Monthly Archives: March 2015

Magnolia grandiflora (SOUTHERN MAGNOLIA)

Showy fruits

Showy fruits

Southern Magnolia is an evergreen, hurricane resistant tree perfect as a specimen.  Sun to shade.

interesting flowers

interesting flowers

Heavenly scent, showy flowers, interesting cone-like fruit makes this a winner. 50-100 ft.

beautiful buds

beautiful buds

Wildlife interaction: fruits eaten by squirrels, opossums, quail, and turkey; attracts pollinators.


Learn planting conditions:


Hamelia patens (FIREBUSH)


Photo © Jenny Welch

Firebush grows 10 ft, tall to use as a hedge, specimen or backdrop. Cold sensitive, will die back if freeze but should regenerate from roots. Sun to part sun.

Don’t be fooled by common names. Before buying, check the species. Those sold in big box stores generally are not native to Florida. A clue is the color of the fruit. Orange/Yellow fruit are not the native, black fruit is!

Wildlife interaction: HUMMINGBIRDS and Zebra Longwing butterflies are attracted to red flowers. fruits feed birds/mammals

Learn planting conditions:

Solidago spp. (GOLDENROD)

goldenrodbee111410Bring in the bees by trying one of the many varieties of Florida Native Goldenrod as a backdrop to your pollinator garden.  The birds will chime in when the seeds set.

Hint:  Goldenrod is probably not the cause of your sneezing since ragweed, which blooms at the same time, has the high pollen count that causes allergic reactions.

Learn varieties and planting conditions:

Asclepias incarnata (SWAMP MILKWEED)

Photo by Peg Urban

Monarch Butterfly Adult and Larvae on Milkweed the Larval Host

Want to help increase the Monarch butterfly population (Danaus plexippus)? Want more pollinators to visit? Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) will not only entice adults but as a larval host for Danaus spp. will get them to stay in your garden to lay eggs and start the next generation.

This self-seeding perennial is also a larval host for the queen butterfly (D. gilippus) and soldier butterfly (D. eresimus).

A Native Milkweed Research Update indicates that use of the Non-native Tropical Milkweed (A. currasivica), the most common commercially available milkweed may have undesirable affects on monarch populations. You can read about information provided by Jaret C. Daniels, Ph.D., Assistant Curator of Lepidoptera, University of Florida IFAS Assistant Professor of Entomology, Florida Museum of Natural History:

If you raise butterflies, In order to assure healthy adult Monarchs, follow Monarch Watch’s instructions to avoid passing on the parasite Ophryocystis elektroscirrha.

Learn planting conditions for this species of milkweed: