Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Tropical South
April, 2004
Regional Report

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The pool is a natural focal point and worthy of your best efforts. It also is a great place from which to watch the moonflowers open and enjoy the fragrance.

Planting Around a Pool or Cement

I appreciate lists of plants for specific conditions. I always make note of the page numbers in my garden books that include lists so I can quickly refer to them later. I got to indulge this inclination when Lois Trigg Chaplin and I wrote the Florida Gardener's Book of Lists. Since I really got carried away in compiling lists for the book, some of the best ones had to be left out. So I thought I'd pass a couple of them along to you while you still have time to get new plants settled alongside your walkways and pool before summer heat hits.

Perennials for the Hottest, Driest Sites
Plantings by the side of heat-absorbing cement -- a driveway,
walk, or street, a wall that gets full sun, or by the pool -- will
get reflected light and sustained heat. The toughest plants are called for here. Consider roadside natives, ornamental grasses, and the following plants:

(N, C, or S indicates that the plant will grow in north, central
and/or south Florida.)

Butterfly weeds (Asclepias spp.) NCS
Fernleaf yarrow (Achillea filipendulina) NC
Gaura (Gaura Lindheimeri) NC
Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) NCS
Hardy ageratum (Eupatorium coelestinum) NCS
Mexican petunia (Ruellia brittoniana) CS
Powis Castle artemisia (Artemisia arborescens x absinthium) NCS
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) NCS
Rudbeckia (Rudbeckia maximma) NCS
Rudbeckia, Goldsturm (Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm') NC
Sedum (Sedum spp.) NCS
Silver King artemisia (Artemisia ludoviciana) NC
Stoke's aster (Stokesia laevis) NCS
Calliopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) NCS
Cigar plant (Cuphea micropetala) NCS
Canna (Canna x generalis) NCS
Adam's needle (Yucca filamentosa) NCS
Lantana, old fashioned types (Lantana camara) NCS

Plants for Surrounding Pools
There are several requirements for plants surrounding the
pool area. They must not be prickly, spiny, or thorny, and they should be the least attractive to bees and wasps. They must be able to survive a certain amount of splashing with chlorinated water. They should be as litter-free as possible, and any dropping blossoms or fruits should be too large to get into the pool's filter. The following are some that work best, look good, and cause few problems.

Bananas, edible (Musa acuminata) CS
Bananas, ornamental (Musa coccinea, M. ornata) CS
Palms, all kinds

Australian tree fern (Sphaeropteris cooperi) CS
Camellia (Camellia spp.) NC
Dracaena (Dracaena spp.) CS
Fatsia (Fatsia japonica) NCS
Fiddleleaf fig (Ficus lyrata) CS
Burford holly (Ilex cornuta rotunda 'Burford') NCS
Indian hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica) NCS
Jasmine (Jasminum spp.) NCS
Jasmine, Confederate (Trachelospermum jasminoides) NCS
Juniperus (Juniperus spp.) NC
Lantana (Lantana spp.) NCS
Pittosporum (Pittosporum tobira 'Wheeler's Dwarf') NCS
Schefflera (Schefflera arboricola) CS
Spanish bayonet (Yucca spp.) NCS
Thryallis (Galphimia glauca) CS
Ti plant (Cordyline terminalis) CS
Viburnum (Viburnum spp.) NCS

Grape ivy (Cissus rhombifolia) S
Herald's trumpet (Beaumontia grandiflora) CS
Marine ivy (Cissus incisa) NCS
Moonflower (Ipomoea alba) CS, annual in N

Also, don't forget the pool enclosure. In the Oct/Nov 2003 Florida Gardening magazine there is an article called "My Favorite Orchids." The author, Dr. Frederick Essig, talks about his collection of orchids in his screened pool enclosure "which turns out to be a great shadehouse." Some of the most fantastic orchids I've ever seen, including a red-flowered cattleya with 50 blooms at once and a dendrobium with even more, were in a pool enclosure.

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