Plant of the Month

The Cabada Palm - November 2018

At first glance the Cabada palm can be easily confused with its smaller relative the Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens), but their height difference and bamboo-like trunk appearance really set the two species apart. Its ability to adapt to varying soil types, soil fertility, and light exposure as well as its relatively fast growth rate compared to other palms make it a great species to add to your landscape.

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The Silk Floss Tree, Kapok, 'Monsa' Floss Tree - October 2018

What has green skin and spikey horns? No, not a Halloween monster, it’s the Silk Floss tree!This deciduous tree is an excellent choice when adding an exotic tropical element to a landscape. It provides seasonal interest through its vibrant green trunk covered in spines, and its bright pink flowers in the fall and winter. Although not recommended for use directly near sidewalks or heavy pedestrian areas because of its sharp triangular spines covering the trunk, it will make a beautiful addition to garden beds and landscape accent areas. Its canopy also makes an excellent shade tree because it allows enough light to penetrate to maintain healthy sod.

Ground Orchid / Philippine Ground Orchid – September 2018

This beautiful ornamental orchid is a great variety to plant in your garden and bring a touch of color to the landscape. It’s native to the grasslands and woodlands of Southeast Asia which lend it its tropical appearance. With partial shade and well-drained soil, these easygoing orchids will do well in both garden landscape beds or in pots. Their upright bright green leaves and vibrant purple flowers that bloom year round will be sure to add seasonal interest and turn heads regardless of where it is planted.

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Bridal Bouquet Plumeria, White Frangipani – August 2018

August is a wonderful time to appreciate the Plumeria pudica, or Bridal bouquet plumeria. Hidden in the landscape for most of the year, this gem of a plant starts to show off in the hot summer months. The Bridal Bouquet Plumeria is a beautiful semi-evergreen ornamental tree native to the Caribbean and Latin America. Its large clusters of white flowers add seasonal interest, summer through fall, and the tree’s unique shape is the perfect accent for a narrow space. This plumeria has large seed pods, but does not leave much litter and the fruit can be harvested to eat. Homeowners lucky enough to have this plant blooming in their yard can use the flowers in cut arrangements as well.

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Firecracker Plant – July 2018

Happy Fourth of July! This month we are featuring the bright and shining Firecracker plant. This ornamental shrub has vibrant, red tubular flowers that bloom year-round in 12-inch long sprays. The firecracker plant typically grows to 3′ tall and 3′-5′ wide in a cascading formation. It looks especially great in a hanging basket or planted along a wall to give a waterfall effect. The fruit of this plant is neither showy nor large, but it attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. The firecracker plant tends to grow best in a larger space, but can be massed together in an informal hedge. While the firecracker plant blooms all year long, it looks especially patriotic in July.

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Eagleston Holly – June 2018

Evergreen holly trees are a versatile tree and can provide a nice addition to almost any landscape palette. They have a natural conical shape, taller than they are wide and can be maintained in a natural shape or trimmed for a more formal look. Since the mature height is 20′-25′ tall, they are a wise choice for smaller yards, buffers and street trees. They can also be grown with their leaves all the way to the base and used as a nice screening hedge. This hybrid Florida native is a plant that we think deserves more attention!

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Sunshine Mimosa – April 2018

Happy Landscape Architecture month! For April we are featuring the Florida native groundcover, Sunshine Mimosa. This low growing plant has cheerful pink puffball flowers extending above the vibrant mat of green. The leaflets are small and will close up when touched, giving this plant its other common name, the Sensitive plant. Although it is sensitive to touch the plant is fairly hardy and can make a good replacement for traditional turf. Once established it can be mowed once or twice a year. The sunshine mimosa is a beautiful spreading plant and should be contained on the edges if desired. Watch for the small pink flowers in the spring through fall, you will likely see it used more and more along Florida’s roadways and contained urban spaces!

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Meyer Lemon Tree – March 2018

Florida is known for citrus, but not just oranges! The best lemon tree to grow in Florida is the improved Meyer Lemon tree. Planted in full sun, or kept in a patio pot, the Meyer Lemon tree will bloom and produce fruit several times a year. The attractive white flowers have a fragrant aroma, attracting humans, bees and butterflies. Meyer lemon trees tend to produce more fruit than true lemons, with slightly larger fruit and a sweeter, juicier lemon. Spring is the time to take care of your lemon tree if you have one already. Meyer lemon trees do not need a lot of water once established, but should be watered in the spring when they are blooming and beginning the next crop of fruit. Fertilize between April and September.

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The 'Red Hot' Anthurium – February 2018

The ‘Red Hot’ Anthurium is a gorgeous little tropical plant that can be grown outdoors in South Florida and indoors almost anywhere. While there are many varieties of Anthurium, we would like to recommend the ‘Red Hot’ variety. This is a hybrid cultivar developed in Florida specifically for flower production. The flowers are on longer stems making them easier to use for cut flowers. Anthurium work well in a shade garden and do not like full sun. Indoors they need bright light from a window. Water them frequently, but make sure they are also well drained to keep the roots healthy. Although beautiful, Anthurium are also toxic, be sure to keep away from children and pets.

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The Arikury Palm – January 2018

The Arikury Palm is a small palm great for small courtyards, garden accents or under taller palms. The feathery fronds create a pretty canopy while the real interest is in the trunk. The petioles are dark with sharp teeth. When the old fronds die the petioles are cut leaving a beautiful pattern along the trunk. This Arikury Palm was photographed at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center where I attended the Tropical Plant International Expo. We’re looking forward to sharing more plants each month in 2018!

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Dwarf Chenille

Acalypha pendula

Spreading green groundcover, fuzzy red/pink spikes standing upright from groundcover. Perennial, but may need occasional replacement more as an annual.

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Mule Palm

Butiagrus nabonnandii X

A non-breeding hybrid of the parent palms; Queen palms and Pindo palms. Pinnate leaves, reminiscent of a coconut palm. Fast growing, salt tolerant and cold hardy.

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Starburst Clerodendrum, Shooting Star Clerodendrum

Clerodendrum quadriloculare

Medium to large shrub with multiple trunks, produces ‘suckers’ from the roots. Large leaves with green on the top and purple on the bottom. Used as a shrub or ornamental tree. Large showy blooms in winter.

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Dwarf Small Leaf Clusia

Clusia guttifera ‘nana’

The Dwarf Small Leaf Clusia is a great groundcover option for South Florida. The small succulent-like paddle shaped leaves add a nice texture to the landscape. The low growing and spreading nature makes this Clusia a great alternative to Green Island Ficus with much less maintenance.

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Coccothrinax crinita

Old man Palm

The Old Man Palm is a great accent palm. It is very slow growing and retains a more compact head for smaller spaces. The trunk is covered with brown hair-like fibers which creates a unique look. It prefers a sunny location, moderate water and well drained soils.

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Croton Augustifolium

Codiaeum variegatum ‘Augustifolium’

Bushy accent shrub with elliptical shaped glossy leaves. Bright green with yellow spots.

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Japanese Blueberry Tree

Elaeocarpus decipiens

This broadleaf evergreen species provides attractive, year-round foliage color with new foliage beginning as orange-red and transforms to a rich, dark green. Trees can be manicured or left natural, kept full to base or limbed up for a street tree appearance.

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Ernodea littoralis

Golden Creeper, Beach Creeper

As a Florida Native the Golden Creeper (Beach Creeper) is a highly salt and drought tolerant groundcover. It is the perfect choice for coastal areas or areas with little or no irrigation. Be wary of overwatering as it can cause it to dieback.

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Heliconia angusta ‘Red Holiday’

Red Holiday Heliconia

The Red Holiday Heliconia boasts red and white blooms that usually show up in late fall/winter. The large dark green leaves make a great backdrop for the flower display and add a tropical feel to the landscape. As with most Heliconias it is a heavy feeder and requires rich soils and moderate watering.

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Licuala peltata v. sumawongii

Pleated Licuala

The Licuala peltata v. sumawongii works best in a protected area from wind to keep the beautiful fronds intact. Although this variety can take sun it looks and performs the best in part shade and with regular watering.

(Please note that Licuala peltata v. sumawongii is sometimes referred to as Licuala elegans at some nurseries)

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Crocodile Fern

Microsorum musifolium

The Crocodile Fern has a unique texture on the leaves that resembles crocodile or alligator skin. The long, bright green leaves are a great addition to a shady location. The Crocodile Fern works well as a mass or as a stand-alone accent and can also thrive in a hanging basket. Cold snaps can harm the Crocodile Fern so make sure to take proper measures in protecting it.

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Ochrosia

Ochrosia elliptica

Large upright evergreen shrub or small tree with 4”-8” glossy thick leaves and groups of fragrant flowers that bloom from late summer into winter. Bright red and showy poisonous fruit.

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Philodendron ‘Burle Marx’

Philodendron ‘Burle Marx’

Philodendron ‘Burle Marx’ is a small shrub best grown in masses in a tropical environment. The heart shape leaves have a waxy coating and a shiny appearance. ‘Burle Marx’ will perform well in most light conditions, including indoors. Take care near children and pets as parts of this plant are poisonous.

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Coral Drift Rose

Rosa ‘Meijocos’

Dwarf bushy rose with prolific coral-colored blooms, dark green foliage.

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Dazzle Dwarf Schefflera

Schefflera arboricola ‘Dazzle’

Palmate, compound, variegated leaves, green and creamy white/yellow color, medium sized foliage. Often grown in a column.

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Leafless or Narrow Leaf Bird of Paradise

Strelitzia parvifolia juncea

The Leafless Bird of Paradise is a stunning specimen. It offers the same showy orange blooms as the regular Orange Bird of Paradise but without the expanded leaf blades. The leaves are just the petioles which create an awesome texture with the added bonus of a beautiful flower.

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Silver Trumpet Tree

Tabebuia caraiba, Tabebuia argentea, Tabebuia aurea

Medium to large sized canopy tree. Gray, textured cork-like bark with irregular trunk shape and growth pattern. Deciduous, palmate compound leaves with silver underside color. Showy clusters of yellow flowers in spring.

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Seychelles Stilt Palm; Splendid Palm

Verschaffeltia splendida

The Seychelles Stilt Palm is an erect palm, reaching up to 80’ tall in native environments; however, it is usually much shorter. The trunk is very spiny when young, generally smooth but scarred where the leaves have fallen. Additionally, the trunk has numerous aerial roots at the base, adding to the species’ uniqueness. The large, long leaves split along the margins irregularly with age, and may appear pinnate. The palm works well as a specimen tree; however, the ideal conditions include a shady location with wind protection.

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