Grow: Peter Nixon's six plants for the cool subtropics

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3 Mar 2020

Peter Nixon's top 6 plants for cool subtropical climate.

Words and pictures: Robin Powell

 

Mina lobata

Also called Spanish flag this is a light twining climber that I grow as an annual, enjoying its lacy cover and flowers through summer, and tearing it all down in autumn. The new year’s seedlings will pop up again in October.

Blue fountain bush

A better, longer flowering evergreen shrub to 3m would be hard to find! Rotheca serrata, aclerodendron relative, sends up torches of pale amethyst in high summer.

Costa Rican bow tie vine

Dalechampia dioscoreifolia has striking rosy-purple metallic bracts on a fast-growing twining vine, and is especially good on a lattice or part of a fence in full sun.

Tibouchina heteromalla

The soft grey felted foliage is a major charm of this tibouchina, which sendsup purple flowers from late summer into May.

Bahamas frangipani

The brilliant white, high summer flowers of Plumeria bahamensis stand out against the foliage which forms a broad dome on a small tree to about two metres.

‘One Thousand Lights’

This China rose flowers all year in my cool subtropical climate and responds with a new flush of flowers after every trim through the warm months, with the bonus of a rich fruity tea scent. Rosa x odorata ‘Bengal Crimson’ is another good subtropical performer.