Ornamental plants

Ornamental plants

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Outdoor ornamental plants

Those plants used to make one's house or garden more lively, cheerful and colorful are called ornamental; these are plant species capable of transforming the environment into a place that is beautiful to live and rich in greenery. Outdoor ornamental plants must be chosen taking into account various factors: the climatic conditions, the different modes of exposure to light, the type of soil, the possible coexistence with other plants. All these elements contribute to the good or bad development of our outdoor plants. Not taking into consideration one of these factors can cause the weakening of the plant, the onset of some disease due to the attack of parasites or even the little care on our part towards the plant, can lead to its death. Let us now see which are the most widely distributed outdoor species and the most widely cultivated in our gardens.
They are considered ornamental plants those cultivated mainly for their aesthetic value. The strengths are usually the flowers they produce, but in many cases they are also appreciable for the color of the leaves in the various seasons, for the nuances present in the bark or for the fruits and berries.
Given the wide range of essences available, with a little patience and willingness it is possible to make any space pleasant and welcoming, from a large garden to a tiny balcony.


It is an evergreen shrub that has a height of about 10-15 meters (it can reach up to 30 meters), with bipinnate leaves composed of very many very soft little leaves, dark green, which have the characteristic of closing during the night.
The flowers have the appearance of small soft and spongy wads, of an intense yellow color, with a "peeping" structure, very fragrant and very delicate.
Flowering occurs from January to March.
The fruits are black legumes, up to 5-10 centimeters long.
Cultivation requires an acid, deep and well-drained soil; It is preferable to plant the vegetable in the sunniest areas of the garden as it fears frost and low temperatures: the plant does not live below 15 degrees.
We recommend watering every 3-4 weeks, to avoid damaging water stagnation that would damage the plant, and only in the early stages of life.
In fact, as an adult, the mimosa does not need to be watered, since rainwater is sufficient.
Fertilization is carried out in spring and autumn.


It is an annual herbaceous plant, ornamental, with very robust branched stems covered with hair, which can reach a height of 50-70 centimeters.
The leaves are oval and pointed, dark green in color, covered with bland whitish hair.
They can be used for medicinal use in infusions and decoctions.
The flowers are hermaphroditic, they have a blue color tending to violet and are arranged in bunches.
The fruits are achenes.
It grows easily up to 1500-1800 meters, does not require special soil conditions, but only excellent drainage as it fears the presence of water stagnation.
It is preferable to place it in sunny and bright areas, even if it lives well in the shade.
It does not fear the cold as it is a remarkably resistant and rustic plant.


It is an ornamental climbing shrub that, at times, can take on the appearance of a real tree, when its growth is particularly developed.
It has pinnate leaves formed by 13-15 light green leaves.
The flowers are cluster inflorescences, very fragrant, with a pinkish color tending to lilac, although there are white varieties.
Reproduction takes place by grafting or cutting.
It requires a preferably clayey and well-drained soil, rich in organic fertilizer.
It is preferable to cultivate it in sunny areas as it fears the cold very much and needs a support (such as walls or palisades or espaliers) in order to grow.
Needs frequent watering even if not too abundant.
Pruning is essential to ensure a luxuriant growth of the plant and occurs twice a year: in January and in July.

Canadian lives

It is a climbing shrub with a typically woody appearance, with large and lobed leaves of an intense green color, with a jagged margin.
It has very small flowers with light colors (white, yellow, pink), not very showy and with a very short life that give rise to characteristic fruits.
They are berries with colors: pink, purple and blue.
It is advisable to plant this shrub in the sunniest areas of the garden as its growth is strongly conditioned by sunlight, even if it does not fear the cold, being rather resistant to low temperatures.
It does not require special care for irrigation: rainwater is often sufficient to ensure the water supply it needs.
It can be attacked by various parasites, such as: Aphids, Peronospora. Powdery mildew.
Therefore it is advisable to regularly perform seasonal anti parasitic cycles.


It is a succulent succulent plant, of medium height (maximum 30-40 centimeters), which has fleshy and rounded leaves, bright green or reddish, depending on the variety.
The leaves are edible for humans.
The flowers are distinguished in: male (more colorful and flashy) and female (more dull and less beautiful).
The fruits are characterized by a triangular capsule.
For its cultivation it requires soft, fertilized and rich in organic matter soils.
Fears water stagnation and therefore prefers excellent drainage conditions.
It is preferable to plant this vegetable in areas of the garden where it is not directly hit by the sun's rays which could damage its growth.
The plant fears very cold, which is why it is advisable to use greenhouses during the winter months.
Requires good aeration and moderate watering.


It is an annual plant, up to 60-70 centimeters tall, with branched stems, covered with hair and dark green.
The leaves are hairy, lanceolate and pointed, with a smooth edge and light green color.
The flowers present colors varying from white to yellow and orange and are gathered in flower heads.
It produces dried fruits of various shapes.
This plant is used for medicinal uses: it has a diuretic, tonic, astringent and anti-spastic action.
Requires a light, well-drained, moist soil.
It prefers sunny and bright places, and also direct sun as it is not damaged by high temperatures.

Types of outdoor ornamental plants

Before turning to designing your own space, it is important to know the types of plants that we could include. More species and varieties we will insert and the more we will have the possibility to enjoy our spaces for a long period of the year.
Essentially they can be subdivided into: annual and biennial, bulbous and rhizomatous, herbaceous perennials, shrubs and trees.

Annual and biennial

They pass from the state of seed to that of an adult and then again of seed within a maximum of two years.
• They are valuable because they allow you to get brilliant results in a short time
• They often have a lasting flowering, which can even go from spring to late autumn.
• turn out to be undemanding and can be considered as jokers, to fill empty spaces.
• They are flexible allowing us to vary the color combinations from year to year, helping us to always give a new look to our garden.

Bulbose and rhizomatous

Herbaceous plants with roots capable of accumulating nutrients to survive the winter and multiply
• They are not very demanding and, with a few tricks and periodic divisions, come back every year and are able to naturalize
• They can be planted a few months before flowering and can act as "stopgaps" like the annual ones, but more durable.
• are healthy and undemanding
• their strength is the flowering, very abundant and often exceptionally colored. In some cases (for example for iris and agapantas) the leaves are durable and just as decorative.
• There is a possibility to force them to bloom very early or very late compared to when they would naturally
• By inserting them wisely you can have scalar blooms from February to late November
• Their area, withering the aerial part, can be occupied by annuals or perennials. In fact, they usually do not come into conflict at all.

Herbaceous perennials

They are non-woody plants that live for more than two years:
• They are a longer term choice and, if well placed, will form a part of the supporting structure of the green area
• Their strength is the flowering or the color and structure of the foliage
• They require more maintenance, but tend to be very healthy and tend to expand over time; therefore we will have new plants to be placed elsewhere.
• There are so many varieties available and it will not be difficult to find one that adapts to the specific needs of exposure, climate and soil


They have a permanent wood structure and can be deciduous or evergreen. Their dimensions are medium-small and their structure is made up of several relatively small barrels
• They are the real carrying structure of borders and flower beds
• They must be chosen and placed carefully because they need a lot of time to grow and reach their final size. In the case of errors, their displacement is not as simple as for previous plants.
• They can be bred in various ways and also used as small climbing plants.
• Their strength is the blooms and the structure and color of the foliage. However, there are only valuable for the berries or the color that the bark takes in the cold season.
• They can live many years
• They require constant maintenance especially for cleaning and pruning (after flowering and annual pruning)
• Need more nutrient supply and good soil structure
• Their price is generally higher


They also have a permanent wood structure and can be deciduous or with a persistent leaf. They mostly have a single stem ("trunk").
• They can be small, medium or large and must be chosen in relation to the size of our green space
• They may be more or less demanding. Some should be allowed to grow in their natural form, others should instead be addressed. In many cases it is however possible, with careful pruning, to breed them according to our needs and tastes
• They are interesting for the foliage (whose color may vary according to the seasons), for the blooms, for the shape of the foliage, for the color or texture of the bark. Fruits are also often interesting.

How to arrange the plants

When buying plants, keep in mind the initial project. They should be chosen mainly taking into consideration their exposure needs, their land and the final dimensions they will reach.
If our garden is predominantly sunny, we can opt for a "prairie" style that combines ornamental grasses and perennial grasses with bright colors. Very nice, especially for the Center-South and the coasts, also the Mediterranean style where shrubs and grasses with silvery foliage are juxtaposed with shrubs that climb up pergolas, creating large areas of shade, useful as open-air gatherings during the days sultry. In the far south and on the islands you can also focus on the subtropical garden with exotic and lush plants and flowers.
Even for the garden in the shade there are many possibilities and this condition should be considered as a resource. The plants suitable for this exhibition are innumerable and are declined in a wide range of colors and textures. Before making a project it is essential to understand what kind of shade it is, whether thick or light. Another parameter to be assessed is soil moisture. In fact, there are dark, dry and other damp areas and the essences that we can insert are different.
Beautiful compositions can be created by mass implanting bulbs, hoste and bergenie and heuchere, especially if the soil is moist. If it is acidic, hydrangeas, camellias and rhododendrons will instead be ideal.

" title="Purchase of plants, plant and maintenance ">The purchase of plants, the plant and their maintenance

Perennial herbaceous plants
Being available in a very wide range, it is important to choose those that, better than our aesthetic tastes, are better suited to the conditions of soil, light and climate.
Most are sold in small pots and can be transplanted at any time. To obtain a good rooting it is however better to proceed at the end of winter, when frosts are no longer expected. In the Center-South it is however possible to plant them even in autumn so that they have more time to develop the root system and are more resistant to heat and drought already from the first summer.
During the first year it is likely that many weeds are established between one specimen and another. To overcome this problem it is possible to occupy the residual space with annual or biennial ones. They will clearly need to be followed more closely, especially with regard to irrigation. Starting from the second year they will become more and more autonomous and, if well chosen and positioned, over time they could also prove to be totally independent from our water supply.
• during the course of the year it is important to clean up withered flowers
• In spring we will eliminate the aerial part left the previous autumn
• Every three or four years we will draw the tuft and divide it into several sections. We will insert the younger and healthier parts again. The remaining seedlings can be planted elsewhere or given away
• To encourage flowering, it is advisable to distribute a slow release granular fertilizer every year for flowering plants

Trees and shrubs

They can be implanted as isolated specimens or in groups. Their dimensions and their structure make them an essential element in many gardens because they act as a counterpoint to walls, buildings and rigid structures, balancing the whole. They can act as a screen, delimit boundaries and filter out noises.
They are sold in pots or bare-rooted. In the first case, planting can be carried out at any time, trying to avoid periods of frost and extreme heat. In the second case it is instead essential to work in autumn or at the end of winter. Proceeding in November, however, gives the radical apparatus the possibility of beginning to grow and will lead to greater vegetative development during the first vintage.
Here are some tips to choose well:
• We are looking for completely healthy individuals without diseases, pests or weeds in the pot
• For shrubs we take care that there are more basal branches
• For trees, the structure of the branches is homogeneous and the stem is straight and clean.
• The bare roots must be well moist and without signs of damage
At the time of planting we create a hole large enough to contain all the extended roots. We break the walls with a rake making them very soft and penetrable. Once inserted the specimen and covered we irrigate abundantly and continue regularly (in the absence of rain) for the whole first year. Thick mulching can help maintain moisture. If necessary (for trees) it is good to insert a thick and stable support in the hole.
• In spring it is necessary to apply a slow release fertilizer for green or flowering plants, depending on the need.
• In autumn it is good to spread plenty of manure throughout the area covered by the foliage, avoiding contact with the trunk.
• The first few years, usually at the beginning of spring, we will proceed with a training pruning, pursuing an open shape in the center to favor the passage of air and light
• Subsequently we will proceed with maintenance pruning and possibly rejuvenation.
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