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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - April 19, 2010

From: Cape Coral, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Tropical plants for a pool-side planter in Cape Coral FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Southwest Florida and have a pool inside a cage with a pool planter built into the deck around part of the pool. What kind of tropical plants can I put in the planter that are not root invasive so as to not cause damage to the pool walls.

ANSWER:

The first problem we have with dealing with your question is that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown. That doesn't include a whole lot of "tropical" plants, although Florida is the poster state for having non-native tropicals in their landscapes. We can't recommend any of those, because they are out of our expertise.

We will look in our Native Plant Database for plants native to Cape Coral, Lee County, Florida on the southwestern coast of the peninsula, USDA Hardiness Zones 9b to 10a. First, however, we would like for you to read two of our How-To Articles, A Guide to Native Plant Gardening and Container Gardening with Native Plants. In terms of the roots interfering with your pool wall, since we do not know the exact space involved, we will confine our choices to herbaceous blooming plants that will not have such expansive roots, and perhaps a small shrub or two. We also don't know how much sun these planters will get, so we will choose plants without selecting on Light Requirements. You can follow each plant link to our page on that plant, and determine if it is suitable for your purposes.

Shrubs for Cape Coral FL:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Gaylussacia dumosa (dwarf huckleberry)

Hibiscus moscheutos (crimsoneyed rosemallow)

Herbaceous blooming plans for Cape Coral FL:

Helianthus debilis (cucumberleaf sunflower)

Ipomopsis rubra (standing-cypress)

Liatris tenuifolia (shortleaf blazing star) - pictures and more information

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Salvia coccinea (blood sage)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Callicarpa americana

Gaylussacia dumosa

Hibiscus moscheutos

Helianthus debilis

Ipomopsis rubra

Lobelia cardinalis

Salvia coccinea

 

 

 

 

 

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