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    • Ciczi in Sweden
      By Ciczi in Sweden
      Hi all.
      Several months ago I pollinated two hibiskus flowers. Two months ago I harvested a pod with two seeds in. And look what I've got today. I'm so proud.
      Please note that all my hibiscuses grows indoors all year as house plants.

    • PalmatierMeg
      By PalmatierMeg
      Before we moved to Cape Coral nearly 21 years ago, we lived the previous 14 years in Fairfax County, Va, about 3 miles from Mount Vernon and 1 mile north of Woodlawn Plantation (a wedding gift George Washington gave one of Martha's daughters). Our house was a Cape Cod to which a previous contractor owner had added on a small foyer, family room and 1.5-car garage. The front door opened into a drafty 10x10 alcove that collected litter and our garbage cans.

      In the mid-80s we undertook more home improvement. We widened the driveway to 3 cars to hold all our vehicles (we were self-employed). And we closed in the alcove as part of the house and added two windows on each side of the front door. We called our new space - wait for it - the "Florida Room." And what's a Florida room without plants, i.e., palms?

      I acquired the common "bamboo palm", i.e., Chamaedorea seifrizii, a parlor palm (Cham. elegans nee Neanthe bella) and somehow, a Caryota. I even fell head over heels for a red hibiscus I found at a nursery. But one day while we drove a back road on our way to Springfield I passed a small nursery/vegetable stand that had the most fabulous palms lining the road. I flipped out. What were they?

      We stopped in.The owner told me they were "princess palms" (in the real Florida they are known as "queen palms.") Yes, that Category II invasive: Syagrus romanzoffiana. Except in the 1980s it was known as Cocos plumosa or Astrocaryum or some such obsolete moniker. The cost of one of those 6' beauties? $60. A lot of money in the 1980s for a family with 2 small boys. But, eventually, we took the hit.

      Now I didn't know a lot about palms back then and any research started and ended at the local library. No internet, no forums. And what chowderhead would grow palms in VA? I did know that no palm available to me could survive a metro Washington winter. The handsome queens the nursery planted in the spring were dead by the following January.

      I had to make assumptions. I knew coconut palms were tropical, ergo, all palms were tropical, esp. my coconut-like "princess palm." So I established a regimen: palms went outdoors in April and came indoors to the Florida Room in October. I didn't know queens were a bit hardier and could take more cold. But inside a centrally heated house with fireplace and insert, it was a spider mite magnet.I fought those beasties all winter long. My poor queen was so chewed up and dried up by April I coudn't wait to set it free. It just managed to come back a bit just in time for October confinement.

      Anyway, in January 1990 I took the following photos of my Florida Room jungle. It sure did brighten up cold winter days.

      Florida Room of 8121 Keeler St, January 1990

    • doranakandawatta
      By doranakandawatta
      For years I looked for this Hibiscus I have seen sometimes in villages; I asked in many nurseries but they didn't know about it.

      One day I spend lovely quiet resting days in the "serenity hotel " (see travel logs) ands as we did a walk around and had a tea in a village's shop; the Hibiscus was at the corner on the road side. Luckily the Srilankan climate allow you to cut branches and bring back home and plant in a pot of river sand and it grows!

      Still I never see it in nurseries and rarely in gardens, I love its simplicity .

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