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[ Desert Rose (Adenium obesum) | Posted on February 18, 2018 ]

The Desert Rose is a wonderful ornamental plant with its unusual bulbous, caudex base and beautiful blooms that come in shades of red, pink, and white. In nature, Adenium obesum reaches heights of 8 to 10 feet, but smaller specimens are grown as patio container plants or indoor houseplants and they are also popular trained as bonsai. Desert Rose is drought tolerant and prefers high light, doing best in full sun situations. It is considered evergreen but will lose its leaves during severe dry periods. The sap of Adenium obesum contains toxic glycosides, and care should be taken when pruning or handling the cut stems.

[ Giant Leather Fern (Acrostichum danaeifolium) | Posted on February 18, 2018 ]

The Giant Leather Fern is a Florida native, often found in brackish and fresh water marshes in the central and southern regions of the state. This fern is a long-lived perennial that grows to 12 feet in height with a spread to 10 feet and can be grown in sunny or shady conditions but requires consistent moisture to thrive; tolerates flooded conditions and has a high tolerance for salt spray.

[ Pineapple Guava (Acca sellowiana) | Posted on February 18, 2018 ]

Acca sellowiana is a multistemmed, evergreen shrub that can be grown as a hedge, pruned to a desired shape or form, or trained as a small tree with a single trunk. Although adaptable to most types of soil, it prefers a slightly acid, well drained soil. If grown in very dry climates, supplemental watering will be needed. Pineapple Guava is also tolerant of salt spray, which makes it suitable for coastal gardens. This is a relatively disease and pest free, low maintenance plant with very beautiful flowers that usually appear during April and May.

[ Huisache (Acacia farnesiana) | Posted on February 18, 2018 ]

Acacia farnesiana is a shrub to small tree with clusters of sweetly scented golden-yellow flowers that resemble little puffballs. The blooms attract many bees and butterflies to the garden. Sweet Acacia is deciduous in some areas but remains evergreen in warmer climates. The plant is fairly drought tolerant once established but holds its leaves better when given adequate amounts of water. Acacia farnesiana can become naturalized and is considered a pest plant of concern in some parts of the world.

[ Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) | Posted on February 17, 2018 ]

I've grown the Polka Dot Plant many times over the years, as indoor houseplants (including planted in terrariums), as well as annual bedding plants in shady spots in the garden.

Hypoestes prefer bright, indirect light, but no direct sun, which will scorch the foliage, and well-draining soil is extremely important. Plants should be pinched back to maintain an attractive, uniform and bushy shape. I've read that Polka Dot Plants can grow to 24 inches in height, but mine have only attained heights of about 8 to 10 inches at most. Some may prefer to remove the flowers, but even though the blooms are rather inconspicuous, I still think they are pretty, so I allow them to bloom.

[ Spiral Ginger (Costus barbatus) | Posted on December 31, 2017 ]

According to the IUCN Red List: http://www.iucnredlist.org/det..., the TRUE Costus barbatus is Critically Endangered and NOT found in cultivation. It is apparently confused with the more commonly cultivated Costus comosus which is sold as an ornamental plant AND misidentified as C. barbatus.

Costus barbatus is endemic to a small area of Costa Rica in the central valley of San Jose but with major urbanization of the area over the years, the plant has experienced great loss of habitat.

The true Costus barbatus can be distinguished from other species by its long ligules, fibrous margins on the bracts, bracteoles and calyx, as well as the densely pubescent corolla.

[ Bitter Gourd (Momordica charantia) | Posted on July 17, 2017 ]

Momordica charantia, a member of the Cucumber (Cucurbitaceae) family of plants, has escaped cultivation here in Florida, becoming a real pest in many areas. In 2013, the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council listed it as a Category II non-native invasive here in the state. Its range in Florida extends throughout the central and southern part of the state, but it is also present in parts of the panhandle. Bitter Gourd forms a dense groundcover and also forms dense thickets, covering shrubs and other vegetation as well as climbing high into trees where it grows along with native air plants (Tillandsia species).

The fruit and leaves of Momordica charantia are said to have medicinal purposes, but the seeds are highly toxic.

[ Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans) | Posted on February 20, 2017 ]

Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans) is a compact, single trunk palm native to the rainforests of Mexico and Guatemala. It attains heights of 4 to 6 feet in bright, semi-shady, moist locations and as the lower fronds die and fall off, the attractive green stem comes into view.

The Parlor Palm is a popular house plant, often sold as groups of seedlings or small plants, close together in the container. It is a slow growing palm and more drought tolerant that other varieties. Although the Parlor Palm prefers the bright light and medium humidity levels of rainforest conditions, it seems to adapt very well to the lower light and lower humidity situations found in homes and offices. The plant should be kept away from direct sun which will burn the foliage. Although the flowers are not very interesting, if they plant is provided enough bright light, it may produce a panicle of yellow flowers in the spring.

[ Mexican Petunia (Ruellia simplex) | Posted on January 27, 2017 ]

Although Ruellia simplex has lovely blooms, due to its invasive tendencies it is not a good plant for Florida gardens. We moved into our current home nine months go and I've been trying to eradicate this plant from two separate areas of my yard ever since. It is a difficult task to remove and must be dug up due to the fact that that it travels via underground rhizomes; if you try to pull it by hand, the stems break off and you are still left with pieces of rhizomes in the soil. Mexican Petunia is a popular landscape plant because it is a prolific bloomer, it tolerates many different landscape conditions, from shade to sun, and it even thrives in poor soil. The plant is listed by the FEPPC (Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council) as a Category I invasive here in the state. To deter its spread, it is best grown in containers in Florida.

[ Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans) | Posted on September 20, 2016 ]

Dracaena fragrans, commonly called Corn Plant and Cornstalk Dracaena, can get quite tall in nature, 25 to 30 feet or more, but it is a slow-growing plant, making it very popular as an office plant or houseplant. Cornstalk Dracaena has glossy, broad, green leaves with an erect to spreading habit; larger leaves cause the plant to have a drooping appearance. The plant does well in a broad range of conditions from full sun to low-light situations. If you are fortunate enough to see your plant in bloom, you will surely enjoy the fragrance!

There are several cultivars of Dracaena fragrans that have variegated foliage:
D. fragrans 'Massangeana' (Mass Cane) has green leaves with a yellow central stripe.
D. fragrans 'Lemon Lime' has leaves with yellow margins and a wide green central stripe.
D. fragrans 'White Jewel' has leaves with dark green edges and lighter green and white central stripes.

[ Wax Plant (Hoya australis subsp. australis) | Posted on April 13, 2016 ]

I acquired a small Hoya australis subsp. australis in August, 2008 and it was at least five years later before it showed any blooms. Compared to H. australis subsp. tenuipes, this one has smaller leaves and is not as prolific a bloomer as H. australis subsp. tenuipes, but I love the soft, pubescent leaves on this one. This plant blooms for me between mid November to mid December and the flowers are extremely fragrant in the evening and at night.

[ Fancy-leaf Caladium (Caladium 'White Queen') | Posted on April 13, 2016 ]

One of my favorite Caladiums! It has medium to large white leaves with green margins and dark red veins. It will sometimes show different leaf colorations depending on fertilizer amounts and soil type. Highly fertilized plants are more pink and red. Although this one is sun tolerant, I prefer the look in deep shade, where it seems to shine!

[ Aloes (Aloe) | Posted on April 11, 2016 ]

My Aloe started as a single small pup gifted to me by a co-worker in 1975. It was identified on another site as Aloe maculata, but a few knowledgeable growers have since told me that it is not A. maculata and I'm not sure of its exact identity, but I love it just the same. I kept it in a container for a few years and then planted it in the ground, where it took off and produced hundreds and hundreds of additional plants. They began overtaking a large area of the yard, so I had to begin digging them out and giving them away. For the past ten years, I've only grown them in containers in a full sun location and they bloom off and on all year.

[ Wild Petunia (Ruellia humilis) | Posted on April 11, 2016 ]

Wild Petunia can reach heights to 24 inches, but usually stays about 12 inches in height; it can have an erect or sprawling habit. The stems and leaves are soft and hairy and the flowers resemble small Petunias, varying in color from pale lavender-blue to a medium purple shade with darker purple lines radiating from the center.

I've grown this plant in both full sun and dappled shade, and in my opinion it looks prettier and performs better in partial shade locations. It blooms in my area from early April through October and into November.

[ Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens) | Posted on September 13, 2015 ]

Creeping Buttercup is a low growing, spreading herb with pubescent (hairy) leaves and stems; the small yellow flowers appear from mid March through August. The plant grows in moist to very wet, poorly drained locations as well as sandy, rocky areas that receive sufficient moisture. It spreads by long branching stolons that take root at each node where it touches the soil, forming thick mats to 36 inches or more. Each plant produces 100 or more hooked seeds, which remain viable for many years. The hooked seeds are dispersed by wind, water and birds and also distributed by wildlife by adhering to their fur.

Creeping Buttercup is native to Europe but has been introduced to other parts of the world. It is found throughout North America and is considered a noxious weed in many areas where it crowds out native plant species.

[ Niger Plant (Guizotia abyssinica) | Posted on August 17, 2015 ]

Guizotia abyssinica (commonly called Niger Seed) is an herbaceous annual native to Africa. The plant attains heights of 4 to 6 feet and bears 1 to 2 inch diameter yellow flowers. Niger plant is cultivated for its oils as well as its seeds. The seeds can be eaten fried and are also used as a condiment or spice. In some cultures, the seeds are pressed with honey or ground into a powder that is mixed with flour for making sweet cakes. Seeds of Guizotia abyssinica yield a clear, edible oil, which is also used in foods and sometimes used as a substitute for olive oil.
The seed of Guizotia abyssinica is commonly sold as birdseed, labeled "Thistle Seed" because of its attraction to finches and other wild birds, but in actuality it is not a Thistle.

Guizotia abyssinica is self-sterile, requiring bees for cross pollination.

[ Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Sweet Alpha') | Posted on June 20, 2015 ]

I purchased this Daylily last month from another All Things Plants member on the Classified Forum. I really didn't expect to see blooms so quickly. I thought it would be next year before any blooms appeared, so I was very surprised to see buds forming within a month after receiving and planting it. I love the color of this bloom and look forward to enjoying many more of these gorgeous flowers in the coming years!

[ Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Little Business') | Posted on June 20, 2015 ]

I purchased a couple of these plants at the end of the season last year from a local Walmart garden center. They were such a good buy that I got them to tuck into containers with other perennials. I love their small size and the bloom color, and they seem to be doing well with the heat and humidity, so I'm hoping they will survive and thrive for years to come.

[ Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Mini San Marzano') | Posted on June 19, 2015 ]

I don't grow these but rather purchase them in small 10 oz. bags from a local supermarket. The label reads:
"Authentic Mini San Marzano - The sweet taste of heaven on earth" and I totally agree! I've been a tomato lover my entire life and I think these are one of the sweetest and best tasting little tomatoes ever! They make a wonderful addition to salads but they don't usually last long enough around here because I find myself grabbing a handful, giving them a quick rinse and eating them (sometimes the entire bag at one sitting) before they can be used for anything else. Wonderful little tomato!

[ Wild Petunia (Ruellia caroliniensis subsp. ciliosa) | Posted on April 15, 2015 ]

This Wild Petunia is a Florida native found throughout the northern and central parts of the state. A low growing plant attaining heights of approximately 4 to 6 inches with a spread of 12 to 24 inches, it is also called Ciliate Wild Petunia (ciliate meaning "fringed with hairs" ) and it forms a rosette of basal, soft, pubescent leaves. Blooms occur from spring through fall and may be purple to pale purple or almost white in color; blooms last only one day.

In my garden this plant has a low growing, spreading habit, sending out roots at nodes all along the stems. It produces blooms from early spring, throughout the summer and into the fall and is growing in morning sun areas as well as full shade locations in the garden. I've read that Ruellia ciliosa will also grow in full sun so I plan to transplant a bit of it to see how it fares in that situation.

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