Ask a Question forum: Newbie help

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Name: Patrick Allen
Lakeland, FL (Zone 9b)
May 15, 2017 11:52 AM CST
Hey guys,

My wife and I bought a house a little over a year ago and we are finally looking at doing some landscaping. We have a bed in front of the house that we want to fill in. My wife likes things to look full and I was going over some ideas of what to put there. We live in central FL (Polk County) and the front faces mostly west. It gets about 6-8 hours of direct sunlight and the soil is mostly sand as is much of Florida. It seems to be well draining as I have never seen it wet for very long. We are looking for relatively low maintenance plants but the most important part of that is fertilizer requirements and low water requirements. I was considering Star Jasmine for use as full ground cover. I love the smell and I know they can be trained to stay off of our columns. What I am having a tough time finding is a nice bush/shrub that can be used as feature plants. I was only going to plant 2-3 of them and they can't grow any wider than about 3 feet. I would like to also keep them around 4 feet or so. The shorter the better.

My wife really likes red flowers too. I was thinking some type of hibiscus or pentas? What do you guys think?
Name: Lin
Southeast Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
May 15, 2017 12:18 PM CST
Hi Patrick, Welcome!

There are different forms of Jasminum with the common name of "Star Jasmine". Star Jasmine (Jasminum laurifolium var. laurifolium) is more like a shrub rather than a vine. Our database shows that it grows to 20 feet in height but I had some growing for 10 years at our house when we lived in Daytona Beach and they never got taller than 3 feet so I'm thinking they must have been a dwarf variety.

There is also one listed as a shrub or vine growing 4 to 10 feet Star Jasmine (Jasminum multiflorum) so it could be kept in check with pruning.

Then there's the Confederate Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) also with a common name of "Star Jasmine" that will trail and climb and and take over fences, arbors, posts, trees, your house, etc. Green Grin!

Star Flower (Pentas lanceolata) come in many colors, including red which is my favorite and butterflies and hummingbirds love it! There is also a dwarf variety that only grows about 18 inches in height and looks great planted in mass. Check the plant label/tag when you go to purchase these, it should list the maximum height of the plant.

You might want to post over on our Florida Gardening Forum where some of our members from your part of the state would be able to offer suggestions.
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~

Name: Patrick Allen
Lakeland, FL (Zone 9b)
May 15, 2017 2:30 PM CST
Yeah, confederate jasmine is what I was looking at. I have dealt with it in the past and had no issues isolating it to a single piece of trellis. I was hoping that it would do well as a ground cover by planting about 4 feet apart and keeping it from climbing. Can hibiscus be kept cut down to about 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide?

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