Category Archives: tropical plants

Grow The Largest Flower in The World- Corpse Flower (Amorphophallus titanum) A Plant Geek’s Biggest Challenge!

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

The Corpse Flower, Amorphophallus titanum, is a single inflorescence that reaches an astounding height of 6-9’ tall. It only Corpse Flower flowers once every 7-8 years and only 3-5 blooming events, from plants grown in cultivation, happen worldwide each year. This rare plant is for plant geeks who want a challenge and will be committed to nearly a decade of nurturing and pampering this rare and attractive giant.

Origin
Corpse Flower was first found in the tropical forests of Sumatra where even there, it is rare in its native habitat. It is a member of the Aroid family and also known as the Titan Arum.

About the Bloom
The bloom is magnificent with its frilly-edged maroon petal completely circling the center spadix. It’s known as the Corpse Flower because of the raunchy smelling odor, similar to rotten meat, when in full bloom. However, this does attract the pollinators like flies and beetles in the wild. In cultivation, hand pollination is required. A beautiful seed stalk forms after the flower is pollinated…

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Growing Outrageously Colorful Tropical Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

These large, eye-catching, dinner-plate sized hibiscus represent the words “tropical flower” better than any other. Originating in Asia and the Pacific Islands, Hibiscus is the national flower of Malaysia and the state flower of Hawaii. Decades of intense cross breeding with the rosa sinensis species has produced some unbelievable multi-colored blooms. The American Hibiscus Society was formed in 1950 to promote, develop and improve upon the hundreds of varieties that were quickly emerging.

Single vs. Double
There is both single and double flowering tropical hibiscus in the rosa sinensis species. The ‘Fancy’ cultivars have growth habits of both upright and spreading. Within this group, reside two general forms: the brightly colored, usually sold colored single blooms (sometimes double) that propagate easily and are often used as seasonal potted plants as well as tropical landscape shrubs. hese are often sheared to hedges in frost-free landscapes.

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Grow Your Own Delicious Chocolate (Theobroma cacao)

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

Chocolate, originally found in South America, is known as “The Food of the Gods.” The first record of chocolate or cocoa dates back to 1900 BC and  Cacao pods and chocolate barsthe Aztec people used chocolate seeds as a form of currency. Chocolate was served as a bitter beverage in the early days and was believed to be an aphrodisiac and have super powers. Later in Spain, and throughout Europe, sugar was added to the beverage and hot chocolate became a preferred drink even surpassing coffee. Chocolate is well loved today not only as a beverage but also when it’s made into candy bars and used in baking. Today, the health craze has brought us back to its natural form of consuming organic raw cacao nibs known for their antioxidant compounds called polyphenols as well as other health benefits. Growing your own chocolate tree is a relatively easy undertaking if you follow a few cultural requirements.

Tree Size

The chocolate tree is a small-to-medium sized tree and grows as an understory species in the rainforest so it tolerates and even thrives under dappled light or partial sun conditions.

Container Grown Chocolate
As a cultivated plant for the container gardener, the chocolate tree is easy to grow but it needs a bit of room to produce fruit. Plants are generally grown from seed and need 3-4 years to reach fruiting size. This means the tree will be 5-6’ in height with a trunk caliber of 1-1/2 to 2” in diameter. So to grow chocolate inside, a large, sunny and warm spot is needed.

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Growing Kumquats- The Pop-in-Your-Mouth Fruit

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

The Kumquat is thought to have originated in Southern Japan and China.  It was originally known as the “gam kwat” with an early reference in the 12th century. Fortunella margarita 'Nagami'Kumquats are loved for their oval, oblong or round tiny fruit that produce abundantly on small trees in the ground or prolifically in containers. The bite-size, pop-in-your-mouth fruit have edible skin.  Some varieties are sweet on the outside and tart on the inside; others are sweet all the way through. In 1864, Robert Fortune, a collector from the London Horticultural Society introduced kumquats to Europe, and shortly thereafter to North America. In 1915, Kumquats were no longer classified as Citrus japonica but were named after Mr. Fortune and the new genus became  Fortunella.

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>Inside Logee’s, Finding the Unusual!

>Logee’s has been around since 1892 and just knowing that will explain many of these pictures. When you walk through Logee’s things have just sort of grown where they were placed. Some plants have remained in the same spot for years,

while other plants simply wind themselves around whatever structure is available. Come take a look!
The entrance photo has a metal chain pulley, which is a hand-crank vent, that towers amongst the tropical flowers and foliage. Another beauty that surrounds a man-made structure is Thunbergia mysorensis. This rare flower form makes itself known in the “Big House.” Long vines dangle with yellow and burgundy flowers blooming

their heads off from winter through summer. The flowers reach for the iron heating pipe and suspend themselves in mid-air above or beyond the heat source.

Another unusual sight in the “Big House”, growing in the middle of the aisle, is the base of a plant that looks like an upside down pot. Soft green moss and algae grow on the roots’ ridges, attesting to the age of this kumquat tree. This impressive trunk has long outgrown its pot and has rooted itself into the ground over 70 years ago. Today, it is

home to over 5 different varieties of kumquats, plus a variegated calamondin orange. The vigor of the original tree, Fortunella margarita ‘Nagami’ has such a strong root system that other varieties have been successfully grafted on. ‘Nagami’ is the oval kumquat that can be

bought in a local grocery store. The next kumquat that is most prevalent on the tree is the Meiwa, which is the round sweet kumquat.
Logee’s is a great place for vining plants. The vanilla orchid vine is a
favorite of mine climbing up the wall of our propagation house. We carry Vanilla planifolia and the vine, like this one, has to get about 4-5 feet before it begins blooming and producing vanilla beans. The trick to producing vanilla beans is first,make sure your vanilla plant is up to size and second, you must hand pollinate the flower during the blooming season.

Notice how the tendrils have wrapped themselves around

the piping, the vents and fan, yet here it has grown happily for the past 20 years.
One more site that amazes our visitors is this wheel vent that we have to crank open and shut every day. It’s not so much

the antiquity of the wheel but the ficus vine that has
snuggly found a home along the pipes. Since we’re on the topic of unusual, one plant worth mentioning is our very rare, intensely fragrant Tabernaemontana holstii. I walked into the greenhouses this morning and not only did its 5-pointed curled petal grab my attention, the sweetness of the flowers sent a fragrant reminder that yes, Spring is on the way! Of course, this is only a smattering of unusual forms that you’ll see at Logee’s. Mostly, you will be immersed in colorful flowers and intoxicating fragrance in a green world from head to toe.

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