Homeowners in Florida can grow a variety of plants that can’t be grown anywhere else in the United States. They’re doubly lucky that a lot of those plants and shrubs produce spectacular blooms that make even a small garden a show-stopper. Here are some fantastic evergreen shrubs for Florida gardens:
This shrub not only has glossy, deep green leaves that stay that way all year but gorgeous, fragrant, snowy white flowers that last from spring till fall. The gardenia lies full to partial sun and somewhat acidic but well-drained soil. This shrub grows from 2 to 4 feet high.
These evergreen shrubs, which grow to about 12 inches high but can sometimes grow to 6 feet are also called velvet plants or purple passion because of the purple, velvety leaves. The plant produces orange flowers whose odor some people find rather unpalatable. The remedy for this is just to cut off the buds. This not only prevents malodorous flowers but tells the plant to put more energy into growing its leaves. The velvet plant does best in indirect but bright light and moist but well-drained soil. The humidity of Florida’s climate is also ideal.
The Panama rose isn’t a real rose but does produce clusters of beautiful pink, fragrant flowers whose aroma intensifies in the evening. A native of Mexico, these evergreen shrubs can grow up to 5 feet. They also have the advantage of blooming from November, through the winter and into early summer.
The Panama rose does best in full to part sun and rich, well-drained soil. It needs regular watering and benefits from hard pruning in spring and fertilizing from spring to fall.
The sweet bay is not only an evergreen shrub, but its glossy, leathery leaves are famously used in cooking. It’s dioecious, which means that there are male plants and female plants. Both produce tiny but fragrant flowers in the spring that ripen to purple berries on the female plant. When dried, they can be used as a spice. If a gardener wants the berries, they’ll need to plant male and female plants together.
The sweet bay needs at least six hours of sunlight and regular watering. It does best in well-drained soil that’s a bit acidic or a bit alkaline.
Another shrub whose leaves are used in cooking, the curry leaf comes from India. It grows from 13 to 20 feet tall and has fragrant pinnate leaves that hold from 11 to 21 leaflets. Eventually, the curry plant brings forth pretty white flowers that produce drupes that are edible and sweet.
The curry leaf shrub needs well-drained soil, full sun to partial shade, and some protection from the wind. Use the fresh leaves in the cuisines of southern and southeast Asia.
For homeowners in southernmost Florida, the coffee plant is a plant to consider for the garden. It produces both edible fruit and masses of fragrant, cream-colored blossoms in the spring. There are many species of the coffee plant and not all of them have caffeine or beans used to make coffee.
The shrub itself grows to about 6 feet tall and 3 feet around and likes indirect sunlight, lots of water and rich, peaty, acidic or neutral soil with good drainage. By the way, coffee shrubs can’t be grown from coffee beans bought in the store because those beans have been processed.
This plant is native to Fiji and has bright green, feathery frond. This evergreen shrub prefers indirect light and even some shade, so the gardener might want to place it under a tree. It likes rich, loamy, well-drained soil that should be kept constantly moist during the plant’s growing season from spring till fall. It should be fertilized lightly during the growing season and should not be fertilized in the winter or fall. Any yellowing fronds should be snipped off at the trunk.
The Ixora, or West Indian jasmine, is famous for its clusters, or corymbs of beautiful red, orange, pink or yellow flowers. It’s best grown in full sun and somewhat acidic, well-drained soil amended with some mulch to keep down weeds. It’s important that the soil be acidic to prevent chlorosis, a condition where the plant doesn’t produce enough chlorophyll.
Gardeners will also like to know that the plant needs very little care and only needs a bit of pruning and fertilizer during its growing season.
For more information about these beautiful plants and landscaping, contact Warner Tree Service at 727-946-7098.