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Your garden can provide a respite from life’s complications while providing great benefit to you and to your family. If you are on a quest to find which plants thrive best in your garden, take a look at the Florida Garden Select plants. Chosen for their appeal, interest and usability within the state, these plants might jsut be ideal for your garden!

2013 Selections

May 2012

Center Stripe Agave

(Agave lophantha 'Splendida')

Photos courtesy of www.HortusOasis.com

This hardy agave has proven to be slow and easy to grow and is ideal for temperate climates. The dark green rosettes are highlighted with a creamy-gold center stripe down each leaf; brightest in spring and early summer. In loose soils, Agave lophantha spreads vigorously via underground rhizomes. The sword-like green leaves are stiff, glossy and most varieties sport a prominent bright green stripe. The Century Plant grows solitary or as a clumping succulent rosette which will flower only once, then die-off leaving other rosettes to take it's place. An unbranched flower spike with small greenish-yellow flowers is typical for late Spring or early summer and will reach 12' tall. It's native to South Texas and into Mexico. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun to part shade and needs little water once established in the landscape.

Hardiness Zone: USDA zones 7 - 10
Typical Height and Spread: 1' tall X 18" - 24" wide
Classification: cactus
Landscape Use: low-maintenance gardens, cactus and succulent gardens, specimen, container, low ground cover

May 2012

orange marmalada crossandra

(Crossandra infundibliformis 'Orange Marmalade')

Photo courtesy of Rick Brown, Florida Friendly Plants

A great recent introduction to the Florida landscape, Orange Marmalade is a reliable perennial in sunny or partially-shaded Florida gardens. When other annuals have tired, Orange Marmalade is still going strong! It produces clusters of frilly orange flowers all season and shiny, dark green leaves. It blooms in all warm months of the year. For best year-to-year performance, protect from hard frost and freeze. A sterile hybrid, it holds its flower petals longer than the older seed-produced varieties.

Hardiness Zone: USDA zones 9 - 11
Typical Height and Spread: 1' - 3' tall X 1' - 2' wide
Classification: perennial
Landscape Use: borders, mass planting, edging, as a "filler" for containers, color splash

May 2012

bridal bouquet

(Plumeria pudica)

Photos courtesy of Harry P. Leu Gardens, Orlando

Plumeria pudica has dark green, fiddle-shaped leaves presenting its bouquets of large clusters of bright white 3" flowers with small yellow centers. Different from other plumeria is the absence of fragrance, but the addition of additional leaves along its slender stems. Seen typically as a medium-sized tree with profuse branching, its growth is rapid and upright. It typically blooms about 6 months of the year. Bridal bouquet is very easy to grow and is somewhat drought tolerant. It tolerates light shade and has very few, if any, insect and disease issues.

Hardiness Zone: USDA zones 9b - 11
Typical Height and Spread: 11' tall X 8' wide
Classification: Shrub, Tree, tropical perennial
Landscape Use: Container, Garden, Park, Parking lot, Patio, Streetscape, Focal Point, along walkways

May 2012

dwarf fakahatchee grass

(Tripsacum floridanum)

Photos courtesy of UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research Center

This small, dense clump-forming ground cover, has long, glossy light green leaves. It's light-weight blades catch the breeze providing movement to the garden. Also known as Florida gamagrass, it has inconspicuous yellow flowers which appear spring to fall. It is perfect for a sunny to part sun location, prefers damp rich soils, but is tolerant of most planting sites. A South Florida native plant, it can be found along roadsides and in pine wood areas of the state.

Hardiness Zone: USDA zones 8 - 11
Typical Height and Spread: 2' - 3' Height & Width
Classification: herbaceous perennial grass
Landscape Use: mass, ground cover, low maintenance garden, ideal for stabilizing slopes or banks
May 2012

giant elephant ear

(Alocasia x portidora)

Photo courtesy of www.HortusOasis.com

Impressive in a large pot, or as a focal point in the garden,this Alocasia is a hybrid variety cross and has broad, heavily-scalloped leaves that are held high on strong muscular stems. It is also known as Alocasia 'Portora' and grows quickly into a 5-6' tall plant during the first season alone and gives a strong, tropical presence. The stems are upright so it makes an ideal "thriller" in a mixed container. Plant in rich, moist soil and place in full sun for optimum growth.

Hardiness Zone: USDA zones 7b - 10
Typical Height and Spread: up to 8' tall, tapers at base
Classification: tropical plant
Landscape Use: specimen, container, architectural element

May 2012

yellow trumpet tree

(Handroanthus umbellatus)

Photo courtesy of Harry P. Leu Gardens, Orlando

An ideal patio, specimen, or lawn tree, this small-stature, flowering, evergreen trees has silvery foliage and deeply furrowed, silvery bark. The Yellow Trumpet/Tabebuia Tree thrives in dry weather, exhibits a profuse and breathtaking display of blooms which emerge in late Spring and sometimes again in the fall. The leaves often drop just before the flowers appear, adding to the visual intensity of the tree's color: brilliant two to three-inch-long, golden yellow, trumpet-shaped blooms.

Hardiness Zone: USDA zones 8b - 11
Typical Height and Spread: 15' tall, up to 40'
Classification: tropical flowering tree
Landscape Use: Specimen, Buffer Strip, Container, Street Tree

May 2012

Wendy's Wish Salvia

(Salvia 'Wendy's Wish')

Photo courtesy of Rick Brown, Florida Friendly Plants

Wendy’s Wish has show-stopping flaming magenta tubular blooms accented by its dusky, mauve calyx which gives this salvia extreme depth of character. Its incredible blooms appear Spring through Fall making it an ideal addition to most Florida landscapes. Mid-dark green colored leaves have serrated margins along dark maroon stems. Wendy’s Wish is more than just one of the most colorful salvia on the market. Proceeds from the sale of this spectacular plant are donated to the Make-A-Wish® Foundation Australia as directed by it’s Australian developer, Wendy Smith.

Hardiness Zone: USDA zones 8a - 11
Typical Height and Spread: 3' - 4' tall X 2' - 3' wide
Classification: herbaceous perennial
Landscape Use: massed beds, patio plants, containers