Your Monthly Grow-zine

April 2019

Things to do in the garden this month...

Gardenia 'Miami Supreme'

Enjoy fragrance in your garden! Gardenia, Confederate Jasmine, and Magnolia are now adding sweet scent to the air!

Water once a week (if we've had no rain) - twice a week if temperatures are very warm.

Cut back overgrown or shaggy plants. Be sure to give plants about to be hard-pruned a good drink at least an hour before cutting.

This is a great time to prune back leggy plants like cordylines ("Ti plants") and Dracaenas. Cut anywhere on the stalk and a new head or two will sprout from the sides.

Apply fertilizer if you haven't done so yet. Many Florida counties have a summer fertilizer blackout - June 1st through September 30th - so get your spring fertilization done now, summer feeding end of May, and fall feeding October 1st.

Not sure if the blackout applies to your area? Contact your county extension office for local regulations.




Tired of seeing overused plants?

Yes they're pretty but...sigh, everyone has them. Consider these substitutes:

The arboricola we see everywhere...Song of India has similar coloration but a different leaf texture. It grows in a more meandering habit, so trim it back occasionally if you want it to stay more compact.

Croton's lively colors can be a real showstopper...but the bright foliage of Copper Plant can be just as eye-catching. It grows faster than Crotons do so trim it often to keep 3-4' (or more).

Easy-care Indian Hawthorne makes an excellent foundation plant, but Green Island Ficus is also very low-maintenance, with attractive thick and shiny leaves. It's happiest in full to partial sun.

Dwarf Ixora is a small shrub covered with flowers during warm months - Drift Rose is a low-maintenance dwarf shrub rose that loves sun, blooms on and off all year, and is more cold hardy. 

Pygmy Dates are first-class little accent palms but you have other options...such as cycads like Dioon and King Sago.

Maui Ixora has larger flower clusters than the fuzzy blooms of Dwarf Powderpuff, but Powderpuff is a hardy small shrub that attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and honeybees.

For privacy in a hurry, Viburnums used to be the staple hedge plant. But Clusia guttifera is gaining in popularity for its striking foliage, fast growth rate and dense habit.



What's new at South-Florida-Plant-Guide.com

I've added this photo of a mixed garden bed to the Plant Page on Dwarf Mexican Petunia (AKA Dwarf Ruella), a  pretty flowering groundcover with varieties that bloom in purple, pink or white..



My latest ebooks are here!
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Are you a Snowbird?

Want to know more about growing a beautiful landscape with only part-time care?

Check out the new, updated edition of my paperback book, Snowbird Gardening.

I've added more plants, more photos and up-to-date info for South Florida Snowbirds.

This new edition features 146 plant varieties - palms, shrubs, trees and flowers - with photos and information about each one.

Now available as an ebook! Find out more...


Thanks for subscribing to the Grow-zine!

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions about what you'd like to see included in the Grow-zine - or the website - please let me know!

Chase Landre

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Florida Anise

This lovely but little-known Florida native plant can be grown as a large shrub or small tree in a shady location.

Florida Anise (Illicium floridanum) is a moderate grower you can keep about 8' tall (and it grows quite wide) as a hedge, privacy or background plant...or let it get larger and trim up the base for a 15 foot tree.

It flowers in spring with dark red blossoms, and the crushed leaves smell like licorice.

Don't confuse this anise with Star Anise (Illicium verum), the one grown in China as a culinary spice - Florida Anise contains toxins...do not eat it!

But because of the toxins in its leaves, Florida Anise is pest- and deer-resistant.

This plant is quite cold tolerant, happy anywhere in Florida.

Trim back in early summer after the flowers are gone.

Give it full shade or a small amount of morning sun, and regular water is a must.

Native plant nurseries are a good source for Florida Anise.

For more info and pictures of the flowers, see this IFAS article.


Re-landscaping this year?

Take 'BEFORE" pictures now to give you extra bragging rights after the job is done.


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No-hedge privacy

Sometimes a line of hedge plants isn't showy enough for the look we're going for.

Other options?

Plant a line of low plants punctuated with several flowering standards, such as the Knock Out Rose in tree-form shown above...

...OR...

...dot the property line with fan trellises and flowering vines.


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by Chase Landre, author of South-Florida-Plant-Guide.com