Late Summer Highlights at Ganna Walska’s Lotusland


The end of summer is an extremely beautiful time to visit Ganna Walska’s Lotusland in Santa Barbara. At this time of year, several unique flowers begin to bloom, such as Aloe mitriformis, which comes from South Africa. While the plant is a succulent that grows along the ground, it produces bright coral-colored flowers that bloom from mid-summer into August. The flowers contrast wonderfully with the deep red and green leaves that are lined with sharp-looking teeth. Visitors will find the plant in the aloe garden.

Another unique plant that visitors shouldn’t miss is located in the pots along the Pavilion Patio. Native to Cuba, the Acalypha pendula features long, fuzzy flowers that are a brilliant red color. A perennial, the plant remains in bloom much of the year in Southern California, and the bright red flowers are especially noticeable toward the end of summer when other flowers begin to fade.

Located in the bromeliad gardens are several Alcantarea imperialis plants, which come from the mountains outside of Rio de Janeiro. A large bromeliad, the plant forms a large rosette of leathery leaves that can span four feet. The plants take about 10 years to reach blooming size and die once the rosette is finished, typically leaving one or two new offshoots behind.

Also in the bromeliad gardens mounted along driftwood and tree trunks is Neoregelia “Fireball.” The name comes from the plant’s fiery red leaves located in tiny rosettes. The plant tends to grow offsets in a number of directions so that it resembles a burst of flame.

Another great highlight of late summer is the Jubaea chilensis, also known as the Chilean wine palm or the coquito palm. As the name implies, this tree comes from central Chile, but it is extremely rare in the wild due to overharvesting for its sweet sap, which is used to make wine. The tree grows tiny flowers that mature into orange fruits with a small nut inside called a coquito for its coconut-like taste and appearance. Visitors will find about 40 mature trees throughout Lotusland, primarily in the aloe and blue gardens.