Ixora hedges: Beyond the Basics

Ixora hedges: Beyond the Basics

What are those shrubs with orange flowers around Orlando right now?  These are ixora hedges! Easy to ignore most of the year, this is the time of year when they burst with deep orange flowers and it seems everyone is asking for the name of this plant. Ixora,  Ixora coccinea, is native to southeast Asia. It’s evergreen leaves make it an excellent hedge plant, but the real show for ixora hedges is when they bloom. There are many different cultivars of ixora, with a wide range of colors from yellow to soft pink to the vibrant orange we see most often. Most common is ‘Maui’ the form shown here. The leaves tend to be smaller, more like a boxwood when hedged.… Read Full Post
Removing Viburnum odoratissimum

Removing Viburnum odoratissimum

Finally getting around to removing this huge tree from my yard is making me very happy. Removing viburnum might be one of my best gardening moments. Okay, probably not really, but it is still a good feeling. I consider viburnum to be my nemesis.   Finally getting around to removing this huge tree from my yard is making me very happy. Removing viburnum might be one of my best gardening moments. Okay, probably not really, but it is still a good feeling. I consider viburnum to be my nemesis.You may be thinking to yourself, “why would someone find so much pleasure in removing viburnum from their yard?” A very good question indeed. The University of Florida’s publication on Viburnum odoratissimum states, “Often used as a screen or clipped hedge, its dense, spreading, evergreen habit makes Sweet Viburnum suitable for use as a small tree, reaching 25 to 30 feet tall and wide at maturity, with a dense, multibranched, rounded canopy.”  … Read Full...
Pruning Crape Myrtle

Pruning Crape Myrtle

The controversy of pruning crape myrtle is heating up. Do you need to prune? Can you just let it grow? Read on my friends. It’s the time of year when I find myself cringing when I drive around town. It’s begun. “Crape Murder” is running rampant through our neighborhoods. Where did it start? Who decided this was a good idea? If you get anything from this article: Do NOT cut your crape myrtles to nubs! The process of turning the naturally beautiful vase-shaped growth of a crapemyrtle tree into a deformed stump with little nubs is a practice that has no scientific basis. In fact, the University of Florida writes, “Properly placed, crapemyrtle is a low-maintenance plant needing little or no pruning.”… Read Full Post
Clerodendrum for Florida

Clerodendrum for Florida

Browsing through the photos on my iphone, there seems to be a recurring theme: plants, pugs and Mike. And probably in that order. I couldn’t help but notice that lately I have quite a few photos of clerodendrum in the mix, both in flower and in seed and it seemed I need to pull all of my favorites into one place. You guessed it, this piece. There are so many great clerodendrum for Florida that I will probably miss a few here but I will include a few favorites Clerodendrum paniculatum, Pagoda Flower With large 12″ flowers in bright orange colors, this clerodendrum always noticed when in flower. Pagoda flower can get very tall after several years of warm winters and has reached upward of 8′ tall in central Florida.… Read Full Post
American Beautyberry, Callicarpa americana

American Beautyberry, Callicarpa americana

It is the time of year when the berries of Callicarpa americana are absolutely stunning. This shrub is very easy to walk right by most of the year, but in September and October it will stop you in your tracks. American Beautyberry is a Florida native shrub with a slightly weeping habit. It is drought tolerant and fairly fast growing, reaching 5 feet tall and wide within a year. It flowers in late spring but these tiny flowers are barely noticeable among the branches and leaves. Beautyberry plants look best when massed together to create a mound of foliage and berries. It would also work well as a loose-form hedge or screen as long as it isn’t constantly trimmed and the developing berries removed.… Read Full Post
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