of tiny flowers. A true calla is a bog plant with a white spathe, also known as bog arum. On the other hand, a true Arum lilly is also a plant with a spathe in either white or yellow, which gets spikes of bright red berries, and is known as ‘Lords and Ladies’. This plant prefers a well drained moist soil, at the side of running water is ideal. Arum lillies are often confused with ‘Altar lillies’ – which go by a host of other common names – the tall white lillies common in so many (older) gardens. These are easy to grow in moist soil in full sun. They are fairly hardy, but in case of a cold winter it is wise to cover them with a deep mulch in the autumn. Generally they are sold as small, almost unrecognisable plants in the garden centre, as they take a few years to mature to flowering. Their colourful counterparts, currently available in deep orange, bright pink, dark purple and cheerful yellow, are always for sale in flower, though they are smaller and less hardy. They benefit from being taken indoors in the winter or should be treated as an annual plant. These are often marketed as Calla lillies, but are actually Zantedeschia too. The large white variety is Zantedeschia aethiopica, leading to one of its common names, Ethiopian Lily, which then gets confused with the African Lily, which is in fact an Agapanthus africanus. These are the strappy leaved plants with the clusters of mainly blue flowers on tall stems, which are in flower at the moment. Agapanthus is a clump forming plant which prefers full sun and rich, moist soil. There are many varieties available, from ‘Blue Giant’ which grows to 1.2m tall and is very free flowering, to the tiny ‘Lilliput’ which grows to 30cm with purple flowers. I find the white, dark purple and mixed colours less hardy than the blue, so covering them with a mulch is advisable.
I hope I have cleared up some confusion – however, next week we will delve a little further into the world of lillies!

Continue Reading
Advertisement

News

Photos from Kerry Ladies Football team homecoming at Fitzgerald Stadium on Monday night

Published

on

Danny Healy-Ray, Patrick Connor-Scarteen, Minister of education Norma Foley and Francis Flynn pictured at the Kerry Ladies homecoming on Monday. Photo: Tatyana McGough
Kerry Ladies Senior Football managers Declan Quill and Darragh Long pictured with Elaine Kinsella Radio Kerry at the Fitzgerald stadium on Monday. Photo: Tatyana McGogh
Kerry Ladies Homecoming. Photo : Tatyana McGough
Kerry Ladies Homecoming. Photo: Tatyana McGough
Kerry Ladies Homecoming. Photo: Tatyana McGough
Faces in the crowd. Photo: Tatyana McGough
Faces in the Crowd. Photo: Tatyana McGough
Cllr Donal Grady and John Francis Flynn at the Kerry Ladies homecoming. Photo: Tatyana McGough
Kayleigh Cronin (2nd from left) pictured with her teammates at the Kerry Senior Ladies Homecoming at the Fitzgerald Stadium on Monday. Photo: Tatyana McGough
Selina Looney Kerry Ladies Chairperson (front centre) pictured with Kerry players at the Kerry Senior Ladies Homecoming at the Fitzgerald Stadium on Monday. Photo: Tatyana McGough
31 July 2022; Kerry supporters during the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship Final match between Kerry and Meath at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
31 July 2022; Kerry supporters during the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship Final match between Kerry and Meath at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
31 July 2022; Kerry supporters during the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship Final match between Kerry and Meath at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Photos from Kerry Ladies Football team homecoming at Fitzgerald Stadium on Monday night
Continue Reading

News

Keep indoor plants out of full sun

By Debby Looney, gardening expert I was sitting in the dining room looking out at the garden through sheets of rain, when something caught my eye; a dead plant. I […]

Published

on

0232980_Debby_Looney_1000x600.jpg

By Debby Looney, gardening expert

I was sitting in the dining room looking out at the garden through sheets of rain, when something caught my eye; a dead plant.

I shifted my focus, looked around me, and observed quite a few plants close to the point of no return! Indoor plants are easy to forget about, especially when the weather is fine. It is hard to believe but several spider plants, an orchid and a Saintpaulia ended up on a certain compost heap this week.

Houseplants do not need a huge amount of care during the summer months, but there are a few things we must not forget! For example, the most obvious is watering. This is the main growing season for houseplants, so watering is essential as is adding some fertiliser. I use specific feeds for my plants, as the balance of nutrients needed can vary hugely depending on the type. As you can imagine, a large, leafy plant will have different requirements to, say, a cactus, or a gerbera. Most plants prefer to dry out slightly between watering, though not as much as I had let them dry out.

Most indoor plants prefer to be out of full sun as they scorch easily. In particular, leafy plants are susceptible to this. Cacti and succulents are ideal for south facing windows during the summer months. Move any leafy plants to a spot away from south facing windows where they can enjoy a more stable temperature and a slightly shaded light.

Often when plants are under stress, both indoors or outdoors, they become prone to disease, a bit like ourselves. For example, plants which dry out frequently are a prime target for whitefly. They often go unnoticed until there is an infestation, at which point you will see woolly cocoon like clusters, as well as clouds of tiny white flies. Blackfly and greenfly are also common pests indoors. The best course of action, after prevention, is to spray the plant at regular intervals with a pesticide. As it is indoors, I would strongly recommend the use of organic spray, or even soapy water. Alternatively, use a pesticide which can be watered onto the soil, such as ‘bugclear ultra’, as this will have a systemic effect.

This time of year is also suitable for repotting your houseplants, if not done in spring, as they will still get a few months of benefit and strong growth. I mix my own compost as I generally have quite a few to repot. I mix four parts good quality compost, one part sharp sand, one part perlite and one part vermiculite by volume. When repotting cacti and succulents I reduce the compost to two parts, and when repotting orchids, I substitute the vermiculite and perlite with two parts fine bark mulch. I never use homemade compost, as I find there are a lot of insects and ‘other creatures’ in it which is fine used outdoors, but I don’t want to invite too much wildlife inside! It is possible to sterilise homemade compost by steaming it, but this is quite an operation, one which I have never undertaken. Alternatively, there are specialist composts available for every type of houseplant. When repotting, use a pot which is about two sizes bigger, unless the plant is a very vigorous one.

Continue Reading

LOCAL ADS

Last News

Advertisement

Sport

Trending