Lavender is typically grown for its fragrant flowers and essential oils, versus being used as a culinary herb. Plants prefer lots of sun and drier soil, almost thriving on neglect. Choose from English, French, Spanish, Portuguese or Lavandin types that blossom tiny flowers in shades of lavender, bluish-purple, light pink, and white.
Lady’s slippers, a native North American orchid, grow east of the Mississippi River in moist woodland areas, open-forest swamp areas, fens, and along riverbanks. Plants are known for their pouchy flowerers that look like a little slipper. They can grow in gardens if the temperatures never climb above 90°F in the summer, there is dappled shade, and their soil is kept moist.
Cymbidium plants, also known as boat orchids, grow outdoors year-round in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 12. In colder climates they must be brought indoors during the freezing winter months. Plants produce a dozen or more flower spikes, with each one having a large 2 to 5-inch flower. To successfully grow plants – whether indoors or out – nighttime winter temperatures should be between 45°F and 55°F and plants need full sun.
Hibiscus are prone to problems with diseases such as leaf spot, wilts, rot, dieback, molds, and mildew. Common pest problems include spider mites, aphids, scale, whitefly, mealybugs, and thrips. Many of the problems are preventable by cultural practices like planting in well-draining soil, proper watering, providing enough fertilizer, and planting in sunny locations.
Known for their showy blooms, pink hibiscus plants display flowers up to 12-inches wide all season long. They grow well in the garden or as container plants. Native to the tropics they are perennials in zones 9 to 11, and grown as annuals in zones 8 and lower. The most common pink varieties range in size from dwarf shrubs to plants that grow up to 10 feet tall.
A member of the mint family, salvia make a colorful, perennial addition to the garden. Some species, like the popular kitchen herb sage, are used for flavoring dishes while others are grown purely as an ornamental. Plants are easy to grow as long as they receive full sun, have well-drained soil, and are lightly fertilized in the spring. Deadheading during the flowering season helps to promote more blossoms.