Nothing can be more sensational than Spanish Bayonet (yucca aloifolia) in flower. A few spikes of these white flower bells, tinged with the palest mauve, make unusual and dramatic flower arrangements, especially with their razor sharp, dagger-like leaves. They look particularly spectacular at night in outdoor arrangements because they appeer luminous in the dark. Don’t pick too many, though. The female yucca moth (pronuba yuccasella) pollinates the plant and depends on it for feeding her young.
Shrubby whitevein (sanchezia speciosa) is a bushy shrub from Ecuador and Peru. Well named, it has bright green or purple stems and large, dark green leaves displaying distinctive white, symmetrical veins. Together with the plant’s spikes of tubular yellow flowers, the leaves look great in arrangements. This plant is also known as yellow sanchezia, brilliant flowered sanchezia or, fittingly, zebra plant.
The individual, four-petalled flowers of Flame of the Woods (ixora coccinea), a species of West Indian jasmine, are tiny but their clusters are striking, especially the scarlet variety. No wonder they’re also known as jungle flame, as well as jungle geranium. Not only do they make beautiful floral decorations, they also have religious significance, in Hinduism representing pure and divine love. In Buddhism they symbolise passion and enlightenment.
Gazanias (gazania rigens), also known as treasure flower and African daisy, like the heat so they’re good to grow in July. They also do well in drought. Their flowers, ranging from red, orange and yellow to white and pink, radiate bright, summer colour and attract butterflies. The flowers can also be variegated. Plant seedlings in full sun in well-drained, sandy soil, either in the ground about one foot apart, or in pots. The soil should dry out between waterings. Deadhead regularly to promote blooms. NB The flowers close at night and on overcast, cloudy days.
Like poinsettias, Globe amaranth (gomphrena globose) are grown for their bracts or sepals, rather than their flowers which are inconspicuous. Commonly magenta in colour, they can also come in red, pink, yellow and white. Plant in slightly sandy soil in full sun. Water regularly.