Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day for March

I’m traveling today, so I must confess that I took these photos before I left. However, this plant has bloomed non stop for the last six months, so I’m sure it is blooming today too.

Since we arrived in Rwanda in September, I have been telling people that this is a poinsettia, a shrub that can also get really large in frost-free climates. But after identifying our orange and white Mussaenda frondosa last month, I realized that it is a Mussaenda erythrophylla.

M. erythrophylla is native to tropical West Africa and is also known as Ashanti blood, red flag blood, or tropical dogwood. It can reach heights of 30 ft. (about 9 m.). Below, it’s growing up into our acacia tree.

The bracts of this plant glow so red that I’ve had a hard time getting good pictures of it. It will bloom all year long.

The plant cannot well tolerate temperatures below 40°F.  It prefers full sun, but will bloom in part shade.  It needs moderate amounts of water.

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Garden for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. Click the link to see what’s blooming in other GB’s gardens today.


I fell in love with this Mussaenda shrub soon after we arrived in Kigali, but I didn’t know its name until tonight after some internet research.

I think my Mussaenda (with orange flowers and white bracts) is M. frondosa, a native to Indo-China and Malaysia, although there is a species native to West Africa, M. erythrophylla or Ashanti blood or red flag. This may actually be the shrub in our garden that I’ve been thinking is a poinsettia. I’m going to have to do a little more research on that tomorrow. [Yes, it is M. erythrophylla.]

Mussaendas are hardy to (U.S.) zones 9-11. They can reach heights from 3′ to 10′, and different species and cultivars can have bracts and flowers in orange, white, red, yellow, or pink. They need a moderate amount of water and sun.


Thanks to Fine Gardening magazine’s Garden Photo of the Day for featuring some of my cycad photos yesterday. Here are a few more: