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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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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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Thursday - December 15, 2011

From: Naples, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Lists, Container Gardens
Title: Flowering plant for container on lanai in South Florida
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I would like to purchase a flowering plant for my ailing mother for Christmas. It has to be able to grow in shade so I can place it on her table on her lanai for her to be able to view and enjoy it's growth. I have no idea what to purchase and would appreciate your expert advise Thank you very much.

ANSWER:

What a lovely thing to do!  

First, I recommend that you read our How to Article, Container Gardening with Native Plants

Next, I refer you to a website for natives in southern Florida, Natives for Your Neighborhood.  You can see lists of plants for the different South Florida counties or a list that includes plants for all of South Florida.  I looked at the general list for South Florida and chose several plants—herbaceous, vines, and shrubs—that would work as container plants, will grow in light shade and will flower all year round.  Many of these plants attract butterflies and/or hummingbirds for added enjoyment.  The vines would require a stake or other structure to climb on and some of the plants may grow to be too large for a pot on the table, but would work in a pot on the floor of the lanai.  As the shrubs grow they might have to be transplanted into the ground with a new plant being substituted on the lanai.

Passiflora suberosa (corkystem passionflower) is a vine.

Morinda royoc (Yellowroot) will grow in full sun, light shade and moderate shade.  It is described as a clambering shrub.  It flowers all year and attracts butterflies.

Senna mexicana var. chapmanii (Chapman's wild sensitive plant) is a small shrub.

Lycium carolinianum (Carolina wolfberry) grows to a medium shrub.  Here are more photos and information.

Erythrina herbacea (Coralbean) grows to be a medium to large shrub.  Here are more photos and information.

Brysonima lucida (Locustberry) grows to a large shrub.

Psychotria nervosa (Shiny-leaved wild coffee) grows to a medium shrub.

The next three plants are herbaceous.

Rivina humilis (Pigeonberry) and here are more photos and information.  Prefers light shade.

Borrichia frutescens (Bushy seaside tansy) and here are more photos and information.  This one is very shrub-like.

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet sage) and here are more photos and information.

You can find a list of nurseries specializing in native plants in your area by searching in our National Suppliers Directory.  You can also find a list on the Florida Association of Native Nurseries website.

 

From the Image Gallery


Carolina wolfberry
Lycium carolinianum

Coralbean
Erythrina herbacea

Pigeonberry
Rivina humilis

Scarlet sage
Salvia coccinea

Scarlet sage
Salvia coccinea

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