Garden

Florida Friendly Plant of the Week: Firebush (Hamelia patens)

by Lilly Browning, Hernando County Florida Friendly Landscaping Program Coordinator

Firebush, Hamelia patens, is a wonderful native bush that is blooming right now. It grows in horticultural zones 9-11. It’s a fast growing bush that can grow anywhere from 5-20 feet tall and 5-8 feet wide. It is happy in dry or partially moist soil and has a medium drought tolerance. It is content in any light conditions. But if you are looking for more of the orange/red, tubular flowers place it in the sun. They will have hardier, darker green foliage in shadier areas, but fewer flowers. This bush has little to no salt tolerance.

Butterfly Gardening Tips

by Pat Cooke, UF/IFAS Hernando County Master Gardener

Photography by Kenneth Dwain Harrelson

If you plant for butterflies, you should expect to see caterpillars too. There is still time this year to fill the gaps in your landscape with plants that attract butterflies. It is a great way to add color and a variety of foliage to your garden while drawing in wildlife. Many plants that do well in this area serve as a nectar source for butterflies. Try adding purple coneflower, calendula, coreopsis, firespike, tropical sage or members of the cassia family to your mixed butterfly border. For best effect, plant in groups of three or five.

Florida Friendly Plant of the Week: Crepemyrtle (Lagerstroemia spp.)

by LILLY BROWNING, Hernando County Florida Friendly Landscaping Program Coordinator

Crepemyrtle (Lagerstroemia species) has become one of our southern beauties. They have just started blooming in central Florida, and their blooms will stick around in abundance through late September.

There is a wide variety of crapemyrtles to choose from. You can find a chart of the many varieties in the University of Florida publication entitled, “Crepemyrtle in Florida.” http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg266

Plant tropical sage for butterflies

by Pat Cooke, UF/IFAS Hernando County Master Gardener

Photography by Carl E. Lewis

If you want to bring butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden, there are a number of plants you can add to your landscape. But one that requires the least attention is Tropical Sage, Salvia coccina. It is in the same family as the annual salvias that are so popular for their intense color. But annual salvia only lasts for one season. Tropical sage is a Florida native perennial. Once established, it requires little care, is drought tolerant, and is a magnet for a variety of nectar loving wildlife.

Florida Friendly Plant of the Week: Adam's Needle (Yucca filamentosa)

by LILLY BROWNING, Hernando County Florida Friendly Landscaping Program Coordinator

Adam’s needle, or Yucca filamentosa, is a native agave plant that is in bloom all over the county at this time of year. Usually pretty easy to overlook, it shoots up a long stock with amazing, white bell-like flowers. They can be seen in undeveloped areas.

The leaves grow no taller than 1-3 feet, but the flower spikes shoots up 6-15 feet. The leaves appear as if they’ve been shaved, due to the curved, filamentous threads of leaf tissue on the margins.

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