Bring some cut flowers indoors to add beauty to your home. If you're still spending a lot of time inside, blooms from your garden add color and joy to any room.
Plant summer annuals! Shop at your locally-owned plant nursery for these colorful plants, including zinnia, moss rose and gazania daisy. (See our page on Annuals for more choices.)
Water twice a week if we haven't had rain.
Check for pest damage. If you see some, take bagged cuttings to your local nursery for diagnosis and treatment advice.
Always on the hunt for colorful plants for shadier areas of the yard? Red Button Ginger (Costos woodsonii) blooms on and off most of the year with showy flower bracts that resemble waxy red cones.
Little yellow blooms will eventually poke out from the red bracts - and they're edible! The flavor is said be sweet, honey-like with a hint of green apple.
(The photo above is of young plants at a nursery, so the bracts are still small and the flowers aren't open yet. Here's a link to see a better photo.)
Red Button Ginger - sometimes just called Red Ginger - grows anywhere in South Florida in partial to full shade. It can grow about 4 to 5 feet tall, so place it in back of smaller things like ferns or bromeliads.
Water on a regular basis but don't keep the plant overly wet. Cut back occasionally for size, and fertilize in spring and fall.
If winters are especially cold, the plant may die back somewhat but should come back just fine in spring.
This is not usually a stock plant but your nursery should be able to order it for you. It can easily be propagated, so if you have a friend with Red Ginger, ask for cuttings.
Only buy when you see a bloom on the plant...to make sure you're getting the one you want. Sometimes - not often, but occasionally - these plants are accidentally mismarked from the grower.
An astute visitor to the website pointed out that I'd been wrong in describing Blue Porterweed as a Florida native plant.
The native is a groundcover - Stachytarpheta jamaicensis. The small shrub on this site is Stachytarpheta cayennensis, NOT a native plant.
I apologize for my error. While writing the Plant Page for Blue Porterweed, the research I found about its origins was confusing and led me to give you the wrong info.
Also...another visitor pointed out that seeds from coontie and other cycad plants are poisonous to pets and to people. I've noted a warning on those Plant Pages.
I greatly appreciate anyone who keeps me from giving out misinformation. If you spot something wrong - or missing - let me know! I want to learn the facts, just as you do, about our South Florida plants.
All the best info and ideas from past issues of our monthly newsletter - The Grow-zine!
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If you and your family and friends enjoy backyard activities, you can protect nearby plants not just with placement but also by choosing plants that can take some abuse.
Obviously you'll want to avoid things that attract a lot of bees...as well as plants with dangerous points like Agave or thorny plants such as Crown of Thorns. (I once fell into some Crown of Thorns - not a pleasant experience!)
But tough (and non-hurtful) plants that can handle a stray volleyball, horseshoe, or someone clamoring over them to retrieve a Frisbee include:
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And the best part? All the colors of the blooms show on these plants at the same time.
The blossoms of Rangoon Creeper start out as white, change to pink, and then red...the opposite of most flowering plants, with deeper colors usually fading to lighter or white.
Yesterday Today and Tomorrow has flowers that open purple-blue, fading to lavender and then white...a stunning show when the plant is covered with all three colors at once.
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Ebooks on South Florida gardening!