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Aucuba Japonica

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In mid spring, the female plants bear upright clusters of small, red flowers, followed by bright red berries in autumn that remain all winter. The male plants bear small, red-purple flowers with yellow anthers in erect panicles.

You can choose to grow Aucuba as hedges or screens, as specimen plants as they grow up to 3 m tall, or to fill a dark corner where little else will flourish. It can also be grown in containers outdoors or as houseplant.

Will grow in any place or soil except the waterlogged ones but prefers a place in shade, where the variegated leaves are at their best. If grown in containers, use loam-based potting compost. In the growing season water it freely and apply a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly but in winter water it sparingly.

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Trim the hedges in spring to keep them in good shape and renovate old shrubs by cutting back hard in spring.

You can propagate Aucuba by sowing seeds in containers in a cold frame in autumn or by rooting semi-ripe cuttings in summer.

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Hibiscus Syriacus

Hibiscus syriacus, the common garden Hibiscus, also called Rose of Sharon or Rose of Althea is a woody perennial, deciduous, flowering shrub that can reach 2-4 m in height. It is widely planted in areas with hot summers for its very attractive white, pink, red, lavender, or purple flowers. The flowers are large, solitary, showy, single or double and appear from mid summer to early autumn on current season's growth. Since plants bloom on new growth, shaping or pruning can be done at any time; prune in late winter or early spring in northern climates. The flowers only open in sunny weather. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects attracted by flat blossoms and nectar.

Native to India and East Asia, the national flower of Korea, it is the perfect shrub for groupings and mass plantings, to create a screen, or planted as a formal or informal hedge or in a shrub border. Standard forms may be used as small trees planted to the entranceways. It has a medium growth rate, with a narrow vase-shaped to arching growth habit, often becoming arching with age if never pruned.

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