Last time I gave you names of some plants that become beautiful holiday ornaments in our gardens during the holiday season here in South Florida. Now that Thanksgiving is over, I think! And Christmas is coming, or is it the over? Or are they all on the same day? This year they seemed to be celebrated at the same time!
I would like to continue with others that will bring joy to our hearts and souls during this festive time of the year. Creating joy and happiness in the eyes of any gardener, beginner or old pro.
Rondeletia leucophylla (Panama Rose) starts blooming in the fall and continues through the winter. Pink to rose colored blooms which resemble pentas cluster throughout entire shrub. It’s a favorite of butterflies and hummingbirds and almost anything that flies, and can compete with any Christmas tree. Panama rose will grow well with little care full to partial sun little watering and occasional pruning to keep its shape.
Euphorbia leucocephala (Snow-flake bush) will start blooming in the fall and bloom for several months. It becomes a mass of tiny white flowers. In my garden, they look like giant snowballs amongst all the other colorful shrubs. They are very easy to grow, require average water, and full to partial sun will make thisplant happy. Trim at will — almost anything goes. I gave one to my neighbor, and it broke off at the ground. Not to worry, it is back to 6 feet wide and 8 feet tall loaded with blooms. The best is last: The fragrance is just out of this world. To me, it smells like sweet spring; it changes from person to person.
Megaskepasma erythrochlamys (Brazilian cloak) blooms in shade or partial sun. I have several. One blooms year round, and the other blooms 9-10 months a year. Spectacular red blooms with white flowers resembling shrimp popping out along the red plume stalk. Butterflies and hummingbirds just love this plant almost as much as I do. Stands about 6-7 feet tall and can get just as wide. Trimming again is how low you want to go. Keep it watered.
Leonotis leonurus (Lions tail) has a long spike-like bloom with orange flower clusters along the stem, making it a standout in any garden. It likes full to partial sun. Drought tolerance makes it a hardy perennial with some stand out bright orange color in the winter. Trimming takes place when the plant does not look A-1. Cut it back to the crown or bark area. It will flush back out. Surprise! It’s a favorite of butterflies andhummingbirds.
Brunfelsia grandiflora (yesterday, today and tomorrow) is a favorite for color and fragrance at the same time. Flowers come out lavender and turn blue then white in a few days. All colors can be present on the shrub all the time. It grows in sun to partial sun, requires average water, and selective pruning will keep this shrub almost all winter.
Remember all these plants are attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds and other assorted flying things. They do well in containers.
Mike Malloy, local author and artist known as “The Butterfly Man” has been a Naples resident since 1991. A Collier County Master Gardener, he has written two books entitled “Butterfly Gardening Made Easy for Southwest Florida,” and “Tropical Color – A Guide to Colorful Plants for the Southwest Florida Garden”, and currently writes articles on various gardening topics for several local publications. Mike has planted and designed numerous butterfly gardens around Naples including many schools, the City of Naples, Rookery Bay, the Conservancy and Big Cypress. Bring your gardening questions to the Third Street Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings or on Thursdays at the Naples Botanical Garden where he does a Plant Clinic or visit his website, www.naplesbutterfly.com. He also can be heard every Saturday at 4 PM on his call-in garden radio show, “Plant Talk with Mike Malloy,” on 98.9-WGUF.