Yes, the weather here around Melbourne has definitely changed. Temperature that soars above 40 deg. C is nothing new, but if it comes 4 or 5 days in a row? Only one day of 40 deg + can still be tolerated by all plants, but in more than two days, some plants will start to suffer.
We completely lost the Hemizygia ‘Candy Kisses’ and I am going to replace it with Lavender, an aromatic plant that is more resistance to high temperature and draught. The Jacobinia, Fuschia and Justicia are recovering and they have started to grow new leaves. I haven’t trimmed the dried leaves as they can protect the new growth underneath from hot sun. We will never know how the weather will be this Autumn, though so far in the last 2 weeks it was reasonably mild. Another reason is that trimming the dead leaves while the new growths are still small can easily damage them by cutting them off by mistake. Once the new foliage has grown bigger in another month or so, I will cut the dead parts off. I just have to stand the ugly look for a little longer 🙂
Though most of the roses are doing alright, four of them are half dead with too many dead branches. I noticed that those 4 are the ones that never grow healthy right from the start. I pulled them out and have replaced two of them with Euphorbia bush (leafy spurge). Another spot where another rose used to grow will accommodate a Jucca filamentosa that I am going to separate from the mother plant. And the last rose plant will be replaced by yellow Hibiscus.
About the new Euphorbia plants:
According to Wikipedia, Euphorbia is the fourth largest genus of flowering plants which consists of 2008 species. What really amazing are the different looks of those large species. Some look like cactus with no leaves at all, but others look like succulents, small bushes with pretty colourful leaves and unusual flowers. Others are twiggy , spiky and thorny, while the rest are trees. Even the Christmas Poinsettia is included in the Euphorbia family (Euphorbia pulcherrima). The only similarity of them all is that they are all sappy and poisonous. When handling the plants, great care must be taken by avoiding sap to have contact with skin or eyes.
All euphorbia plants need to grow in well drain soil and can stand high temperature and dry condition. They are very suitable to grow in arid areas. While the plants are happiest in warm weather, many can stand cold weather as well.
The two new Euphorbia plants are small low growing bush that will grow and spread much less than 1 meter. The ‘Ascot Rainbow’ has colourful variegated foliage and during the winter the leaves will grow redder. The other one E. ‘Craigieburn’ has deep plum leaves with red tips of the new growth, but the photo look more green and I don’t know why. Both have green – yellow flowers that look quite unusual. Both will grow happily in any type of soil as long as it is well drain. A bit of complete fertilizer during the growing months in spring plus a tonic of seaweed tea will surely make them happy. A sunny spot is needed and after the plants have established, they will need very little care and can withstand high temperature, dry condition and frost. As both plants will grow low and compact, they don’t need pruning. Just cut away the spent flowers. Hopefully, they both will grow well as they promise to be.