Thursday, September 06, 2007

What's the Name of This Plant, in a Chacala Garden

Chacala, Nayarit, Mexico. My home. I love living in a different country, with a different culture, a different language, and especially a different climate.

I have been worried about my succulents, incluidng a few cacti, during the rainy season. I put some in pots (as above) and buried the bottem few inches out in the garden. They seem to be okay. A few plants have dissapeared, but I think that's due to sticky fingered friends.

And many different plants. And even the plants I know from my previous gardening life in U.S. Zone 5/6 have different names here. Very few people I have met in Chacala, or even Puerto Vallarta (the nearest big city) use Latin names for plants.I haven’t been especially interested in gardening that past few months. I try to keep things pruned back, so we can get up and down the steps to the road. But otherwise, I have planted a few seeds, and done a few cuttings, but that’s about it. The nightly rain and warm temparatures, mid 80's to mid90's keep the jungle growings around Chacala.

Don’t have to worry about watering. It rained most nights. And with the high temps I am not not worrying much about early frosts either. I think the coldest it has been here in the past four years was 64 degrees one night. Usually the low is 68 or so.This is one of the water lilies (Lirio?) that I have growing in about ten white plastic buckets. I am trying to get them to grow in the pond of water that comes from the over-full septic tank. So far they plants haven't gone for that idea. They seem to like the buckets better.

I have photos here of some plants I don’t know any name for except some local names that are descriptors, not really names. Like red vine, or whatever. Or stinky plant.

Here is mystery plant #1. This is a self-propagating plant that seems like a succulent. It that thick juicy leaves and grows very quickly. The tips of the large leaves bend over to the earth and send out roots. And new babies grow off the end of the leaf. Makes for easy starts, but I don’t know the name and I haven’t seen the plant blossom yet. And I don’t even know if it does blossom, or what it’s called.

Mystery Plant #2This vine has dark green glossy leaves and trumpet shaped blossoms with light purple and white. It’s growing very quickly. It’s about 7 feet tall and has lots of long stems. None of us remember planting it. All of a suddenly the blossoms were popping out of a large gardenia plant. I peeked into the center of the gardenia plants and there was a very healthy, multi-stemmed vine growing up thru the gardenia.My landlady wants me to create a arch made of plants over the sidewalk coming up to the door of the downstairs units. I kept thinking I could make some kind of trellis, but I finally just used the plants twisted together. The purple flower vine is tall enough to create the arch, and it’s attached on the other side of the sidewalk to the sturdy, skinny trunk of a morning glory tree sapling. And a jasmine vine, about 4 months old, is just starting it’s growth, and is also tied to the morning glory trunk. We’ ll see how this works.

This is Mystery plant #3My gardening neighbors in Chacala call this an oregano plant. And the leaves smell like Oregano. They also grow what I like of as Organo, and is grown all over in the U.S.
This looks like a succulent, and grown very, very quickly. Really, in a week it has whole new branches two or three feet long, with lots of smaller branches growing off the main branch. I haven’t seem it blossom yet.

Any ideas would be appreciated.


mcm said...

Hi Andee
Mystery plant #3 is oregano -- this one is the species Coleus amboinicus, according to Diana Kennedy's Art of Mexican Cooking. She also reports there are 13 oreganos in Mexico! All different species. It grows very easily here in Yucatan, and I think it also is common in Cuba.

mcm said...

Mystery plant #1 looks like a species of Kalanchoe (I know that you have several others). According to Robert Lee Riffle, in the Tropical Look (one of my favorite gardening resources), Kalanchoe has 125 species. He says that "all have tubular or bell-shaped flowers, often pendant, with corollas that expand into four linear lobes" -- so maybe you will be able to tel for sure when it flowers.

FYI -- the plant you identified as water lily is a water hyacinth, Eichornia crassipes.

By the way -- I congratulate you on the subtle, low-key way you approached the possible plant "borrower" confrontation! Very Mexican! (but what do I know?)

mcm said...

Mystery plant #2 looks like Kalanchoe, but I'm not sure what species. There are some 125...
The blooms are bell-shaped, and should bloom in winter or spring.

The "water lily" is actually a water hyacinth, Eichornia crassipes.