Tom Karwin, On Gardening | Chilean perennials for slide planting time – Santa Cruz Sentinel

Treatment for your backyard garden

This column is a different in our collection of short overviews of back garden vegetation from Mediterranean or summer season-dry weather locations. These thematic columns relate to the fall planting year, when gardeners may well be deciding on vegetation to put in in planning for wintertime advancement and spring blossoming.

Our existing emphasis is on plants from Chile, on the west coast of South America.

Chile has a single of the world’s most unconventional designs. It extends 2,650 miles north to south, averaging only 110 miles east to west. By comparison, California is 770 miles extended by 250 miles wide, with an region of 163,696 square miles Chile is bigger overall, with 291,933 sq. miles.

Chile’s flora is generally described with reference to its northern, central, and southern regions, which vary from an arid desert in the north to cold temperatures and winds of the most southern reaches. The geography also differs amongst the Andes mountains to the east and the Atlantic Ocean coast to the west. Chile’s plant existence of system may differ in excess of these extremes, but central Chile is involved among the world’s summer time-dry local climate and is household to many plants that improve perfectly in the Monterey Bay place.

Chile is bordered by Peru and Bolivia to the north, and Argentina to the east, on the other facet of the Andes mountains. When we refer to Chilean crops, we contain crops that are indigenous to these adjacent countries, recognizing that plants do not respect political boundaries.

With that orientation, the adhering to paragraphs sample the Chilean vegetation in my garden.

Rain Lily (Zephyranthes candida). A bulbous perennial, this plant develops a tuft of grass-like leaves and 1–2 inch-extensive white bouquets on upright stems increasing about 6 inches tall. It blooms from late summer season to early drop, with a burst of bloom adhering to a period of time of rain. In the Monterey Bay area’s summer time-dry climate, occasional summertime irrigation will be helpful. These crops self-propagate freely. Year back, I acquired a densely packed 1-gallon nursery can, which yielded plenty of small bulbs for the back garden.

Blue Puya (Puya berteroniana). Presenting a stunning show of flowering spikes in the summer, the Blue Puja grows to 6-10 ft. The bluish-eco-friendly bouquets with striking orange stamens are favored by hummingbirds as effectively as back garden viewers. Its 3 ft substantial clump of curling, silvery foliage adds to the overall result. My yard features just one of these sluggish-increasing vegetation that will experienced and bloom in long term a long time the accompanying photograph is from UCSC’s Arboretum & Botanic Backyard garden, in which gardeners can take pleasure in Puja blossoms throughout summer time months.

Chilean Jasmine (Mandevilla laxa). This vigorous vining plant creates huge white flowers starting in late spring and continuing via the summer time. Net methods report that it will grow to 15 feet superior and can be pruned really hard in the winter. I slice my specimen to the floor in the drop of 2020 to let residence painting, and it is now 20 ft large on a homemade 6 inch-wide trellis, and continue to developing.

Bolivian Fuchsia (Fuchsia boliviana ‘Alba’). A different indigenous of the Andes mountains, this substantial Fuchsia can get fairly tall (up to 12 toes!) but can be controlled with challenging seasonal pruning in the wintertime now is the time to lower back my specimens. It produces massive drooping flower clusters (corymbs) of bouquets, with purple or white/pink varieties. This plant resists Fuchsia mites, which can be a trouble for several cultivars of this genus.

Peruvian Aged Male Cactus (Espostoa lanata). This is a columnar cactus with sharp spines and a wooly coat. Its native habitat ranges from southern Ecuador to northern Peru, on the western slopes of the Andes mountains. It can arrive at 20 toes in height at maturity, but container cultivation slows its advancement significantly and prevents flowering.

Flower of the Inca (Cantua buxifolia ‘Hot Pants’). An upright, 6-ft tall, somewhat sprawling shrub, this plant seems best in the backyard when staked, and its outrageous dangling magenta pink flower clusters are effectively worthy of the management undertaking. This is Peru’s countrywide flower and 1 of Bolivia’s nationwide flowers.

Shining Pink Rock Purslane (Calandrinia spectabilis). This succulent plant is a common groundcover, increasing only 10 inches tall and 3 ft large with greenish-grey rosettes. From spring to tumble, it generates an abundance of cerise blooms on prolonged stems, earning it a welcome addition to the backyard garden. It can be reduce back to 6 inches high in the wintertime to command its type.

Crimson Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia sanguinea). This shrub can grow to 10–15 feet high, with 12-16 inch trumpet-formed flowers. This is a tropical plant, indigenous to Peru, that grows most effective in hot climates in entire solar, but it grows well in central California when secured from frost. It is easily propagated from semi-ripe cuttings, so if a neighbor has a plant you value, request to get cuttings in the late summertime.

Other Chilean vegetation in my backyard garden include the flourishing Peruvian Lily (Alstromeria ssp.), with most of its species indigenous to Chile, not Peru, and other plants still also young to share in images. A recent addition is a Chilean Fireplace Tree (Embothrium coccineum), which has the probable of remaining a highlight of the Chilean backyard mattress. Additional about that plant as it grows.

Progress your gardening understanding

For a lot more information and facts about garden-worthy crops from Chile, take a look at and search for “Flora of Chile.”

An exceptional on line resource for gardeners is the Chileflora web site,, which has many articles or blog posts and picture galleries of that country’s plant life.

Another on the internet resource for gardeners is Garden Gate magazine’s latest offering of 20+ seminars. These are payment-based resources that are accompanied by hyperlinks to linked facts. The seminars can be bought independently or with an “All-Access” go and can be viewed on your agenda. Assessment readily available subjects at

Enrich your gardening times

A Chilean concept is only a single plant collection strategy among the variety of selections that attractiveness to the specific gardener. A thematic technique to establishing the backyard or a more compact yard can be intriguing as a course of action and enjoyable in realization.

Enjoy your backyard garden!

Tom Karwin is previous president of Buddies of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, Monterey Bay Area Cactus & Suclent Society, and Monterey Bay Iris Culture, and a Life time UC Master Gardener (Certified 1999–2009). He is now a board member and back garden coach for the Santa Cruz Hostel Modern society. To look at day-to-day pictures from his yard, To look for an archive of preceding On Gardening columns, and yard coaching details, take a look at Contact him with remarks or concerns at

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