Saturday, 2 March 2019

All About Frangipanis, Lisianthus and Never Never Plant

Is it possible to have Frangipani flower with colours of the rainbow? Find out soon when I talk to the President of the Frangipani Society of Australia. Growing the sputnik of veggies in vegetable heroes, hard to say but easy to grow in Plant of the Week and Miss Lissie in the Talking Flower segment.


All About Frangipanis Part 1
What’s new in Frangipanis?
Q. I have a leaf here that doesn’t look great? 
The green in the centre has gone white and there’s white fluffy stuff, maybe scale? What do you think?
Mite Damage on Frangipani leaves
A: this is typical mite damage on the leaves seen an Frangipani and Camellias as well.
The treatment is Natrasoap spray to which you can also add Neem Oil.
I'm talking with Anthony Grassi from the Frangipani Society of Australia.
Q. It’s been so hot but my Frangi’s aren’t flowering what can be done and is it too late?
 A. When Frangipani are still relatively small, often every second year is a resting year, so they don't flower. Especially if they're in a pot, flowers will be bi-annual. 
It's only when the Frangipani is a mature tree, that you see yearly flowering because they have enough leaves to carry out the photosynthesis needed for lots of flowers.
The exception is when there is a micro-climate and the plants are pampered with high potash fertilisers.

Frangipani Society of Australia
are now  a FB society so you can join their FB page, but if you join as a financial member, you get to access another FB page as well as receive a lovely calendar, CD and tips on how to grow the best Frangipanis ever, plus seeds for you to grow some new varieties of Frangipanis.
photo M. Cannon
If you have any questions either for me or for Margaret, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


Although kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea gongyloides ) and brussels sprouts (B. oleracea var. gemmifera) look like they belong in two different families, they are in the Brassicacea family, along with cabbage, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower .

Would you believe that all these vegetables came from a common parent, "wild cabbage"?
You don’t see a lot of Kohlrabi today but it’s been around awhile was known to the Roman Empire.
Did you know that by the year 800 A.D., the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne ordered that kohlrabi be grown in his Imperial gardens.
Charlemagne is thought to be French, but he was actually from western Germany.
So "Kohlrabi" is a German word where Kohl means cabbage and Rabi means turnip. "Kohlrabi" Means "Cabbage Turnip"
By the end of the 16th century it was known in Germany, England, Italy, Spain, Tripoli, and the eastern Mediterranean.
Some said that Kohrabi was the first veggie grown on a field scale in Ireland in 1734, in England in 1837.
Kohlrabi is another one of those vegetables that has the person at the supermarket checkout stumped, you’ll be asked what it is.
Kohlrabi grows above ground
The funny thing about Kohlrabi is that even though it looks like a root vegetable, it actually isn’t.
The bit that you eat grows above ground. 
How to grow Kohlrabi.
Kohlrabi is a good choice for beginner gardeners because it’s fast and easy to grow of all the Brassicaceae family.
Your kids will love kohlrabi because of it’s funny appearance.
Sort of like little aliens from other space-a little round body with little "legs" coming out of the ground.
If you’re into companion planting, Kohlrabi grows well with Beetroot because they have the same water requirements.
Companion Planting:

You can also fit Kohlrabi in between lettuce, onion and radicchio, because it sits above the ground and doesn’t take up as much room as cabbages .
  • You can direct seed Kohlrabi or start them in punnets or seed trays because they don’t mind being transplanted.

When to Sow:
In temperate districts deep January to March and the same for cool temperate districts.
For arid zones, February to June is the best time.
March to August for sub-tropical and April to August for tropical zones.
Sow the seeds about 1 cm deep in rows 30 cm apart and thin them out to 15 cm or a couple of hand-widths apart.
  • Kohlrabi can be rather closely spaced (or interplanted) and is out of the garden in 60 days (2 ½ months)or so, leaving time to plant something else.
  • As with all vegetables a standard application of an organic fertilizer, mixed into the soil according to label rates prior to planting, is all you need to do.

So when do you pick your Kohlrabi?
  • If you want small kohlrabi, pick them when they’re about 6cm in diameter, with the leafy greens still attached.
    photo M Cannon
  • The greens should be deep green all over with no yellowing.
  • Although kohlrabi stores well, up to one month refrigerated, yellow leaves means that the vegetable is not fresh.
Now you may be wondering how to eat Kohlrabi, and it wouldn’t be fair if RWG didn’t pass on that information.
Eat them RAW
  • Kolhrabi sort of tastes like the stem of Broccoli or heart of a cabbage but sweeter.
  • Remove the stems by pulling or cutting them off the kohlrabi globe.
  • If the kohlrabi is small, there is no need to peel it, but you might want to cut off the tough base end.
  • If you've bought large kohlrabi, peel it and slice off the tough woody base before slicing or dicing.
  • Slice or cut into julienne and include it on a relish tray with dips.
  • Coarsely grate kohlrabi into a tossed salad. Because it is mild, succulent and porous, it absorbs the flavour of a mild or pungent salad dressing quite well.
  • Dice kohlrabi and combine with your favourite vegetables and dressing for a chopped salad with delightful crispness.
  • Slice kohlrabi, put it in a container, and pack in your bag for lunch for a crunchy snack.
  • Chop and include as one of the ingredients in a raw soup.
  • Slice kohlrabi or cut into bite-sized pieces and put into a saucepan with 1cm of water. Add a dash of salt, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat down to low and steam for 5 to 7 minutes. Leaves can be steamed lightly just as you would do spinach.
  • STIR FRIED Dice or chop into bite-size pieces and stir fry 5 to 7 minutes in a little extra virgin olive oil with a clove or two of minced garlic and a dash of salt.

Why Is It Good for You?
Kohlrabi is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
It’s rich in thiamine, folate, magnesium and phosphorus and is packed with dietary fibre, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, copper and manganese.
The only bad thing about kohlrabi is that a large portion of the calories in this food come from sugars.    

Ctenanthe Burle-Marxii

Some plant names are meant to confuse but botanists persist in them remaining. The reasons are varied but it often is because of what family it’s in, where it came from and because once upon a time, a botanist declared that it looked like horses hooves, or a dolphin’s snout.
So here we have a great plant, the Ctenanthe but with a name that just isn’t that attractive.
Ctenanthe Burle-Marxii
It's pronounced:  Ten- An-Thee
No, don't ring up Jeremy and ask for ke ten-an-thee.
I'm talking with Jeremy Critchley owner of the

Ctenanthe is sometimes called the ‘never-never’ plant, but nowhere can I find why?
It’s much hardier than it’s cousin Calathea that looks similar but with thinner leaves.
Both of these plant types like to be warm, so unless you live in the tropics or sub-tropics, it’s an indoor plant for you.
If you have any questions either for me Jeremy why not write in to


Lisianthus: Eustoma grandiflorum (syn Lisianthus russelianus)
Praire Gentian is one of its common names.
How to grow
Seeds are as fine as dust particles, and the need light to germinate.
When you sprinkle this dust onto the seed raising mix, barely press them into the soil.
Then just cove them with a fine layer of vermiculite and mist with water from a spray bottle.
Preferred temperature range for germination is (21-24°C).
It takes 5 months from seed sowing to flowering.
Once plants are growing keep the soil most. Plants get stressed at temperatures over 29°C
Grows well in pots and prefer full sun.
Prairie Gentians are heat loving plants that flower best where nights are warm.
If you live in a climate with rainy, humid summers., then grow something else, because you'll have difficulty keeping these flowers going in your garden.
I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini from about how best to keep the vase life of Lisianthus going.
Mercedes mentions tips about how to choose the best lissies from your florist or flower seller.
Video recorded live during the broadcast of Real World Gardener on 2RRR 88.5 fm Sydney.

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