This plant is commonly known as the yellow jasmine, because it is highly scented. It is a winter-flowering evergreen plant that can climb up to six metres high. It is native to the USA and new in cultivation. The plant can stand cool conditions, even a little bit of frost. It is tuberous-rooted, producing a tap root. The leaves, roots and flowers are poisonous when ingested. Gelsemium is an ideal plant for in the full sun, but it will also grow and flower well in the shade. In the wild, it attracts hummingbirds and swallow-tail butterflies.

The flowers look very similar to those of Adeniums and Pachypodiums, but it is not in the Apocynaceae family, but in the Gelsemiaceae. The plant can be propagated by seed or softwood cuttings. The latter method is more likely to be used because the seed, when ripe, explodes and is thrown all over the greenhouse in a similar way to the seed of ruellias. Two plants are needed for pollination.

As I have not had this plant for very long, I do not yet know which pests might be a problem.

Gelsemium sempervirens

Gelsemium sempervirens

Gelsemium sempervirens

Gelsemium sempervirens

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This is one of the new American hybrids and unlike the older hybrids, it requires more warmth in the winter, so is better suited for the living room. Do bear in mind, though, that they will grow quite large. It is not as free-flowering as many other Epiphylliums, but they are well worth waiting for. As with all Epiphyliums, they are easy to propagate and the cut leaves can be left lying around for weeks before potting them up without drying out. It is even possible that they produce roots before you pot them up. Flowers can be produced after 3 or 4 years and can vary slightly in colour.

 

Epiphyllium American Girl

Epiphyllium American Girl

The genus Mirabilis is found in North and South America. The genus contains about seventy species, not all of which have tubers. Some are annuals, others perennials. Mirabilis jalapa comes from tropical America. It is a very easy plant to grow, not requiring specific temperatures, but NO frost. It will grow in most soils and is an ideal plants for collectors.
There are three main colours of flower: red, yellow and white. You cannot judge from the tuber what colour the flower is going to be, but once it shoots, the red one shows far darker leaves (see picture below). The white and yellow ones have pure green leaves and you need to wait for the flowers to see what colour they are. The flowers are fragrant and open in late afternoon. Allegedly they stay open all night, but I never lost any sleep trying to prove that, so cannot guarantee it.
The tubers normally grow underground, but you can raise them above the ground so you can see them. In the summer, the plant can be grown outside, but make sure to bring it back inside before it gets too cold.

 

Mirabilis jalapa

Mirabilis jalapa

 

Mirabilis jalapa tuber

Mirabilis jalapa tuber