Epiphytes…. the new frontier

Epiphytes 'mother trees'
Epiphytic ‘mother tree’

Interior-scapes are making a resurgence …. so for sustainable interest and designer ‘pop’, what could you be looking for far beyond the humble pot plant .. ?

Modern day plant hunter, horticulturist and nursery & plantsman Bruce Dunstan's epiphytic encrusted from gate in Nundah, Brisbane
Modern day plant hunter, horticulturist, nursery & plantsman Bruce Dunstan’s epiphytic encrusted from gate in Nundah, Brisbane

The exciting truth Peeps is found among many planting outcomes now required for a realistic match to growing conditions, of inside/outside interfaces in commercial and residential settings. Head and shoulders above most options is the diverse epiphytic genus Rhipsalis or Mistletoe Cactus mostly from Brazil.   

Rhipsalis ewaldiana a texture like thick seaweed
Rhipsalis ewaldiana a texture like course seaweed

Textural wreaths, greenwalls, eco pillows, horizontal green-bands, vertical green-blades, green-roofs & pseudo-greenwalls have all exceeded the basic hanging basket, as a catch-all destination for these fascinating plants.

Rhipsalis platycarpa
Rhipsalis platycarpa brings foliage colour
Weberocereus imitans
Weberocereus imitans one of the ric-rac Jungle Cactus
Disocactus amazonicus looks like lime green kelp
Disocactus amazonicus looks like lime green kelp
Disocactus chiapis nelsonii with quill like stems forming  a 'birds nest'
Disocactus chiapis nelsonii with quill like stems forms
a kind of  ‘birds nest’ habit
Rhipsalis capilliformis like  foliar ultra-fine gauze
Rhipsalis capilliformis a gauze of foliar ultra-fine
Codananthe 'Lime Delight' a pendulous  gesneriad
Codananthe ‘Lime Delight’ a pendulous gesneriad

Leading among an enthusiastic band of visionary growers, is Justine Smith  at Peats Ridge on NSW Central Coast. While there will be an impressive stall space at Plant Lovers Fair Kariong come 22nd & 23rd September, contract growing is preferred.

'Sea-Changer' Mirror Deck with epiphyte loaded greenwalls
‘Sea-Changer’ Mirror Deck with epiphyte loaded greenwalls

Among many garden making outcomes for these plants are more sheltered growing spaces like courtyards. Fast draining medium levels can be raised as ‘planting humps’ to separate wet sensitive root fibre from the cold winter ground. Lush sense of arrival is assured for the front door and epiphytes combine very convincingly with small palms, aroids, ferns and bromeliads.  

Justine Smith 0408 741 336 Kawana Nursery kawanagardensnursery@icloud.com        

“Sea-Changer” Shade Hut

House of Bamboo shade & screen
House of Bamboo shade canopy & Sanctum screen


Divide & Shelter as the “Sea-Changer” garden continues to take shape this winter. The fragrant thought of a November open date drifts across my mind… & maybe some ideas here for your designs !


Natureed canopy now makes  possible a hammock somewhere beneath its double layer and while not rain proof, is shower resistant. Semi-transparancy through the new Sanctum laser cut panel is bringing enough street front separation. Both canopy and screen from the lovely Jennifer Snyders at House of Bamboo and thanks to these, the open front of this Shade Hut space allows low northern sun,  irresistible winter heat sink seating remains intact.

After the gal. steel frame has a lick of matt black paint, floorspace will comprise random formed concrete slabs with a few centimetres grow slot space between for something aromatic that will release when stepped on by the careless passerby (like me ..). A blend of light neutral stone oxides with salt textured finish, using scant but contrasting dark pebbles tapped into the surface here and there I think. With a coloured glass fun bead or two to glint nicely against random frangipani leaf stencils pressed into a few blank spots…


Jennifer Snyders – House of Bamboo 13 Erith Street, Botany 1800 211192 and 9666 5703 Screen & Canopies

Simon & Hayden Jones – Green Elements 0431 752 436 & 0401 473205 Green Elements Facebook