Tom MacCubbin's Plant Profiles:

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Tom MacCubbin


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Aeschynanthus
African Iris
Ageratum
Alternanthera
Aluminum Plant
Amaryllis
American Hop Hornbeam
Angelonia
Anise
Annual Phlox
Ascocenda Orchid
Australian Violet

Bacopa
Bat Flower
Beach Sunflower
Bengal Clock Vine
Blanket Flower
Blood Lily
Butterfly Bush
Blue-eyed Grass
Bolivian Sunset
Bougainvillea
Butterfly Ginger

Caladium
Calendula
California Poppy
Cassava, Variegated
Cassia
Chandelier Plant
Chickasaw Plum
China Pink
Chinese Ground Orchid
Chinese Wisteria
Chrysanthemum
Clivia
Common Camellia
Common Mulberry
Common Sunflower
Confederate Rose
Copperleaf Shrub
Coral Bean
Coral Honeysuckle
Crinum
Cross Vine
Croton
Crown of Thorns
Cyclamen

Dogwood
Dotted Horsemint
Dusty Miller
Dwarf Chenille Plant
Dwarf Schefflera

Edging Lobelia
English Lavender
Eucharist Lily

False Heather
Fan Flower
Fire Thorn
Firespike
Flame Vine
Flax Lily, Variegated
Florida Anise
Foxglove
Frangipani

Gazania
Gerbera Daisy
Giant Crinum Lily
Ginger Lily
Gloriosa Daisy
Gloriosa Lily
Gloxinia
Golden Tickseed
Golden Trumpet Tree

Hardy Bamboo Palm
Heavenly Bamboo
Hindu Rope Plant
Holiday Cactus
Hollyhock
Horsemint
Hybrid Tea Rose

Japanese Honeysuckle
Jasmine Nightshade
Joe-pye Weed
Johnny-Jump-Up

Kaffir Lily
Kalanchoe
Knock Out Rose

Licorice Plant
Lily of the Nile
Lily Turf
Lion's Ear
Loquat
Love Rose

Million Bells
Miniature Roses
Mona Lavender Plectranthus
Mondo Grass
Muhly Grass
Mussaenda

Nagami Kumquat
Nasturtium
Neoregelia Bromeliad

Oleander
Ornamental Cabbage

Pagoda Flower
Pampas Grass
Parakeet Flower
Pecan
Pentas
Peregrina
Perennial Peanut
Persian Shield
Petunia
Philippine Violet
Philodendron Selloum
Pincushion Flower
Pineapple
Pineapple Lily
Pink Allamanda
Pink Ball
Pink Trumpet Vine
Pinwheel Flower
Plumbago
Poinsettia
Poinsettia, Summer
Purple Coneflower

Rabbit's Foot Fern
Red Maple
Red Powderpuff
Reiger Begonia
Rose Moss

Scarlet Sage
Scarlet Swamp Mallow
Shasta Daisy
Shell Ginger
Shooting Stars
Showy Primrose
Shumard Oak
Silk-floss Tree
Silk Flower
Simpson Stopper
Slash Pine
Southern Live Oak
Southern Magnolia
Spider Flower
Spider Plant
Star Daisy
Stock
Stokes Aster
Summer Poinsettia
Summer Torch
Swamp Mallow
Sweet Gum
Sweet Osmanthus
Sweet Peas
Sycamore

Tea Rose
Texas Wild Olive
Thryallis
Ti Plant
Triostar Stromanthe
Tropical Sage
Tulip
Twinspur

Variegated Cassava
Variegated Flax Lily
Variegated Vitex
Virginia Willow
Vitex, Variegated
Voodoo Lily

Walking Iris
Wax Myrtle
Wheat Celosia
Whirling Butterflies
White Bird of Paradise
White Rain Lily
White Trailing Lantana
Wisteria, Chinese

Xanadu Philodendron

Yarrow
Yaupon Holly
Yellow Elder
Yellow Walking Iris

Zebra Plant
Zinnia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Aeschynanthus


Scientific Name: Aeschynanthus hybrid.

Growth Habit: A semi-trailing to trailing evergreen perennial growing shoots to more than 2 feet long. The leaves are bright green and lance-shaped, growing to 4 inches long and 1 inch wide.

Light: Provide a high light location, but protect from all but filtered or early morning sun.

Feedings: Apply a houseplant product monthly during periods of active growth March through November; no fertilizer is needed during the winter months.

Water Needs: Allow the surface soil to dry between waterings. Plants grow best in a humid atmosphere; mist frequently during hot, dry weather.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from 4- to 6-inch tip cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; grow as a houseplant year-round or patio plant when temperatures are above 50 degrees.

Major Problems: Aphids and mealybug; wash off with a soapy water solution or apply an insecticidal soap spray. Avoid overwatering during the cooler weather to prevent root rot.

Pruning: Periodically tip back the ends of shoots of young plants to cause branching and additional flowers. Groom plants as needed to remove extra-long shoots and produce uniform displays.

Uses: An attractive foliage plant to display indoors in a hanging basket or planter during the winter months. Use outdoors suspended from rafters, overhangs and tree limbs spring through early fall. Plants produce terminal flower clusters of tubular-shaped orange blossoms July through March to contrast with the bright green waxy foliage.

Florida Native: No; a hybrid with parentage from Malaysia.









African Iris


Scientific Name: Dietes bicolor

Growth Habit: An upright, clump-forming evergreen perennial with foliage arising from rhizomes at ground level. The leaves are lancelike, forming the clumps that grow to 2 feet tall and a foot wide.

Light: Grow in full sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Seldom needs special feedings; where needed growth can be increased with a general garden fertilizer application once monthly in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; can survive with seasonal rains but grows best with waterings every 10 to14 days.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: From seeds or by dividing older clumps.

Hardiness: Hardy; some leaf damage may occur during severe freezes.

Major Problems: Chewing insects occasionally damage the foliage, but controls seldom are needed. Plant in well-drained soils to avoid root rot problems.

Pruning: Remove declining foliage and old seed heads as needed throughout the year. Trim away cold-damaged foliage, and reduce the clump size if needed during late winter.

Uses: Cluster several clumps to form a durable ground cover. Plantings are especially useful in dry locations and sunny spots where grass is difficult to grow. Use along walkways, in foundation plantings and as part of a perennial garden. Bright yellow flowers with dark spots near the center are produced during all but the coldest months.

Florida Native: No; native to South Africa.









Ageratum


Scientific Name:Ageratum houstonianum

Growth Habit: A sprawling, long-lived annual growing to 2 feet tall and almost as wide. The leaves are bright green and heart-shaped, growing to 2 inches long and an inch wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer monthly to in-ground plantings; feed container plantings with a 20-20-20 or similar fertilizer solution every other week. A slow-release fertilizer also can be used following label instructions.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; water when the surface begins to dry.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed.

Hardiness: Tender; protect from frosts and freezes.

Major Problems: Chewing pests including caterpillars and slugs may damage foliage. Handpick or apply a natural control. Garden flea hoppers often cause a yellow dotting of the leaves and can be controlled with a natural pyrethrin spray.

Pruning: Keep in bounds by removing extra-long portions of sprawling shoots as needed. Trim off cold injury.

Uses: An attractive temporary ground cover developing a carpet of blue, purple or white blooms depending on the variety. Plants can be in flower October through July provided they are not affected by cold during the winter months. Ageratum also can be used in borders with a backdrop of other taller greenery or flowers. Also add to container gardens or hanging baskets where they can cascade over the sides.

Florida Native: No; native to Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras.









Alternanthera


Scientific Name: Alternanthera dentata 'Purple Knight'

Growth Habit: An evergreen multi- stemmed perennial growing to 24 inches tall and 36 inches wide. The leaves are broadly lance-shaped, deep green to purple and growing to 6 inches long and 3 inches wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer monthly to encourage growth of in-ground plantings, every other month to maintain established plants. Feed container plantings every other week during the warmer months.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought, but in-ground plantings grow best with weekly waterings; container plantings may need daily waterings during hot, dry weather.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; grow in containers so plants can be moved to a warmer location or cover in-ground plantings to protect from frosts or freezes.

Major Problems: Caterpillars and slugs like the tender leaves. Handpick and destroy or control with a natural pesticide.

Pruning: Plantings grow rapidly during the warmer months and may encroach upon nearby perennials or shrubs. Trim back as needed to control growth. Also tip back vigorous shoots during the growing season to cause branching and produce more compact plants.

Uses: Purple Knight is a new variety of the popular alternanthera, sometimes called Joseph's coat. It's often planted as a border or a ground cover.

Florida Native: No; native to the West Indies and Brazil.









Aluminum Plant


Scientific Name: Pilea cadierei

Growth Habit: A sprawling perennial growing to 18 inches tall and twice as wide. The leaves are shiny green with silvery blotches and grow to 3 inches long and about half as wide.

Light: Plant in shade to filtered-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer to in-ground plantings once monthly in March, June and September. Feed container-grown plants monthly, March through November.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best if watered once a week during hot, dry weather.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; survives most winters under trees and overhangs with some stem damage.

Major Problems: Mites may attack the foliage, causing yellowing and leaf drop. Control with a soap spray as needed.

Pruning: Keep plants in bounds by periodically trimming off sprawling shoots. Remove cold-damaged stems and reshape plantings to begin spring growth during March.

Uses: An underused ground cover that adds the tropical look to shady landscapes. Plants are easy to grow and offer attractive silvery foliage. Small white clusters of flowers also are produced among the foliage during the summer months. Plants also are used individually or in combination with other shade-loving foliage plants in container gardens to decorate balconies and patios. A small-leaf form is also available.

Florida Native: No; native to Vietnam.









American Hop Hornbeam


Scientific Name: Ostrya virginiana

Growth Habit: An upright to pyramidal tree when young, gradually taking a rounded shape with age and growing to 25 feet tall and wide. The leaves are deciduous and oblong, growing to 4 inches long with finely toothed edges.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Fertilize lightly once monthly in March and June with a general garden fertilizer for the first three years after planting. Once established, the tree obtains needed nutrients from decomposing mulches and nearby feedings of shrubs and lawns.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant. Water when young to establish the root system in the surrounding soil; thereafter, the tree usually survives with seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start trees from seed.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: During the rainy summer season, the foliage develops leaf spots that are unsightly, but no sprays are needed. Plant in well-drained soils to avoid root-rot problems.

Pruning: Train to a single or multiple trunk tree, removing suckers and competing limbs until the tree is 6 to 8 feet tall. Then allow branching to form a rounded crown. Remove lower limbs as needed to allow movement along walkways and maintenance under the canopy.

Uses: Plant as a small shade tree for patios and along walkways. Trees also can be used as backdrops for gardens and as street trees. The flowers are brown and green but not showy. An attractive pale green, hoplike, papery capsule forms during the summer and matures a golden brown color by early fall to provide food for wildlife. The tree adds the Northern temperate climate look to local landscapes with attractive, often reddish shredding bark and leaves turning a yellow color for fall.

Florida Native: Yes.









Amaryllis


Scientific Name: Hippeastrum hybridum

Growth Habit: A perennial with long straplike leaves arising from a large bulb with a neck protruding a few inches above the soil line. Leaves are dark green, often arching, with parallel veins growing to 2 feet long.

Light: Plant in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer every six to eight weeks March through August.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought but grows best with weekly waterings February through September. During the fall and winter months allow the soil to dry between waterings to encourage spring blooms.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants with seed or by dividing older clusters of bulbs.

Hardiness: Hardy; tops may be damaged by frosts or freezes, but plants survive as bulbs protected by mulches and soil.

Major Problems: Large lubber grasshoppers love the foliage and should be handpicked from the plants when young each spring. Plantings are also affected by red blotch, a disease causing brown to red spots on the leaves. Prune light infections or treat with a fungicide when severe.

Pruning: Amaryllis need minimal pruning except as required to remove damaged leaves and foliage affected by cold. When needed, longer leaves can be trimmed from walkways and nearby plants.

Uses: Add amaryllis to perennial flower beds and to create spots of color among shrub plantings. They can also be used in container gardens to set on porches and patios when in bloom. Bulbs are available to produce red, orange or white trumpet-shaped blooms that rise well above the foliage during March and April.

Florida Native: No; hybrids produced with species from South America.









Angelonia


Scientific Name: Angelonia angustifolia

Growth Habit: An evergreen upright perennial with numerous stems growing to 24 inches tall and wide. The leaves are sparingly toothed, bright green and lancelike and growing to 4 inches long and 3/4-inch wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer every other month March through November.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; water at least weekly.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; protect from freezing weather. May survive freezes, growing back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Plant in well-drained soils to avoid root-rot problems. Foliage may be damaged by chewing insects, but a control is seldom needed.

Pruning: Remove old flower heads as they begin to decline. Trim stems that become floppy and interfere with nearby flowers or ground covers. May also be sheared back as needed to encourage branching and a more compact growth habit.

Uses: Angelonia plantings appear to grow best in Florida during the warmish weather fall through spring. Cluster in flower beds to enjoy the spikes of blue, purple, pink, white and bicolor blossoms that last for weeks. Angelonia can be added to container gardens for balconies and patio displays. Stems of blooms also can be cut for bouquets.

Florida Native: No; native to Mexico and the West Indies.









Anise


Scientific Name: Illicium parviflorum

Growth Habit: An evergreen shrub with dense foliage to the ground and an upright to rounded shape; grows to 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide. The leaves are a medium-green color and lancelike in shape, growing to 6 inches long and 2 inches wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun to shady.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September if needed to encourage growth.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best when watered every seven to 10 days.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Scale insects occasionally may attack the stems and foliage. When needed, a low-toxicity oil spray can be applied as a control.

Pruning: Encourage dense growth by removing the growing tips as needed to produce additional branches with foliage. The plants grow tall and may need the selective removal of individual stems to control height and width in late winter and midsummer. Shearing is not recommended because the leaves are large and show the pruning wounds.

Uses: An excellent hedge plant for sun and shade. Plantings make an excellent backdrop for smaller shrubs and flower beds or can be used to create view barriers. They also can be trained to form small trees for patios and along walkways. The leaves have an anise fragrance when crushed. Small, yellowish, bell-like flowers are produced during May and June but are not very showy.

Florida Native: Yes.









Annual Phlox


Scientific Name: Phlox drummondii

Growth Habit: A multistemmed upright-to-spreading annual growing to 18 inches tall and 24 inches wide. The leaves are oblong and medium green and grow to 3 inches long and 1 inch wide.

Light: Plants prefer full sun but tolerate light shade.

Feedings: Tolerates poor soils. Best growth comes with light monthly feedings of a general garden fertilizer.

Water Needs: Phlox plants are drought tolerant and can survive with seasonal rains. Newer selections appear to grow best with weekly waterings during hot, dry times.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed. Plants may reseed from one year to another.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Grow in well-drained soils to prevent root-rot problems during damp weather. Plants may be affected by powdery mildew during the spring months but seldom need a control.

Pruning: Trim spreading selections as needed to prevent the plants from encroaching upon other flowers. Remove declining blooms to encourage additional flowers.

Uses: Trim spreading selections as needed to prevent the plants from encroaching upon other flowers. Remove declining blooms to encourage additional flowers.

Florida Native: No; native to Texas.









Ascocenda Orchid


Scientific Name: Ascocenda hybrid

Growth Habit: An upright to sprawling orchid growing to 18 inches tall and wide. The leaves are straplike and medium green and grow to 6 inches long and an inch wide.

Light: Grow in a filtered-sun location.

Feedings: Apply a 20-20-20 or orchid fertilizer every other week during the warmer months, once a month during the cooler weather.

Water Needs: Moisten daily to every other day during the hot, dry weather; water when the plants or growing medium dries during the cooler months.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Remove offshoots during the spring months to continue growth in pots or baskets.

Hardiness: Tender; keep from freezing. The best growth is obtained when plants are kept above 55 degrees.

Major Problems: Gardeners may encounter root rot and leaf spot problems. These fungal diseases can be prevented by providing good air movement and following a good care program.

Pruning: Remove old leaves and flower stems as they begin to decline. Avoid removing the aerial roots that extend down from the stems. These are used to obtain water and nutrients for growth.

Uses: An exotic accent plant to hang under a tree or lath structure during the warmer months. Display the orchids where they can be seen easily near patios, in gardens and along walkways. Clusters of blooms open throughout the year in white, yellow, orange, red or purple colors depending on the varieties. The plants also can be grown in a bright window or a shaded greenhouse.

Florida Native: No; a hybrid of plants from Burma, India and the Philippines.









Australian Violet


Scientific Name: Viola hederacea

Growth Habit: A creeping evergreen perennial spreading from shoots near the ground line producing plants up to 6 inches tall and more than a foot wide. The bright green leaves are kidney-shaped and up to an inch long and wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun to shady locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist site; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Divide older clumps.

Hardiness: Hardy; top portions are damaged by severe freezes, but plants grow back from stems at or below the soil surface. Plantings protected by trees and shrubs are seldom damaged by cold.

Major Problems: Slugs can produce holes in the leaves; they hide in the moist areas under the foliage. Try to handpick or use a shallow container of beer or a malt beverage to trap the pests.

Pruning: Plantings produce lots of runners and may invade nearby flowers and shrubs. Keep the plants in bounds by periodically edging beds and walkways. After a freeze, rake out cold-damaged foliage.

Uses: Home gardeners are just discovering the Australian violet for use as a ground cover in the lower light locations. It's a good plant to fill areas where the grass won't grow, providing an almost constant display of white blossoms with a central lavender blotch held well above the foliage March through November. Plants also can be used to fill pots or placed in a hanging basket where the stems trail down over the sides.

Florida Native: No; native to Australia.









Bacopa


Scientific Name: Sutera cordata

Growth Habit: An evergreen-vining perennial often used as an annual; grows to 5 inches tall and 2 feet wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Feed container plantings every other week with a 20-20-20 or similar fertilizer; apply a general garden fertilizer to in-ground plantings monthly.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; needs cooler weather for best growth but should be protected from freezing temperatures.

Major Problems: Stay alert to whitefly infestations and control with an oil spray as needed. Also plant in a well-drained soil to avoid root-rot problems.

Pruning: Periodically trim the ends of new shoots to encourage branching and plants with a dense growth habit.

Uses: A new plant for the fall through spring garden. Bacopa can be grown as a ground cover but finds much more use as a cascading addition to hanging baskets and other container plantings. Gardeners like to include bacopa as a border in container gardens to contrast with other colorful cool- season flowers. Plants flower continuously, opening small but plentiful blossoms. A white flowering selection is most commonly marketed, but pink, lavender and blues should be available shortly.

Florida Native: No; native to South Africa.









Bat Flower


Scientific Name: Tacca integrifolia

Growth Habit: A clump-forming evergreen perennial with broad green leaves arising from a rhizome and growing to 2 feet tall and wide. The leaves are dark green and have a crinkled appearance, growing to 2 feet long and 10 inches wide.

Light: Plant in shade to filtered-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a 20-20-20 or similar fertilizer monthly March through November to container-grown plants. Apply a light scattering of a general garden fertilizer every other month during the same time period to in-ground plantings.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; water when the surface soil begins to dry during the warmer months. Allow the surface soil to dry during the cooler months. Keep in a naturally humid location.

Ease of Culture: Medium; needs more care than most plants.

Propagation: Start plants by dividing older clumps during late spring and summer. Seeds are available but difficult to germinate.

Hardiness: Tender; best grown in containers that can be protected from cold.

Major Problems: Must be protected from cold, which makes plants more susceptible to rot and general decline. Failure to keep in a humid location causes brown leaves to form. Leaves may be damaged by slugs.

Pruning: Trim old leaves and flowers back to the base of the plant as needed.

Uses: The bat flower is a conversation starter and should be displayed on a porch, patio or along walkways where visitors are sure to notice the unusual inflorescence developing May through November. Also called the devil flower or cat's whiskers plant, the trick to success is finding the right location with shade and humidity. Avoid breezy spots and be ready to give the plant a warm area with temperatures consistently above 50 degrees during the cooler months. The plants can be grown in the ground but are best kept in containers locally.

Florida Native: No; native to Southeast Asia.









Beach Sunflower


Scientific Name: Helianthus debilis

Growth Habit: A long-lived annual vine that grows to 24 inches tall and 48 inches wide, filling with glossy triangular leaves. Plantings give an almost continual display of 2-inch-diameter yellow flowers with dark centers.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: None needed; plantings receive needed nutrients from decomposing leaves and rainwater.

Water Needs: Keep moist until roots grow into the surrounding soil. Thereafter, plantings survive with moisture from seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start new plants from seed and cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy; damaged by severe freezes but grows back from stems near the ground or from seeds.

Major Problems: Avoid poorly drained areas or overwatering which encourages root rot. Plantings are considered pest free.

Pruning: Keep plants in bounds by pruning vigorous shoots as needed. Pruning also may be needed in garden settings to remove plants completing their life cycles.

Uses: Beach sunflower plantings are ideal for coastal gardens because they tolerate salty growing sites. They also can be used as a ground cover in the sandy soils throughout Florida. In time, the plantings decline but grow back from seeds that fall to the ground. Plantings are in bloom year-round except in the colder locations. The flowers attract nectar-feeding butterflies, and the seeds are a favorite food of wildlife.

Florida Native: Yes.









Bengal Clock Vine


Scientific Name: Thunbergia grandiflora

Growth Habit: An evergreen vine with shoots growing more than 20 feet long. The leaves are dark green and oblong and grow to 8 inches long and half as wide.

Light: Plant in full sun for best flowering.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March and June if needed to encourage growth.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought. Grows best if watered every 10 to 14 days.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed, cuttings or air layers.

Hardiness: Medium; may be damaged by freezes but usually grows back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Leaves occasionally are damaged by chewing insects, but controls seldom are needed. The vine also may exhibit minor nutrient deficiencies that can be avoided by including these nutrients in the fertilizer.

Pruning: This vigorous grower during the warmer months may need trimming to remain in bounds. Also requires pruning during mid- to late February to remove cold-damaged shoots and to control growth.

Uses: Everyone likes the sky blue to white blooms of the Bengal clock vine opening to 3 inches in diameter, but not every landscape has the space to grow this plant. Train to a long fence or extended trellis to enjoy the green foliage and clusters of blossoms opening May and October but also sporadically anytime it's warm. Plantings also may be trained to disguise a wall or cover an arbor.

Florida Native: No; native to India.









Blanket Flower


Scientific Name: Gaillardia pulchella

Growth Habit: A long-lived annual with an upright to sprawling habit growing to 18 inches tall and wide. The leaves are lancelike and smooth-edged on upper plant portions and toothed near the base; they grow to 4 inches long and 1 inch wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Fertilizer is seldom needed except to encourage growth. Where needed, feed lightly with a general garden product in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Keep moist until established. Thereafter, plantings usually survive with moisture from seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed or cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Plantings need a well-drained soil to prevent root-rot problems. Caterpillars may chew holes in the leaves but seldom need control. Garden flea hoppers cause pinpoint-size yellow spots in the leaves, and they may be a bit unsightly but they usually can be tolerated.

Pruning: Some trimming may be needed to keep sprawling plants off pathways. Also remove old flower heads throughout the year to encourage additional blooms. Clean plantings of older stems and brown leaf portions during late winter as new growth begins.

Uses: Add to flower beds, planters and perennial gardens for periods of extended color. Plants open daisylike yellow and red flowers year-round that last for more than a week. Gaillardia is often included in wildflower plantings where it self-seeds to continue the displays. Plantings are salt-tolerant and can be used near beaches. Blossoms attract butterflies and are often cut for bouquets.

Florida Native: Yes.









Blood Lily


Scientific Name: Scadoxus multiflorus

Growth Habit: An upright perennial bulb with a single stalk of foliage growing to 18 inches tall and wide. The leaves are lancelike in shape and produced in whorls growing to12 inches long and 6 inches wide.

Light: Plant in shade to filtered sun.

Feedings: Apply a light scattering of a general garden fertilizer once monthly in June and August.

Water Needs: Plantings prefer a moist soil during periods of growth late spring through early fall; water at least weekly. Allow the planting sites to dry and receive seasonal rains late fall through midspring.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants by division of older clumps during late fall and winter.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Slugs often consume major sections of leaves. Control with a shallow saucer of beer that acts as a trap, or use natural baits available from garden centers. Grasshoppers also may feed on the leaves but seldom need control.

Pruning: Remove flower heads as the blossoms fade by midsummer. Trim declining leaves as plants go dormant during October.

Uses: An attractive plant for the shady gardens, often opening an inflorescence more than 6 inches in diameter and composed of many small red blossoms in June and July before the foliage appears. Plant clusters of several bulbs set 8 to 10 inches apart for a burst of color. The foliage that follows flowering is bright green and serves as a ground cover until early fall when the plants decline. Blood lilies also can be grown in containers to add to the porch or patio for seasonal flowers and foliage.

Florida Native: No; native to South Africa.









Blue-eyed Grass


Scientific Name: Sisyrinchium atlanticum

Growth Habit: A clump-forming perennial with grasslike leaves creating plants that grow more than 12 inches tall and wide. The leaves are linear, bright green and grow to 12 inches long and 1/4-inch wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Feed lightly with a general garden fertilizer once in March.

Water Needs: Needs a moist location. Plant in naturally damp soils, or water at least weekly.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed or by division of older clumps.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Few problems, but plants likely will decline in a location that is too dry.

Pruning: Trim old flower heads after spring bloom and remove declining leaves as needed.

Uses: An attractive plant that resembles a grass but is really a member of the iris family. The flowers, which bloom February through May, are up to 1/2-inch in diameter and are mainly blue in color with a yellow center; a white-flowered selection is also available. Plant as a ground cover or use as an accent in perennial flower beds and along walkways. This is an ideal plant to add to bog gardens and to use in naturalized plant settings. It also may be grown in containers to set on patios and balconies.

Florida Native: Yes.









Bolivian Sunset


Scientific Name: Gloxinia sylvatica

Growth Habit: An upright multistemmed evergreen perennial growing to 2 feet tall and wide. The leaves are dark green and lancelike, growing to 6 inches long and an inch wide.

Light: Plant in locations with morning sun and afternoon shade or a full day of filtered sun.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once a month March through November to in-ground plantings and every other week during the warm months to container plantings; none during the winter.

Water Needs: Keep in-ground plantings moist with weekly waterings when plants are growing; water less during the winter months. Check container plantings daily for water needs, and moisten when the surface soil begins to dry.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings or by dividing older clumps.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by frosts and freezing weather but usually grows back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Mealybugs may encase the tips of new shoots to cause yellowing and decline. Control with a soap spray as needed. Leaf-spot-fungal organisms can affect plants during the rainy season. Keep in an airy location and treat with a fungicide for leaf spots as needed.

Pruning: Trim back the tips of growing shoots to cause branching as needed to maintain a compact growth habit. Also, remove faded flowers to maintain an attractive plant. Remove cold-damaged portions and trim to reshape the plants in March.

Uses: Plants can be added to shaded flower beds to enjoy the dark foliage and brilliant tubular-shaped orange-red blooms with yellow centers October through January. Many gardeners also like to grow the plants in containers that can be added to patio or balcony plant collections and moved to a warm location during the cold weather.

Florida Native: No; native to Bolivia and Peru.









Bougainvillea


Scientific Name: Bougainvillea species

Growth Habit: An evergreen sprawling shrub to vining plant growing to 15 feet tall and twice as wide. Leaves are oval to heart-shaped and grow to 4 inches long and wide.

Light: Tolerates light shade; grows and flowers best in full sun.

Feedings: Feed lightly with a general garden fertilizer once each month in March, June and August.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; needs frequent watering until established. Thereafter, plantings usually survive and flower best with moisture from seasonal rainfall.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by freezes but usually grows back from main stems or buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Gardeners frequently have trouble getting plants to rebloom after planting. A lack of flowering is usually because of overwatering and overfeeding that promotes growth rather than blooms. Caterpillars also damage the leaves and are best controlled with a natural insecticide when noted.

Pruning: Avoid major pruning to encourage blooms. Perform needed trimming between May and mid-August to ensure winter flowering.

Uses: A strong accent plant often grown as a wall covering or vine for a trellis. Bougainvillea are also planted in hanging baskets and large containers to ramble up and over the edges. The small tubular flowers are white and surrounded by the more obvious colorful bracts of red, pink, orange, purple or white. Major flowering occurs November through April, but plants may produce sporadic blooms at any time of the year.

Florida Native: No; native to Brazil.









Butterfly Bush


Scientific Name: Buddleia davidii

Growth Habit: A rounded evergreen shrub with multiple arching branches growing to 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide. The leaves are deep green and lance-shaped, growing to 8 inches long and 2 inches wide.

Light: Plant in a full-sun location.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September.
Water NNeeds: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best when watered every 10 to 14 days.

Ease of Culture: Medium.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy; may be damaged by freezing temperatures but grows back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Wet-soil conditions may cause stems and roots to rot. Plant in a well-drained soil. Roots also may be damaged by nematodes, and caterpillars often feed on the foliage.

Pruning: Control vigorous warm-season growth that overhangs walkways and affects nearby plantings. Also trim faded blooms to encourage extended flowering. Remove cold-damaged portions and trim older stems back to within a few feet of the ground during February to encourage vigorous shoots with blooms for spring.

Uses: An attractive accent plant opening arching clusters of white, pink, red or purple flowers May through November. As the name suggests, this is a favorite plant of butterflies. Add butterfly bushes to foundation plantings, use as a backdrop for perennial gardens, plant near a patio or display along walkways.

Florida Native: No; native to China.









Butterfly Ginger


Scientific Name: Hedychium species

Growth Habit: Upright semievergreen perennials, with long stalks of clasping leaves, growing to 6 feet tall. The leaves grow to 2 feet long and 5 inches wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; maintain a mulch layer and water weekly during periods of drought.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plantings by dividing older clumps.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by frosts and freezing weather but grows back from underground rhizomes.

Major Problems: Chewing insects may cause minor damage to the foliage but seldom need control.

Pruning: Plantings grow vigorously during the warm, humid months and often need trimming to remain in bounds. Many die back during the winter or have cold damage that should be removed during late February.

Uses: Butterfly gingers add the tropical look to Florida landscapes. Cluster several plants to form a backdrop for gardens or a view barrier along walkways and boundary lines. Plantings are also ideal additions to perennial gardens and useful as accent features near water and bog plantings. All produce attractive and often fragrant white, red, pink, orange or yellow flower clusters May though October. They can also be added to container gardens for porches and patios.

Florida Native: No; native to India and Malaysia.









Caladium


Scientific Name: Caladium hortulanum

Growth Habit: An upright to rounded perennial with large heart-shaped leaves rising from below-ground tubers. Plants grow to 18 inches tall from spring through fall and die back to the ground during winter dormancy.

Light: Full sun to shady locations.

Feedings: Apply a light scattering of a general garden fertilizer or manure every 6 to 8 weeks March through September.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; water every 3 to 4 days.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Divide older clumps during February or March.

Hardiness: Hardy; keep mulched to protect tubers from cold.

Major Problems: Slugs feed on the foliage in moist soils, producing large holes in the leaves overnight. Handpick from plants or coax into shallow trays of stale beer. Baits for snails and slugs are also effective. Foliage also may burn if plants are moved from shady sites to sunny locations, but new shoots adjust to the higher light levels.

Pruning: Remove yellowing leaves and old flower heads in late spring and summer.

Uses: Caladiums with brightly colored leaves are the stars of the Florida perennial garden. The foliage is blotched, stripped or spotted with numerous green, red, pink, orange and white patterns. Tubers from the previous year begin growth during March and continue producing foliage through October. Plant in beds, along walkways and in container gardens.

Florida Native: No; hybrids of species from Central and South America.









Calendula


Scientific Name: Calendula officinalis

Growth Habit: A rounded multibranched annual growing to 18 inches tall and wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer monthly to in-ground plantings; feed container plantings every other week.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; water in-ground plantings weekly, container plantings when the surface soil begins to dry.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Roots are affected by nematodes. Plant in gardens that are free of nematodes or grow in containers using a pest-free potting soil. This cool-season annual declines rapidly during the hot spring months.

Pruning: Flowers become unsightly as the petals begin to decline. Remove the faded blooms to keep plantings attractive and to encourage additional buds.

Uses: A colorful cool-season accent, sometimes called the pot marigold, usually planted November through February for flower garden and container displays. The daisylike blooms are available in yellow, orange and light red selections plus varieties with a blend of colors. The blooms are long lasting and often more than 2 inches in diameter. Petals from pesticide-free plantings are edible and often added to salads.

Florida Native: No; native to southern Europe.









California Poppy


Scientific Name: Eschscholzia californica

Growth Habit: An annual flowering plant with fernlike blue-green leaves growing to 18 inches tall and equally as wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer monthly if needed to encourage growth.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant, but grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start seeds during the fall months for spring blooms. Sow seeds directly in the ground. Also may be started in small pots or cell packs to help the young poppies with sensitive roots survive transplanting.

Hardiness: Hardy; tops may be damaged by severe freezes but plant usually grow back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Aphids often feed in the tender new shoots. Control as needed with a soap spray; follow label instructions.

Pruning: Plants spread out over the surface of the ground and over the edge of pots. Some light trimming may be needed to keep in bounds.

Uses: Add to the cool-season annual garden. Start plants during the fall to produce growth for flowering March through May. Colors available include orange, yellow, pink, rose and red. Also plant as a temporary ground cover and in containers. Plantings usually regrow from seeds the following year.

Florida Native: No; native to western North America.









Cassia


Scientific Name: Cassia bicapsularis

Growth Habit: A rounded evergreen shrub with multiple branches growing to 8 feet tall and wide. The leaves grow to 6 inches long and 3 inches wide and are composed of many bright green leaflets.

Light: Plant in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and August if needed to encourage growth.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; when established, usually survives with seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed.

Hardiness: Medium; damaged by severe freezes but normally grows back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Plants are a favorite food of the sulphur butterflies. Most gardeners tolerate the chewing damage caused by the caterpillar stage of the insect and even plant cassia as larva food. Plants may reseed and become a nuisance but can be hand pulled as needed.

Pruning: This shrubby cassia is a bit weak wooded and may need periodic pruning to help reduce growth and keep the plants sturdy and compact. Reserve major pruning until late February at which time cold damage can be removed and the plants can be thinned of lanky shoots and cut back to just a few feet high to resume growth.

Uses: Cassia shrubs invite the butterflies to visit with an abundance of bright yellow flowers during October and November. Plants can be featured as accents near patios or along walkways. They can be used as low view barriers and backdrops for gardens or added to containers for patio or balcony displays.

Florida Native: No; native to the Caribbean.









Chandelier Plant


Scientific Name: Kalanchoe delagoensis

Growth Habit: An upright succulent perennial with leaves uniformly spaced around a single stem growing to 3 feet tall. The leaves are lancelike and folded to a canoe shape; they have brownish spots and grow to 8 inches long and 1 inch wide.

Light: Plant in a full-sun to lightly shaded area.

Feedings: Seldom needed. Apply a light feeding of a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March and June only if needed to encourage growth.

Water Needs: Very drought tolerant; survives with moisture from seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings or plantlets that form along the leaves.

Hardiness: Medium; damaged by freezes but grows back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Occasionally damaged by slugs and chewing insects, but controls are seldom needed. Grow in a sandy, well-drained soil to avoid root-rot problems.

Pruning: Trim as needed to keep plants in bounds and remove old flower stalks as they decline. Also remove dead and lanky shoots during February before growth begins.

Uses: A colorful plant for the drier poor landscape soils. Plants can be used as ground covers in dry or hard-to-maintain areas. They also can be planted as accents in portions of perennial beds or containers. February through March, clusters of pendulous orange-red flowers open at the top of up-to-3-foot-tall stalks above the foliage. This succulent multiplies quickly and may compete with nearby plantings; control as needed to restrict growth to the desired location.

Florida Native: No; native to Madagascar.









Chickasaw Plum


Scientific Name: Prunus angustifolia

Growth Habit: A small deciduous tree with a rounded shape, often developing more than one trunk and growing to 20 feet tall and wide. The leaves are bright green and lancelike, growing to 3 inches long and 1 inch wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once each month in March and June for new trees up to three years after planting. After that, additional feedings are normally not needed as older trees obtain nutrients from decomposing mulches or nearby feedings of turf and shrubs.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant. Water until the root systems of new trees become established in the surrounding soil. Seasonal rains normally provide adequate moisture for established trees.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seeds or by removal of rooted offshoots.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Eastern tent caterpillars build nests in the trees during later winter. The insects are unsightly and cause only minor damage. If needed, the nests can be cut out or treated with a natural insecticide.

Pruning: Train the plum to a single trunk until more than 4 feet high; then allow branching to create a rounded canopy. Thin out smaller limbs in midwinter just before flowering to keep an open growth habit. Trees commonly send up shoots from their base and root system that should be removed as noted to prevent a thicket of growths.

Uses: A beautiful first of the year accent tree for street, entrance, patio or garden plantings. The white blossoms open in February and are especially appreciated by those who remember the early spring cherry blossoms of the north. Chickasaw plums provide good shade and maybe a few tart but tasty fruits for you and the wildlife.

Florida Native: Yes.









China Pink


Scientific Name: Dianthus chinensis

Growth Habit: An upright perennial, often planted as a garden annual, growing to 18 inches tall and half as wide. The leaves are blue-green and lancelike, growing to a half-inch wide and several inches long.

Light: Plant in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer to in-ground plantings monthly; feed container plantings every other week.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil. In-ground plantings grow best with weekly waterings; container plantings may need daily watering during the drier months.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Easy.

Hardiness: Easy.

Major Problems: Caterpillars sometimes feed among the flowers and leaves. Handpick or control with a natural spray as needed. Slugs and snails also may affect the foliage. Handpick or use a snail-and-slug bait as instructed on the label.

Pruning: Breeders have tried to produce plants that naturally hide the declining flowers, but it's probably best to remove them by hand from container plantings to keep them attractive.

Uses: China pinks, commonly referred to by the scientific name dianthus, are best used in clusters as a garden annual or added to containers for color November through May. Flushes of flowers with edges that appear to be trimmed with pinking shears open in red, white and pink colors to cover the tops of the plants. Use in hanging baskets or planters in combination with other seasonal annuals.

Florida Native: No; most are hybrids with relatives from China.









Chinese Ground Orchid


Scientific Name: Bletilla striata

Growth Habit: A terrestrial orchid with broad, lancelike, dark green leaves borne on plants growing to 12 inches tall. Leaves appear before the flowers open during spring and die back by fall.

Light: Plant in a lightly shaded location under a tree, tall shrub or arbor.

Feedings: Fertilize lightly with a general garden product every 6 to 8 weeks March through August.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil during periods of above-ground growth. Water at least weekly and maintain a 1- to 2-inch mulch of leaves or compost.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Divide older, well-established clumps; dividing too often delays flowering.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Plantings need adequate moisture but a well-drained soil. Wet soils can cause root rot and plant decline.

Pruning: Gardeners can remove old flower stalks after the blooms fade and declining stems during fall to maintain attractive beds.

Uses: The Chinese ground orchid thrives in lightly shaded sites and flourishes in a moist soil. This true orchid has stalks of 1- to 2-inch purplish flowers produced above the foliage during March and April. Plant as a ground cover for the spring blossoms and green foliage during the summer. Plant in containers for patios, porches and balconies. A white variety is also available.

Florida Native: No; native to China and Japan.









Chinese Wisteria


Scientific Name: Wisteria sinensis

Growth Habit: A deciduous vine with twining shoots growing to more than 40 feet long. The leaves are composed of seven to 13 leaflets, are bright green and grow to 6 inches wide and a foot long.

Light: Tolerates light shade but grows and flowers best in full sun.

Feedings: Fertilize lightly once monthly in March and June with a low-nitrogen general garden product often sold as a blossom booster. Overfeeding encourages excessive vining and fewer flowers.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; keep moist until the roots of new plants grow into the surrounding soil. Thereafter plants usually exist with moisture from seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start vines from seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Thrips and mites may cause the flowers and foliage to turn brown, but they are considered minor pests that seldom need control. Vining shoots can climb trees to compete for foliage sites. Restrict vines to landscape structures to prevent tree decline.

Pruning: Prune after flowering and periodically during the summer months to restrict growth. Discontinue pruning by late summer to allow the stems to form flower buds. Plants can also be trimmed to create a free-standing shrub.

Uses: An attractive accent vine to conceal a wall or a fence, climb a trellis or cover an arbor. Plants are often featured near a home or a patio and at the entrance to gardens.

Florida Native: No; native to China.









Chrysanthemum


Scientific Name: Chrysanthemum x morifolium

Growth Habit: Upright clump-forming evergreen perennials growing to 2 feet tall and equally as wide. Produces pleasantly scented deep-cut, dark-green leaves that grow to 2 inches long and equally as wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer to in-ground plantings once monthly in March, June and August. Feed container plantings every other week March through December.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought during the cooler months; in-ground plantings grow best with twice-a-week, evenly spaced waterings during periods of growth and flowering. Water container plantings when the surface soil starts to dry.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Leaf miners often tunnel between the leaf surfaces causing a blotched look to the foliage; control with a systemic insecticide as needed. Fungal leaf spots produce brown leaves during the summer rainy season; apply a fungicide as needed. Some selections are not suited to Florida conditions and decline after providing a cool-season display.

Pruning: Trim declining flower heads during the fall and winter months to encourage additional blooms. Cut back the plants to within 6 inches of the ground during spring to encourage growth. Trim out the tops as needed spring through summer to encourage branching; complete all trimming by mid-August.

Uses: Chrysanthemums, often called mums, are one of the sure signs fall has arrived. Plants begin blooming during late August and continue through the early spring months, creating mounds of daisylike displays of assorted colors. Add to perennial beds for permanent plantings or use as seasonal flowers for pockets of color throughout the landscape. Mums also are added to planters, dish gardens and pots for fall and winter displays.

Florida Native: No; hybrids with parents from China.









Clivia


Scientific Name: Clivia miniata

Growth Habit: An upright bulblike evergreen perennial related to the amaryllis with leaves originating from tuberous roots forming plants 18 inches tall and wide. The leaves are dark green and lancelike and grow to 18 inches long and 3 inches wide.

Light: Plant in filtered-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a light application of a general garden fertilizer to in-ground plantings once monthly in April and July. Feed container-grown plants every other week with a half-strength 20-20-20 or similar product April through September.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil April through September; water at least weekly. During the fall and winter, seasonal rains provide adequate moisture.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed or by dividing older clumps.

Hardiness: Tender; susceptible to severe freezes but survives most winters with little damage when protected by trees.

Major Problems: Grasshoppers may chew holes in leaves but can be handpicked from the plants as needed. Provide a well-drained soil to prevent root-rot problems during cool, damp weather.

Pruning: Periodically remove declining leaves to keep garden clumps attractive. Also remove old flower heads or seed clusters as needed.

Uses: A special flowering bulb for hobbyists and collectors that's sure to attract attention with its ornamental dark-green foliage and bright-orange flowers. The plants come into bloom, opening clusters of trumpetlike blossoms, after cool, dry weather, normally in late winter or early spring. Most blossoms are orange, but a yellow-flowered form is also available. The plants are best displayed in clusters to form a garden accent, but they also can be spaced along a shaded pathway. Many gardeners like to keep clivia in a container to display on a porch or a patio, where the plants can be given more protection during a severe freeze.

Florida Native: No; native to South Africa.









Common Mulberry


Scientific Name: Morus alba

Growth Habit: A deciduous tree with a rounded shape growing to 30 feet tall and wide. The leaves are bright green and variable, ranging from rounded to three-lobed and growing to 6 inches long and wide.

Light: Plant in a full-sun location.

Feedings: Fertilize new trees with a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March and June for the first three years. Thereafter, decomposing mulches and feedings given nearby lawns and ornamentals provide needed nutrients.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; can usually exist with seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start trees from seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Caterpillars and leaf spot organisms may occasionally affect the foliage but seldom need control. The berries are messy if trees are planted near walkways. They are also a favorite food of birds, which may leave residues on furniture and other outdoor structures.

Pruning: Train trees to a single trunk when young and allow branching to begin when 6 to 8 feet tall. Prune to develop a rounded crown with evenly spaced limbs.

Uses: An excellent addition to the edible landscape; also known as the white mulberry. Trees can be used for shade in natural areas away from patios and walkways. Small white flowers open in February and are followed by the red to black berries that mature in late March and April. The fruits attract wildlife but can also be used fresh or made into pies and preserves. Fruitless selections and a weeping form are also available.

Florida Native: No; native to China.









Common Camellia


Scientific Name: Camellia japonica

Growth Habit: An upright to rounded evergreen shrub to small tree growing to 15-feet tall. The leaves are glossy, dark green, elliptic in shape with small-toothed edges and grow to 4 inches long and half as wide.

Light: Plants grow best in partial shade, but many selections tolerate full sun.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and August.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil with weekly waterings, but can tolerate short periods of drought.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy; open flowers may be damaged by freezing weather, but the plants are not affected.

Major Problems: Almost every camellia grower can expect an attack of tea scale, a small brown to white insect that feeds from the undersides of the leaves. Apply an oil spray as needed to maintain control. Poor flowering may result if gardeners do not pick their varieties carefully. Choose types that are labeled early to midseason selections. Also avoid pot-bound plants that never grow out of their root balls.

Pruning: Encourage numerous branches and compact growth by periodically removing the ends of branches during spring. Also remove errant shoots to keep a shapely plant and trim out declining stems to prevent die-back in older plants. Pruning should be stopped by the end of May to allow the plants to form buds for fall and winter color.

Uses: Camellias find many uses including foundation plantings, backdrops for gardens, unclipped hedges and view barriers. They are also used as freestanding accents at entrances, near patios and along walkways. This is one of a few late fall and winter flowering shrubs that can add lots of color to landscapes. Flowers open December through early March.

Florida Native: No; native to Japan and South Korea.









Common Sunflower


Scientific Name: Helianthus annuus

Growth Habit: An upright annual flower growing to more than 10 feet tall depending on the variety. The leaves are bright green and heart-shaped and grow to a foot long and about as wide.

Light: Grows in a full-sun location.

Feedings: Apply a balanced fertilizer monthly until the flowers form.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; add a 2- to 3-inch mulch and water every three to four days.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed.

Hardiness: Tender; severely damaged by frosts.

Major Problems: Caterpillars and grasshoppers often chew holes in the foliage. Control by handpicking or use of a natural insecticide. Beetles and big-legged plant bugs may affect the flowers and can be handpicked to control as needed. Taller plants may need staking to prevent wind damage.

Pruning: Plants grow to a single stem until flowering, when newer selections often branch to open multiple blooms. Varieties with a single large flower head do not need pruning until it's time to remove the seeds or declining stems. Plants forming multiple flower heads can have the faded blooms removed to encourage additional flower clusters.

Uses: Sunflowers form an attractive backdrop for flower gardens and shrub plantings. They also may be planted along walkways and in containers. The colorful sunflower portion is an inflorescence composed of hundreds of blossoms. Most gardeners are familiar with tall-growing sunflowers with the traditional single flower head featuring yellow outer petallike blossoms and yellow to dark central blooms. Newer varieties often open orange, red, bronze or bicolor blossoms. Sunflowers begin flowering about 60 days after planting and can be grown year-round but may be affected by cold during the winter months. Stems of blooms can be cut for flower arrangements or left in the garden to form seeds to harvest or leave for the birds.

Florida Native: No; native to the United States.









Confederate Rose


Scientific Name: Hibiscus mutabilis

Growth Habit: A semi-evergreen rounded shrub with an open branching habit maintaining limbs to the ground and growing to 8 feet tall and wide. The leaves are heart-shaped, growing to 6 inches long and wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once each month in March, June and August.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows and flowers best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy; damaged by cold and may freeze to the ground but grows back from buds near the soil line.

Major Problems: Plants are a favorite host for whiteflies that cause leaves to yellow and drop. They also may become covered with a black sooty mold because of insect activity. Control whiteflies and sooty mold as needed with a natural oil spray; follow label instructions.

Pruning: Most plantings decline during the winter months and need rejuvenation pruning by February. Remove cold-damaged limbs back to healthy stems or to the ground. Also remove older limbs and reshape plants as needed.

Uses: Plant as an accent feature near patios, along walkways or with other shrubs. Also use as a backdrop for other plantings or as a view barrier during the warmer months. Confederate rose plants, also called cotton rose, open white to pink 6-inch or larger blossoms in the morning that turn a reddish color by the end of the day and decline. This member of the mallow family is related to okra, rose of Sharon and cotton.

Florida Native: No; native to China.









Copperleaf Shrub


Scientific Name: Acalypha wilkesiana

Growth Habit: An upright to rounded evergreen shrub growing 8 feet tall and wide in Central Florida but much larger in more southern locations. The leaves are oval to rounded in shape with green, bronze, red and yellow variations; they grow to 8 inches long and wide.

Light: Plant in a full-sun location.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once a month in March, June and September if needed to encourage growth.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought but grows best with weekly waterings during drought.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by freezes but usually grows back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Mealybugs and scale insects may cluster along stems and within the buds to suck plant juices and encourage the growth of sooty mold on the foliage. Use an oil spray for control. Caterpillars are also occasional feeders but seldom need control.

Pruning: Give a renewal pruning in late February to remove cold-damaged shoots and reshape the shrubs. Remove errant shoots at any time to keep plants in bounds and maintain a compact growth habit.

Uses: Create mass plantings of three or more shrubs to form accents that give a year-round burst of color. Plantings also can be used as space dividers and hedges. Many gardeners like to set individual plants in containers to display on the patio, the balcony or at entrances. Several varieties are marketed for their exceptionally colorful foliage. Terminal but usually inconspicuous clusters of yellow to copper-colored flowers also are produced.

Florida Native: No; native to the Pacific Islands.









Coral Honeysuckle


Scientific Name: Lonicera sempervirens

Growth Habit: An evergreen vine with entwining shoots that grow 10 to15 feet long. The leaves are oblong, bright green on the top and whitish beneath, growing to 3 inches long and 11/2 inches wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Fertilize new plants lightly every other month March through September with a general garden product for the first year. Thereafter, plants usually obtain needed nutrients from decomposing mulches and nearby feedings of trees and shrubs.

Water Needs: Drought-tolerant but prefers a moist soil. Grows best with waterings every other week.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Aphids may affect new shoots, and leaf spots can develop during periods of damp weather. The problems seldom need control.

Pruning: Direct growth by trimming stems to cause branching which can fill a trellis or an arbor. Also trim as needed to keep the plants in bounds. Like many vines over time, the lower leaves are lost and most growth is concentrated near the top of the plants. Renewal pruning is needed every few years to encourage new shoots from the base and fuller plants.

Uses: One of Florida's best vines, also known as the trumpet honeysuckle, is used to disguise and accent a wall or to create a colorful view barrier. Avoid sending vines up trees; instead provide a trellis, a fence or an arbor. Clusters of tubular orange to reddish blossoms with contrasting yellow stamens produce major displays in March and April. Plants continue to open sporadic blooms through summer. A yellow-flowered selection is also available.

Florida Native: Yes.









Coral Bean


Scientific Name: Erythrina herbacea

Growth Habit: An open, rounded to sprawling, multibranched deciduous shrub growing to 5 feet tall and wide. The leaves grow to 6 inches long and are bright green with three triangular segments. Leaves and stems have thorns.

Light: Plant in full sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Feed once monthly in March and June with a general garden fertilizer. Once established, the shrubs can exist with nutrients from decomposing mulches or leaf litter.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; grows best when watered at least every other week.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed or cuttings.

Hardiness: Medium; often damaged by freezes but grows back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Chewing insects occasionally may damage the foliage, but a control seldom is needed.

Pruning: Remove cold damage at the end of February, and reshape to a compact habit of growth. Prune as needed during the growing season to keep the plants in bounds.

Uses: Add to woodland settings with filtered sunlight. Can be planted as an understory shrub that opens bright-red stalks of flowers that attract hummingbirds April through May. Plants can be clustered in open areas as accents along walkways or as a backdrop for flower gardens. Long seedpods are produced during the summer and open by fall to reveal poisonous red seeds.

Florida Native: Yes.









Crinum


Scientific Name: Crinum bulbispermum

Growth Habit: Upright, evergreen perennials grow from bulbs near ground level. The bright green leaves are 5 inches wide and up to 3 feet tall.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed or by dividing older clumps.

Hardiness: Hardy; leaves may be damaged by cold, but new growth resumes from the bulbs.

Major Problems: Grasshoppers feed on the large green leaves. The lubber grasshopper is especially attracted to the crinums and is best controlled by hand removal and destroyed. Red blotch, a fungal disease, causes large rusty red spots on the leaves. Affected leaves are best removed as they develop.

Pruning: Most flower heads are removed as the blossoms fade. Also remove declining leaves and those affected by cold as needed.

Uses: Plant crinums in groups for their warm-season flower clusters produced at the top of thick stems. Several species, hybrids and varieties are cultivated in Florida. They open large trumpet- to spider-shaped red, pink or white blossoms April through November. Add crinums to perennial gardens or use as accents among foundation plantings and along walkways. Specimens also can be grown in containers.

Florida Native: No; native to South Africa.









Cross Vine


Scientific Name: Bignonia capreolata

Growth Habit: An evergreen vine with lancelike 2- to 5-inch-long leaves on shoots that can climb to heights of more than 30 feet.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer under the spread of the foliage monthly in April and June.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start new plants from seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Caterpillars may feed on the foliage; control seldom is needed.

Pruning: Trimming often is needed to keep the vigorous shoots trained to an arbor or a trellis. Give the vine a major pruning after it flowers during the spring months. Avoid allowing the vine to climb trees and shrubs.

Uses: Cover a wall, a trellis or a patio arbor with the cross vine for summer shade and plenty of late winter and spring color. The clusters of 2-inch-long tubular yellow and orange blossoms begin opening during February and may continue through April. The vine has disk-bearing tendrils that allow it to adhere to wood and masonry without supports.

Florida Native: Yes.









Croton


Scientific Name: Codiaeum variegatum

Growth Habit: Evergreen shrubs upright to rounded in shape growing to10 feet tall and 5 feet wide. The leaves are linear to oval in shape, often lobed and of varying colors.

Light: Plant in full sun to shady locations. Leaf color is best in the higher light levels.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once each month in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: From cuttings.

Hardiness: Medium; damaged by freezing weather. Plants protected by buildings and trees normally escape major cold injury.

Major Problems: Mites and thrips can cause leaf discoloration and drop. Scale insects and mealybugs also are noted often. All can be controlled with an oil spray as needed following label instructions.

Pruning: Reshape crotons during March by removing cold damage and limbs that have grown out of bounds. Light pruning also may be needed during the growing season to encourage compact, well-branched shrubs. Crotons can be trimmed to a hedge.

Uses: A color-filled shrub to plant as an accent feature anywhere in the landscape. Plantings are especially attractive in the shady locations where flowering plants are not always available. They also can be added to containers for indoor patio displays. The small white flowers are borne on long shoots but are not especially attractive.

Florida Native: No; native to Malaysia.









Crown of Thorns


Scientific Name: Euphorbia milii

Growth Habit: A rounded to sprawling evergreen perennial with thorny stems and open-branching habit growing to 2 feet tall and wide. Plants produce only a few leaves, toward the ends of the branches, that grow to 3 inches long and an inch wide.

Light: Plant outdoors in full sun to light shade. Indoors, grow in a bright location.

Feedings: Broadcast a light application of general garden fertilizer on the surface of the soil once monthly in March and June. Feed container plantings with a half-strength 20-20-20 or similar fertilizer every two to three months.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; outdoor plantings usually receive adequate water from seasonal rains. Indoors or in protected areas, water when the surface soil feels dry.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings during the warmer months.

Hardiness: Tender; protect from freezing temperatures.

Major Problems: Plant in well-drained soils to avoid root-rot problems. Plants growing indoors or in areas protected from natural weather conditions may be affected by mealybugs. Control with an oil spray as needed.

Pruning: Slow growing but may spread out to interfere with nearby plantings. Prune unwanted shoots during the warmer months and use as cuttings. Remove dead or declining shoots as needed.

Uses: An ideal accent for dry-land plantings and perennial gardens. The crown of thorns resembles a cactus but is really a poinsettia relative in the Euphorbiaceae family. Many of the introductions are hybrids with colorful red, pink, orange or yellow blossomlike portions. Plants are often grown in containers for indoor or patio displays.

Florida Native: No; native to Madagascar.









Cyclamen


Scientific Name: Cyclamen persicum

Growth Habit: A perennial growing to 10 inches tall and wide; grows from a tuber. The leaves are dark green to silvery and rounded to heart-shaped.

Light: Grow in a filtered-sun or bright location without direct sunlight.

Feedings: Monthly September through April with a liquid houseplant fertilizer; none during summer.

Water Needs: Moisten when the surface soil begins to dry September through May; then allow the soil to remain dry until growth resumes.

Ease of Culture: Medium; plants often decline during the summer.

Propagation: New plants are started from seeds or tubers.

Hardiness: Tender; protect from temperatures below 40 degrees.

Major Problems: Grows best in a cool climate. Tubers are susceptible to rotting and should be kept dry when the plants rest during late spring and summer.

Pruning: Remove older yellowing leaves and faded flowers as needed. All declining portions should be removed when plants go dormant during the warmer months.

Uses: Cyclamen, with pink, white or red blossoms, can be displayed in the home, on the patio or as a seasonal bedding plant. As cyclamen begins to decline during late spring, allow the soil and tuber to dry; add water as needed to prevent shriveling. Water normally when growth resumes in the fall. Saved plants re-bloom in early spring.

Florida Native: No; native to the Mediterranean region.









Dogwood


Scientific Name: Cornus florida

Growth Habit: An upright to rounded deciduous tree growing to 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide. The leaves are oval and medium green with pronounced veins growing to 6 inches long and half as wide.

Light: Tolerates full sun but grows best with light shade.

Feedings: Feed lightly in March and June with a general garden fertilizer for the first three years after planting; thereafter, needed nutrients are supplied by the decomposing mulch and nearby feedings of shrubs and flowers.

Water Needs: Needs a moist soil; maintain a 3- to 4-inch mulch layer and water whenever the surface soil begins to dry.

Ease of Culture: Medium; needs more care than most trees to become established.

Propagation: Start plants from seeds or by grafting.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Dogwoods are difficult to establish in dry, sandy Florida soils. Improve planting sites with organic matter and keep moist. Borers affect the young branches and may have to be pruned from the trees. Powdery mildew and leaf spots may blemish the foliage, but controls seldom are needed.

Pruning: Train the trees to a single trunk, and keep the branches evenly spaced to form a symmetrical growth habit. Perform all pruning immediately after flowering during the spring to avoid affecting bud formation for the following year.

Uses: Dogwood trees bring back memories of northern landscapes, which many gardeners would like to re-create locally. They are used as accents near patios and along walkways. Dogwoods also can be planted as part of the backdrop for shrub and flower beds and under taller trees along property lines. Only the white-flowered dogwood grows locally. The variety Weaver's White appears to be one of the better selections for Central Florida, tolerating the hot, humid local growing conditions. Leaves and fruits provide fall color; the fruits are also a food for wildlife.

Florida Native: Yes.









Dotted Horsemint


Scientific Name: Monarda punctata

Growth Habit: An upright to sprawling evergreen perennial growing to 3-feet tall. The leaves are medium green, lancelike and aromatic, growing to 2-inches long and 1/2-inch wide.

Light: Plant in light-shade to full-sun locations.

Feedings: Plant in light-shade to full-sun locations.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with a light mulch and weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Susceptible to powdery mildew that often turns the leaves white during late spring and early summer. If needed, a fungicide can be applied for control. Chewing insects also may damage the leaves, but control seldom is needed.

Pruning: Plants can become gangly around midsummer as the flowers begin to decline. Prune to within a foot or two of the ground to encourage growth and fall blooms. Give the plants another renewal pruning in late February before spring growth.

Uses: An attractive addition to natural gardens, perennial beds and butterfly plantings. Horsemint produces a colorful inflorescence consisting of pinkish bracts that surround the white- to yellow-purple-dotted flowers May through October. The inflorescence remains attractive for a month or more. Plant as a backdrop for additional lower-growing flowers or use along walkways. Plantings attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Florida Native: Yes.









Dusty Miller


Scientific Name: Senecio cineraria

Growth Habit: An evergreen perennial that is upright when young and spreads with age; grows to 2 feet tall and wide. The leaves are green with a thick covering of white to silvery hairs; the leaves are deeply cut to lacelike in appearance and grow to 6 inches long and half as wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer monthly to in-ground plantings, every other week for container plantings.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought but grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed.

Hardiness: Hardy; survives all but severe winter freezes.

Major Problems: Dusty miller plants need a well-drained soil to prevent root rot problems. Plants decline during the summer rainy season because of excessive moisture.

Pruning: Trim as needed to keep leggy shoots in bounds. Many gardeners also remove the flower heads as they form during late spring to encourage branching.

Uses: Dusty miller is grown for its white to silvery foliage that forms an attractive contrast with red, pink purple and other plants with bright flowers. It's often planted in flower beds and container gardens with cool-season petunias, snapdragons and dianthus. Yellow flowers are produced in late spring but are of little interest to gardeners. Florida plantings of dusty miller are treated as long-lived annuals and are added to landscapes fall through winter. The plants are removed during early summer as they start to decline because of heat and excessive moisture.

Florida Native: No; native to the Mediterranean region.









Dwarf Chenille Plant


Scientific Name: Acalypha pendula

Growth Habit: A low-spreading evergreen perennial growing up to 6 inches tall and more than 2 feet wide. Dark green oval leaves growing 2 inches long and almost as wide with toothed edges forming along horizontal shoots.

Light: Plant in shade to filtered-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once in March, June and September. Feed container plantings monthly with a 20-20-20 or similar fertilizer.

Water Needs: Prefers moist soils; water at least weekly.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by frosts and freezing weather but often grows back from shoots near the ground in protected sites.

Major Problems: Occasionally damaged by chewing insects and mites but controls are seldom needed. Grow in a well-drained soil to prevent root rot problems.

Pruning: Trim plants during early March to remove cold damage and out-of-bounds shoots. Trim periodically during the growing season to prevent shoots from overgrowing walkways and creeping into nearby plantings. Keep the plants attractive by removing declining flowers.

Uses: Fill flower beds, open spots in foundation plantings and sites along walkways with chenille plants to develop a colorful ground cover. Strands of red flower clusters, called catkins, form March through November to contrast with the dark green foliage. Plants also can be added to hanging baskets and planters to display on shady patios and balconies.

Florida Native: No; native to Cuba.









Dwarf Schefflera


Scientific Name: Schefflera arboricola

Growth Habit: An evergreen upright plant that gradually grows to a rounded, multistem shrub more than 12 feet tall and wide in consistently warm climates. The shrub grows to about half this size in Central Florida. The leaves are compound, often more than 6 inches in diameter and consist of seven to nine dark-green to variegated segments.

Light: Plant in full sun to shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer to in-ground plantings every six to eight weeks March through October. Feed container plantings every other week with a 20-20-20 or similar product. A slow-release fertilizer also may be used following label instructions.

Water Needs: In-ground plantings tolerate short periods of drought but grow best with weekly waterings. Container plantings need a moist soil; water when the surface soil begins to dry.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings or air layers.

Hardiness: Tender; can survive frost and light freezes, growing back from stems near the ground.

Major Problems: Scale insects may affect the foliage and stems, causing leaf loss and general plant decline. Where needed, a natural oil spray can be applied.

Pruning: Remove the tips of new shoots as needed to encourage branching and full compact plants. In late February, remove cold damage and reshape the plants before spring growth.

Uses: Plants of solid green or variegated foliage are finding use as ground covers and foundation plantings in home landscapes. The unusual foliage adds the tropical look. Plants often are added to containers for patio, balcony and indoor displays. Plants occasionally flower, producing clusters of white blooms.

Florida Native: No; native to Taiwan.









Edging Lobelia


Scientific Name: Lobelia erinus

Growth Habit: A rounded to trailing annual growing to 12 inches tall and wide. Plants produce multiple stems with bright-green, oval, large-toothed leaves growing to 2 inches long and half as wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Lightly apply a general garden fertilizer monthly.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Plant in well-drained soils to avoid root-rot problems. Expect plants to decline during the hot, humid weather.

Pruning: Remove shoots that grow out of bounds or encroach upon nearby flowers, as needed. Declining flower stems also can be removed to encourage additional shoots with blooms.

Uses: An attractive annual for the cooler months to plant in clusters as part of flower gardens or to use as a temporary border along walkways. Plantings are blanketed with bright-blue multipetaled blossoms with a white eye held well above the foliage. They bloom January through May, then decline during the hot, humid months. Plants also can be used in hanging baskets or added to containers with other seasonal flowers.

Florida Native: No: native to South Africa.









English Lavender


Scientific Name: Lavandula angustifolia

Growth Habit: An upright to rounded perennial growing to 18 inches tall and wide when in bloom. The leaves are narrow and simple to oval and lacelike, depending on the variety. All leaves are gray-green in color and grow to 2 inches long and an inch wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Apply a light feeding with a general garden fertilizer every six to eight weeks during periods of growth.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Medium; subject to summer-rot problems.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: English lavender grows well during the cooler months but is subject to rot problems during the hot, humid summer weather. Plant in a well-drained soil or a container to delay decline.

Pruning: Remove declining flowering stems as needed. Also thin out some of the older shoots after flowering to encourage vigorous growths.

Uses: An attractive, short-lived perennial for gardens best planted in clusters to provide an attractive display of lavender spikes of blossoms held well above the foliage. Plants also can be grown in containers alone or mixed with other flowers to display on the patio or along walkways. Flowers can be cut to use in fresh bouquets or dried for future arrangements.

Florida Native: No; native to the Western Mediterranean region.









Eucharist Lily


Scientific Name: Eucharis amazonica

Growth Habit: A bulbous perennial with large evergreen leaves arising from near the ground, producing foot-tall plants. The leaves are oval with prominent veins growing to 6 inches wide.

Light: Plant in a shady location; damaged by sun.

Feedings: Apply a light scattering of a general garden fertilizer every other month March through September. Feed container plants monthly with a 20-20-20 or similar fertilizer March through November.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best in a moist soil with weekly waterings during the warmer months. Allow surface soil to dry between waterings during the cooler months to encourage flowering.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants by dividing older clusters of bulbs.

Hardiness: Hardy; foliage may be damaged by severe freezes, but plants grow back from bulbs below the soil surface.

Major Problems: Slugs feed heavily on the foliage during warm, moist growing conditions. Handpick or apply slug baits as a control. Caterpillars and mites may also need periodic control using natural pesticides.

Pruning: Remove declining and slug-damaged leaves plus old flower stalks as needed to keep attractive beds. After severe winters, plants also may need a spring grooming to remove the damaged foliage.

Uses: An attractive ground cover and accent plant for the shady areas of the landscape. Eucharist lilies, also called Amazon lilies, resemble the large green-leaf hostas gardeners admire from Northern gardens. The lilies sprout up to 2-foot-tall stalks topped with fragrant white narcissuslike blooms January through March. They bloom sporadically during the remaining warmer months. The plants also can be grown in containers for the patio and indoors.

Florida Native: No; native to Colombia and Peru.









False Heather


Scientific Name: Cuphea hyssopifolia

Growth Habit: A shrublike perennial with small dark evergreen leaves on rounded multistemmed plants growing to 18 inches tall and wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once every 6 to 8 weeks March through November.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start new plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by severe frosts and freezes but usually survives from buds below mulches near the ground.

Major Problems: Small blue metallic beetles are heavy feeders especially during the spring. Control as needed with a pesticide labeled for chewing insects.

Pruning: Plants produce vigorous growth and may need trimming to keep in bounds along walkways. If damaged by cold, plants may be trimmed back to near the ground to encourage new shoots.

Uses: False heather, also known as Mexican heather, is an old garden favorite with year-round lavender to pink blooms. Interest in the plant was revived with the introduction of newer varieties including Alba with white blooms and Allyson bearing slightly larger leaves and more blossoms. It's often planted as a ground cover, a perennial garden addition or edging along walkways. Small plants can be worked into dish gardens and hanging baskets.

Florida Native: No; native to Mexico.









Fan Flower


Scientific Name: Scaevola aemula

Growth Habit: A sprawling perennial growing to 8 inches tall and more than 36 inches wide. The leaves are dark green, oblong and 1-inch long and a 1/2-inch wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer monthly to in-ground plantings and a 20-20-20 or similar fertilizer solutions to container plantings every other week. Slow-release fertilizers also can be used.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; water in-ground plantings weekly and container plantings when the surface soil begins to dry.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants by cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; protect plants from frosts and freezing weather.

Major Problems: Plant in a well-drained soil to avoid root-rot problems. Also control whitefly and garden flea hopper insects to prevent foliage decline.

Pruning: Encourage branching and full plants by pruning the tips of shoots as needed. Also trim to keep in bounds and to renew the vigor of older plants.

Uses: An attractive perennial frequently grown as an annual in home and commercial landscapes. Plant as a ground cover or edging for flower beds and shrub plantings. Also add to hanging baskets and mixed planters where stems can cascade over the sides. Plantings bloom year-round, opening clusters of purplish fan-shaped blossoms.

Florida Native: No; native to Australia.









Fire Thorn


Scientific Name: Pyracantha coccinea

Growth Habit: A sprawling, thorny, evergreen shrub with numerous twigs on shoots growing to 10 feet tall. The leaves are narrow, shiny and bright green, growing to more than an inch long and half as wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to light, shifting shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once each month in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with waterings every other week.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: New shoots often are attacked by aphids and leaves by whiteflies. Leaves also may turn brown during the drier months because of mite populations. All these pests can be controlled with soap or oil sprays available from garden centers.

Pruning: Many gardeners like to train the fire thorn, also commonly called pyracantha, to a trellis or use the plants to create a topiary. This involves directing shoots where needed to fill out the display and trimming the ends to cause branching. Plants growing as free-standing shrubs also need periodic trimming to remain in bounds and encourage new fruiting shoots.

Uses: A good accent shrub and thorny barrier for the landscape. Topiaries and plants trained to a trellis often are used near patios, entrances and along walkways. Plantings also can be used as a hedge or a backdrop for gardens. The shrubs fill with white blossoms in March or April that are followed by quarter-inch berries that mature an orange to red color for displays October through February. The fruits are a favorite food for wildlife.

Florida Native: No; native to Europe and Asia.









Firespike


Scientific Name: Odontonema strictum

Growth Habit: Upright clump-forming evergreen perennials growing to 8 feet tall. The leaves are shiny and bright green, growing to 8 inches long and 4 inches wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer every six to eight weeks March through November.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plantings from seed, cuttings and division of older clumps.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by frosts and freezes, but grows back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Chewing insects including grasshoppers and caterpillars occasionally may damage the foliage, but seldom need control.

Pruning: Trim in late February to remove declining plant portions injured by cold. Also use this time to reduce height and width to keep plants in bounds. Additional pruning may be needed during the growing season to remove shoots hanging over walkways and affecting nearby plantings.

Uses: Plant a cluster of firespike plants 3 to 4 feet apart as a backdrop or border for gardens, patios and walkways. Even when damaged by cold, the plants regrow quickly to form a view barrier and attractive accent with unusual, often footlong, flattened spikes of bright red flowers. This is an excellent plant for the butterfly garden.

Florida Native: No; native to Central America.









Flame Vine


Scientific Name: Pyrostegia venusta

Growth Habit: An evergreen, often rampant, vine with shoots growing to 30 feet long. The leaves are medium green with two to three elliptic leaflets each growing to 3 inches long and half as wide.

Light: Plant in a full-sun location.

Feedings: Fertilize in March and June with a general garden fertilizer if needed to encourage growth.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; water frequently when young to help develop the root system. Established vines normally survive with seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings and air layers.

Hardiness: Medium; damaged by severe freezes but grows back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Plants may be damaged by caterpillars that chew holes in the leaves, but controls seldom are needed. The vines also may be affected by scale insects and mites, which can be controlled with natural oil sprays when noted.

Pruning: Keep plantings to the desired area with a yearly pruning immediately after flowering. Additional trimming may be needed during the growing season to restrict growth further. Remove all dead or declining portions after severe freezes.

Uses: A colorful February-through-March flowering vine opening clusters of bright orange tubular flowers. Vines can be used to create view barriers and overhead covers or to form an accent when trained to a trellis, an arbor or a fence. Plant only where the shoots have lots of room to grow. Do not use near trees or shrubs where the vining stems often climb out of control to compete with these plantings.

Florida Native: No; native to Brazil and Paraguay.









Florida Anise


Scientific Name: Illicium floridanum

Growth Habit: An evergreen rounded shrub with an open branching habit growing to 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide. The leaves are deep green and lancelike, growing to 6 inches long and half as wide.

Light: Grows in full sun to shady locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Prefers damp locations; water at least weekly.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: From seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Leaves and stems may be affected by scale insects, which encourage sooty mold. Control as needed with a natural oil spray.

Pruning: Where possible the anise should be grown as a naturally shaped shrub, but it can be pruned to a more formal look. If needed, prune individual stems to keep them in bounds or encourage a compact growth habit. Avoid shearing, which leaves brown edges among the foliage.

Uses: Plant as a backdrop for gardens, a foundation plant or a view barrier along property lines. It's one of the few shrubs that grow well in the shady and damp areas of the landscape. Plantings produce 2-inch-diameter reddish blooms March through April, followed by an ornamental-looking, star-shaped seedpod. The leaves give off a licorice fragrance when crushed.

Florida Native: Yes.









Foxglove


Scientific Name: Digitalis purpurea

Growth Habit: An evergreen biennial forming 12-inch-tall rosettes of foliage near the ground during the fall and winter months. During spring, the plants develop flowering shoots to 36 inches tall. The leaves are deep green and often hairy and grow to 10 inches long and half as wide.

Light: Grow in a full-sun location.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer monthly until flowering time.

Water Needs: Plants need a moist soil; water at least once a week during the drier winter through spring.

Ease of Culture: Medium; gardeners may have to start their own plants from seed.

Propagation: Start plants from seed. One variety that performs well locally is the Foxy hybrid.

Hardiness: Hardy; damaged by severe freezes.

Major Problems: Chewing insects may produce holes in the leaves but seldom need control. Plants need a period of cold during the winter to flower in Florida gardens.

Pruning: Foxgloves often grow larger than expected, and some leaves may have to be removed to prevent crowding of nearby plants. Remove the plants after flowering, and replant with other flowers.

Uses: An attractive addition to the cool-season flower garden, producing spikes of tubelike white, pink or purple blossoms. Gardeners can start their own seeds each fall or purchase plants in bloom during spring at local garden centers. Plant in clusters with other annual or perennial flowers to produce the best displays. Plants also can be added to container gardens. All portions of the foxglove are poisonous if eaten.

Florida Native: No; native to Portugal and Spain.









Frangipani


Scientific Name: Plumeria species

Growth Habit: A deciduous small tree with an open growth habit producing large-diameter, gray-green stems. The tree grows to 12 feet tall in subtropical Central Florida, 22 feet in more tropical climates. The leaves are medium green and elliptic in shape and grow to 20 inches long and 6 inches wide.

Light: Grow in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Feed in-ground plantings every other month March through October with a general garden fertilizer. Feed container plantings with a 20-20-20 or similar product monthly or use a slow-release fertilizer as instructed on the label.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; survives without water but drops leaves during severe drought. Grows best in well-drained but moist soils during the warmer months. Little water is needed during the winter months.

Ease of Culture: Medium; cold sensitive.

Propagation: Start plants from stem cuttings. Allow the cut stems to dry a day or two before beginning the rooting process.

Hardiness: Tender; needs cold protection during the winter months.

Major Problems: A rust disease is most noticeable during the summer months, producing orange pustules on the leaves. Control with a fungicide labeled for rust. Scale insects also are noted often and can be controlled with a natural oil spray.

Pruning: Reshape plants at the beginning of the spring growing season and remove winter damage. Errant shoots may be removed during the warmer months as needed.

Uses: An attractive small accent tree well-known for fragrant white, red, yellow or pink blossoms opening May through November. The blossoms are used in Hawaiian leis. May be planted in the ground in protected warm locations, but in Central Florida, they more commonly are grown in large containers. May be used for patio and balcony displays or set throughout the landscape to create a tropical look.

Florida Native: No; native to the Caribbean region and Central America.









Giant Crinum Lily


Scientific Name: Crinum amabile

Growth Habit: An upright evergreen perennial growing from large bulbs that protrude above the soil line. The bright green leaves are swordlike in shape and grow to 5 inches wide and 4 feet long.

Light: Plant in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with a 3- to 4-inch mulch and weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants by dividing older clumps.

Hardiness: Hardy; leaves may be damaged by cold, but growth resumes from the bulbs in spring.

Major Problems: Grasshoppers feed on the large green leaves. The 2-inch-long yellow and brown lubber grasshopper is especially attracted to the crinums and is best controlled by hand removal during spring when young. Red blotch, a fungal disease, causes large, rusty red spots on the leaves. Affected leaves are best removed as they develop.

Pruning: Flowering stalks are top heavy and may need staking. As the blossoms fade, the stalks are removed back to the bulb. Also, remove yellowing leaves throughout the growing season, and prune the plants in late February to remove cold damage.

Uses: Crinums are best planted in groups of three or more for their almost year-round flower clusters produced at the top of thick stems growing above the foliage. Several species, hybrids and varieties are cultivated in Florida. They open trumpet- to spider-shaped red, pink or white blossoms April through November. Add crinums to perennial gardens or use them as accents among foundation plantings and along walkways. Plants also can be grown in containers for use on the patio or balcony.

Florida Native: No: native to Sumatra.









Gazania


Scientific Name: Gazania rigens

Growth Habit: A clump-forming perennial growing to 12 inches tall and wide. The leaves are medium green and lancelike to divided and grow to 3 inches long and wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer monthly.

Water Needs: Once established, tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start from seed.

Hardiness: Tender; protect from freezing weather.

Major Problems: Plants are susceptible to wet soils. Plant in a well-drained site; avoid planting during the rainy season. Plant foliage also may be affected by powdery mildew, but a control seldom is needed.

Pruning: Trim faded blooms to encourage a constant supply of new flower buds.

Uses: Add to flower beds and container gardeners during the drier times of the year. Plantings bloom almost constantly September through May, opening daisylike white, orange, red, pink and yellow flowers. In Florida, gazanias usually are treated as annuals and removed when the rainy season returns.

Florida Native: No; native to South Africa.









Gerbera Daisy


Scientific Name: Gerbera jamesonii

Growth Habit: A cluster-forming perennial with a short basal stem from which new leaves emerge growing plants to12 inches tall and twice as wide. The leaves are bright green, oblong and lobed to toothed and grow to 12 inches long and 4 inches wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: For plantings in the ground, apply a general garden fertilizer every six to eight weeks during active growth; for container gardens, feed with a 20-20-20 or slow-release fertilizer following label instructions.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; water when the surface soil begins to dry.

Ease of Culture: Medium; newer varieties appear more susceptible to rot problems.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings or by dividing older clusters.

Hardiness: Medium; freezes cause plant decline, but shoots typically regrow from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Powdery mildew and leaf-spot problems often are noted in local plantings and can be controlled with fungicides available at local garden centers. Grow plants in a well-drained soil to avoid root-rot problems. Control slugs, as needed, with natural baits available at garden centers.

Pruning: Remove faded flowers by twisting the stems or cutting them off near the ground. Also remove old leaves as they decline to reduce leaf-spot and rot problems.

Uses: An attractive perennial with large, colorful, daisy-type white, red, pink, orange or yellow blooms. Gerbera can be added to flower beds, but they often are short-lived because summer rains encourage root rot and decline. Gardeners often have more success growing the plants in containers that can be moved to a protected location during the rainy season. Display the container gardens on patios, porches and balconies, near entrances and along walkways.

Florida Native: No; native to South Africa.









Ginger Lily


Scientific Name: Hedychium hybrid

Growth Habit: A clump-forming evergreen perennial with upright to arching stems that grow to 6 feet tall. Numerous lancelike leaves form along each stem, growing to 2 feet long and 5 inches wide.

Light: Plant in a full-sun to lightly shaded location.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought. Grows best in moist, mulched soils that are watered weekly.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plantings by dividing older clumps.

Hardiness: Medium; damaged by frosts and freezing weather but grows back from below-ground rhizomes.

Major Problems: Chewing insects including caterpillars and grasshoppers may cause damage to the foliage but seldom need control.

Pruning: Plantings grow rapidly during the hot and rainy summer season and are ready for trimming by fall to remove out-of-bounds shoots. Plants damaged by cold also need thinning and removal of declining stems during late February as new growth begins.

Uses: Ginger lilies add tropical color to Florida landscapes. Plant near patios, along walkways and as a backdrop for flower beds. All open attractive clusters of often fragrant white, red, pink, orange or yellow flowers at the end of long main stems. Plantings begin blooming as the new shoots mature in May, and they continue blooming as additional growths are produced until late November. Plants may be added to containers for balcony and patio displays.

Florida Native: No; native to India and Malaysia.









Gloriosa Daisy


Scientific Name: Rudbeckia hirta

Growth Habit: A short-lived upright perennial growing to 3 feet tall and half as wide. The leaves are medium green, spatulate-shaped and often hairy, growing to12 inches long and 3 inches wide

Light: Grows in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once every other month March through October.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with a thin mulch and weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Slugs and grasshoppers chew large holes in the leaves. Control by handpicking or use a natural control available from garden centers.

Pruning: Remove the old flower stems as they begin to decline to encourage additional blooms. Trim and reshape overwintered plantings in late February to remove all brown portions.

Uses: A bright addition to flower gardens, producing yellow, gold or rusty-colored single to semidouble blossoms with dark brown centers March through November. The gloriosa daisy can be directly seeded into wildflower sites or added as transplants. Plants have been found to be nematode-resistant and can be added to problem-planting sites. Gardeners also like to grow this flower in containers alone or with other annuals and perennials. The long-stemmed blossoms can be cut and used in bouquets.

Florida Native: Yes.









Gloriosa Lily


Scientific Name: Gloriosa superba Rothschildiana

Growth Habit: A climbing perennial lily that dies back to the ground during the fall. The leaves are dark green and grow to 6 inches long and up to 2 inches wide with a tendrillike growth at the tip.

Light: Plant in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer every other month April through September.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; grows best when watered weekly.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants by dividing the tubers of older plantings.

Hardiness: Hardy; survives as underground tubers.

Major Problems: Chewing insects may feed on the foliage but seldom need control. Aphids also may be noticed in the tips of new shoots and can be controlled with a soap spray if numerous.

Pruning: Prune as needed during the growing season to keep the plants in bounds. Remove declining plant portions during the late fall or winter months to prepare for spring growth.

Uses: An attractive accent feature that can be trained to climb a fence or a trellis. Can be used as a focal point near patios or as a backdrop for flower gardens. After a period of spring growth to produce new vines, the plants open red-and-yellow flowers arising from the leaf axils. The blossoms can be cut and used in flower arrangements. All portions of the plant are toxic if consumed.

Florida Native: No; native to Africa and India.









Gloxinia


Scientific Name: Sinningia speciosa

Growth Habit: A foliage plant sprouting shoots from a tuber near the soil line and growing to 12 inches tall and wide. The leaves are oval-shaped and deep green with prominent lighter green veins; they grow to 6 inches long and half as wide.

Light: Grow in bright light but not direct sun.

Feedings: Apply a 20-20-20 or similar houseplant fertilizer at half the normal rate every other week during periods of growth.

Water Needs: Keep moist during periods of active growth, watering when the surface soil begins to dry. Allow the surface soil to dry between waterings when the foliage declines and the plants enter a rest period. Begin a normal watering program when growth is again noted.

Ease of Culture: Medium; plants need special handling during rest periods.

Propagation: Start plants from leaf cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by frosts or freezing weather.

Major Problems: Mealybugs and mites can attack the tender terminal growths. Control with a soap spray as needed. Tubers may rot if kept too wet or grown in poorly drained soils. Also keep on the dry side during rest periods.

Pruning: Remove old leaves as they start to decline. Also, pinch off faded blooms to encourage additional flowers. Remove declining shoots as plants enter a rest period and allow the soil to dry.

Uses: A popular plant for indoor display during the holiday season and the cooler winter-through-spring months. Flowers are produced in clusters atop shoots that rise above the foliage. The blossoms are large and bell-shaped, opening in white, red, pink and purple and in blends. Plants bloom for several months and then enter a rest period for six to eight weeks before beginning a new period of growth and producing flowers.

Florida Native: No: native to Brazil.









Golden Tickseed


Scientific Name: Coreopsis tinctoria

Growth Habit: An annual to short-lived perennial sprouting upright stems with whorls of foliage and flower clusters growing to 3 feet tall. The leaves are bright green, fernlike and with leaflets growing to 3 inches long and 1/4-inch wide.

Light: Plant in full sun.

Feedings: Apply a light application of a general garden fertilizer after plants begin growth and once during spring.

Water Needs: Drought-tolerant for short periods of time but grows best in moist locations. Water seeded areas or plants until established. Thereafter water only during severe drought.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Caterpillars and grasshoppers may feed on plant foliage occasionally but seldom need control.

Pruning: After flowering and seed production, the stems gradually decline. Prune the stems to the top of the foliage or to the ground as needed to maintain attractive plantings.

Uses: An attractive addition to wildflower plantings in natural areas or perennial beds in home landscapes. The clusters of bright yellow blooms with a brown center open March through September. Golden tickseed is frequently selected for roadside plantings in Florida. The genus Coreopsis is Florida's state wildflower and many similar species plus varieties are available for home plantings.

Florida Native: No; native to the western United States.









Golden Trumpet Tree


Scientific Name: Tabebuia umbellata

Growth Habit: A rounded deciduous tree with an open branching habit; grows to 25 feet tall; loses leaves during winter, often a few weeks before flowering.

Light: Plant in a full-sun location.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer during March and June for the first three years; thereafter, trees obtain needed nutrients from decomposing mulches and nearby feedings.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; water frequently until roots grow into the surrounding soil; established trees normally obtain adequate moisture from seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Started from seed.

Hardiness: Tender; survives frosts but often is damaged by severe freezes. Shoots form near the base and may need trimming to re-grow a single-trunk tree.

Major Problems: None reported. Make sure the trees are not pot-bound at planting time to ensure root growth into the surrounding soil.

Pruning: Maintain a central leader until the trees grow 6 to 8 feet tall. Then allow the branching to develop the rounded, open habit of growth.

Uses: The golden trumpet tree is one of a number of tabebuias used as accents and patio trees in the home landscape. It is well known for its yellow or pink flowers that fill the branches during February and March.

Florida Native: No; native to Brazil.









Hardy Bamboo Palm


Scientific Name: Chamaedorea microspadix

Growth Habit: An upright, clump-forming palm with numerous shoots from the ground that grow to 8 feet tall. The leaves grow up to a yard long and a foot wide, being formed by up to 20 medium-green leaflets.

Light: Needs filtered-sun to shady sites.

Feedings: Apply a slow-release palm fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Prefers moist soils but survives short periods of drought. Grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: May be affected by scale insects and mites that can be controlled with a natural oil spray as needed.

Pruning: Remove declining fronds and old fruit clusters as needed. Also remove shoots that may be growing out of bounds or invading nearby plantings.

Uses: A great selection for the shady sites, especially where a tropical look is desired. Plantings can serve as a view barrier and backdrop for other shade-loving garden selections. The mature trunks sprout pendulous clusters of white flowers from the base of the leaves during the warmer months. The flowers give way to bright orange-and-red fruits. Palm clusters also can be grown in containers to set on a shaded patio or balcony.

Florida Native: No; native to eastern Mexico.









Heavenly Bamboo


Scientific Name: Nandina domestica

Growth Habit: An upright evergreen shrub, with bamboolike stems and foliage that grows 6 to 8 feet tall. The leaves are dark green and compound, growing to 18 inches long and a foot wide consisting of numerous leaflets.

Light: Plant in full sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September if needed for growth. Established plantings usually can exist with nutrients from decomposing mulches and nearby feedings of other plants.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with waterings every 10 to 14 days.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed or by division of older clusters.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Scale insects might affect the stems and foliage. Apply a natural-oil spray if needed. Grow in well-drained soil to prevent root problems. In some areas, seed-producing types have become invasive.

Pruning: Each spring, remove some of older, declining shoots to make room for new growth. Remove suckers from the bases of older plants as needed to prevent invasion of nearby plantings.

Uses: Legend says planting a heavenly bamboo near your home brings good luck. Other uses include plantings as an attractive ground cover near foundations, displays along walkways and masses in difficult-to-maintain areas. Plants open clusters of white terminal blooms during April and May that give rise to oval fruits that turn a red color for November through January displays. The fruits are toxic if eaten. There are many new varieties with colorful foliage, white fruit, dwarf growth habits and minimal fruiting.

Florida Native: No; native to China, India and Japan.









Hindu Rope Plant


Scientific Name: Hoya carnosa

Growth Habit: A vining foliage plant with shoots growing to more than 4 feet long. The oval leaves are bright green, waxy and flat to curled, depending on the variety, and grow to 3 inches long and 1 inch wide.

Light: Plant in high-light locations, but avoid late-morning-through-afternoon sun.

Feedings: Apply a 20-20-20 or similar fertilizer solution mixed at the label rate monthly during periods of active growth. Slow-release fertilizers may be added to the container as a substitute for frequent feedings.

Water Needs: Thoroughly moisten the soil when the surface begins to dry.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; protect from temperatures below 45 degrees.

Major Problems: Mealybugs often feed along the stems and in the folds of leaves. Aphids can also be found at the tips of new shoots. Control both with soap or oil sprays following label instructions. Avoid overwatering to prevent root and crown-rot problems.

Pruning: Encourage branching by trimming the tips of shoots as needed to produce numerous stems of cascading foliage. Also give older plants a pruning to restrict growth and keep the shoots in bounds. Use the trimmings for cuttings.

Uses: An excellent plant for hanging baskets and tall planters to display on shaded porches and patios. May be hung from overhead rafters and tree limbs to keep the cascading foliage and flowers at eye level. Hoya can also be displayed in small containers to decorate tables and desks indoors. Older plants usually flower if kept in high-light locations. They open clusters of waxy pink starlike blooms forming a rounded inflorescence that often emits a pleasing fragrance.

Florida Native: No; native to Australia and China.









Holiday Cactus


Scientific Name: Schlumbergera hybrids

Growth Habit: A tropical cactus with bright green flattened arching branches and leaves. Edges may be rounded to coarsely toothed. Grows to 18 inches tall and often twice as wide.

Light: Grow outdoors in partial shade; indoors, select a high light area with no direct sun.

Feedings: Apply a liquid houseplant fertilizer every other week March through August.

Water Needs: Keep moist March through September; allow the surface soil to dry during the remaining cooler months.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start new plants from leaf cuttings March through June to have plants in bloom for the holidays.

Hardiness: Tender; protect from temperatures below 45 degrees.

Major Problems: Plants are susceptible to a root rot fungus during the cooler months. Keeping plants on the dry side can prevent the decline.

Pruning: Create plants with strong arching and well-branched stems by pruning the tips during March. Remove one or two leaf segments from each branch to produce new plants.

Uses: A popular holiday and foliage plant for the home and landscape. Keep in a bright room, add to shaded patios or hang under trees during the warmer months.

Florida Native: No; native to Brazil but many hybrids have been developed locally.









Hollyhock


Scientific Name: Alcea rosea

Growth Habit: An upright evergreen biennial, which, when flowering, grows to 6 feet tall and 2 feet wide. The leaves are bright green and rounded with 3 or more lobes and grow to 6 inches long and wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once a month during periods of growth.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; water weekly, especially during periods of growth and when flowering.

Ease of Culture: Medium; timing of plantings is critical to have plants in bloom for spring.

Propagation: Start plants from seed during October or November.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Caterpillars, grasshoppers, slugs and snails may feed on the foliage, but controls seldom are needed.

Pruning: Remove declining plants at the end of the growing season after seeds have been saved for fall planting.

Uses: An old favorite for flower gardens reminiscent of northern landscapes that blooms April through June. The pink, red, yellow and white blossoms open to 4 inches in diameter along tall spikes. Cluster several plants for the best displays of color. Gardeners obtain the best results from local varieties, often shared between neighbors, to grow from seed during fall. These young plants must be added to the garden by late December to experience the cooler winter weather that helps initiate flowering during the spring season. Blooming plants also can be found at garden centers during late spring.

Florida Native: No; native to Europe and Asia.









Horsemint


Scientific Name: Monarda punctata

Growth Habit: An upright evergreen with slightly arching branches growing to 4 feet tall and almost as wide. The leaves are bright green and lancelike, with toothed edges, growing to 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought, but grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed or cuttings and by dividing older clumps.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Plant in a well-drained soil to avoid root rot problems. Chewing insects may cause leaf damage but seldom need control.

Pruning: After months of growth, the plants grow tall and top heavy. Prune after flowering to encourage new growth and reshape the plants. Also prune during late winter to remove declining stems and restart spring growth.

Uses: An attractive clump-forming selection for the perennial and butterfly garden. Use as the featured accent plant May through October when it is in bloom or as a backdrop for contrasting annuals and perennials. The flower clusters develop at the top of the tall stems and are formed from pink to lavender bracts enclosing spotted yellow blossoms.

Florida Native: Yes.









Hybrid Tea Rose


Scientific Name: Rosa hybrids

Growth Habit: Evergreen shrubs with an upright to slightly rounded shape growing to 6 feet tall and almost as wide; produces prickly stems with compound leaves having three, five or seven segments.

Light: Plant in full sun.

Feedings: Fertilize monthly with a general garden fertilizer or a product labeled for roses.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; water every three to four days during the hot, dry seasons.

Ease of Culture: Medium; roses need regular care.

Propagation: By budding or from cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy; severe freezes may damage leaves and stems.

Major Problems: Most rose selections are affected by black spot, a disease, and mites which can cause defoliation that weakens the plants. Sprays are usually needed. Other problems that may need control: thrips, caterpillars and powdery mildew.

Pruning: In mid-February, plants are reduced in size by one-third to one-half to control plant size and renew growth. Grooming to remove old flowers, lanky shoots and diseased or dead portions is performed year-round.

Uses: Hybrid tea roses often are planted in beds of assorted varieties. Flower colors include all but blue and may be a single color or a blend such as variety Perfect Moment (above). Single specimens also can be grown as accents with perennials or in containers to display on a sunny balcony or patio.

Florida Native: No; all are hybrids with mixed parentage.









Japanese Honeysuckle


Scientific Name: Lonicera japonica

Growth Habit: An evergreen vine with opposite rounded leaves up to 3 inches long, vining shoots are vigorous and grow to 12 feet long.

Light: Grows best in full sun but tolerates light shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer in March, June and September until established. Thereafter, feedings are seldom needed as plantings get nutrients from decomposing mulches and nearby feedings.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Cuttings or seeds.

Hardiness: Hardy; freeze-damaged leaves turn purplish but survive.

Major Problems: Not as vigorous in Florida as in Northern states; still fills an arbor or a fence.

Pruning: Keep shoots in bounds by pruning. Also, pinch out the tips of shoots to cause branching needed to fill trellises and fences. Direct the new shoots to areas on the supports that need foliage. Plantings may require major pruning to renew the vining shoots every five to eight years.

Uses: The Japanese honeysuckle is a familiar vine to relocated Northern gardeners. It can be used as a ground cover but is best trained to a trellis, a fence or an arbor. Flowers that form in pairs along the new shoots open white and fade to yellow. Blossoms, April through September, are fragrant and attract nectar-feeding insects.

Florida Native: No; native to eastern Asia.









Jasmine Nightshade


Scientific Name: Solanum jasminoides

Growth Habit: An evergreen vine with shiny 3-inch-long oval to lancelike leaves; grows to 20 feet long.

Light: Full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer under the spread of the plantings monthly in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy; leaves and young stems may be damaged by severe cold, but they grow back from older shoots lower on the plants.

Major Problems: Plant in a nematode-free soil. Mites and scale insects can be a problem; control with soap or oil sprays as needed.

Pruning: Train to a trellis or an arbor. Tip back new shoots as needed to encourage branching. Overgrown plantings need periodic pruning to keep growth in bounds. Pruning is best performed after the plant has flowered during spring and summer.

Uses: Also known as potato vine; don't confuse the jasmine nightshade with the aerial potato vine in the yam family, an invasive weed in Florida. Quickly covers walls, fences or arbors with deep green leaves. Plantings produce star-shaped, blue-tinged white blossoms April through August. All plants in the Solanum genus are poisonous. Avoid planting in areas frequented by children.

Florida Native: No; native to Brazil.









Joe-pye Weed


Scientific Name: Eupatorium purpureum

Growth Habit: An evergreen perennial with multiple stems growing to 6 feet tall and half as wide. The leaves are bright green, lancelike and growing in whorls around the stem to 6 inches long and 2 inches wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and August if needed for growth.

Water Needs: Keep the soil moist until the plants become rooted in the surrounding soil. Thereafter, water weekly during periods of hot, dry weather.

Ease of Culture: Easy; grows best in neutral to alkaline soils.

Propagation: Start plants from seed, cuttings or divisions of older plants.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Powdery mildew may affect plants during spring and fall; treat only as needed with a fungicide. Slugs and snails may feed on the foliage, chewing holes in the leaves. Use natural baits to control.

Pruning: Plants are rapid-growing and may need pruning during summer and early fall to remain in bounds. Give plantings a hard pruning during February to restrict growth and encourage flowering shoots.

Uses: A colorful plant for native and butterfly gardens. Also may be used as a backdrop for flower beds and along walkways. Pink, purple or cream-colored blossoms open in large clusters atop the foliage May through October. Plants attract many beneficial insects to the garden. Joe-pye weed also can be added to large container gardens.

Florida Native: Yes.









Johnny-jump-up


Scientific Name: Viola tricolor

Growth Habit: An annual flower with upright growth when young; develops a sprawling habit with age, growing to 8 inches tall and wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Fertilize in-ground plantings lightly once a month with a general garden product; feed plants in containers every other week.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; water when the surface begins to dry.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start new plants from seed November through January.

Hardiness: Very hardy.

Major Problems: Make sure plants are set in the ground at the proper depth to avoid crown roots. Root balls should be set with the top at or slightly above the soil line. Plantings develop root rot in poorly drained soils.

Pruning: Remove early flowers as they begin to fade to encourage additional blooms. Trim plants that creep onto walkways.

Uses: Johnny-jump-up is a miniature version of its relative, the pansy, which is another popular winter flower. The blossoms are small and borne in profusion on stems rising above the foliage. Colors are usually blends of blue, purple, yellow and white. Cluster a number of plants in flower beds or use them to edge walkways. Johnny-jump-ups also can be added to hanging baskets and planter boxes.

Florida Native: No; native to Europe.









Kaffir Lily


Scientific Name: Clivia miniata

Growth Habit: A bulblike evergreen perennial with dark green, 2-inch-wide leaves originating from near the ground and growing to 2 feet tall.

Light: Shade to filtered sun.

Feedings: Lightly scatter a general garden fertilizer every 6 to 8 weeks spring through early summer. Feed container plantings monthly March through August.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; grows best with weekly waterings during late winter and spring.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Seed or division.

Hardiness: Tender; survives light frosts; needs protection from freezes.

Major Problems: Kaffir lilies have different flowering habits. Choose one that produces the blooms near the top of the foliage. Keep moist spring through early summer. Grow in a dry, well-drained soil to prevent root rot. Mealybugs and scale insects can affect foliage; control with soap or oil sprays.

Pruning: Remove declining leaves and cold-damaged foliage as needed. Prune flower stalks as the blossoms fade, or leave them to produce seeds.

Uses: Add to the shady garden or patio as an in-ground or container planting. Lilies usually produce bright orange blossoms during March or April. A yellow selection also is available. Grow individually or set several 12 to 18 inches apart.

Florida Native: No; native of South Africa.









Kalanchoe


Scientific Name: Kalanchoe blossfeldiana

Growth Habit: An upright to rounded succulent perennial growing to 12 inches tall. The leaves are thick and oval to oblong with rounded, toothed edges growing to 3 inches long and wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to light shade in landscapes and keep in bright light in the home. Plant in full sun tend to develop a pinkish-colored foliage.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; best watered when the soil dries.

Feedings: Indoors apply a 20-20-20 or similar fertilizer solution monthly March through October; none during the cooler months. In the landscape, feed lightly every other month during warm weather with a general garden fertilizer.

Propagation: Start plants with cuttings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Hardiness: Tender; protect from frosts and freezes.

Major Problems: Plant in a well-drained soil and avoid overwatering to prevent root-rot problems. Plants also may be affected by mealybugs that feed at the base of the leaves and in buds. Wash away mealybugs with a soapy solution.

Pruning: Remove faded flower stems as needed. Also trim plants in late summer to encourage growth. Clippings can be used for cuttings. Pinch out the ends of new shoots several times during the summer to encourage branching. Use: Kalanchoes are often enjoyed as gift plants during the Christmas season and at other times of the year. They naturally open starlike clusters of red, yellow, orange or lavender blossoms December through April, but can be forced into bloom as needed by nurserymen. The plants also can be planted as annual flowers in beds or container gardens for the cooler months. Gardeners often add their gift plants to perennial flower beds after the holidays.

Florida Native: No; native to Madagascar.









Knock Out Rose


Scientific Name: Rosa hybrid

Growth Habit: A rounded evergreen perennial shrub rose growing to 5 feet tall and wide. The leaves are bright green, grow to 5 inches long and 3 inches wide, and are composed of three to seven leaflets.

Light: Plant in a full-sun location.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer every other month February through November.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: A hybrid rose normally propagated by grafting onto a Florida root stock.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Few; not susceptible to the common black spot and mite rose problems. Plant in a well-drained site to avoid root rot. Remove declining stems as needed to prevent dieback.

Pruning: Shrub roses are pruned as needed to maintain the desired shape and size plus remove faded blossoms. Major pruning is normally reserved for mid-February when the shrubs are reshaped and reduced in size to begin spring growth.

Uses: An almost carefree selection for the rose garden. Plants are constantly in bloom, opening clusters of reddish single flowers. Plantings can be featured as an accent, colorful space divider and backdrop for flower beds. Knock Out also can be grown in containers for patio gardens and balconies.

Florida Native: No; a hybrid.









Licorice Plant


Scientific Name: Helichrysum petiolare

Growth Habit: A sprawling evergreen perennial growing to 20 inches tall and more than 24 inches in diameter. The leaves are oval and silvery with a feltlike texture growing to 1 inch long and wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer to in-ground plantings monthly; feed container plantings every other week with a 20-20-20 or similar product following label instructions.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant for short periods of time; grows best when watered as the surface soil begins to dry.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender but needs the cooler weather for best growth. Protect from frost and freezes.

Major Problems: Plantings are overcome by Florida's summer rains and heat, which encourage rot problems. Grow in a well-drained soil and locations with good air movement to prevent decline.

Pruning: Encourage full compact plants by periodically pinching the ends of stems. Also keep shoots in bounds by trimming as needed.

Uses: An attractive ground cover usually grown as an annual for the cooler and drier months October through May. Set plants about 2 feet apart to grow a blanket of silvery foliage that contrasts with other brightly colored garden flowers. Perhaps one of the best uses is in planters and hanging baskets to serve as a filler cascading over the edges of the containers contrasting with flowers and other foliage plants. When under a bit of drought stress, the foliage gives off a faint licorice fragrance giving rise to its common name. After extended periods of growth, plantings may produce creamy white flowers that are overshadowed by the attractive foliage.

Florida Native: No; native to South Africa.









Lily Turf


Scientific Name: Liriope muscari

Growth Habit: A clump-forming perennial with upright to arching leaves growing to 18 inches tall. The leaves are dark green, long and narrow, arising from buds near the ground.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March and June.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant. Water frequently until the plants become rooted into the surrounding soil. Once established, plants can usually exist with seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants by dividing older clumps.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Crown rot has become a major cause for decline when plants are grown in moist areas or are overwatered. Plant in locations with good air movement, and water only during severe drought to prevent decline. Plantings also may be attacked by scale, which can be controlled with an oil spray.

Pruning: Planting along walkways may need periodic trimming to keep them in bounds. During severe winters, the ends of leaves may be damaged, and the plants can be sheared to remove the brown look.

Uses: A reliable ground cover for Florida landscapes. Plantings often are substituted for turf, grown as a low-maintenance ornamental to fill in between shrubs or added to water-wise landscapes with other drought-tolerant selections. Plantings produce stalks of lavender to white blooms among the leaves June through September. A number of selections are available, including Super Green Giant.

Florida Native: No; native to China and Japan.









Lily of the Nile


Scientific Name: Agapanthus africanus

Growth Habit: A perennial, evergreen, bulblike plant composed of leaves growing from a central bud near the ground. The leaves are strap- like in shape and bright- to deep-green in color, growing to 24 inches long and 2 inches wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to light shade. Those in full sun usually flower best.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; grows best with a 3- to 4-inch mulch layer and when watered every seven to 10 days.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed or by division of older clumps.

Hardiness: Hardy; foliage may be damaged by freezing weather, but new leaves grow from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Caterpillars, grasshoppers and other chewing insects may damage the foliage, but they can be handpicked and destroyed if needed. Mites also may affect the foliage, but they can be controlled with a soap spray.

Pruning: Remove damaged foliage and older declining leaves during late winter as growth begins. Also remove leaves that droop to the ground and interfere with nearby plantings during the growing season. Remove flower stalks when the blossoms decline.

Uses: One of Florida's more reliable bulblike flowers to grow as a ground cover or as an addition to the perennial garden. The flowers vary in color from snow white to deep blue, opening in ball-shaped clusters atop 3-foot-tall stems April though June. Dwarf selections are also available with compact growth habits for the smaller gardens and for container culture.

Florida Native: No; native to Africa.









Lion's Ear


Scientific Name: Leonotis leonurus

Growth Habit: An upright to slightly spreading evergreen perennial growing to 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. The leaves are narrow and lancelike, with scalloped edges, growing to 4 inches long and 3/4 inch wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once each in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; water frequently until roots begin to grow into the surrounding soil, then every 7 to10 days.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: From seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; leaves and stems are damaged by frost and freezes, but plants usually grow back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Plantings occasionally are affected by chewing insects, but control is seldom needed. Avoid wet sites or excessive watering during the summer to prevent root rot problems.

Pruning: Plants make vigorous growth that needs pruning to remain attractive. During the growing season, the plants are best pruned after flushes of flowers decline to encourage more blooms. Prune heavily in late winter to remove cold damage and keep plants in bounds.

Uses: An attractive addition to the perennial and butterfly garden. Use as a backdrop for other lower-growing flowers or a stand-alone planting along walkways. The stems bear whorled clusters of tubular-shaped orange flowers that resemble a lion's ear. Another name is lion's tail because of the long tapering stems of blossoms.

Florida Native: No; native to South Africa.









Loquat


Scientific Name: Eriobotrya japonica

Growth Habit: An evergreen rounded tree growing to 25 feet tall and wide. Leaves are thick-veined, 3 to 4 inches wide and up to a foot long.

Light: Plant in full sun.

Feedings: Feed fruit-producing trees lightly once each in March and June with a 6-6-6 or similar analysis product.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; keep young trees moist until roots develop into the surrounding soil.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start from seeds from plantings. Named varieties usually are propagated by grafting on seedling root stocks.

Hardiness: Hardy; flowers and fruits are damaged by freezes.

Major Problems: Trees are susceptible to fire blight, a bacterial disease. Thin the canopy to allow air movement through the branches and feed lightly only once or twice a year to reduce the disease.

Pruning: Remove lower limbs as needed to allow landscape maintenance and movement under the branches. Periodic thinning of branches also can help control diseases.

Uses: Small trees for planting near a patio and along walkways, loquats also can be used as backdrops for flower beds and shrubs. The trees produce cream-colored clusters of blooms October through January. The flowers are followed by sweet and slightly acid-tasting fruits ripening January through April. Varieties Oliver, Tanaka and Wolf are recommended for fruit production.

Florida Native: No; native to China and Japan.









Love Rose


Scientific Name: Rosa hybrid 'Love'

Growth Habit: Upright to vase-shaped evergreen perennials growing to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. The leaves are compound with three, five or seven bright-green oval leaflets, each more than 1 inch long and wide.

Light: Grow in full sun.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer or rose special available from garden centers monthly March through November, every six weeks during winter.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil. Keep mulched and water every three to four days during dry times, less during the rainy season and cool weather.

Ease of Culture: Medium; frequent control of pests is needed.

Propagation: Roses can be started with seeds and cuttings and by grafting. Florida's bush-type roses normally are grafted on a vigorous root stock.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Black spot is a major leaf disease during damp weather, producing a dark spot often with a yellow halo on the foliage. Mites cause yellowing of the leaves during the dry times. Both pests produce major leaf loss that weakens the plants and should be controlled with natural or synthetic sprays available from garden centers.

Pruning: Give a major pruning during mid-February, removing one-third to one-half the length of each stem. Also remove twiggy and pest-affected portions. Groom throughout the year by removing faded flowers, seed heads and spindly branches.

Uses: Roses often are planted in beds for a major display and where the needs of a home collection can be easily provided. They also can be used as specimens in perennial gardens, shrub borders and container plantings. The flower range is extensive from white to yellow, orange and red. Love featured is a 1980 All-America Rose Selections winner with red and white petal portions.

Florida Native: No; a hybrid.









Million Bells


Scientific Name: Calibrachoe hybrid

Growth Habit: A perennial, usually treated like an annual, with a sprawling habit growing to 12 inches tall and over 24 inches wide. The leaves are bright green, lancelike and growing to 1 inch long and 1/2-inch wide.

Light: Grow in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer to in-ground plantings monthly; feed container plantings every other week.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant. In-ground plantings grow best with weekly waterings; moisten container plantings when the soil begins to feel dry.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy; damaged only by a severe freeze.

Major Problems: Aphids and whiteflies are piercing, sucking insects that may be found feeding on the foliage. Control with a soap spray as needed. Overwatering may cause root rot problems; prevent by planting in a well-drained soil.

Pruning: Gardeners may want to remove faded flowers from container gardens to keep them attractive. Also trim vigorous shoots that compete with neighboring plants. Plants used as an edging may occasionally need to be trimmed from sidewalks.

Uses: Million bells grows best as an annual addition to flower gardens and planters fall through spring. The bushy, rambling plants fill with 1-inch-diameter bell-shaped flowers of red, yellow, orange and pink colors October through May. They are well-suited to hanging baskets and planters where the stems cascade over the sides. Mix with contrasting annual flowers for an attractive display. Plants decline during the summer months, likely because of the heat and humidity.

Florida Native: No; a hybrid with relatives in South America.









Miniature Roses


Scientific Name: Rosa chinensis minima

Growth Habit: An evergreen, usually rounded shrub growing to 2 feet tall and containing numerous small limbs.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer monthly to in-ground plantings; feed container plantings every other week.

Water Needs: Needs frequent watering. Thoroughly moisten when the surface soil begins to dry.

Ease of Culture: Medium; success depends on a good care program.

Propagation: Start new plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Like other relatives, miniature roses are affected by black spot, mites and similar garden pests. Spray programs are usually needed to prevent plant decline.

Pruning: Miniature roses gradually grow large and out of bounds. Overgrown plants are usually sheared to about one-half their height and width. Faded flowers and declining limbs also are removed as needed.

Uses: Miniature roses can be grown in containers or as bedding plants to create spots of color in home and commercial landscapes. Because of the care needed, it`s often best to plant in groups of several miniature roses. New hybrids have produced plants of many colors, flower forms and growth habits including the variety Jolly Cupido with red and white blossoms.

Florida Native: No; native to China.









Mona Lavender Plectranthus


Scientific Name: Plectranthus hybrid

Growth Habit: An evergreen perennial with numerous stems growing to a rounded plant 3 feet tall and wide. The leaves are deep green with purplish veins, slightly curled at the edges with short coarse teeth and growing to 2 inches long and 1 inch wide.

Light: Plant in filtered sun to shade.

Feedings: Fertilize in-ground plantings every six to eight weeks with a general garden plant food; feed container plantings every other week with a houseplant product or use a slow-release fertilizer at the label rate.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil. In-ground plantings grow best with twice-a-week waterings; container plantings often need daily waterings during hot, dry weather.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by frosts and freezes but can grow back from stems near the ground protected by mulch.

Major Problems: Check for mealybugs and mites that are common plectranthus problems. Control with soap or oil sprays as needed. May also be damaged by chewing insects, but controls are seldom needed.

Pruning: Encourage a compact growth habit by periodically trimming the tips of new shoots. Keep plants inbounds by pruning shoots hanging over walkways and affecting nearby plantings. Remove old flower heads as the blooms decline.

Uses: A colorful new plant for container gardens to display at entrances, on patios and as a balcony or porch display. Also use as a bedding plant for annual or perennial gardens to provide colorful fall foliage and flowers. More than 6-inch-long spikes of lavender blossoms open August through April unless affected by cold.

Florida Native: No; hybridized in South Africa.









Mondo Grass


Scientific Name: Ophiopogon japonicus

Growth Habit: An evergreen perennial in the lily family with 1/4-inch-wide, upright, straplike, dark green leaves originating from buds near ground level and growing to 12 inches tall.

Light: Shady to to filtered-sun areas.

Feedings: Use a garden fertilizer once in March and June if needed to spur growth.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; keep new plantings moist until roots grow into the surrounding soil. Thereafter water every 10 to 14 days during periods of drought.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start new plants by dividing older established clumps.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Plantings are usually pest free but can develop root rot if overwatered or planted in poorly drained soils. Even though it's often called a grass, this is a lily relative that is damaged by foot traffic.

Pruning: Mondo grass grows slowly but can eventually encroach upon other nearby plantings. Dig out clumps and relocate to keep the plants in bounds.

Uses: Gardeners needing a care-free ground cover should consider mondo grass as turf replacement in shady locations. Also called monkey grass, dwarf lily turf and border grass, plantings make an excellent low edging along walkways and near patios. Mondo grass produces short spikes of lavender or white blooms usually hidden among the foliage May through July. Plants can be used in container gardens and Oriental landscape designs.

Florida Native: No; native to Japan and Korea.









Muhly Grass


Scientific Name: Muhlenbergia capillaris

Growth Habit: A clump-forming ornamental grass with upright to arching leaves growing to 3 feet tall. The leaves are bright green and rolled to give a rounded appearance about a quarter-inch in diameter.

Light: Grow in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Can exist with nutrients from mulches and plant residues; grows best with light lawn-fertilizer applications once monthly in March, June and August.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; can survive with seasonal rainfall but forms lower-growing plants. Grows best in moist locations or with irrigation.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed or by division of older clumps.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Grow in well-drained sites to prevent root-rot problems. Older plants gradually decline and need to be replaced with new container-grown selections or seedlings that result from nearby plants.

Pruning: Plantings turn brown during the winter months and need renewal pruning during February before growth begins. During the warmer months, plants may grow into nearby plantings or over walkways and need trimming.

Uses: A low-maintenance ornamental for use in foundation plantings, along walkways and wildflower, rock or perennial gardens. The plants, also commonly known as mist grass, remain green throughout most of the year; September through November, they sport red-to-purplish airy inflorescences held well above the foliage. Plantings are salt tolerant and can be used along banks and other hard-to-maintain areas.

Florida Native: Yes.









Mussaenda


Scientific Name: Mussaenda species

Growth Habit: Large evergreen shrubs with open branching habits growing to 12 feet tall and wide. The leaves have prominent veins, are elliptical, bright green and grow to 6 inches long and half as wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy; will need pruning.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; susceptible to frosts and freezing temperatures but grows back from stems near the ground.

Major Problems: Grows as an open and often gangly shrub. Better growth habits can be encouraged with frequent pruning. Plant in a well-drained soil to avoid root rot problems. Shrubs may also be affected by chewing insects, but controls are seldom needed.

Pruning: Remove cold-damaged plant portions in late February and reshape plants not affected by the cold. Occasionally trim back the tips of new shoots and remove old flower heads to develop more compact plants and additional blooms.

Uses: Plants develop colorful inflorescences that resemble those of poinsettias, but they are not related. The modified leaves, called sepals, are white, yellow, pink or red depending on the species. They develop their colors June through December. The true flowers are yellow to red in color and small. They are found in the center of the inflorescence. Use as accent plants near patios or along walkways. Mussaenda may also be planted as a backdrop for flowerbeds or other shrubs and used as a view barrier during the warmer months.

Florida Native: No; native to Asia and Africa.









Nagami Kumquat


Scientific Name: Fortunella margarita

Growth Habit: A small evergreen tree with a rounded shape growing to 10 feet tall. The leaves are deep green with an elliptical shape growing to 3 inches long and 1 inch wide.

Light: Plant in a full-sun location

Feedings: Apply a citrus fertilizer once each month in March, May, August and early October. Apply 1/4-pound for each inch of circumference measured 6 inches above the ground.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought, but grows best with weekly waterings during hot, dry weather.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start trees by grafting or air-layering.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Subject to common citrus pests including leaf miner, aphids, scale insects and fungal leaf spots. Trees tolerate these pests, and sprays are seldom needed.

Pruning: Train the tree to a single trunk until the tree is a few feet high and then allow branching to develop the canopy. Remove shoots forming below the graft or along the trunk that compete with the desired limbs or affect maintenance. Very little trimming is needed to shape the tree.

Uses: An ornamental citrus tree for large and small landscapes. Treat as a traditional citrus tree to form a backdrop for the landscape or feature as a small tree for garden plantings. Gardeners with small designs often grow a tree in a container or feature it as an edible in-ground accent plant near a patio. Trees produce the familiar white fragrant citrus blossom in late February and March and then ripen oblong fruits more than 1 inch long November through April. The fruits including the peel are eaten fresh or used as candied fruits and in marmalades.

Florida Native: No; native to China.









Nasturtium


Scientific Name: Tropaeolum majus

Growth Habit: A sprawling annual growing to 15 inches high and 24 inches wide. The leaves are deep green and rounded with a wavy margin, growing to 4 inches in diameter.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer monthly.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; water at least weekly.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by hard frosts and freezes but needs the cooler weather for best growth.

Major Problems: Leaves may be damaged by caterpillars and slugs. But the leaves can be picked off as needed. Aphids also may damage growth and can be controlled with a natural soap spray.

Pruning: Vining plants can grow out of bounds and may need periodic trimming. Also, remove old flowers to encourage additional blooms.

Uses: A colorful winter flower for cool-season beds and container gardens. The trailing stems adapt to hanging baskets and are attractive, creeping over the sides of planters. Nasturtiums started in early fall are often in bloom November through June, opening 2-inch or larger yellow, orange or red blossoms. Many gardeners like to add the flowers and leaves to salads or sandwiches. If used as a food, make sure they are pesticide-free.

Florida Native: No; native to Peru, Chile and other South American countries.









Neoregelia Bromeliad


Scientific Name: Neoregelia hybrid

Growth Habit: Evergreen perennials with an open cluster of foliage arising from near the ground growing to 1 foot tall and 18 inches wide. The leaves are stiff and slightly curved and grow to a few inches wide and a foot long.

Light: Tolerates full sun to shade; grows best in filtered-sun locations.

Feedings: Lightly scatter a general garden fertilizer over the surface of the soil once each month in April, June and September. It also can be fed with a weak fertilizer solution applied over the tops of plantings every other month April through October.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; water every 10 to 14 days.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Divide older clusters.

Hardiness: Medium; damaged by freezing weather. Most plants escape damage when growing under trees and large shrubs. Cold water dripping off plants above can damage the foliage. Prize specimens should be grown in containers or dug and moved to a warm location during freezes.

Major Problems: Scale insects may feed on the foliage, causing yellow spots and gradual decline. Control with an oil spray following label instructions.

Pruning: Older plants gradually decline after flowering. Gardeners can prune out the declining clumps to improve the appearance of beds and to make room for the offshoots. Foliage damaged by cold weather can be removed during March.

Uses: Cluster plants to use as a ground cover and accent feature for the landscape. Neoregelias tolerate the sun but are best used in shady locations where fewer ornamental plants are available to provide color. Individual plants are commonly grown in containers and added to the patio, balcony or entrance areas.

Florida Native: No: native to Brazil.









Oleander


Scientific Name: Nerium oleander

Growth Habit: An evergreen rounded shrub growing to 12 feet tall and almost as wide. Leaves are lancelike and up to 10 inches long.

Light: Flowers best in full sun but tolerates light shade.

Feedings: Fertilize new plants lightly in March, June and September with a general garden product. Established plants obtain needed nutrients from decomposing mulches and nearby feedings.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; water frequently until the roots grow into the surrounding soil. Thereafter, gets adequate moisture from rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: From cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy; stems and leaves often are damaged by severe freezes, but plants usually grow back from stems near the ground.

Major Problems: Oleander caterpillars are guaranteed. Also affected by aphids and scale insects. Control with soap or oil sprays as needed.

Pruning: Prune as needed during late winter.

Uses: Forms a natural hedge or view barrier. Single plants can be used as accents or trained to small trees. Opens clusters of red, pink or white flowers March-November. All plant portions are extremely poisonous and should be planted away from areas frequented by small children.

Florida Native: No; native to Europe and Asia.









Ornamental Cabbage


Scientific Name: Brassica oleracea

Growth Habit: A big-leaf, cool-season annual with a flattened to rounded shape growing to 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide. The leaves grow to10 inches long and 8 inches wide. The outer collar of leaves are blue-green and newer central leaves, a contrasting white, pink or purple color.

Light: Plant in a full-sun location.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer monthly.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist, well-drained soil. Grows best with water every three to four days.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed.

Hardiness: Hardy; may be damaged by sudden and severe freezes.

Major Problems: Caterpillars and slugs may chew holes in the leaves. Handpick from the plants and use natural controls as needed. Plant in well-drained soils to avoid root-rot problems.

Pruning: Older lower leaves may need trimming as they yellow.

Uses: An attractive nonflowering annual for flower beds and container gardens from late fall through early spring. Plant in clusters with a backdrop of other flowers or fill a whole bed with this unique foliage. The plants are best used in clusters of single or mixed leaf colors. Like other cabbages, the leaves are edible.

Florida Native: No; native to North Africa and Europe.









Pagoda Flower


Scientific Name: Clerodendrum paniculatum

Growth Habit: An evergreen rounded shrub growing to 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide. The dark green leaves are 6 inches long and wide with five pointed lobes.

Light: Full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Often obtains adequate nutrition from decomposing mulch and nearby feedings. If needed, apply a general garden fertilizer monthly in March, June and August.

Water Needs: Survives short periods of drought; grows best with waterings every 10 to 14 days during hot, dry weather.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Root cuttings or remove offshoots.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by frosts and freezes; grows back from buds protected by mulch.

Major Problems: Avoid poorly drained soils which encourage root rot. Leaf-feeding caterpillars and beetles may produce random holes in the foliage but seldom need control.

Pruning: Remove cold-damaged stems in late February. Affected plants can be cut back to the ground to grow flowering stems by summer. If needed, trim underground stems, often called suckers, to keep plants in bounds.

Uses: An exotic tropical shrub used as a backdrop for flower beds and other plantings. Cluster several plants to form a view barrier or use as a hedge in sunny or lightly shaded locations. Plantings become a warm-season accent, producing over 1-foot-tall clusters of red flowers June through October.

Florida Native: No; native to Southeast Asia.









Pampas Grass


Scientific Name: Cortaderia selloana

Growth Habit: An upright perennial grass with long, narrow leaves with saw-toothed edges. Leaves are more than 1 inch wide and form plants growing to 8 feet tall and wide. Plantings produce tall plumes of white to pink inflorescences starting in August.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a 16-4-8 or similar lawn fertilizer once monthly in March and June.

Water Needs: Keep moist until established. Thereafter, it's a drought-tolerant plant usually surviving with moisture from seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants with seed or by dividing older clumps.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Leaves may be damaged by chewing insects, but controls seldom are needed. Plantings develop root rot problems in wet soil; plant in a well-drained location. Older clumps develop open centers, and beds periodically have to be divided and reestablished.

Pruning: Ornamental grasses make the best growth with yearly renewal prunings. Trim back all shoots to within 12 to18 inches of the soil in January or February. Weak stems and older flower heads can be removed as needed.

Uses: Pampas grass ushers in the fall season with colorful plumes of flowers starting in late summer. The inflorescences can remain attractive through December and often are cut for dried arrangements. Cluster several plants as an accent, view barrier or space divider. Plant in low-maintenance landscapes and drought-proof designs.

Florida Native: No; native to South America.









Parakeet Flower


Scientific Name: Heliconia psittacorum

Growth Habit: An upright perennial growing to 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide. The leaves are bright green and oblong. They arise from short stems and grow to 2 feet long and 4 inches wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer every six to eight weeks March through November for in-ground plantings. Feed container-grown plants every other week with a 20-20-20 solution or use a slow-release fertilizer as instructed on the label.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; grows best if watered every three to four days during hot, dry weather.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants by division of older clusters.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by freezing conditions but usually grows back from rhizomes protected by a mulch.

Major Problems: Rhizomes might rot during wet, cool winters. Reduce watering during winter months when plants are affected by cold. Scale insects and leaf spot fungal organisms also might affect plants but seldom need control.

Pruning: Remove old flowers as they fade during the growing season to keep the plants attractive. Groom the plants in late February to remove all cold-damaged stems to the ground.

Uses: An attractive accent for perennial beds and tropical plant collections. Flowers are produced in an inflorescence with yellow, orange and red portions dependent on the variety (Andromeda is pictured). These colorful displays are produced May through November and often are said to resemble birds in flight as they are held above the foliage. Heliconia also can be grown in containers to display on patios, balconies and at entrances. The inflorescences are long lasting and often cut for use in flower arrangements.

Florida Native: No; native to Brazil.









Pecan


Scientific Name: Carya illinoensis

Growth Habit: An upright tree when young, assuming a rounded shape with age; grows to more than 75 feet tall and wide. The leaves are deciduous, being compound and composed of lancelike leaflets growing to 6 inches long.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Needs a yearly feeding for good nut production. Apply a pecan fertilizer in February.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; water frequently when young to help develop the extensive root system. Established shade trees usually exist with seasonal rains; fruit-producing trees grow best with weekly waterings during dry weather.

Ease of Culture: Medium; new trees need considerable care to become established.

Propagation: New trees can be started from seeds or by grafting known varieties on seedling root stocks.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Pests are a common problem, including leaf spots and caterpillars. The trees are too big for most home spraying, and the leaf blemishes are usually tolerated. Squirrels feed in the trees and consume most nuts, limiting home production.

Pruning: Keep young pecans to a central leader to grow tall shade trees for the landscape. Pecan trees can be kept smaller by cutting back the longer limbs to encourage branching and a more compact and often sturdier growth habit.

Uses: Most gardeners think of pecan nuts when considering these trees, but the trees also provide good shade. Plant in a landscape with plenty of room for a large tree and select varieties Curtis, Desirable and Moreland for good nut production.

Florida Native: No; native to other central and eastern states.









Pentas


Scientific Name: Pentas lanceolata

Growth Habit: An upright to rounded evergreen perennial growing to 5 feet tall and about as wide. Leaves are lancelike and solid dark green to variegated growing to 6 inches long and 2 inches wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer to in-ground plantings every other month, March through December; feed container plants every other week with a liquid fertilizer solution.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant but grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants with cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; normally grows back from buds protected near the ground.

Major Problems: Grow in a well-drained soil to avoid root-rot problems. Chewing insects may feed on the foliage but seldom need control.

Pruning: Taller-growing selections often need pruning to remain in bounds and form compact plants. Trim out cold-damaged shoots and reshape plants at the end of February.

Uses: Pentas flower year-round, opening clusters of red, pink, lavender or white blossoms except when damaged by cold. They attract hummingbirds and butterflies to the landscape. Cluster several plants in an annual or perennial garden to form an accent or use them as a backdrop for other colorful plantings. Plants also can be added to containers for display at entrances or on patios and balconies.

Florida Native: No; native to Africa.









Peregrina


Scientific Name: Jatropha integerrima

Growth Habit: An evergreen shrub with multiple trunks growing up to 10 feet tall and wide. The leaves are deep green and variable in shape but mainly ovate with deep lobes and grow up to 6 inches long and 3 inches wide.

Light: Grow in a full-sun to lightly shaded location.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September if needed for growth.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; water frequently until well-rooted in surrounding soil. Thereafter, seasonal rains normally provide adequate moisture.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by frosts and freezes but usually grows back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Scale insects and mites can damage the stems and foliage. Control with a low-toxicity oil spray as needed. Leaf miners also might affect foliage but seldom need control.

Pruning: Remove cold-damaged portions and reshape plants during late February. Control vigorous shoots during the growing season as needed to keep a compact and in-bounds shrub.

Uses: Plant as an accent near patios and as a feature in major garden displays. Can be trained to tree forms to use in background plantings or as focal points. Plants also can be added to large containers. Peregrina can bloom year-round, opening terminal clusters of bright-red flowers. Lower-growing and more-compact forms are available. Keep away from small children because all parts are poisonous.

Florida Native: No; native to Cuba.









Perennial Peanut


Scientific Name: Arachis glabrata

Growth Habit: An evergreen perennial ground cover growing to 12 inches tall and 3 feet wide from underground rhizomes. The leaves are compound, consisting of three leaflets each growing to 1 1/2 inches long and an inch wide.

Light: Prefers full sun but tolerates light shade.

Feedings: Minimal feedings are needed to establish and maintain the plantings. No fertilizer is needed at planting. Thereafter a potassium-only fertilizer can be scattered over the planting in April and again during July if needed to encourage vigor and blooming. A magnesium sulfate also can be applied to increase the green leaf color during the growing season.

Water Needs: Very drought tolerant. Keep moist until the plantings become established; thereafter, survives with seasonal rainfall.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Plantings are started by dividing rhizomes or digging plugs dug from plants 5 years old or older. The best time to establish plantings is during early spring.

Hardiness: Tender; stays green until damaged by frosts or freezes but grows back from buds near or below the ground.

Major Problems: Weeds might invade newly established plantings. Control weeds in the planting site with Roundup, Finale or a similar herbicide before adding the perennial peanut. Remove weeds by hand during establishment or apply properly labeled herbicides. Plants grow vigorously and must be removed periodically from nearby areas.

Pruning: Plantings can be mowed as needed to a 4-inch height during the growing season to maintain a compact growth habit and to encourage flowering. Many gardeners mow only once in midsummer and again before frost.

Uses: Perennial peanut is an attractive ground cover to use anywhere in the landscape but especially where a low-maintenance drought-tolerant planting is needed. Much recent use is as a lawn substitute. Plantings open yellow blossoms above the foliage April through September. Varieties Arblick and Ecoturf maintain a compact growth habit and are commonly used as ground covers.

Florida Native: No; native to Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.









Persian Shield


Scientific Name: Strobilanthes dyeranus

Growth Habit: A rounded multistemmed evergreen shrub growing to 5 feet tall and wide. The leaves, green with silver and purple markings, grow to 8 inches long and 3 inches wide.

Light: Plant in shade to filtered-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer to in-ground plantings once monthly in March, June and September. Feed container plantings with a slow-release fertilizer as instructed on the label.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; in-ground plantings grow best if watered at least weekly during hot, dry growing conditions. Water container plants when the surface soil begins to dry.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; move container plants to warm locations and cover in-ground plantings to protect from frosts and freezes.

Major Problems: Caterpillars and beetles may occasionally chew holes in the foliage but seldom need control. Mites also cause yellowing of the leaves and can be controlled with soap or oil sprays. Nematodes may affect the roots to reduce water and nutrient uptake and cause decline.

Pruning: The Persian shield grows long stems of foliage that produce an open growth habit unless the plants are trimmed to encourage branching. It's best to remove the tips of young shoots periodically to produce additional growth and fuller plants.

Uses: Feature as an eye-catching accent in the shady areas of the landscape near a patio or an entrance or along walkways. This is also an excellent plant for tropical theme gardens with colorful foliage and spikes of purple flowers forming on mature plants during the summer months. Plants in containers can be set on a patio or balcony and displayed in the home.

Florida Native: No; native to Burma.









Petunia


Scientific Name: Petunia hybrida

Growth Habit: A sprawling annual with a rounded growth habit growing to 18 inches tall and 24 inches wide. The leaves are medium green and oblong to lancelike in shape and grow to 2 inches long and half as wide.

Light: Plant in a full-sun location for best flowering.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once a month to encourage growth.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; water at least weekly when the surface begins to dry.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed.

Hardiness: Hardy; tolerates light frosts but usually is damaged by a severe freeze.

Major Problems: Root-rot problems often occur when plants are overwatered or grown in the same location for several years. Alternate with other annual flowers to prevent the decline. Plants also may be affected by caterpillars, aphids and slugs, which can be controlled with natural products.

Pruning: Extend the flowering period by removing the declining blooms as noted. Petunias also become lanky as the plants develop long stems where blooms were present. These plants can be rejuvenated by trimming back the stems as needed to encourage growth.

Uses: Florida petunias are grown as cool-season annuals planted October through March to brighten beds, hanging baskets and planters. With good grooming, they can be enjoyed November through June as they open white, yellow, pink, red or purple blossoms that are more than 2 inches in diameter. Most are single-flowered types; double-flowered petunias are also available but are usually not as vigorous.

Florida Native: No; modern petunias are hybrids with ancestors from Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.








Philippine Violet


Scientific Name: Barleria cristata

Growth Habit: An upright to rounded evergreen shrub growing to 6 feet tall. The leaves are deep green and oblong growing to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide.

Light: Grows in shade to full-sun locations; flowers best at the higher light levels.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once each month in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by freezes but grows back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Plant in a well-drained soil to avoid root-rot problems. Chewing insects may damage foliage occasionally, but controls seldom are needed. Also check for scales and treat with an oil spray if needed.

Pruning: Develop a compact and low-growing plant by removing tip portions of new shoots from young plants to encourage branching. Provide major pruning in late February or March to remove cold damage and rejuvenate older shrubs. The shrubs do reseed freely and may have to be trimmed or pulled from nearby plantings.

Uses: Plant as a quick-growing accent shrub among foundation plantings, along walkways and in flower gardens. New plantings or those frozen to the ground sprout shoots that bloom June through December. The bell-shaped blooms up to 2 inches in diameter are available in pink, purple, white and blue, giving rise to another common name -- bluebell barleria. Plants also can be used for hedges, view barriers and container gardens.

Florida Native: No; native to India and East Indies.









Philodendron Selloum


Scientific Name: Philodendron bipinnatifidum

Growth Habit: A sprawling evergreen shrublike perennial producing one or more thick stems and growing to 10 feet tall and wide. The dark green leaves are deeply divided and grow to 2 feet long and wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March and June.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; grows best when watered every other week during periods of drought.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: New plants are started from seeds or through tissue culture.

Hardiness: Tender; survives most winters with minimal leaf damage. When severely damaged, plants usually grow back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Plants prefer an acid soil and may yellow when growing in the alkaline conditions near homes and sidewalks. Adjust the pH or apply minor nutrients to correct the chlorotic look. Plants may also be affected by scale insects but seldom need control.

Pruning: Selloums grow rapidly and often need pruning to remain in bounds. Stem portions can be removed to limit growth. Major pruning is often performed at the end of winter to remove cold damage.

Uses: Single plants can be used as large accent features near patios and along walkways. Selloums also can be used as foundation plantings near large walls, but allow room for growth. Several can be lined up to create view barriers and space dividers. Plants also may be added to containers for patio and balcony displays. The flowers are contained in a green to cream-colored bananalike inflorescence that is a curiosity but often hidden by the foliage.

Florida Native: No; native to Brazil.









Pincushion Flower


Scientific Name: Scabiosa caucasica

Growth Habit: A low-growing evergreen perennial, treated as an annual in Florida; forms a rosette of foliage up to 10 inches tall and wide; flower stalks are leafless and grow to 18 inches tall. The leaves are deep green and fernlike, growing to 6 inches long and an inch wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer to in-ground plantings once a month; feed container plantings with a 20-20-20 or similar fertilizer every other week. Slow-release fertilizers also may be applied as instructed on the label.

Water Needs: Grow in a moist, well-drained soil; water when the surface begins to feel dry.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Plants are started from seed and by division of mature clumps; Florida gardeners normally purchase plants in bloom.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Plants decline during hot, humid summers and are best replaced with heat-tolerant annuals or perennials. Chewing insects and slugs may damage the foliage but can be handpicked as needed.

Pruning: Remove faded flower clusters along with the long stalks back to near the ground to encourage additional blooms.

Uses: A colorful, temperate-climate perennial best known for its blue or purple flower clusters opening to 3 inches in diameter; pinks and whites are also available. Purchase plants during spring to add to flower beds and container gardens, and enjoy until the hot, humid days of summer. Plantings in sites with morning sun and afternoon shade often last the longest. Pincushion flowers attract butterflies and can be cut for bouquets.

Florida Native: No; native to the Caucasus Mountains.









Pineapple


Scientific Name: Ananas comosus

Growth Habit: An evergreen perennial with upright to arching dark-green to blue-green leaves arising from a basal stem and growing to more than 3 feet tall. The lancelike leaves are often edged with spines and grow to 3 feet long and 2 inches wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun to shaded locations. Best fruiting is obtained in the sunny sites.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer monthly March through November to encourage growth and fruiting. No fertilizer is needed during the winter months.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant. Can exist with moisture from seasonal rains; grows and fruits best with weekly waterings during periods of drought.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Most gardeners start plants from tops saved from pineapple fruits stuck in containers of potting soil. Plants also can be started from offshoots.

Hardiness: Tender but survives most winters to fruit the following spring. If severely damaged, usually grows back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Tolerant of most pests, but can be affected by scale insects and nematodes. Controls are seldom needed in the home landscape. Also plant in well-drained soil to avoid root rot problems.

Pruning: Trim declining leaves after winter to remove cold damage. Plants that have produced a fruit gradually decline and may also be removed as needed. Trim the prickly leaves away from walks to avoid injuries.

Uses: Gardeners are intrigued by pineapples and often add one or more to the landscape or container gardens. They serve as a garden accent or can be used along walks and on patios. Plants produce a pink-and-green inflorescence with many purplish flowers that form the fruit. Pineapple fruits turn a yellowish to orange color and are ready to pick about five months after flowering.

Florida Native: No; native to Brazil.









Pineapple Lily


Scientific Name: Eucomis punctata

Growth Habit: An upright-growing lily that sprouts shoots from an underground bulb and grows to 2 feet tall. The leaves are straplike and bright green and grow to 2 feet long and 2 inches wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a garden fertilizer to plants in the ground in March and June; feed container plantings lightly every other week March through September.

Water Needs: Needs a moist soil; water when the surface begins to feel dry.

Ease of Culture: Medium; extra care is needed to grow and flower.

Propagation: Start plants from seeds or by dividing older clumps.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Leaf-chewing insects may feed on the foliage. Control by handpicking if needed.

Pruning: Trim declining leaves and flowers as needed during the growing season. Remove all browning foliage when the bulbs go dormant for the fall and winter months.

Uses: An accent plant for the perennial garden or a container planting. The bulbs also may be set in clusters of three or more along walkways or mixed with low-growing shrubs. White to yellow star-shaped flowers form along a foot-tall stem topped with a cluster of green foliage. Some gardeners think the flowering stems resemble a fruiting pineapple plant, which gives rise to the common name. Plants are in bloom May through August. Keep container-grown plants with foliage collections or set out with shrubs in the landscape and keep moist when not in bloom. Keep on the dry side when dormant.

Florida Native: No; native to South Africa.









Pink Trumpet Vine


Scientific Name: Podranea brycei

Growth Habit: A sprawling evergreen vine with shoots growing to 15 feet in length. The leaves are pinnately compound with leaflets having shallow-toothed margins.

Light: Can be planted in light shade, but flowers best in full sun.

Feedings: Encourage growth as needed with feedings of a general garden fertilizer once each month in March, June and October.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best when watered at least every week.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start new plants from seeds and cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by freezes but usually grows back from buds protected by mulch near the ground.

Major Problems: Plant in nematode-free soil to prevent root damage. Look for mites during the dry weather and scales anytime. Control mites and scale with an oil spray as needed.

Pruning: Train to a trellis or arbor. Keep in bounds by pruning immediately after flowering. Remove older declining stems and shoots.

Uses: Has clusters of pink blossoms with red veins and a yellow throat December through April and sporadically throughout the year. Use to disguise a wall or hide a building. Vines trained to trellises and arbors also can be used as space dividers and accent features.

Florida Native: No; native to south Africa.









Pink Allamanda


Scientific Name: Mandevilla splendens

Growth Habit: An evergreen vine that grows vigorously during warmer weather. It can grow more than 15 feet tall and wide. The leaves are oblong and deep green and grow to 8 inches long and half as wide.

Light: Plant in a full-sun location.

Feedings: Feed lightly with a general garden fertilizer once monthly in April, July and September.

Water Needs: Keep moist until the roots grow into the surrounding soil. Considered drought-tolerant but grows best with weekly waterings during hot, dry weather.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; most local plantings die back during the winter months and resprout from buds near the ground during spring.

Major Problems: Nematodes can affect the roots. Plant in nematode-free soil. Plantings also can be affected by mealybugs and scale insects. Natural oil sprays might be needed when these pests are found.

Pruning: Remove all cold-damaged portions at the end of February and reshape the vines to prepare for spring growth. Train the vines to a trellis and pinch back the tips as needed to encourage branching and to produce compact growth.

Uses: Many gardeners like to train a pink allamanda, also called mandevilla, to a mailbox stand or a trellis near an entrance to enjoy the large, bright-pink, funnellike blooms opening July thorough September. Plantings can be used to conceal a wall or to create a view barrier. They also can be used in planters and hanging baskets. Central Florida residents should consider this a seasonal vine, because plantings develop yellow foliage and decline during the fall.

Florida Native: No: native to Brazil.









Pink Ball


Scientific Name: Dombeya wallichii

Growth Habit: A bushy, rounded, evergreen shrub with numerous widely spaced limbs growing to 20 feet tall and wide. The leaves are deep green, fuzzy and heart-shaped, growing to 12 inches long and wide.

Light: Grow in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March and June.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Medium; damaged by severe freezes but grows back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Scale insects can affect the foliage and stems. Aphids also may feed in the growth. Both can encourage the sooty mold fungus to form a black film on the surface of leaves. An oil spray can be applied to control the insects and sooty mold as needed. Also grow the plants in a nematode-free soil.

Pruning: Plants can be rampant growers and can benefit from a late February or March pruning when flowering is over. Remove cold-damaged limbs and reduce the size of the shrubs by one-half or more at this time.

Uses: This attractive winter-blooming shrub, also called the tropical snowball and hydrangea tree, produces 6-inch or larger pendant clusters of pink blossoms December through February. Plants can be added as an accent near patios and at the end of views or as a backdrop for gardens.

Florida Native: No; native to East Africa and Madagascar.









Pinwheel Flower


Scientific Name: Tabernaemontana divaricata

Growth Habit: A rounded, wide-spreading evergreen shrub with numerous branches growing to 8 feet tall and wide. The leaves are dark green with pronounced veins growing to 6 inches long and 2 inches wide.

Light: Plant in light shade to full sun.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once in March, June and October.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly watering during hot, dry times.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by freezing temperatures but grows back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Scale insects might affect the foliage and stems to cause yellowing and reduced plant vigor. This feeding encourages growth of the black sooty mold fungus. Control both pests with a natural oil spray available from your garden center.

Pruning: Perform major pruning in late February to remove cold damage and to reshape plants as needed. Out-of-bounds shoots can be removed at any time during the growing season.

Uses: Plant as a backdrop for gardens or lower-growing shrubs. It also can be used to create a natural hedge between sections of the landscape and at property lines. Plants can be added to larger containers or trimmed to become small trees. Clusters of white blossoms open year-round and resemble a pinwheel; they also might look like single-flowered gardenias. The blossoms have a carnationlike fragrance, especially during the evening.

Florida Native: No; native to India and Thailand.









Plumbago


Scientific Name: Plumbago auriculata

Growth Habit: A rounded to sprawling evergreen shrub growing to 6 feet tall and wide. The leaves arelancelike and a light to medium green color, growing to 2 inches long and an inch wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September if needed for growth.

Water Needs: A drought-tolerant plant usually surviving with water from seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Medium; damaged by severe freezes but grows back from buds on stems near the ground.

Major Problems: Fungal leaf spotting and stem decline may be noted during the wetter months, especially in areas with poor air movement. Fungicides can be used for control. Scale insects and mites are occasional pests and can be controlled as needed with natural oil sprays.

Pruning: Plumbago can become a rampant grower. Keep plants in bounds and renew the stems with late winter prunings as needed to control growth and remove cold damage. Plants may need additional trimming during the growing season.

Uses: A good plant for the poor and dry soils. Use as a foundation planting, a hedge or a backdrop for lower-growing shrubs, flower gardens and ground covers. The preferred flower color is deep blue, but selections of light blue to white are also available. Plantings produce clusters of flowers above the foliage year-round unless they are affected by cold.

Florida Native: No; native to South Africa.









Poinsettia


Scientific Name: Euphorbia pulcherrima

Growth Habit: An evergreen shrub with multiple widely spaced stems growing to 8 feet tall and wide. The leaves are deep green, ovate in shape, often with broadly toothed edges; they grow to 8 inches long and half as wide.

Light: Plant in full sun for best flowering; also grows in light shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer every other month March through November.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought but grows and looks best when watered weekly during periods of drought.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; survives most winters. When damaged by frost and freezes, the plant usually grows back from buds protected by mulch near the ground.

Major Problems: Hornworm caterpillars chew holes in the leaves; poinsettia scab cause stems to become bumpy and twisted; and mites cause leaves to yellow during the warmer months. All can be controlled with natural pesticide treatments as needed.

Pruning: Trim landscape plantings to within 12 to 18 inches of the ground during early March. Then, when plants form a foot of new growth, remove 4 inches from the top of each shoot. Repeat after each flush of growth through August to produce a compact multistemmed plant.

Uses: Use single plants or clusters of poinsettias as a backdrop for gardens, part of the foundation planting or as a feature along walkways. Plants also can be grown in containers to create holiday displays on patios and balconies or at entrances. Red-bracted forms are the most popular but white, pink, orange and blends of several colors are also available for November through March displays. Plants develop seasonal color only when they receive natural daylight and no nighttime light during the fall.

Florida Native: No; native to Mexico.









Purple Coneflower


Scientific Name: Echinacea purpurea

Growth Habit: A short-lived upright evergreen perennial growing to 3 feet tall in gardens. Leaves are medium green, toothed and lancelike, growing to 6 inches long and 2 inches wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June an August.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with a light mulch and weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start from seed.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Plants may be affected by chewing insects but seldom need control. Slugs also may feed on the foliage and can be handpicked or controlled with a natural slug bait.

Pruning: Remove faded blooms to encourage additional flowers throughout the growing season. Also rejuvenate clumps during late February by trimming declining stems to just above the green foliage near the ground.

Uses: Cluster clumps of three to five coneflowers in perennial beds, butterfly gardens and along walkways to enjoy tall stems topped with flower clusters consisting of reddish-purple outer blooms and brownish inner blossoms. Plantings flower May through October. The flowers attract butterflies, and if the seed heads are left, they provide food for birds. Stalks of flowers also can be cut for bouquets.

Florida Native: Yes.









Rabbit's Foot Fern


Scientific Name: Davallia fejeensis

Growth Habit: A creeping evergreen perennial fern with a furlike covering on rhizomes that resemble rabbit's feet, forming plants growing to 10 inches tall and twice as wide. The leaves are finely cut and lancelike and grow to more than 12 inches long and half as wide.

Light: Grow in bright light but out of direct sun. May be grown in the home, under a tree or on a shady patio.

Feedings: Apply a 20-20-20 or similar fertilizer at one-half the recommended rate monthly March through October; none during the cooler months.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil. Water when the surface begins to dry.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants by removing rhizomes from older clumps and rooting them in pots of soil.

Hardiness: Medium; prefers the warmer weather. Drops its leaves when temperatures dip below 50 degrees; severely damaged by frosts and freezing weather.

Major Problems: Scale insects and mealybugs may infest the stems and leaves. Control with natural sprays as needed following label instructions.

Pruning: Remove declining leaves during late winter as growth begins and as noted throughout the year. Periodically trim out-of-bounds rhizomes to keep an attractive compact plant.

Uses: An attractive foliage plant to display indoors in bright Florida rooms or atriums. Plants also may be set on the porch or patio if given adequate moisture and misted to provide humidity. Many gardeners like to display their plants in hanging baskets where the rhizomes cascade over the sides. Containers can be hung from the limbs of trees, from arbors or under eaves.

Florida Native: No; native to Fiji.









Red Maple


Scientific Name: Acer rubrum

Growth Habit: A deciduous rounded tree growing to 40 feet tall and 30 feet wide; leaves are medium green with three major lobes.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: For the first three years after planting, feed trees once in March and in June with a general garden fertilizer; thereafter, obtains needed nutrients from decomposing mulch and nearby turf and shrub feedings.

Water Needs: Requires a moist soil for best growth. Needs watering every week or two during hot, dry weather.

Ease of Culture: Easy if you have adequate moisture.

Propagation: New trees can be started from seeds, cuttings and grafts.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Avoid unless you can maintain a moist soil. Most plantings can be damaged by caterpillars that feed in the tips of new shoots and borers in the ends of the branches. Pests seldom cause major decline. Surface roots compete with turf; use of mulch or ornamental ground covers may be best under the limbs.

Pruning: Remove or cut back competitive branches to keep a central leader; remove shoots from the base.

Uses: Red maples are good shade trees for moist soils. Use as backdrops for gardens and as street trees. They produce red flowers and fruits during January and February. The trees have yellow to orange leaves during November and December.

Florida Native: Yes.









Red Powderpuff


Scientific Name: Calliandra haematocephala

Growth Habit: An evergreen with multiple arching branches forming a rounded shrub growing to 12 feet tall and wide. The leaves are deep green, consist of numerous leaflets and grow to 6 inches long and 2 inches wide.

Light: Plant in a full-sun location.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September if needed to encourage growth.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant. Water frequently until the roots of new plants grow into the surrounding soil. Thereafter, seasonal rains usually provide adequate moisture.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seeds and cuttings.

Hardiness: Medium; foliage and stems can be damaged by freezing weather but plants normally grow back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Scale insects and mealybugs commonly feed on the stems and foliage, which can result in a black sooty mold fungus coating the foliage. Control these pest problems with an oil spray as needed. Thorn bugs also feed on the stems. Clusters of the insects usually can be hand-picked when noted.

Pruning: Powderpuff shrubs grow large and might need periodic pruning throughout the year to remain in bounds. A major renewal pruning to remove winter-damaged portions and to control plant size can be performed in late February or March as flowering declines.

Uses: Plant where there is plenty of room to grow as a space divider or a view barrier. Powderpuff shrubs also can be used as an accent feature near patios and to create distant focal points in the landscape. Plants produce a display of bright-red powderpufflike blossoms when there is little winter color December through March.

Florida Native: No; native to Bolivia.









Redbud


Scientific Name: Cercis canadensis

Growth Habit: A deciduous rounded tree with an open branching habit growing to 25 feet tall and 20 feet wide. The leaves are heart-shaped and bright green, growing to more than 5 inches long and wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once each month in March and June for new trees up to three years after planting. Additional feedings are normally not needed as older trees obtain needed nutrients from decomposing mulches or nearby feedings of turf and shrubs.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant. Water until the root systems of new trees become established in the surrounding soil. Thereafter, seasonal rains normally provide adequate moisture.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start trees by seeds or by grafting a named variety on a seedling root stock.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Caterpillars are occasionally found feeding on the foliage but can usually be ignored or handpicked from the trees. During late summer and early fall, redbud trees also may develop leaf spots, which seldom are controlled.

Pruning: Keep new trees to a single trunk until more than 4 feet tall; then branching can begin to create the canopy. Remove small shoots and crisscrossing stems as needed. Older limbs eventually may hang down over walkways and also need trimming.

Uses: An attractive accent tree with late-winter color. Plant along the street, walkway or patio. Limbs fill with small but numerous bark-hugging pink flowers during February and March. The trees also provide color when the large leaves turn bright yellow to orange in October.

Florida Native: Yes.









Reiger Begonia


Scientific Name: Begonia x hiemalis

Growth Habit: An evergreen perennial with asymmetrical leaves on upright to trailing plants; grows to 12 inches tall.

Light: Shade to filtered sun.

Feedings: Feed monthly with a 20-20-20 or similar fertilizer solution during active growth. Reduce feedings to every six weeks during slower growth.

Water Needs: Moisten when the surface soil begins to dry November through May. After flowering, let plants dry more between waterings.

Ease of Culture: Medium.

Propagation: Leaf or stem cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender.

Major Problems: The shoots start to decline and become susceptible to rot problems. Allow the soil and plant foliage to remain drier to prevent root and stem rots. Resume normal care as growth begins.

Pruning: Trim faded flower heads and older leaves as they develop. After flowering, remove declining stems as new shoots grow. Pinch out the tips of dominant new shoots to encourage branching.

Uses: Reiger begonias belong to a group that is often called the winter bloomers. Many are now available year-round with clusters of pink, yellow, orange, red or white blossoms. When added to your plant collection, they often resume the winter through spring blooming habits. Plant as accents in container gardens for the home and patio. Also use as annual color in flower beds or cluster along walkways. Most gardeners add the plants to the compost pile when they start to decline.

Florida Native: No; hybrids developed by Otto Reiger of Germany.









Rose Moss


Scientific Name: Portulaca grandiflora

Growth Habit: A spreading annual with small, rounded fleshy stems and leaves forming plants that grow to 6 inches tall and 18 inches wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Feed lightly with a general garden fertilizer monthly.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; plant in well-drained soils and water only when the surface soil begins to dry.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start new plants from seed.

Hardiness: Tender.

Major Problems: Plantings can be affected by nematodes in heavily infested soils. Also select only well-drained soils to avoid root rot problems. Some varieties close blooms when visited by bees or during the hot afternoon hours. Newer selections remain open throughout the day. Flowers last only a day, but plants have many buds.

Pruning: Remove stems that may be creeping into garden paths or competing with nearby plantings.

Uses: Rose moss, also called moss rose, is a warm-season annual that's planted March through October. It's best planted in a cluster, creating a carpet of color in flower beds and as an edging along walkways. It also can be used to fill hanging baskets and as a cascading border around the sides of planters. Plantings offer a wide range of bright pink, scarlet, orange, white and blends of blossoms. Newer selections offer both single and double blossoms.

Florida Native: No; native to South America.









Scarlet Sage


Scientific Name: Salvia coccinea

Growth Habit: A bushy long-lived annual with numerous shoots growing to 2 feet tall and wide. The leaves are bright green, ovate with toothed margins growing to 2 inches long and about half as wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a light scattering of a general garden fertilizer under the spread of the plants every six to eight weeks March through November.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant, but grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy; may be damaged by cold but grows back from buds near the ground or seeds.

Major Problems: Caterpillars and grasshoppers may chew holes in the foliage and can be handpicked from the plants as needed. Slugs also may damage the foliage during damp weather and may need a control; set out a shallow tray of beer as a trap or use a bait available from garden centers.

Pruning: After months of growth, the plants spread out to fill garden sites and may interfere with nearby flowers and shrubs. Trim unwanted shoots to keep the plants in bounds. Also remove cold-damaged stems, and reshape plantings at the end of February. Older plantings become woody and often need replacement after a year of growth.

Uses: An excellent, almost carefree long-lived annual for flower gardens, natural settings and containers. Scarlet sage is a favorite of butterflies and hummingbirds, opening bright red tubular two-lipped flowers along terminal shoots held well above the foliage. Flowering is year-round but can be affected by cold weather. Pictured is the variety Lady In Red available as seeds and transplants along with other white and pink selections. Plantings reseed freely and may become a bit weedy in formal flower beds.

Florida Native: Yes.









Scarlet Swamp Mallow


Scientific Name: Hibiscus coccineus

Growth Habit: An open-growing, deciduous, woody perennial growing to 8 feet tall and half as wide. The leaves are deeply cut into three or five segments and grow to 6 inches long and 4 inches wide. The foliage is bright green during the summer and turns reddish for fall.

Light: Grow in the full sun.

Feedings: Fertilize lightly with a general garden product once monthly in March and June.

Water Needs: Needs a moist soil; plant near lakes or boggy areas or keep moist in well-drained garden settings.

Ease of Culture: Easy; keep moist.

Propagation: Start plants from seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Chewing insects including grasshoppers and caterpillars may feed on the foliage but seldom need control. May decline during the drier months if not provided with adequate water.

Pruning: Cut back during late winter to renew older stems and reshape before spring growth begins. Additional pruning may be needed during the growing season to keep plants in bounds.

Uses: A colorful plant for aquatic gardens to display near water features and in boggy soils along lakes. Also may be planted in moist gardens to help create the natural Florida look and to add color June through October with the large 6-inch-diameter red blooms that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Florida Native: Yes.









Shasta Daisy


Scientific Name: Chrysanthemum superbum

Growth Habit: A clump-forming evergreen perennial with clusters of deeply toothed dark green leaves. Plant grows to 1 foot tall; flower stalks, to 3 feet tall during late spring.

Light: Plant in full sun.

Feedings: Feed every other month with a light scattering of a general garden fertilizer March through November.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist site. Water transplants as needed to prevent wilting until the roots grow into the surrounding soil; water established plants weekly.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: With seeds or by division of older plantings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: It can be difficult to find shasta daisies adapted to the Florida climate. Plants can be grown from seed but they seldom survive or flower. The best plants are grown locally and sold at garden centers or shared between friends. Opening blooms are often damaged by thrips and may need an insecticidal treatment.

Pruning: Remove old flower stalks as the blossoms decline. Plants are trimmed of old foliage and stem portions when divided after flowering in summer.

Uses: A carefree perennial for sunny flower gardens. Can be used as an evergreen backdrop for lower-growing annuals and perennials summer through winter. White daises with a yellow center open during April and May.

Florida Native: No.









Shell Ginger


Scientific Name: Alpinia zerumbet

Growth Habit: An upright to rounded evergreen perennial growing to 8 feet tall and wide. The leaves are dark green and lancelike and grow to 2 feet long and 6 inches wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Apply a light feeding of a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March and June.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants by dividing older clumps.

Hardiness: Hardy; may be damaged by severe freezes but usually grows back from below-ground rhizomes.

Major Problems: May be damaged by chewing insects, but controls seldom are needed.

Pruning: Remove cold-damaged and older declining stems in late winter before growth begins. Plantings can grow rapidly and may need warm-season trimming to prevent shoots from affecting nearby shrubs and flowers.

Uses: A clump-forming ginger with dense growth that can be planted as a view barrier or a backdrop for other flowers and low-growing shrubs. The foliage adds the tropical look to the landscape. A variegated form is available to grow as an accent or a space divider. Flowers open in hanging clusters May through November with individual yellow-and-white blossoms resembling seashells.

Florida Native: No; native to Asia.









Shooting Stars


Scientific Name: Pseuderanthemum laxiflorum

Growth Habit:

Growth Habit: A multistemmed evergreen shrub growing to 4 feet tall and wide. The leaves are lancelike, bright green and grow to 4 inches long and 1 inch wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September, if needed to encourage growth.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of dry weather but grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by freezing temperatures but usually grows back from buds protected by mulches near the ground.

Major Problems: Plant in well-drained soil to prevent root-rot problems. Leaves occasionally are damaged by chewing insects but seldom need control.

Pruning: Plants grow vigorously and need periodic pruning during the growing season to remain in bounds. Remove cold damage in late February and reshape as needed.

Uses: A relatively new dense and lower-growing shrub to use in foundation and space-divider plantings that need minimal care. Clusters of purple blooms are held just above the foliage for color May through November. Plants also can be added to container gardens to display at entrances or on the patio and balcony.

Florida Native: No; native to the Fiji Islands.









Showy Primrose


Scientific Name: Oenothera speciosa

Growth Habit: A creeping perennial with numerous shoots growing from underground rhizomes to form 1-foot-tall and often 3-foot-wide plants. The leaves are linear with a toothed margin, growing to 2 inches long and a half-inch wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Most plantings seldom needed fertilizer. Growth can be encouraged with a light feeding once monthly in March and June with a general garden fertilizer.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant. Water until established; thereafter the plant survives with seasonal rainfall.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed or cuttings and by dividing older clumps.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Tolerant of most pest problems. May occasionally be damaged by chewing insects and leaf spots, but controls are seldom needed.

Pruning: Can spread into nearby plantings and may need trimming to remain in bounds. Prune older stems immediately after blooms decline to encourage additional flowers. Also remove old stems and foliage before growth begins during late fall and winter.

Uses: An attractive flower for natural settings often planted along the roadside and in wildflower collections. May also be added to perennial gardens, used as a ground cover and planted in containers for patio and balcony displays. Individual white to pink blossoms about 2 inches in diameter open April through July.

Florida Native: No; native to Kansas and Texas.









Shumard Oak


Scientific Name: Quercus shumardii

Growth Habit: A deciduous pyramidal-shaped tree growing to 50 feet tall and equally as wide. The leaves are large, glossy green with pointed tips and deeply cut lobs turning red to orange during fall.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer in March and June for the first three years after planting. Thereafter trees normally obtain adequate nutrients from nearby shrub and lawn feedings.

Water Needs: A drought-tolerant tree that needs frequent watering only during the first year after planting. Established trees obtain adequate moisture from seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start new trees from seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Oaks are relatively pest free. Occasionally caterpillars and mites may affect the foliage, but controls normally are not needed. Trees in soil that is too wet may develop root-rot problems.

Pruning: Start care immediately after planting by maintaining a central leader. Prune out limbs that compete with the central-most shoot at the top of the tree. Also trim as needed to maintain limbs evenly spaced around and up the trunk of the tree.

Uses: Gardeners wanting the Northern oak look should enjoy the Shumard species with large, glossy leaves that provide good fall color. Plant as a street or shade tree for the landscape. This is a large tree, so keep it at least 15 feet from the home and septic systems.

Florida Native: Yes.









Silk Flower


Scientific Name: Abelmoschus moschatus

Growth Habit: A short-lived evergreen perennial growing to 3 feet tall and wide. The leaves are dark green and deeply cut, growing to 6 inches long and wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer monthly.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; water at 3- to 5-day intervals during hot, dry weather.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed.

Hardiness: Tender.

Major Problems: Slugs may feed on the foliage, especially during the wetter months. Control with beer traps or baits as needed. Whiteflies also may cause the foliage to yellow and decline. Control with soap sprays when the insects first are noted.

Pruning: Remove spent blooms or seedpods to encourage additional blooms. Trim back shoots growing out of bounds or affecting nearby plantings.

Uses: Most gardeners add silk flowers to annual beds, and remove them as the plants begin to fill with seedpods or decline during the winter months. As the blossoms suggest, this is an edible okra and hibiscus relative often called a musk mallow; it flowers May through November. The five-petal pink, red or white blossoms open to 4 inches in diameter with a white or yellow center. Plants also can be added to container gardens.

Florida Native: No; native to Asia.









Silk-Floss Tree


Scientific Name: Chorisia speciosa

Growth Habit: A deciduous tree often with a large thorn-covered trunk that develops a rounded, open-growth habit growing to 50 feet tall and wide. The leaves are compound consisting of five to seven leaflets, each growing to 6 inches long and 2 inches wide. The leaves begin to drop during October as the flower buds open.

Light: Grow in full sun.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March and June for the first three years after planting. Thereafter, the trees usually obtain needed nutrients from nearby turf and shrub feedings.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; water until the root system becomes established in the surrounding soil. Thereafter, seasonal rainfalls usually provide adequate moisture.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Trees are started from seed and by grafts formed from selected varieties.

Hardiness: Medium; protect when young from freezing weather. Well-established trees are more cold-tolerant but can be damaged by severe freezes.

Major Problems: Grow in a well-drained soil to avoid root rot problems. Roots often grow near the surface of the soil, making mowing and walking under the trees more difficult.

Pruning: Train young trees to a central leader until 8 to 10 feet tall; then allow new limbs to develop a rounded branching system. Remove limbs as needed to allow movement under the trees.

Uses: Plant as an accent in yards with room for a large tree. Best sites are to the rear or sides of the landscape where the tree can be used as a focal point to enjoy when in flower. The blossoms, up to 5 inches in diameter, open in October and November to attract much interest; they are pink with a white-and-yellow throat. Fruits occasionally form and contain white fibers that have been used to fill pillows.

Florida Native: No; native to Brazil and Argentina.









Simpson Stopper


Scientific Name: Myrcianthes fragrans

Growth Habit: An upright to rounded evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide. The leaves are shiny and lancelike growing to 1 inch and half as wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Fertilize lightly once monthly in March, June and September with a general garden fertilizer for the first three years after planting. Once established, the plantings obtain needed nutrients from decomposing mulches and nearby feedings of shrubs and lawns.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant. Water when young to establish the root system in the surrounding soil; thereafter, the plantings usually survive with seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seeds.

Hardiness: Hardy; young limbs may be damaged during severe freezes.

Major Problems: Chewing insects may damage foliage, but control is seldom needed.

Pruning: Train to a tree shape with multiple trunks by removing unwanted limbs as needed. Encourage branching of shrubs by periodically removing the tips of branches to develop a compact growth habit.

Uses: Plant as an accent tree for the patio, garden or along walkways. May also be used as a backdrop for gardens and as a space divider between landscape settings. Plants produce a major bloom of small, fragrant, cream-colored flowers in March and April but open sporadic blossoms throughout the year. Flowers are followed by orange-red berries that are a favorite food for wildlife. The plants also have an attractive peeling bark.

Florida Native: Yes.









Slash Pine


Scientific Name: Pinus elliottii

Growth Habit: An upright needle-leaf evergreen tree with an open branching habit; grows to 75 feet tall. Needles are produced in clusters of two or three, and they grow to 12 inches long.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a light application of a garden fertilizer in March and June for the first three years. Thereafter, the trees obtain nutrients from decomposing mulches and feedings of nearby shrubs and turf.

Water Needs: Keep moist until roots begin to grow into the soil. When established, the trees are drought-tolerant, usually surviving with moisture from seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Started from seed.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Prefers an acid soil. Grows best with a natural mulch over the root system. Excessive water or frequent feedings often cause decline. The trees are susceptible to damage during construction. Weakened trees may be affected by borers and stem diseases.

Pruning: Remove lower limbs as needed to allow movement and landscape maintenance under the trees. Also remove declining limbs to prevent borers and diseases.

Uses: Pines make excellent shade trees. They can be used as companion plants for azaleas, camellias and split-leaf philodendrons; each prefers the acid soils. Best planted in clusters where the area under the limbs can be left in a natural state and covered by the seasonal loss of pine needles.

Florida Native: Yes.









Southern Live Oak


Scientific Name: Quercus virginiana

Growth Habit: An evergreen wide-spreading tree growing to 60 feet tall and 100 feet wide. The leaves are dark green, oblong and slightly rolled at the edges and grow to 5 inches long and an inch wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun.

Feedings: Apply a 16-4-8 or similar fertilizer once monthly in March and June to newly planted trees for the first three years. Thereafter, decomposing mulches and feedings of nearby shrubs, lawns and flowers provide adequate nutrition.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant. Water new trees until the roots become established in the surrounding soil. Thereafter, the trees receive adequate moisture from seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start trees from seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Live oaks are usually free of major pests but are affected by gall-forming insects that occasionally cause leaves and stems to develop unsightly swollen, knotted or fuzzy portions. Caterpillars might feed in the trees, causing some defoliation. Both problems seldom need control.

Pruning: Train new trees to a central leader to produce one main trunk. Remove or reduce the length of lower limbs after trees grow 8 to 12 feet tall as needed to perform yard work or allow movement under the trees.

Uses: A popular Florida tree to plant for shade in home landscapes. Add to areas where there is adequate room to accommodate the spreading growth habit that develops with age. The spring flowers are not showy but result in the production of fall acorns, a favorite food for wildlife. A number of new selections are available, including Cathedral, Highrise and Millennium oaks with uniform upright to rounded growth habits for home and street planting.

Florida Native: Yes.









Southern Magnolia


Scientific Name: Magnolia grandiflora

Growth Habit: A pyramid-shaped evergreen tree growing to 80 feet tall and half as wide.

Light: Grows best in full sun but tolerates light shade.

Feedings: Apply a 16-4-8 or similar fertilizer once monthly in March and June to new tree plantings for the first three years. Thereafter, the nutrient needs normally are met by decomposing mulch or nearby feedings of lawns and ornamentals.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; water every seven to 10 days during hot, dry weather until established. Once an extensive root system has developed in the surrounding soil, the trees are drought-tolerant.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed or cuttings or by grafting.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Scale can be a problem, covering the leaves with white dots and patches, but it seldom needs control. Gray algal and dark fungal leaf spots also may blemish leaves, but sprays normally are not needed.

Pruning: Train young trees to a single trunk with evenly spaced branches. Other trimming typically is limited to the removal of lower limbs that affect care and traffic under the trees.

Uses: An excellent shade tree opening a major display of large, fragrant, white blossoms April through June and sporadically during the summer. Seedpods form during the summer and often turn red, gradually revealing bright red seeds suspended by latexlike threads. A number of named varieties are available with predictable flowering and growth habits.

Florida Native: Yes.









Spider Flower


Scientific Name: Cleome hasslerana

Growth Habit: An upright annual growing to 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Plants produce compound dark green leaves growing to 6 inches long with up to seven leaflets.

Light: Plant in a full-sun location.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer monthly during the growing season or scatter a slow-release fertilizer over the soil after planting to feed for several months.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist but well-drained soil; water at least weekly.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed.

Hardiness: Tender; can survive light frosts.

Major Problems: Chewing insects may feed on the foliage, but damage is usually minor; pests seldom need control. If soils are kept too moist, root-rot problems can develop.

Pruning: Plantings grow tall and may send out shoots that grow over walks and crowd nearby plantings. Stake plants to keep them upright and prune out-of-bounds limbs as needed.

Uses: A colorful annual flower for planting March to May and September to November in Central Florida. The flowers are formed from large clusters of white, pink and lavender blossoms with long stamens, producing a spiderlike look. Fill a large bed, use the plants as a backdrop for lower growing plantings or cluster several cleomes along walkways for spots of color.

Florida Native: No; native to Brazil and Argentina.









Spider Plant


Scientific Name: Chlorophytum comosum

Growth Habit: A clump-forming perennial growing to 1 foot tall and often twice as wide. The leaves are narrow, arise from near the ground and are solid green or variegated with yellow or white stripes.

Light: Plant in filtered-sun to shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Divide older clumps or allow plants forming at the ends of flowering shoots to root in pots or in the ground.

Hardiness: Medium; damaged by freezing weather but usually grows back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Check plants for mealybugs that multiply at the base of the foliage and along flowering shoots. Apply a soap or oil spray if needed. Scale insects and slugs also may need occasional control.

Pruning: In-ground plantings can grow out of bounds because of self-starting plants at the ends of flowering shoots. Prune as needed or allow them to root and move them to form new beds or container gardens.

Uses: An often overlooked colorful ground cover for shady spots. Plants grow quickly during the warmer months to form a tightly knit layer of foliage. The flowers are small, white and not showy. Plantings are grown mainly for the variegated foliage selections including variety 'Vittatum' with a white central stripe. Plants also form attractive hanging baskets and can be used in planters along with seasonal flowers.

Florida Native: No; native to South Africa.









Star Daisy


Scientific Name: Melampodium paludosum

Growth Habit: A mound-forming, multibranched, long-lived annual growing to 18 inches tall and wide. The leaves are bright green and lancelike, growing to 3 inches long and 1 inch wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a light scattering of a general garden fertilizer monthly.

Water Needs: Survives short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed.

Hardiness: Tender; affected by frosts and freezes, but plants often grow back from seeds dispersed by older plants.

Major Problems: Caterpillars and other chewing insects often damage leaves but seldom need control. Plants reseed heavily, and the new growths can become a nuisance when trying to establish beds of different flowers.

Pruning: Seldom needed except to control plants that might be growing over walkways or into nearby flowers and shrubs. Cold-damaged plants also may need removal during late winter.

Uses: Unheard of until about 15 years ago, the star daisy -- also known as melampodium -- has become a garden favorite for its tolerance to drought, rains and hot weather. It's a durable annual usually planted spring through fall. Use in clusters of several plants to create a mound of 1-inch-diameter yellow blossoms that remain attractive for weeks before dropping their petals and then being replaced with flowering shoots. Plantings are in bloom year-round except when damaged by cold. Use in annual flower beds, perennial gardens and containers for the sunny locations. Numerous varieties are available; selection Show Star is pictured.

Florida Native: No; hybrids with parentage from North, Central and South America.









Stock


Scientific Name: Matthiola incana

Growth Habit: An upright cool-season annual growing to 18 inches tall. Plants produce long, narrow gray-green leaves and fragrant flowers in spikes held well above the foliage.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer monthly.

Water Needs: Maintain a moist soil. Water new plantings daily for the first week or two after planting; thereafter water when the surface soil begins to dry.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start new plants from seed during fall through winter.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Must be planted during the cooler weather to prevent decline. Plant in nematode-free and well-drained soil to avoid root damage.

Pruning: Remove faded flowers to encourage more blooms.

Uses: Stock is a colorful winter annual with blue, lavender, pink, red, white and yellow blossoms. Flowers are fragrant and usually double. Plants are in bloom December though March. Add plantings to flower beds, or use them to fill container gardens. You may have to start your own stock from seed because few garden centers offer transplants.

Florida Native: No; native to Mediterranean region.









Stokes Aster


Scientific Name: Stokesia laevis

Growth Habit: An evergreen clump-forming perennial growing to 18 inches tall and wide. The leaves are straplike and medium green growing to 8 inches long and 1 inch wide.

Light: Tolerates full sun but grows best in light shade.

Feedings: Apply a light scattering of a general garden fertilizer every six to eight weeks March though October.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant for short periods of time; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: From seed or by dividing older clumps.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Plantings are usually pest free. Avoid overwatering and poorly drained soils that can cause root rot problems. Plant foliage is occasionally affected by leaf-chewing insects, but controls are seldom needed.

Pruning: Remove old flower heads as they form to encourage additional blooms. Also trimming off the older shoots encourages formation of larger clumps.

Uses: Plant in clusters in the perennial bed or along walkways to create a long flowering accent. The blossoms are blue, lavender or white and daisylike, opening to 4 inches in diameter. Plantings are in bloom April through June and provide nectar for butterflies. Flowering plants can be added to container gardens for use on patios and balconies.

Florida Native: Yes.









Summer Poinsettia


Scientific Name: Amaranthus tricolor

Growth Habit: An upright annual with attractive leaves growing to more than 4 feet tall and 18 inches wide. The leaves are lancelike and range in color from deep green to yellow, orange and red; they grow to more than 8 inches long and 4 inches wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Needs only light monthly feedings of a general garden fertilizer. Too much fertilizer may decrease foliage color.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought, but grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start from seed.

Hardiness: Tender; plant only during the warmer months.

Major Problems: Chewing insects seem to like the large colorful leaves. Control caterpillars with Thuricide or a similar natural insecticide. Also plant in a well-drained soil.

Pruning: Plants seldom need pruning but do grow tall and often benefit from staking.

Uses: A real attention-getter for the flower garden. The leaves are the attractive portions; a red variety like Early Splendor (right) often resembles a poinsettia. The flowers are small and insignificant. Plant in clusters for a big burst of color against a backdrop of green shrubs or perennials. Plants also can be added to container gardens as the accent with other flowers or greenery. Additional selections with attractive foliage include Aurora, Flaming Fountain, Illumination and Molten Fire.

Florida Native: No; native to Africa.









Summer Torch


Scientific Name: Billbergia pyramidalis

Growth Habit: An upright, evergreen, tropical perennial forming vaselike clusters of plants growing to 2 feet tall and wide. The leaves are medium green and straplike with a spiny edge and an abrupt tip growing to 18 inches long and 4 inches wide.

Light: Plant in shade to filtered-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a light feeding once each month April through November if needed for growth. Mix a 20-20-20 or similar fertilizer at 1/4 the normal rate to water and feed the plants.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; often can exist with moisture from seasonal rains. Plants grow best if the vaselike leaf arrangement is replenished with water during the dry times.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants by dividing older clumps.

Hardiness: Tender; survives all but severe freezes when protected under trees. If damaged, most grow back from offshoots near the ground.

Major Problems: Scale insects can damage the foliage, causing brown spots on the leaves. Where needed, apply an oil spray following label instructions. Mosquitoes can live within the center moist sections of the plants and might need control during the warmer months.

Pruning: Older plantings can become invasive; divide to keep them in bounds. Also, remove cold-damaged leaves. Many gardeners like to remove the massive declining flower cluster to maintain attractive plants.

Uses: A plant for the shady areas of the landscape to use as a ground cover and an accent feature when in bloom. Cluster several plants to grow with other perennials and among shrub plantings. They also can be grown in containers to display on shady patios and balconies. Plantings produce a major flower display in August and September, developing foot-tall, bright-red inflorescences with small blue blossoms that remain attractive for about a week. Some selections also bloom in March or April. The flower clusters can be cut to use in bouquets.

Florida Native: No, native to Brazil.









Swamp Mallow


Scientific Name: Hibiscus coccineus

Growth Habit: An upright deciduous perennial, with an open-branching habit, growing to 6 feet tall. The leaves grow to 4 inches long and wide, with 3 to 5 deeply cut lobes.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once each month in March and June.

Water Needs: Needs damp garden sites for best growth; tolerates poorly drained soils. Maintain a moist soil with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy; must have a moist site.

Propagation: Start plants with seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Leaves may be damaged by chewing insects, but controls are seldom needed.

Pruning: Plantings may grow a bit lanky and need periodic pruning to stay in bounds. Many gardeners remove the less attractive seedpods that form after flowering. The plants decline and go dormant for the winter months. Prune back to near the ground during late winter to make room for spring growth.

Uses: An attractive plant for the natural Florida settings and damp areas of the landscape. Best used as a backdrop with wetland gardens and water-garden features. Plantings grow rapidly in the spring, and in May through October, they open red blossoms up to 8 inches in diameter that attract hummingbirds.

Florida Native: Yes.









Sweet Peas


Scientific Name: Lathyrus odoratus

Growth Habit: Climbing annual vines with pairs of blue-green leaves clasping the stems and shoots growing to 6 feet tall. Entwining tendrils develop along the stems and attach to nearby fences and trellises.

Light: Grow in full sun.

Feedings: Add manure or compost to the planting site. After two to three weeks of growth, give one feeding of a complete garden fertilizer. Sweet peas are legumes that obtain additional nitrogen for growth from nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the soil.

Water Needs: Need a moist soil. Water when the surface inch of soil begins to dry. Add a 1- to 2-inch mulch.

Ease of Culture: Medium; sow seeds during cool weather.

Propagation: Start new plantings in a prepared garden site. Space the seeds 3 to 4 inches apart and cover with an inch of soil.

Hardiness: Hardy; tolerate frosts but damaged by severe freezes.

Major Problems: Need cool weather to grow and flower in the Florida climate. Plant October through February in a well-drained soil to avoid root and stem rot problems.

Pruning: Cut lots of bouquets and trim flowers as they begin to fade to encourage additional blooms.

Uses: Few flowers have the pleasing fragrance of sweet peas. Both bush and tall-growing varieties are available, but all need a trellis or fence for support. Grow in a garden row for cut flowers or plant as a backdrop for flower beds and patios. Early and winter- flowering types do best in Florida.

Florida Native: No; native to Italy.









Sweet Gum


Scientific Name: Liquidambar styraciflua

Growth Habit: An upright deciduous tree growing to 60 feet tall and 30 feet wide. The leaves are dark green and star-shaped, often confused with red maple leaves, growing to 5 inches long and wide.

Light: Grow in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March and June for three years after planting. Thereafter, fertilizer applied to nearby lawns, shrubs and flower beds normally supplies the nutrient needs.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; water daily after planting for a month or more and then every other day until established. Thereafter, seasonal rains normally provide adequate moisture.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed, through cuttings or by grafting.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Lace bugs and thrips often cause a bronzing of the foliage by the end of summer. This decline usually is ignored as the leaves are deciduous and lost during the fall months. Caterpillars may feed on the leaves in sections of the tree, but the damage is usually minor.

Pruning: The trees normally grow upright but may need guidance to keep a central leader. Maintain evenly spaced limbs round the trunk by removing conflicting branches. Remove lower limbs as needed in older trees to allow maintenance and passage under the trees.

Uses: This upright, medium-sized shade tree allows gardeners to keep their sunny areas while enjoying shade, too. Inconspicuous yellowish flowers are produced during the late winter. The female blooms develop spiny seed capsules that drop to the ground during fall and can be painful to bare feet. The star-shaped leaves are eye-catching and turn yellow, red or purple by late fall.

Florida Native: Yes.









Sweet Osmanthus


Scientific Name: Osmanthus fragrans

Growth Habit: An upright evergreen shrub with numerous small branches growing in Central Florida as high as 10 feet tall and 5 feet wide; in cooler, more northern locations, 20 feet tall and almost as wide. The leaves resemble those of a holly,

Light: Plant in filtered sun or an area with morning sun and afternoon shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March and June.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Medium; needs a cool location in the landscape.

Propagation: Start shrubs from cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Generally problem-free, but limbs and leaves are sometimes affected by scale insects. Apply a natural oil spray if insects are noted.

Pruning: Keep plants compact and full of new growth by periodically removing the tips of shoots. Also trim declining limbs and out-of-bounds shoots as needed.

Uses: Gardeners usually notice the apricotlike fragrance of the flowers long before they spot the small cream-colored blooms clustered among the foliage. Position a plant or two near a patio and along the walkway to enjoy the period of major blooms February through March and then sporadically throughout the year. The sweet osmanthus, also called tea olive, is at its most southern limit, and finding the right spot in the landscape is important for it to thrive.

Florida Native: No; native to Eastern Asia.









Sycamore


Scientific Name: Platanus occidentalis

Growth Habit: An upright pyramidal-shaped deciduous tree growing to 80 feet tall and 60 feet wide with strong, well-spaced horizontal branches and peeling tan to cream or white bark. The leaves are rounded, three-to-five-lobed and medium green, growing to 8 inches long and wide.

Light: Plant in a full-sun location.

Feedings: Fertilize with a lawn-care product once monthly in March and June for the first three years after planting. Thereafter, special feedings are seldom needed as the trees obtain needed nutrients from nearby lawn and shrub fertilizer applications.

Water Needs: Trees have medium drought tolerance, often developing brown edges on the leaves, called scorch, during the drier weather. They grow best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start trees from seed.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Sycamores often develop brown leaves by midsummer because of lace bug infestations. Gardeners normally ignore the damage because the leaves drop a few months later during the fall. Powdery mildew also may be noticed as a white coating on the young leaves during spring, but it is usually a minor problem treatable with a fungicide, if needed. Some gardeners object to the large leaves that drop during the late fall.

Pruning: Sycamores grow a single, straight trunk with evenly spaced branches. Care is needed to make sure the trunk is not damaged and to maintain the single central leader. Lower limbs can be removed as needed to allow movement under the trees after the trunks grow to 8 feet or more in height.

Uses: A popular shade tree for home landscapes. Due to its size, the sycamore should be planted only in yards with adequate room for growth and 15 or more feet from buildings, sidewalks and driveways. The flowers are insignificant but are followed by green, ball-like seed clusters that are more than 1 inch in diameter, giving the tree some ornamental value. Gardeners also like the peeling bark that reveals a smooth cream- to white-colored trunk that becomes an accent feature for the fall and winter months.

Florida Native: Yes.









Hybrid Tea Rose


Scientific Name: Rosa hybrids

Growth Habit: Evergreen shrubs with an upright to slightly rounded shape growing to 6 feet tall and almost as wide; produces prickly stems with compound leaves having three, five or seven segments.

Light: Plant in full sun.

Feedings: Fertilize monthly with a general garden fertilizer or a product labeled for roses.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; water every three to four days during the hot, dry seasons.

Ease of Culture: Medium; roses need regular care.

Propagation: By budding or from cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy; severe freezes may damage leaves and stems.

Major Problems: Most rose selections are affected by black spot, a disease, and mites which can cause defoliation that weakens the plants. Sprays are usually needed. Other problems that may need control: thrips, caterpillars and powdery mildew.

Pruning: In mid-February, plants are reduced in size by one-third to one-half to control plant size and renew growth. Grooming to remove old flowers, lanky shoots and diseased or dead portions is performed year-round.

Uses: Hybrid tea roses often are planted in beds of assorted varieties. Flower colors include all but blue and may be a single color or a blend such as variety Perfect Moment (above). Single specimens also can be grown as accents with perennials or in containers to display on a sunny balcony or patio.

Florida Native: No; all are hybrids with mixed parentage.









Texas Wild Olive


Scientific Name: Cordia boissieri

Growth Habit: A small, round evergreen tree growing to 20 feet tall. Six-inch oblong leaves are dark green on top, grayish underneath.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Fertilize new trees with a general garden fertilizer once in March and June for the first three years. Established trees do not need special feedings and obtain needed nutrients from nearby feedings.

Water Needs: Keep new trees moist until the roots grow into the surrounding soil. Established trees are drought tolerant, usually existing on moisture from seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start new trees from seed or air layers.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Caterpillars may feed on the large leaves. Control as needed with a natural Bacillus thuringiensis-containing spray.

Pruning: Maintain a straight single trunk with evenly spaced limbs around the trees until over 8 feet tall. The tree then can be allowed to branch and develop the rounded habit. Remove lower limbs as needed to permit traffic and landscape maintenance.

Uses: The Texas wild olive, also called white geiger tree, is a nice discovery. It can be planted as an accent tree near the patio or an entrance. Also add it as a focal point near flower beds and along walkways. It flowers almost constantly March through November, opening clusters of delicate-looking 2-inch white blossoms.

Florida Native: No; native to Texas and Mexico.









Thryallis


Scientific Name: Galphimia glauca

Growth Habit: A rounded, evergreen, dense shrub growing to 6 feet tall and wide. The leaves are oblong, growing to 2 inches long and half as wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants with seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy; might be damaged by severe freezes but grows back from lower stem portions.

Major Problems: Plants are brittle. Keep away from pathways where visitors or hoses might damage the plants. Occasionally affected by caterpillars, but controls are seldom needed.

Pruning: Plantings can be trained as a formal hedge but much of the natural beauty is lost. It's best to remove out-of-bounds limbs selectively throughout the growing season. Plantings might be reshaped as needed in late winter before spring growth begins.

Uses: Add to foundation plantings for summer displays of bright yellow flowers opening May through November. Might be used to create accents and view barriers and as a backdrop for gardens and lower-growing shrub displays. Thryallis sometimes is added to planters and large container gardens.

Florida Native: No; native to Guatemala and Mexico.









Ti Plant


Scientific Name: Cordyline terminalis

Growth Habit: An upright tropical perennial often producing shoots from buds near the ground, growing stems of foliage to 6 feet tall. Leaves are multicolored, oblong and growing to over 2 feet long and 6 inches wide.

Light: Tolerates full sun; grows best in filtered sun to shady locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once every six to eight weeks March through November for in-ground plantings. Feed container-grown plantings monthly.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by frosts and freezes. Plants protected by trees and mulches usually grow back from shoots near the ground.

Major Problems: Check plants frequently for mealybugs and mites and treat with a natural soap or oil spray as needed. Older leaves also appear to be susceptible to leaf spots and are best removed when noted.

Pruning: Remove cold-damaged leaves and stems at the end of February to prepare the plants for spring growth. Plants often grow rapidly and may need occasional trimming to reduce plant height and remove weak shoots. This trimming also encourages multiple shoots.

Uses: Cluster plants along walkways and near patios to form accents of brightly colored blends of red, green, yellow and pink foliage similar to variety Red Sister (pictured). Plantings also can be used as a ground cover to fill gardens or as a backdrop for shorter growing flowers. Add ti plants to container garden displays on patios, balconies and indoors. The flowers are white to pink and not showy.

Florida Native: No; native to Eastern Asia.









Triostar Stromanthe


Scientific Name: Stromanthe sanguinea 'Triostar'

Growth Habit: An evergreen tropical perennial grown as a foliage plant with multiple shoots forming a rounded plant that grows to 30 inches tall and wide. The lancelike leaves of this variety are green with white-and-red markings, and they grow to 18 inches long and 4 inches wide.

Light: Grow in bright light but out of direct sun.

Feedings: Apply a 20-20-20 or similar fertilizer every other month March through November. No fertilizer is needed during the cooler months.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; water when the surface soil begins to dry. Plants also benefit from regular misting to increase the humidity.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants of Stromanthe by cuttings or by dividing older clumps.

Hardiness: Tender; grows best at temperatures above 50 degrees.

Major Problems: Keep plants moist, but avoid overwatering, which can cause root-rot problems. Plants in this genera are also susceptible to mite and mealybug infestations, which can be controlled with a natural spray as needed.

Pruning: Remove declining leaves as needed to maintain an attractive plant.

Uses: Members of the Stromanthe genera have quickly become popular foliage plants for the home and patio. Selection Triostar offers year-round attractive green, red and white leaves to create an eye-catching accent among other greenery and when used as a tabletop or floor display. Plants can be added to the landscape for the tropical look but are best grown in containers to move to warmer spots during the cooler months.

Florida Native: No; native to Brazil.









Tropical Sage


Scientific Name: Salvia coccinea

Growth Habit: An upright to rounded evergreen perennial growing to 3 feet tall and wide. The leaves are ovate in shape, with toothed margins growing to 2 inches long and 1 inch wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to light shade for best flowering.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer every other month March through November.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; maintain a light mulch, and water every other week during hot, dry weather.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by heavy frosts and freezes but grows back from lower stems or seeds.

Major Problems: Plant may be damaged by grasshoppers and caterpillars, but controls seldom are needed. Plantings reseed readily and tend to be invasive.

Pruning: Remove declining flower heads to prevent reseeding and to keep the plants attractive. Periodically, give a hard pruning to keep plantings in bounds. Most plantings also need pruning to remove cold-damaged portions before spring growth.

Uses: A colorful flower for perennial and wildflower gardens, producing year-round displays of foot-tall spikes of bright-red blooms that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. More recent selections include varieties with pink, white and pink-and-white flowers. Plants also can be added to container gardens.

Florida Native: Yes.









Tulip


Scientific Name: Tulipa hybrids

Growth Habit: An upright spring-flowering perennial bulb that produces quick growth up to 18 inches tall and 6 inches wide, then flowers and declines before summer. The leaves are bright to blue-green in color, lancelike and clasping a central stem; they grow to 6 inches long and half as wide.

Light: Grow or display in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: No fertilizer is applied to tulips forced for local container or garden plantings.

Water Needs: Tulips need moist soil when growing; water when the surface begins to dry.

Ease of Culture: Easy, to enjoy the flowers of forced bulbs; difficult, to prepare the bulbs for forcing.

Propagation: Start plantings from bulbs.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Tulips require more cold than Florida's climate provides to flower. Forced tulip bulbs normally are enjoyed for their blooms and then treated as a bouquet. They are added to the compost pile as they decline. The plants are usually in bloom for about a week, which is a relatively short period of time for flowers.

Pruning: None needed. Taller-growing selections may need staking to prevent wind damage or collapsing because of weak stems when grown in lower light locations.

Uses: Tulips available in a variety of colors are usually purchased locally as forced bulbs growing in containers about to bloom. They are displayed in the home under bright light, on sunny porches or patios and at entrances. Plants about to bloom also can be set in beds for an attractive but short-lived display. Some gardeners buy bulbs to store in a refrigerator for 12 weeks during the fall and then add to the garden for winter blooms. To be successful, the refrigerator must not be used to store fruits or vegetables at the same time.

Florida Native: No; native to Eastern Europe and Asia Minor.









Twinspur


Scientific Name: Diascia barberae

Growth Habit: An upright to slightly arching evergreen perennial growing to 12 inches tall and 24 inches wide. The leaves are bright green and heart-shaped, growing to 1 inch long and wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer monthly to in-ground plantings; feed container plantings every other week.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; water in-ground plantings at least weekly and container gardens when the soil surface begins to dry.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings or seeds.

Hardiness: Tender; grows best during the cooler weather, but protect from frosts and freezes.

Major Problems: Declines during hot, rainy weather. Best to treat this perennial as a cool-season annual for Florida. Plants may be attacked by slugs and snails that can be controlled by handpicking or using baits available from garden centers.

Pruning: Trim old flower heads to encourage new shoots with additional blooms. Remove declining plants and replace with warm-season flowers in early summer.

Uses: A new plant just appearing at garden centers with attractive cool-season color for flower gardens, planters and hanging baskets. Clusters of eye-catching pink blossoms open on long stems held well above the foliage to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Each blossom has two spurs that serve as a nectar source and give rise to the plant's common name.

Florida Native: No; native to South Africa.









Variegated Cassava


Scientific Name: Manihot esculenta' Variegata'

Growth Habit: A vase-shaped evergreen shrubby perennial growing to 8 feet tall and equally as wide. The leaves are variegated and compound, growing to 10 inches in diameter with up to seven leaflets.

Light: Grow in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Apply a light feeding with a general garden fertilizer monthly March through November.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from stem cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; plants are heavily damaged by freezes but usually grow back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Chewing insects may feed on the foliage but seldom need control. Plant in a well-drained soil to avoid root-rot problems.

Pruning: Cassava plants form well-branched shrubs that can grow quite large for small landscapes. Keep confined to the space available by removing or restricting branches. Also remove cold damage and control growth as needed during late February or March.

Uses: Cassava plants of the solid green leaf varieties, frequently called yucca, sweet potato trees and tapioca plants, are often used for food. Large roots are harvested after about a year of growth and specially prepared for cooking to remove toxic prussic acid. The variegated cassava is used as an ornamental, often featured as an accent among solid green shrubs or as a backdrop for gardens. The cassava can be grown in a large container for patio display.

Florida Native: No; native to Brazil.









Variegated Flax Lily


Scientific Name: Dianella tasmanica' Variegata'

Growth Habit: An evergreen upright perennial forming clumps of tightly packed foliage that produces plants to 2 feet tall and wide. The variegated selection has a white margin along the bright green lancelike leaves growing to 2 feet long and 2 inches wide.

Light: Tolerates full sun but grows best in filtered-sun to shady locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and October.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; grows best with weekly waterings during the hot, dry weather.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants by dividing established clumps.

Hardiness: Hardy; outer leaf portions might be damaged by severe freezes but can be pruned when growth resumes in early spring.

Major Problems: Fungal leaf spots occasionally might affect plants during periods of unfavorable growth but seldom need control. Scale insects also might affect the foliage but can be controlled with natural insecticides.

Pruning: Remove cold-damaged foliage in late February. Prune declining leaves and flower stems as needed throughout the growing season.

Uses: Plant clusters as a ground cover or accent to create spots of interest. Another popular use is in border plantings along walkways and formal beds. Plants also are added to container gardens for patio, entrance and balcony displays. Long stems of small starlike blue flowers form above the foliage May through November to produce contrasting color. Leaves and stems of blossoms can be cut and added to bouquets.

Florida Native: No; native to Australia.









Variegated Vitex


Scientific Name: Vitex trifolia 'Variegata'

Growth Habit: An irregular to rounded evergreen shrub to small tree growing to 10 feet tall and wide. The leaves are three-parted and green with a white margin, and they grow to 3 inches long and wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Lightly apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September when needed to encourage growth.

Water Needs: Keep moist until the roots become established in the surrounding soil. Thereafter, the plants are considered drought tolerant but grow best with waterings every other week during periods of hot, dry weather.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Medium; often damaged by freezes but usually grows back from stems near the ground.

Major Problems: Grow in a well-drained soil to avoid root rot problems. Scale insects may affect the foliage and stems. Apply an oil spray if needed to prevent damage.

Pruning: A rapid-growing plant that may need frequent pruning to keep in bounds and to remain a compact shrub. At the end of winter, remove cold-damaged portions and reshape to the desired form.

Uses: Plant in an obvious location to enjoy the variegated foliage and blue to lavender blossoms May through August. Vitex plantings may be used as a hedge, a view barrier or a backdrop for other shrub and flower plantings. Many gardeners like to keep a plant in a large container to set on the patio or near an entrance to train as a small tree.

Florida Native: No; native to Asia and Australia.









Virginia Willow


Scientific Name: Itea virginica

Growth Habit: A rounded, loosely branched deciduous shrub growing to 6 feet tall and often as wide. Plants produce dark green elliptic leaves up to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide.

Light: Grows in full sun to light shade.

Feedings: Apply a light scattering of a general garden fertilizer in March, June and August.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; grows best in moist soils with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start new plants from seed or cuttings. Offshoots from older plants can be dug and transplanted.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Leaves are occasional food for chewing insects, but control seldom is needed. Plantings reproduce by underground roots that develop shoots that may invade nearby shrubs and flower beds. Control may be needed to remove these unwanted shoots.

Pruning: Plants tend to be open in growth habit, but pruning back the tips of the limbs after spring flowering can help encourage branching and a dense shrub. Gardeners also may have to remove out-of-bound shoots growing from the roots.

Uses: Consider the Virginia willow, also called sweetspire, for shady and damp locations. The shrubs also can be planted in the drier sunny sites. Plants tend to grow more compact and dense at higher light levels. Use as a cluster for a backdrop to a garden, in foundation plantings or as accents near a patio. Plants produce spikes of white blooms March through June. In late fall to early winter, the leaves turn red or purple to add seasonal interest.

Florida Native: Yes.









Voodoo Lily


Scientific Name: Amorphophallus species

Growth Habit: A deciduous perennial bulblike plant sprouting single leaves, from under the ground, that grow to more than 6 feet tall. The leaves are deeply cut bright green with prominent veins growing to more than 4 feet in diameter.

Light: Grow in shade to filtered-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a light application of a general garden fertilizer in April, June and August. Where growth has been adequate, the plants can obtain needed nutrients from decomposing mulches.

Water Needs: Tolerates short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Divide older clumps of corms.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Very few. Plant in a well-drained soil to avoid rot problems.

Pruning: Remove leaves as they decline during the fall.

Uses: A horticulture curiosity to plant along walkways or near focal points in the garden. Older plantings produce an upright to rounded brown inflorescence in April that opens to expose clusters of cream-colored male and female flowers, often with a putrid odor. The inflorescence declines within a week and the equally exotic foliage follows to form a warm-season accent until it declines during late October. Corms also can be grown in containers to display on patios, porches and balconies.

Florida Native: No; native to the Old World tropics.









Walking Iris


Scientific Name: Neomarica longifolia

Growth Habit: Upright evergreen perennials with yellow-green foliage growing to 2 feet tall; a member of the iris family with lancelike leaves that arise from rhizomes growing just below the soil surface.

Light: Plant in filtered sun.

Feedings: Apply general garden fertilizer once each month in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil; water at least once a week during hot, dry weather.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start new plants by dividing older clusters. Also remove new plants from the ends of flowering stems that bend down to the ground to grow roots and shoots (thus the name walking iris).

Hardiness: Medium; plants are severely damaged by freezing weather but usually grow back from rhizomes near the ground.

Major Problems: Plantings occasionally are damaged by caterpillars and other leaf-feeding insects, but controls are seldom needed.

Pruning: Remove declining foliage as noted. Also trim cold-damaged leaves in early March as plantings begin growth. Remove arching flowering stems before they root in the soil to keep plantings in bounds.

Uses: Walking irises are ideal plants for shady garden sites. Cluster several plants in a flower bed for a burst of color, use them as a ground cover, or to line walkways. The plants grow well in the damp sites and bog gardens. Plantings open 2-inch-diameter yellow blooms with brown markings April through October.

Florida Native: No; native to Brazil.









Wax Myrtle


Scientific Name: Myrica cerifera

Growth Habit: A multitrunked semi-evergreen forming a rounded large shrub to small tree; grows to 20 feet tall. Leaves are narrow and grow to 3 inches long.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Feed new plants during March and June with a general garden fertilizer for the first three years. Established plants get nutrients from nearby lawn and shrub feedings or decomposing mulches.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant. Keep new plantings moist until roots grow into the surrounding soil. Established plants usually get adequate water from seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start from seeds or by removing shoots sprouting from the roots.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Wax myrtles have several diseases that cause die-back and cankers forming within the trunks. Prevent decline by avoiding plants dug from the wild and using clean pruners when trimming.

Pruning: Decide whether you want a tree or a shrub, and thin to the desired number of trunks. Shrubs are trained with numerous trunks and trees to three or five main trunks. Prune periodically to remove unwanted shoots from the base and root systems.

Uses: Plant as accent features near entrances, patios and gardens. The flowers are small and a greenish color. Only female plants bear gray berries November through March. Plants can be used as a hedge or a view barrier.

Florida Native: Yes.









Wheat Celosia


Scientific Name: Celosia spicata

Growth Habit: An upright long-lived annual growing to 30 inches tall and 12 inches wide. The leaves are narrow and grow to 4 inches long.

Light: Plant in sunny locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer monthly.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant for short periods of time but prefers a moist soil; grows best when watered at least weekly during dry weather.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed during the winter months.

Hardiness: Tender.

Major Problems: Leaves are sometimes attacked by caterpillars. Handpick or control with a natural spray. Plant in a well-drained soil to avoid root-rot problems.

Pruning: Trim faded flower heads to encourage growth and additional blooms. Stems of opening flowers also can be cut and tied in bunches to hang upside-down in a shady, airy spot to save and use in dried arrangements.

Uses: An attractive new plume-type celosia with upright tassels of flowers resembling stalks of fruiting wheat. Use in annual flower beds, cutting gardens or planters to enjoy the pink to purplish blossoms held well above the lancelike foliage April through November. Pictured is variety Flamingo Feather, also in bloom during the winter months when grown in containers and protected from the cold.

Florida Native: No: native to tropical Africa.









Whirling Butterflies


Scientific Name: Gaura Lindheimeri

Growth Habit: A clump-forming perennial, producing plants growing to a foot tall and flower stalks 3 feet tall. The leaves are medium to dark green, lancelike and toothed, growing to 4 inches long and a half-inch wide.

Light: Plant in a full-sun location.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; grows best with waterings every seven to 10 days.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed or cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Chewing insects occasionally may feed on the foliage, but controls are seldom needed. Plant in a well-drained soil to avoid root-rot problems.

Pruning: Remove old flower stalks when all the blossoms fade. Also, groom plants during late winter to remove declining leaves and flower stalks.

Uses: Plants have an unusual flowering habit. They produce small white to pink blossoms at the ends of long stems that resemble butterflies in flight. Cluster several plants for the best color display as an accent feature along walkways and in perennial gardens. Plants also may be mixed with other annuals and perennials in container gardens for balcony or patio displays.

Florida Native: No; but native to Louisiana, Texas and Mexico.









White Bird of Paradise


Scientific Name: Strelitzia nicolai

Growth Habit: An upright treelike evergreen plant growing to 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide. The dark green leaves are oblong and grow 5 feet long and 2 feet wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once each in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant and capable of going weeks without water; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: New plants are best started from offshoots of older clumps. Seeds also can be used but are slow to sprout.

Hardiness: Medium; damaged by freezing temperatures but usually grows back from protected buds near the ground.

Major Problems: White scale and mealybugs are often noted covering portions of leaves, causing them to develop yellow spots and gradually decline. Control with an oil spray as needed. Leaf spot fungal organisms may also be noted but seldom need control.

Pruning: Remove declining leaves and flower heads. Plants also develop large clumps and some pruning of trunks or division of older clusters may be needed to keep plants in bounds.

Uses: Add the tropical look and a terrific accent plant to the patio, pool area and Florida garden with a cluster of the white bird of paradise. This is a tall- and wide-growing plant that needs adequate room, especially above, for the long leaves to develop. Mature plants flower throughout the year, sprouting an inflorescence containing numerous white and blue blooms that are sure to attract attention. Plants also can be grown in large containers.

Florida Native: No; native to Africa.









White Rain Lily


Scientific Name: Zephyranthes candida

Growth Habit: An evergreen perennial cluster-forming, bulb-type plant growing to 12 inches tall and 4 inches wide. The leaves are dark-green and grasslike with flattened stems growing to 12 inches in length and 1/4-inch wide.

Light: Grows best in full sun but tolerates light shade.

Feedings: Feed lightly with a general garden fertilizer once monthly in June and August.

Water Needs: Survives with seasonal rainfall; grows best and blooms during the rainy summer and early fall months.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed and by dividing older clusters.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Chewing insects and slugs occasionally might feed on the foliage but seldom need control.

Pruning: Remove flower stems after the blossoms fade or when seeds are gathered for sowing.

Uses: An attractive addition to the perennial garden or as a ground cover throughout the landscape. Perhaps the best use is in clusters spotted throughout the garden or along walkways, as the plants send up white lilylike blooms when many other flowering plants begin to decline August through October. Plants also can be grown in containers and displayed when in bloom.

Florida Native: No; native to the La Plata region of South America.









White Trailing Lantana


Scientific Name: Lantana montevidensis 'Alba'

Growth Habit: A sprawling evergreen ground cover with vinelike stems growing to 2 feet tall and 4 feet wide. The leaves are thick, oval, toothed along the edges and produce a pungent fragrance when crushed; they grow to more than an inch long and half as wide.

Light: Grows and flowers best in full sun but tolerates light shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once in March if adequate moisture is available for growth and once during the summer.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; grows best if watered every other week during hot, dry weather.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings.

Hardiness: Medium; damaged by frosts and freezes but usually grows back from stems near the ground.

Major Problems: Leaf miner, whiteflies, caterpillars and garden flea hoppers blemish leaves but seldom need control. Leaf spotting may occur if plants are grown in shade and during the summer rainy season.

Pruning: Control growth with periodic trimming to prevent plants from overgrowing the allotted space. During mid-February, trim plants to near ground level to remove cold damage and renew growth.

Uses: A rapidly growing ground cover that can be used in the dry, well-drained problem areas of the landscape, plus in foundation and perennial garden plantings. May be added to containers, planters and hanging baskets. An attractive plant to overhang walls and balconies. Flowers are produced above the foliage in clusters along the stems year-round except when affected by cold. Variety Alba is a white selection, but gardeners also may select the lavender-flowered species to plant.

Florida Native: No; native to South America.









Xanadu Philodendron


Scientific Name: Philodendron x 'Xanadu'

Growth Habit: A rounded shrub, with evergreen deeply cut leaves, growing to 3 feet tall.

Light: Tolerates full sun; grows best in filtered-sun to shady locations.

Feedings: Apply a balanced fertilizer once monthly in March, May and September.

Water Needs: Survives short periods of drought; grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Commercially started through tissue culture; can be rooted from cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; plants in shade normally survive cold with a cover.

Major Problems: Plantings are mostly pest-free. Grow in well-drained soils and avoid keeping wet to avoid root-rot problems.

Pruning: Plantings grow slowly but steadily and may need pruning to avoid competition with nearby ornamentals. Pruning is normally needed after severe cold to remove declining foliage.

Uses: An excellent plant for shady gardens, foundation plantings and borders. Also can be grown in containers to use indoors or on the patio.

Florida Native: No; a hybrid.









Yarrow


Scientific Name: Achillea millefolium

Growth Habit: A clump-forming evergreen perennial forming a base of arching foliage with flowering shoots growing to 2 feet tall. The leaves are gray-green, fernlike and deeply divided, growing to 6 inches long and 1 inch wide.

Light: Plant in full sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March and June.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant, surviving for weeks without water; grows and flowers best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seed or by division of older clumps.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Plant in well-drained soils to avoid root-rot problems. Foliage may be affected by chewing insects, but controls seldom are needed.

Pruning: Trim declining flower heads to encourage a continuous bloom. Remove flowering shoots when the stems begin to brown. Edge beds and planting sites as needed to prevent yarrow shoots from invading nearby plantings.

Uses: An attractive flower, blooming March through May for the perennial flower bed and rock garden. Flowers open white, pink and red in clusters at the tops of tall shoots. The stalks of blossoms can be cut for bouquets or saved for dry flower arrangements. Plants also may be grown in containers for porch, balcony or patio displays.

Florida Native: No; native to Europe and western Asia.









Yaupon Holly


Scientific Name: Ilex vomitoria

Growth Habit: An evergreen upright to rounded small tree or large shrub growing to 20 feet tall. The plants are twiggy and have small spine-free leaves.

Light: Plant in full-sun to lightly shaded locations.

Feedings: Feed lightly in March and June for the first three years. Thereafter adequate nutrients are obtained from decomposing mulches plus nearby lawn and shrub feedings.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; can usually exist with the moisture from seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Hardy.

Major Problems: Light leaf loss may be noted because of fungal leaf spots and leaf minor insect damage. Controls seldom are needed.

Pruning: Yaupon hollies produce shoots from the base and the roots that compete with the central trunk. Prune the shoots to the ground as needed to keep an attractive tree.

Uses: Often planted as small accent trees near patios and walkways or can be added as a backdrop for flower gardens and shrub plantings. Female selections produce shiny red berries during fall and winter. The fruits are a favorite food for wildlife. A weeping form known as Pendula is available.

Florida Native: Yes.









Yellow Elder


Scientific Name: Tecoma stans

Growth Habit: An evergreen, rounded, large shrub to small tree with numerous branches growing to 15 feet tall and wide. The bright-green compound leaves grow to 10 inches long and half as wide with up to 13 leaflets.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March and June if needed to encourage growth.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; can exist with seasonal rains.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from seeds or cuttings.

Hardiness: Tender; damaged by severe freezes but can grow back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Chewing and scale insects occasionally might feed on the foliage and stems but seldom need control.

Pruning: The trees have a free branching habit and need trimming to keep a central trunk. Remove limbs of young trees competing with the central leader. Plants with multiple trunks can be grown to produce large shrubs. Remove out-of-bounds limbs as needed to keep the rounded growth habit. Also, remove any cold-damaged limbs during February just before growth.

Uses: An attractive accent plant that opens clusters of bell-shaped yellow blossoms March through December. Plant near the patio, near entrances and along walkways for a burst of color. Plants also can be grown in containers to set on patios or decks.

Florida Native: No; native to the Caribbean region.









Yellow Walking Iris


Scientific Name: Trimezia martinicensis

Growth Habit: An upright evergreen, perennial, bulblike plant with foliage originating from near the soil line. This is an iris relative with swordlike foliage that grows to 30 inches tall and 11/2 inches wide.

Light: Grows in full sun to shade.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once monthly in March, June and September.

Water Needs: Drought tolerant; can exist with seasonal rains, but grows best with weekly waterings.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants by division of clumps and removal of "plantlets" that root from the ends of flowering stems.

Hardiness: Medium; damaged by freezes but usually grows back from buds near the ground.

Major Problems: Chewing insects occasionally may feed on the foliage but seldom need control.

Pruning: Remove cold-damaged leaves at the end of February before growth starts. Plants are vigorous and often need trimming to remove excessive plants and keep the foliage in bounds.

Uses: Plant in clusters to enjoy the attractive yellow irislike blossoms with brown barred markings April through November. Blossoms last only a day, but the long arching, flowering stems have many buds and leaves that eventually root as the shoots bend down and touch the ground. Add to perennial gardens, shady sites and along walkways. Plants also may be grown in containers for porch and patio displays.

Florida Native: No; native to tropical America, including Brazil, Mexico and Jamaica.








Zebra Plant


Scientific Name: Aphelandra squarrosa

Growth Habit: An upright evergreen perennial growing to 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide. The leaves are dark green with white banding along the veins; they grow to 8 inches long and half as wide.

Light: Grow in a bright location but out of direct sun.

Feedings: Apply a 20-20-20 or similar fertilizer every other week March through November, none during the winter months.

Water Needs: Keep moist by watering when the surface soil begins to dry March through December; allow the surface soil to dry between waterings during the winter.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings during warmer spring through early summer months.

Hardiness: Tender; protect from temperatures below 40 degrees.

Major Problems: Aphids, mealybugs and scale insects are common pests. Control as needed with a soap or oil spray, following label instructions.

Pruning: Remove browning inflorescences throughout the growing season. Also use this time to trim lanky shoots and reshape the plants to encourage branching.

Uses: Display in the home or on the patio in containers to enjoy the exotic and tropical look of zebra plants. The variegated foliage creates year-round interest, and bright yellow inflorescences form at the tops of shoots April through December. The small flowers are open for only a few days, but the colorful yellow bracts remain attractive for weeks. Plants can be added to in-ground tropical gardens, but they are usually damaged by the cold weather.

Florida Native: No; native to Brazil.









Zinnia


Scientific Name: Zinnia elegans

Growth Habit: An upright to rounded annual plant with broad, fuzzy, light green leaves produced on plants growing to 4 feet tall and wide.

Light: Plant in full-sun locations.

Feedings: Apply a general garden fertilizer once every 3 to 4 weeks to in-ground plantings, weekly to plants in containers.

Water Needs: Prefers a moist soil. In-ground plantings grow best with weekly waterings; check container plantings for daily needs.

Ease of Culture: Easy.

Propagation: Start new plants with seed 6 to 8 weeks before they are needed in the garden.

Hardiness: Tender.

Major Problems: Zinnias are affected by fungal leaf spots and powdery mildew. Newer varieties appear to have some resistance to these diseases, making plantings possible even during the warmer, damp summer. Also check for chewing insects and handpick from the plants as needed.

Pruning: Remove the declining blooms to produce new flowers. Also cut bouquets to encourage flowers and reshape the plants as needed. Trim declining plants from the garden as they complete their life cycles.

Uses: Zinnias are planted March through October. Varieties are available in a rainbow of colors, and blossoms are up to 6 inches in diameter. The blooms have a mild fragrance and attract butterflies. Plant clusters in annual flower beds, along walkways and in container gardens. Use lower growing varieties as borders and taller types as backdrops for other flowers.

Florida Native: No; native to Mexico.