Part 3 Plants for Different Planting Situations

26 Plants for Floral Landscape Situations

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize plants suitable for common floral landscape situations.

Worldwide, the floriculture industry grows an enormous range of tropical species in greenhouses and nursery fields for interior and exterior landscape situations. In addition to improving everyday life, potted flowering plants and cut flowers have significance for the celebration of cultural traditions and  events. Examples of potted plants used in traditional seasonal displays include Euphorbia pulcherrima (poinsettia), Chrysanthemum morifolium (garden mum), and Lilium longiflorum (Easter lily). Events such as weddings, graduations, and funerals are usually celebrated with cut flowers and greens in arrangements, garlands, and bouquets. Among the many types of cut flowers available, the tropical species Alstroemeria cvs. (alstroemeria) and Antirrhinum majus (snapdragon) are frequently used in floral design.

Key morphological characteristics that distinguish these plants within their family taxon are summarized  below. View detailed images of the plant examples available at this link to the KPU Plant Database [New Tab].[1]

Alstroemeriaceae – alstroemeria family

  • Erect herbaceous perennial with tuberous roots
  • Leaves are alternate and simple with parallel veins, an entire margin, and are resupinate (twisted)
  • Inflorescence is an umbel
  • Flowers are zygomorphic (bilateral symmetry), funnel-form, the inner whorl of tepals are spotted
  • Fruit is a capsule
  • Example: Alstroemeria cvs. (alstroemeria) for growing conditions of part sun to part shade and well drained fertile soils

Plantaginaceae – plantain family

  • Erect herbaceous perennial
  • Leaves are alternate, simple, with pinnate veins and an entire margin
  • Inflorescence is a raceme
  • Flowers are zygomorphic, tubular and bilabiate (two-lipped)
  • Fruit is a capsule
  • Example: Antirrhinum majus (snapdragon) for growing conditions of full sun part sun/part shade and well drained soils

While tender tropical members of plant families, such as Solenostemon x hybridus (coleus) in the mint family are typically grown in interior landscapes in northern regions, some are used in exterior containers and bed plantings for summer interest. A few examples of the many tender tropical annual species grown for bedding and container displays are Ageratum houstonianum (floss flower), Celosia argentea (cockscomb), and Cleome hassleriana (spider flower). Examples of tropical herbaceous perennials grown for exterior displays include Lantana camara (lantana), Pelargonium spp. (geranium), and Salvia x superba ‘May Night’ (salvia cultivars). As a result of extensive hybridization, tender herbaceous perennials such as Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum (fibrous begonia), Canna x generalis (canna), Pelargonium x hortorum (zonal or bedding geranium), Solenostemon x hybridus (coleus), and Salvia x superba ‘May Night’ (salvia cultivars) may be described as being of garden origin.

Key morphological characteristics that distinguish these plants within their family taxon are described below. View detailed images of the plant examples available at this link to the KPU Plant Database [New Tab].[2]

Amaranthaceae – amaranth family

  • Erect herbaceous annual
  • Leaves are alternate, simple, with pinnate veins, an entire margin, and without stipules
  • Inflorescence is a spike (dense plume or crested)
  • Flowers are radial and small, with colorful persistent bracts below each flower
  • Fruit is a capsule
  • Example: Celosia argentea (cockscomb) for growing conditions of full sun part sun/part shade and well drained soils

Asteraceae – aster family

  • Compact, mounded herbaceous annual
  • Leaves are simple and opposite, with pinnate venation, a crenate margin, and hirsute (hairy) blade
  • Inflorescence is a head (capitulum), arranged in corymbs
  • Flowers are ligulate (ray flowers)
  • Fruit is a cypsela
  • Example: Ageratum houstonianum (floss flower) for growing conditions of full sun part sun/part shade and moist, well drained soils

Begoniaceae – begonia family

  • Upright, mounded annual with succulent tissue and fibrous roots
  • Leaves are alternate, simple, waxy, with pinnate veins and an asymmetrical base
  • Inflorescence is a cyme
  • Flowers are monoecious, single or double blooms
  • Fruit is a capsule
  • Example: Begonia x semperflorenscultorum (fibrous begonia) for growing conditions of full sun part sun/part shade and well drained soils

Cannaceae – canna family

  • Erect, unbranched herbaceous perennial, with rhizomes
  • Leaves are alternate, simple, with a sheathed base and pinnate venation
  • Inflorescence is a raceme
  • Flowers are asymmetric, with 3 unequal petals basally fused into a tube, 3 sepals are not fused, the modified fertile stamens are petal-like
  • Fruit is a capsule
  • Example: Canna x generalis (canna) for growing conditions of full sun and moist, well drained soils

Capparidaceae – caper family

  • Erect, branched herbaceous annual
  • Leaves are alternate, palmately compound, with glandular hairs and stipules, pinnate venation, and entire, ciliate margins
  • Inflorescence is a raceme
  • Flowers are held on upright pedicels, petals are held above long-exerted stamens
  • Fruit is a cylindrical capsule held spreading or pendulous on the plant
  • Example: Cleome hassleriana (spider flower) for growing conditions of full sun and well drained soils

Geraniaceae – geranium family

  • Rounded to spreading tender herbaceous perennials and hybrids, with succulent tissue
  • Leaves are alternate, simple, orbicular with banded markings, palmate venation, and round or acutely lobed margins, leafy stipules are present
  • Inflorescence is umbel-like
  • Flowers are zygomorphic, the upper 2 petals differ in shape and/or size from lower 3 petals, with single, semi-double or double blooms
  • Fruit is an achene or schizocarp, it is often aborted or absent
  • Examples: Pelargonium spp., Pelargonium x hortorum for growing conditions of full sun and well drained soils

Lamiaceae – mint family

  • Erect to rounded herbaceous perennials and hybrids with squared stems
  • Leaves are opposite, simple, with pinnate venation, a crenate margin, and are often aromatic
  • Inflorescence is a spike-like verticillaster
  • Flowers are zygomorphic and bilabiate
  • Fruit is a nutlet
  • Examples: Solenostemon x hybridus (coleus), and Salvia x superba ‘May Night’ for growing conditions of full sun and well drained soils

Verbenaceae – verbena family

  • Upright, arching perennial shrub, stems with prickles, many annual cultivars
  • Leaves are simple, opposite, with pinnate venation, a serrate margin, and a rough blade surface
  • Inflorescence is a compact raceme (umbel-like head)
  • Flowers are small, tubular to salverform opening in four rounded lobes, with variable coloring
  • Fruit is a berry, it is often aborted in cultivars
  • Example: Lantana camara (lantana) for growing conditions of full sun part sun/part shade and well drained soils

Practice

Recognize plants suitable for common floral landscape situations.


  1. https://plantdatabase.kpu.ca/
  2. https://plantdatabase.kpu.ca/

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