Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mussaenda--Popular Flowering Shrub

One of the most popular flowering shrubs seen in home gardens and parks
is the Mussaenda/Mussaenda erythophylla. The usual colours seen here,
are this peachy pink that I have (Dona Luz), white (Dona Aurora), a lighter
shade of pink (Queen Sirikit), and red (Dona Evangelina).
It's a shrub that can grow to over 10 feet in height and blooms throughout
summer. It is for this intense colour that this ornamental shrub has a
focal place in most gardens.

Mine is growing in a large er..plastic bucket. Earlier ones planted on
the ground could not bear the brunt of excess water during the rains.
I learnt the hard and rather expensive way that it loves a well-drained
soil and in my garden, that's easiest to come a container!! But
now it seems happy and has already given me several months of peachy
colour. It's just that I had included it for a GBBD post, and I didn't
want to post the same again so soon.

A native of Asia (some websites mention Africa), the Mussaenda belongs
to the coffee family, Rubiaceae. Out of the cultivars I'd mentioned earlier,
'Queen Sirikit' is the only one named after the Thai queen. The other
cultivars are named after the First Ladies of the Philippines.

This shrub does well in high humidity and hot weather conditions. Propaga-
tion is by cutting or air layering. It does not require much feeding.
Watering should be moderate but the soil should remain moist. The shrub
can be pruned during winter when there's hardly any colour left on it.

The tiny blooms surrounded by colourful sepals remind me of....

...the blooms of the Bougainvillea.

See how pale some of the sepals are now. Gradually, all that bright peach
will turn pale and fall off.

Not satisfied with just the photos of my potted plant, I head off to
the gardens of Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra, a cultural centre
housing museums, an amphitheatre, a children's park and much more.
But I simply scouted around for Mussaenda!!! And these are what I

Bamboo support is used for these tall shrubs. All those blooms must
be so heavy that they need to be propped up like that!

And on a roundabout closer home, the white variety grows next to
dark pink Pentas. I thought the pink and white combination looked
pretty. What do you think?


rocksea said...

we have mussaendas at home, and we love it. didnt know that it needed well drained soil. so it is from the coffee family! thanks for all the info, kanak.

Sujata said...

The peachy color Mussaenda is so beautiful. Your photographs are a visual treat.

Anonymous said...

My first time seeing/hearing about this plant. It is so pretty. I love seeing the different varieties and how interesting the way the bamboo supports those larger ones. Thanks Kanak for these lovely pics this morning.

recipes for the life said...

Very interesting post and informative too. I had a relative who had bright red mussaenda. It looked beautiful.

Your pics are pretty too :)

tina said...

Wow, it is lovely! It looks almost like a hydrangea and crepe combined.

islandgal246 said...

Loved this post on one of my favorite shrubs. Enjoyed the walkabout with you to the park. Yours are doing well in the container.

Urban Green said...

These are one of my favorites. Love the colors. I especially like the red and it's not seen around too much. Do you have more pictures?

Susie said...

I think it's very pretty Kanak! The foliage reminded me of a Dogwood. The pink and white does look great together!

Stephanie said...

All time favourite Mussaenda! It's my favourite too. I recall seeing this plant when I was very young. Over here, the nurseries are still stocking up this plant. It's a timeless beauty :-)

Kanak Hagjer said...

Rocksea...glad to hear from you!:)

Sujata, thank you so much!

Mildred, now that makes me happy I posted on this! The bamboo props aren't usually seen. I think those bushes need to be trimmed...they must be just waiting for the blooms to fall...

Chaitra, the red ones are really attractive. But somehow, I haven't had any luck with them:( The other day I was talking to my neighbour (across the fence) and she said she lost hers too. No wonder we see more of the peach and white:-)

Tina, you said it! The picture which comes to mind when one thinks of both...laden with blooms!!

Helen, thanks! Mine took some time to take off! but once it did, there was no looking back!:)

Urban Green, yes...the reds aren't very common. I did take a lot of photos there but not any more of the Mussaendas. There were several interesting plants too...for another post!

Susie, thanks for commenting on the combination! I forgot to mention in my post but the shrub is also known as Tropical Dogwood. No wonder you saw the similarity.

Steph, thanks! I remember your post on the plant with lovely photos. Now that you've mentioned nurseries, it's time I went looking at some...

Prospero said...

Kanak, Mussaenda shrubs are certainly very attractive. I think I'll put them on my must have list.

sweet bay said...

How beautiful!

Tyra in Vaxholm said...

Fantastic shrubs Kanak,I can understand why the Mussaenda/Mussaenda erythophylla are so popular. Flowering fireworks. I think we got them as houseplants here.

Pacey said...

Maussendas are just delightful to watch. You have a beautiful collection of them.

Kiki said...

Those are awesome! I love the foliage..and how it plumps out..wonderful! every plant has such a unique shape and way it grows..super lovely photos!Lovethe colors to..! It looks so nice and warm..lots of life!

azplantlady said...

Another tropical beauty! Thank you for showing us these beautiful plants. We grow bougainvillea, but would love to grow these too.

Kanak Hagjer said... to hear that!

Sweetbay, thanks! that! Flowering fireworks!! There are other colours too, but these are the most common ones.

Pacey, only the peach-coloured one the first few shots are mine. Thanks for stopping by.

Kiki, the sun was strong around the time I took the shots so it was hot. But it was such a pleasure to walk around the gardens and look at the trees/blooms. Lots of life indeed! Thank you so much!

Noelle, thanks! It should do well in your climate. As it is I love to read about our kind of plants in your area.

Katarina (Roses and stuff) said...

Kanak, those are such beautiful shrubs! Although I don't think I've ever seen them 'live', I keep wondering whether they could be grown as potted house plants here, in the north... They would look great in a conservatory!

Abir Bordoloi said...

Kanak, do you see how you bring in so much that people relate to and appreciate. Isn't it lovely to meet lovely people from different parts of the globe sharing your passion and expressing appreciation. Ta ta from Chennai for now. :)

garden girl said...

Kanak, what a beautiful flowering shrub! This is a new shrub to me. I can see why you enjoy it so.

I had to chuckle a little - you visited my blog and discovered a shrub you hadn't been aware of, and I came here and found a beautiful flowering shrub I hadn't been aware of. Blogging is so educational!

lotusleaf said...

Gorgeous muessandas. The most beautiful muessanda is a pale pink one, which is very rare. It flowers also in a different way. I have seen it in the gardens of IIT, in Mumbai.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Katarina, I think they'll look most beautiful! Thanks for stopping by.

Pami...that's the most wonderful part of blogging!! To share, to learn...oh I could go on and on...:-)

Linda, fun, isn't it? I loved being at yours! It's great to discover new plants/blooms on blogs.

Padma, thanks! You're right about the pale pink ones.