By JOHN V JTNS
STATE OF 'L'RIDA
DEPARTMENT OF X ULTU
NATHAN MAYO. C,
Wild Hon ysuc le ear uin y P
0AWM~ %A -k-mm -1(
Bulletin No. 106 R January 1960
JOHN V. WATKINS
STATE OF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NATHAN MAYO, Commissioner
Bulletin No. 106
R January 1960
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Since 1926 John Watkins has been on the staff of the University
of Florida. During that time he has taught courses in landscape
horticulture, plant propagation, tree care and plant materials.
Well known as a flower show judge, lecturer and author, Wat-
kins writes on subjects of gardening with a long background
of academic and practical experience.
This booklet has been published for the benefit of Florida home-
owners who have, in recent years, shown an increased interest
in landscaping and beautifying their homes and gardens. We
know that you'll find here the answers to many questions con-
cerning the proper practices and sound principles of using 16nd-
Commissioner of Agriculture
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 3
PRINCIPLES OF SMALL HOME GROUND PLANNING
Landscape plantings in Florida have come of age. Gone
are the front yards of clean-swept earth, the hard-packed grass-
less backyards, the fenced-in suburban homes. In their places
are some of the most effectively planted and expertly main-
tained small home grounds in the world, and as a result, our
state claims some of the most beautiful and home-like com-
munities to be found anywhere in the nation.
In the 1930's there began a trend in garden planning and
building that has led to this near perfection evident in so
many Florida home grounds. Due to many complex factors.
such as pride of ownership, the garden club movement, the
influence of home and garden magazines, and the institutions
of higher learning through their extension efforts and the gradu-
ation of young people trained in horticulture and in landscape
design, Florida has become notably garden conscious.
Most home owners like to putter around in the yard and
they find satisfaction in planning, planting and maintaining
their own home ground. They have long since learned that
gardening is a healthful, engrossing hobby. It is for this ever
increasing number of home gardeners that this bulletin has
Sound principles in the use of plants are the same whether
one lives in Miami or Minneapolis, Tallahassee or Topeka,
whether one's property is large or small, whether the exposure
is north or south. It is true that the kinds of plant materials
will vary with the region and the spirit of no two gardens will
be identical, but fundamental concepts of good planning are
the same regardless of locale. A unified, harmonious land-
scape scene may result from good composition, and this implies
that thei forms of order -rpetition, dominance, sequence and
balan'cc iare present. Perhaps it might be well to recall a
,lefinitioii: "Coniposition i the orderly organization of parts
into in harmonious whole." Just as a good painting, a winning
Ilowt arrangaenmiit or a beautiful interior depends upon the
ordered relation of its elements, the successful landscape is the
one ihich is skillfil\i composed.
Modern Florida homes are usually low and compact and
more or less centered on level, rectangular plots, and so, it is
best [ use landscape plants sparingly, but to choose them care-
fully. Stiff hedges and ornate beds have no place around to-
dail.' modern homes.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Bougainvillaea, podocarpus and eugenia combine to
make a beau
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 5
The architecture of the dwelling will influence the disposi-
tion and kinds of plants as well as the materials of construction
of walls and walks. It is considered good design to project
the lines of the house out-of-doors so that they become integral
parts of the garden itself. With houses of masonry, major
walls may extend to enclose carports, patios, service areas, or
game lawns. Here the material, texture and color of the house
is repeated harmoniously out-of-doors.
Doors and windows serve as frames for garden pictures
that are viewed from within the house, and for this reason they
must be considered when arranging the landscape plants.
The public area embraces the ground between the dwelling
and the street and serves as a setting for the house. This should
be simply planted to present a dignified picture. Usually a
few trees or palms to frame and to cast shadows, and a re-
strained base planting for transition and surface decoration,
are all the landscape plants that will be needed. As perma-
nent features, these plants may well be the choicest and most
costly in the landscape scheme. It is these plants that create
the setting for your home and you can well afford to expend
thought upon their selection and time and effort upon their care.
In southern Florida tropical settings are desirable and so
palms, yuccas, century plants, flowering tropical vines, euphor-
bias and cacti are widely employed. Palm shadows cast upon
walls and upon the turf contribute to the feeling of the tropics.
For houses which stand upon piers a continuous planting
of evergreen shrubs is essential, as the open space below the
floor is best hidden. However, when a dwelling is built on a
slab just two steps above the ground level a few choice speci-
mens as accents and for wall decoration may be carefully
arranged, and in places the house may be allowed to merge
into the land, unadorned. Simple, restrained plantings are
the vogue today, as there is a trend away from the heavily
planted foundations of former years. Many of these older
plantings have grown well beyond their allotted space to hide,
almost completely, the small houses they once complemented.
In Florida, as elsewhere, there is a notable tendency to
use some species too frequently. In the northern section the
general use of fast-growing, inexpensive wax privet makes for
mediocrity; in the southern part of the state there is a tendency
to over-use the ABC planting, namely, aralia, bougainvillea.
8 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
times. At the end of the first rainy season, it is forked over
and the following spring it should be ready for use. In mos
cities it is possible to buy excellent, ready-made, acid compost
from landscape nurseries.
Plant food elements are added by the slow decomposition
of compost in the soil, and the environment is favorable fo
the growth of friendly microorganisms. When organic mate-
rials become well blended with the soil plant nutrient elements
are held in forms that are readily available to plants. Organi
matter acts much like a sponge, absorbing and holding man
times its weight in water.
Most of our choicest trees and shrubs grow naturally in
forest habitats and for that reason they thrive when their roo s
are well protected by thick layers of leaves. It is true that son e
palms and succulents come from desert lands, but, for the mo t
part, the plants Floridians prefer are forest dwellers.
An organic mulch lowers soil temperatures during summer-
time, and it conserves heat in winter. A mulch prevents wi e
fluctuations much as does the insulation in the attic of yo r
home. A mulch is very retentive of moisture, yet the fluf
blanket of leaves allows for perfect aeration so that the mois -
ure-to-air relationship is ideal. Furthermore, nematodes d
not thrive there and decaying leaves furnish nutrients and vit I
organic acids. Nut grass, crab grass and other noxious we s
are discouraged by the maintenance of a heavy leaf blank t
and if weeds should start they are easily pulled from the loos,
airy mantle above the soil.
Most gardeners have good results when they maintain
mulch three or four inches thick. While some writers suggest
that rotted mulch be turned into the earth each spring befo e
more is added, I am of the firm conviction that it is mo e
efficient to add fresh material without turning under the ol
leaves. Deep spading reduces the feeding roots and thus r-
tards the growth of plants.
High temperature, heavy rains, and rapid bacterial action
cause organic materials to disappear at an astonishing rate
6 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
and croton. All of these are excellent plants, when planted s
strong accents, but they are often employed too extensively
Growing out of the old backyard which all too often vs
a catchall for poultry houses, fuel piles, incinerators, garb e
cans and other utilitarian items of household equipment, is e
largest part of the modern residential property and this is cald
the outdoor living room or private area. This section assure s
the closest relationship with the family and their guests, am it
is used for relaxation, for entertaining and for parties.
In its modern development with attractive borders d
open central area an outdoor living room is especially use
in Florida where it is possible to spend so much time out f
doors. A side of the house with proper base plantings of etr
green shrubbery will serve as one boundary, possibly the gar e
or ell of the house will become another and the two remain g
sides may well be planted with carefully chosen ever in
shrubs. The objective is to create an attractive barrier 1 at
will exclude objectionable scenes and assure privacy within
An attractive outdoor living room enclosed by informal
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 7
Where space permits, the most popular method of enclos-
ing the outdoor living room is an informal shrubbery border
that has interesting bays and promontories and planned se-
quences in foliage color and texture. Perhaps five or seven
plants of feijoa might merge into a group of six wax privets,
which, in turn, would have as neighbors, four oleanders. The
planting distance in this type of layout may be four to six feet
each way and the shrubs are set in groups, rather than spotted
singly or alternated. The individual plant is subordinated
to the total effect in this sort of planting. This simulated
hedge row, completely informal or naturalistic, has wide appeal
as an enclosing device. In such an arrangement, annuals,
perennials and bulbs are set in drifts or beds in the shrubbery
bays so that their colorful blossoms, as strong accents, serve
as points of interest.
A service area or drying yard is wanted by some home
owners, particularly if there are small children in the family.
This, the smallest sub-division of the modern suburban property,
should be near the driveway, carport and kitchen.
Shrubs are planted to screen the service area from the
outdoor living area and the street. The plant materials used
to enclose the utility yard must be tall and narrow in habit
so that they will occupy a minimum of space. They must
be evergreen for permanent effect and they must be resistant
to pests, drought and cold, so that maintenance may be kept
to the minimum.
The aralia, in its many horticultural forms, is valuable for
southern Florida, while wax-myrtle and upright ligustrums are
approved in the northern and western parts of the state. Some-
Stimes, hardy, evergreen vines trained on chain-link fences are
used to screen the service area.
A backyard compost bin should be a part of every well-
planned service area. A fenced bin or walled pit to hold peat,
leaves, lawn clippings, peanut hulls, pruned branches, water
hyacinths and some manure is a worthwhile investment. The
addition of a complete, balanced chemical fertilizer is recom-
mended as an aid to decomposition and to fortify the end
product. Garden magazines carry advertisements of special
chemicals that are designed to speed the making of artificial
manure. As fresh material is added, lightly sprinkle fertilizer
on each layer of organic matter and keep the pile moist at all
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 9
Florida and so frequent replacement is needed. After the
mulch has been in place for a while the roots will grow up into
it and the sudden removal of this material may result in injury
to a cherished specimen.
In some sections, drainage is a problem of first moment
and adequate provision must be made to draw off water during
wet weather. Most garden plants will not tolerate water-logged
soil. Roots must have air and when the water table rises the
air is forced out and 4te roots die. Leaf-fall, a hard, knarled
condition of the twigs, debility and death may be indications
of poor drainage.
Florida's coastline, the longest of any state in the union,
is a favored place for vacation homes and certain sections, on
the east and west coasts, are thickly populated. On the Atlantic,
houses are on the sand dunes, or immediately behind them
and, in some towns the entire strip of palmetto and pine barren
between the ocean and the tidewater lagoon to the west is resi-
dential property. Gardens unusual, distinctive tropical in feel-
ing and strongly characteristic of the section are a part of these
Gardening on the coast of Florida is as difficult as garden-
ing can be anywhere. The outer steep beach exposed to the
full force of the east wind and the Atlantic surf, the ever-
present shell that makes the earth alkaline in reaction, locking
up vital mineral elements, and the sand, devoid of humus are
unsuitable for many inland garden subjects. Fortunately, a
dozen or so plants that grow naturally on our sand dunes lend
themselves to dramatic tropical compositions. In addition to
the species that are native to the coastal sands, several exotics
from desert regions will thrive in this environment. Plants
from similar environments can make harmonious compositions
and their kindred wants reduce maintenance.
On the west coast, dunes are lower; undefined is the line
of demarcation between the shingle and the ridge of sand.
Some houses are built directly on the Gulf beach. The wind
off the Gulf of Mexico is not as strong as that off the Atlantic
Ocean, the air is not so heavily laden with salt. It is generally
conceded that it is a little easier to grow plants on the Gulf
than on the Atlantic.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Many dwellings for permanent or seasonal occupancy ar<
built on tidal basins. Although these bodies of brackish water
may be known colloquially as rivers, lakes, bays, creeks an
bayous, they are, nonetheless, tidewater lagoons. Man-made o
natural, they make attractive settings for waterfront homes.
Gardens for waterfront homes may be quite simple, and
few well chosen plants to accent the architecture, groups o
palms for framing and background, a lawn and boundary plant-
ings for privacy will suffice. The private area is usually no
developed in detail as an off-scape over water is always wanted,
so complete enclosure as discussed previously, is not of primary
consideration. Axial lines are usually ignored except in thi
most pretentious gardens. Some beach dwellers are contend
to have wild front yards more or less sparsely inhabited br
native plants such as sea-oats, beach morning-glory and spraw-
ing succulents, but many orderly souls feel that they should
have civilized greenswards like those at home.
Ground covers other than grasses come into their own an
interesting effects are achieved with succulents such as fig-mar
gold, artillery plant, peperomia, or mesembryanthemum.
For exotic shrubs and trees, planting holes must be prepare
with care. Dig oversized holes and fill with a mixture
hammock soil, peat, leaf mold or compost. A sprinkling
one of the mineral mixtures from the seed store is long-tern
insurance against shortages of the so-called minor element.
Minor though iron, zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, an
boron may be on fertile soils, major they become in beach
sands. In fact, any of the nutritional elements may really
become limiting factors for many trees, shrubs and flower.
Choice palms, vines and annuals frequently exhibit the chlorosis,
stunted growth and dead tips that are manifestations of miner 1
deficiencies. Plants growing naturally in soil to which they
are endemic will usually get along well without mineral supple-
ments, so this extra precaution is advocated only for exotic plan s
on alkaline soil or inorganic sand that has been pumped in.
Palms are so much a part of Florida's seascapes that water -
front homes are incomplete without sereval of these decorate e
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 11
PLANTS FOR BEACH GARDENS
TREES AND PALMS
Senegal date plam
SHRUBS, PERENNIALS AND VINES
Beach morning glory
Patio is the Spanish word for courtyard. This court, open
to the sky, is surrounded by wings of the house and perhaps
a wall on one side. Originally the enclosing walls were erected
for protection against intruders as well as to divert the hot, dry
winds of southern Spain. Frequently doors from the rooms
opened directly on to the patio, and along one or more sides
covered walkways were used as means of circulation. Purely
utilitarian in earlier days, these roofed walks were long and
narrow and were not used as areas for relaxation and enter-
taining as they are today. Becoming naturally a part of ram-
bling L-shaped or U-shaped houses, the modern room-sized
patio is popular as a part of our design for outdoor living.
The house and the garage may form sides, and doors from
all rooms may open directly into the patio or into a narrow
12 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
roofed loggia which is an integral part of it. The fourth side
of the modern Florida patio is frequently left open for a water
view. Sometimes rolling screens of structural glass may close
this open side during cold weather.
Windows and doors may or may not be grilled in present
day examples, but they must look across the court to pleasing
Below are listed essentials for your Florida patio.
PAVING: In Florida the following materials are popular
for covering the patio floor: Coralline Key Largo limestone,
brick, glazed tiles, terrazo, Crab Orchard stone, simulated coral
rock or combinations of these. Because of heavy traffic in a
small space, grass will not survive, so its best use is in chinks
between paving blocks.
CENTRAL FEATURE: A well or similar water feature is au-
thentic, but sometimes a group of palms, a specimen banyan
tree or sea-grape becomes the dominant plant of interest. Ar-
tesian water, frequently available in coastal areas, can be
employed with telling effect as a part of the central feature.
City water circulated by a hidden electric pump may bubble
in a central pool, and move rapidly down a tiled runnel and
return through a closed system.
POTTED PLANTS: Dwarf palms in urns, seasonal bulbs,
annuals for winter color and succulents for interesting leaf
form are essential accessories. Wall brackets of wrought iron
are sometimes installed in groups. Orchids, anthuriums, bro.
meliads and other plants are hung in these brackets when they
come into bloom. The tenderest, choicest plants will thrive in
this little enclosed, air-still area where partial shade, humidity
and moisture may be kept at optimum levels.
SHADE: A tree whose foliage serves as a sector of living
roof to cool a part of the patio and the house, but to allow
a sunny corner for chilly days is desirable. This may be a
native palm, a picturesque sea-grape or a dramatic gumbo-limbo.
Plants within a patio are for wall decoration, fragrance
and color interest and must not encroach too heavily upon the
space designed for human occupancy.
Plants for Florida patios must have certain specific char-
acteristics if they are to be successful year in and year out.
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 13
They should lend a tropical atmosphere, endure restricted grow-
ing space, be tolerant of dry soils, full sun, high temperatures,
drip from the eaves and, above all, they must be resistant to
Plants that will hug the walls, and never sprawl are the
best to use.
Perhaps a small patio might be adequately planted with
a palm or two for shade and atmosphere, a pair of flowering
vines for wall decoration, a collection of potted plants for color
interest and some flowering tropical plants in iron wall brackets.
Suitable furniture is needed to complete the patio for human
PLANTS RECOMMENDED FOR FLORIDA PATIOS
Annuals in season
FLORIDA'S PUBLIC GARDENS
Floridians are justly proud of their beautiful home land-
scapes and they boast, too, of the superb public gardens that
are major tourist attractions here. Out Route 319 northward
from Tallahassee, is one of the South's most beautiful gardens.
14 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Florida Cypress Gard
Bananas, tropical aroids and palms stamp this scene
as typically Floridian.
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 15
Through the generosity of Mrs. Alfred B. Maclay, the beautiful
plantation, Killearn Gardens, became state property in 1952.
Thanks to masterful planning and expert maintenance, this
marvelous garden has become one of the most delightful in
the nation. Here may be viewed superb plant materials at
their mature best. Palms, native flowering trees, massed azaleas
and tree-sized camellias are employed with telling effect. In
Tallahassee, also is located Florida State University, which is
noted for its beautiful campus. Here, excellent well-grown
specimens of species that thrive in western Florida are on dis-
play. In Gainesville, on the University of Florida campus
will be found examples of mature plant materials in approved
landscape uses. At all public institutions, persons in charge
of the various plant cultures, will be pleased to show visitors
around and to answer questions.
In St. Petersburg and in Sarasota are admission gardens
in which may be viewed tropical plant materials in specimen
status. Toward the center of the state at Winter Haven is
renowned Cypress Gardens, noted for spectacular horticultural
displays and aquatic shows. Not far away is Bok Tower, a
secluded, restful sanctuary, in which may be viewed some ex-
cellent arrangements of plant material. On the east coast at
Vero Beach is McKee Jungle Garden, a well-known admission
garden that is popular with tourists. On U. S. Highway 1 at
Stuart will be found Mr. Ed Menninger, The Flowering Tree
Man, who will be pleased to show his collection of tropical
trees to visiting horticulturists. In Miami, Bay Front Park is
famous for tropical landscape plants at their mature best. Down
the Homestead road is Florida's most famous arboretum, the
Fairchild Tropical Garden. This tropical arboretum on the
mainland United States, continuously expanding, is destined to
be one of the great botanic gardens of the world. Palms, vines,
shade trees and hibiscus, well-grown and carefully labeled, are
seen here at their best. At Homestead, the State of Florida
maintains a sub-tropical experiment station where excellent
examples of carefully labeled Florida trees are featured. Many
excellent nurseries in all metropolitan areas will welcome
visitors to their grounds.
16 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Despite Florida's heavy rainfall, supplementary water g
is needed during dry spells in autumn and springtime. Esta -
lished palms and trees will survive, but lawns, shrubs a d
flowers will need irrigation to keep them in active, heall y
growth. During spring and summer plants need more wat r
than during cold weather when growth is arrested by lower
temperatures. Yet it must not be forgotten that water is taken
up by roots during cold weather and therefore plants must be
supplied with adequate moisture at all times.
Annuals need most attention in the matter of watering and
grasses require frequent irrigation for active growth and an
attractive deep green color. Italian rye grass winter lawns need
unusually large amounts of water.
Permanent underground irrigation systems, that can be cn-
trolled by a single, easy-to-reach valve, are desired by every
home owner, but lacking this facility, it is desirable to have
spigots arranged so that every part of the grounds can be reach d
by one fifty-foot length of hose.
Not only are sprinklers needed to supply water to all pa ts
of the landscape planting during dry periods, but water under
force is helpful in reducing red spider mites and thrips. D r-
ing sunny, dry weather these pests can be very injurious to
azaleas, camellias and other choice shrubs.
It is always better to soak the ground thoroughly than to
sprinkle indifferently and often. Light sprinkling encoura es
shallow rooting whereas heavy soaking encourages the roots to
strike deep into the earth. During dry periods which m ay
occur in November-December and March-May, good results re
had by weekly soakings when the hose is allowed to run tvo
hours in each place before it is moved along. Good gardeners
do not wait for their plants to wilt before irrigating, yet they
are cautious not to over-water because they know that excess ve
soil moisture leaches away soluble nutrients and may cause
roots to rot off. Discretion in this, as in all phases of garc en
maintenance, is needed.
Contrary to widespread opinion, watering gardens in fall
sunshine is not harmful. If it were fatal, few plants wo ld
be growing in Florida. There is less evaporation and water
is utilized much more efficiently if it is applied just before
Elephant Ears and Bilbergia
at Cypress Gardens
A Royal Poniciana in full bloom
A Philodendron at the Florida Nursery
and Landscape Co. at Leesburg
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 17
dark, but there is not the slightest danger of burning garden
plants by watering at mid day.
In Florida, landscape plants grow very rapidly and for this
reason frequent systematic pruning is needed.
For the most part, heading in to preserve natural form,
rather than shearing to geometrical shapes, is preferred today.
Standard hand pruners are used to remove robust shoots well
below the contour of the bush. When these heavy growths
are severed down close to the ground, multiple growths will
push out from latent buds and produce several twigs of normal
size. Later these fine twiggy growths should be reduced with-
out regular pattern and in moderation, so that the plant will not
display an artificial, barbered look. Pinching, the removal of
terminal buds with thumb and forefinger, should be practiced
all through the growing season to encourage well-branched, com-
pact plants. When terminal growths become woody and firm,
pinching is discontinued to allow flower buds to develop.
The time when shrubs should be pruned will vary with
several conditions. In general, it can be said that spring-
blooming species should be pruned immediately after flower-
ing. Bridal wreath, abelia, hydrangea, oleander and a host
of others fall into this category. Because flower buds are
formed during summertime, blossoms will be sacrificed if the
plants are pruned in late summer. Crape-myrtle blooms on
current season's wood, and it is standard practice to prune this
southern favorite after the leaves are shed in the fall.
Coniferous evergreens and broadleaved species that are not
grown for their blossoms, should be headed back all through
spring, summer and fall when shoots grow out of bounds.
Cherry-laurel, wax privet. wax-myrtle, podocarpus and the
junipers can be lightly headed back periodically during the
growing season so that the plants are kept shapely and compact.
Brown palm fronds should be removed with pruning saw
or pole pruner and ladder as soon as possible.
Hedges need frequent shearing from early spring until
autumn to keep them tidy and attractive. Hedge shears are
accompanied by directions which state that trimming must be
done while the new growth is tender and succulent lest the
18 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
jaws of the shears be thrown out of alignment. This mans
facturer's warning, issued in the interests of their products, i
sound horticultural advice as well, because clipped hedges S
trimmed will be kept in best possible condition.
PRUNING SHRUBS INJURED BY COLD
Upon occasion, it is necessary to remove parts of plant
that have been injured by low temperatures. Ornament I
shrubs are not benefited by deferring this work, and so,
job might well be done within a few days after injury ht
Take your pruning shears and nick along a frosted braic
until the incision reveals healthy, green inner bark, then, dro
somewhat below this point and make a clean, slanting
It is good practice to sever injured branches just above a shot
or healthy bud that points away from the center of the pla.
For small wood, hand shears are used, for larger branches oe
should employ a pair of heavy lopping shears, and for membe s
above an inch in diameter, a sharp, well-adjusted pruning
is the accepted implement.
After pruning is complete, all wounds over two inches n
diameter should be covered with tree wound dressing. The e
modern antiseptic paints are available under several tra e
names at garden supply stores or they may be obtained y
mail order direct from the manufacturers who advertise int e
national garden magazines.
Though we regret the devastating effects of frost it cann t
be denied that the periodic cutting back which must foll w
improves the aspect of our gardens as plants are once aga n
brought into proper scale relationship.
Trees are essential to the successful development of a y
landscape plan. Careful thought as to suitable kinds is ne
of the early steps in the development of a landscape plant g.
Suitable trees may be natives that are already growing on e
property or they may be nursery-grown exotic species boa ht
especially for the purpose. Trees relate the house to the g r-
den and the land to the sky and scale relationship must be e-
fully considered. One must think in terms of mature si es
rather than of the little container-grown specimens that re
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 19
bought in nurseries. In Florida, many semi-tropical species
grow rapidly and assume gigantic sizes in a comparatively short
time. Many of these, too, cast very dense shade under which
it is impossible to grow a lawn. These vigorous tropical trees
are not suited to residential landscaping and their use must
be limited to parks, arboretums and roadside plantings. Ma-
ture sizes will be indicated in the descriptive paragraphs which
Shade is essential in Florida because of the large number
of bright sunny days. Broadleaved evergreen trees may be
chosen if year-round shade is wanted, while deciduous species
are best in some positions so that sunlight may be enjoyed
during the winter.
As suggested earlier, framing is an important function of
trees in landscape design. Trees set toward the property lines
on both sides, rather forward of the house, frame the dwelling
and its planting to give finish and completeness that can be
attained in no other way. For this purpose, small erect-grow-
ing, broadleaved, woody trees or palms should be chosen for
most homes. Sometimes it is possible to keep existing native
trees for these important positions, and in other cases it will
be necessary to plant framing trees early in the landscape
Two or three somewhat larger evergreen trees set near the
rear property line will furnish a background that gives solidarity
and definition to the landscape plan. Frequently property may
be acquired upon which such trees may be growing.
Hardiness, adaptability to one's soil type, long life, freedom
from diseases and insect pests and resistance to strong winds
are important considerations when selecting trees for home
planting. Some species will be selected for their beautiful
evergreen foliage, others will be wanted for their striking blos-
soms, and there are all-time favorites which are wanted because
of the fruits which they bear. Trees discussed in the paragraphs
following may not possess all of these characteristics, however,
many will serve in the development of the basic landscape plan.
It must be remembered that many trees are protected by
law and cannot be dug from the woods without permission of
the property owner. Every right-thinking citizen will respect
property rights and will ask permission to collect trees before
going into a woodland with digging and pruning tools.
20 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Wild trees, growing in competition with their neighbors
have far-reaching roots and it is impossible to dig them wi
satisfactory, compact root systems. From every aspect it i
more desirable to buy trees from a reputable nursery.
nurseryman has transplanted, root-pruned, cultivated, fertilize
sprayed and irrigated his stock and his trees will attain
turity much more quickly than will trees of comparable size
from the woods. Today, when container-grown stock is s
widely available, small trees carefully taken from five qua t
or three gallon cans are unquestionably most desirable. Whe
one of these is bought at a nursery, the attendant will cut
can so that it is a simple matter to set the tree, with intact,
disturbed root system upon arrival back home. This syst
of growing landscape material in tin cans also extends e
transplanting season in Florida to include every day in the ye .
While it is considered best to transplant field-grown trees b -
tween December and February, container-grown stock with u -
disturbed roots, is transplanted successfully at any time.
Even before trees are purchased it is a good plan to prepa e
the planting holes so that locations will be ready for the tre s
at the right time. Dig holes that are large enough to conto n
the sizes which you plan to acquire, place the sandy native $ il
aside and fill the hole with a rich, acid mixture of comp st
and peat. Into this, mix a couple of handfuls of balanr d
commercial fertilizer that has been fortified with trace elements.
This is long time insurance against deficiencies which may o r
upon occasion. When planting trees, whether they be ball d
and burlapped, bare root or container-grown, be certain tat
they stand at exactly the same level at which they grew former y.
Too deep planting is harmful in many cases and must be ca e-
fully avoided. Allow water to flow in gently from the hose as
the soil is shoveled in so that all air pockets may be elimin4 ed
and a close contact may be made between the roots and the'sil
particles. Finish with a saucer-like depression and fill is
with water at least once each week that it does not rain.
Newly planted trees have low resistance and so it is ree m-
mended that the trunks be protected for the first two seas ns.
Beginning at the ground level make a spiral wrap upward til
the branches are reached. Spanish moss, muslin, or paper, ay
be used and it should be secured at intervals with cord or w re.
After leaves emerge the following spring, loosen the wra or
22 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
to encroach gradually so that it grows up to the trunks after
five or six years.
Lawn trees should need little pruning, but occasionally i
is necessary to remove crowding, crossing or interfering branch
or those that have been injured by cold or wind. Sometime
one of two leaders must be reduced so that Y-crotch may b
Sharp, well adjusted pruning saws, hand shears and lopper
are necessary accessories. Smaller branches are headed i
with the hand shears, or removed close to the supporting me-
bers with the loppers, while the pruning saw is used for large
wood. Always make a preliminary cut about a foot from th
supporting member. This will prevent the heavy branch fro
carrying away a strip of bark when it falls. The final prunin
cut, then, is made very close to the trunk. Painting the woun
with a tree wound dressing or with paint is strongly reco -
mended. This will help prevent checking and will assist in e
exclusion of wood-rot fungi until callus can cover the wous .
Generally speaking, the best time to prune ornamental tre s
is just prior to spring growth or immediately after blooming.
Spanish moss, which grows so luxuriantly in parts of Flo -
ida, is harmful and must be removed annually if lawn trees a e
to be kept in good condition. This fast growing epiphyte cas s
heavy shade, forces growth outward and causes many sm 1
branches to die. The most satisfactory way to remove Spanti h
moss is by hand picking but this is laborious, and if there a e
many large trees, spraying is preferred. Lead arsenate spray d
on at the rate of one-half pound to fifty gallons of water w 11
result in the death of all but about 5 per cent of Spanish mo s.
The efficiency of this arsenic killer will be increased if a cupl
of detergent is added to the spray tank. Obviously, high pr s-
sure will be needed to kill moss in tall trees. The disadvant aes
of spraying for controlling moss are that it is troubles e,
expensive and the garlands of dead moss hang in the tree! or
a long time. On the other hand, the disadvantages of ha d
picking are obvious and experienced persons know that a he
infestation of chiggers or red bugs may result from a sessi n
of picking Spanish moss out of shade trees!
When fruit trees (oranges, avocados, mangos and peca s)
are employed as lawn trees, they must be protected from ins ts
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 21
allow it to disintegrate gradually. This wrapping is good
protection against sunscald, excessive drying and borers and
it will materially aid trees in recovering from the transplanting
Cutting back to reduce leaf-bearing surface in proportion
to the loss of the roots is very important. Head in lateral
branches at least half their length; perhaps remove some of
the limbs close down to the ground. Do not prune the central
leader, but allow the single terminal growing point to maintain
Newly planted trees will not need to be fertilized during
their first growing season because of the fertility of the soil into
which they were set. However, during the following February,
and annually thereafter, all trees should be fed systematically.
A mixed commercial fertilizer is applied in punch-bar holes
around the tree. Use a heavy crow bar or similar tool to make
holes about 10 to 12 inches deep concentrically around the
trunk and then fill these holes with fertilizer. The number of
holes and the amount of fertilizer to apply will vary with the
species, age, soil type and other factors, but, generally speak-
ing, a pound of fertilizer for each inch in trunk diameter might
be about right. Of course, the holes should be equally dis-
tributed around the tree inside the drip of the branches.
Until shade trees, ornamental citrus and palms are well
established, they should be grown in circles that are kept free
of grass by frequent cultivation. Ordinarily these rings of
cultivated earth may be five to eight feet in diameter, depend-
ing upon the species, the size of the individual, the fertility of
the soil and other factors.
The best tool to use in keeping these circles free of grass
is a sharp, longhandled scuffle hoe. the common goosenecked
garden hoe being second choice. During the rainy season.
shallow cultivation should be practiced every week or ten days
while for the remainder of the year a light hoeing once a fort-
night should suffice. So that feeder roots will not be injured.
the soil must be flat-hoed, that is, the blade must not be allowed
to cut deeper that an inch. Another reason for recommending
the scutfle hoe is that it serves as a good edger to cut the grass
around the periphery of the circle at each cultivation.
It is generally held that mature lawn trees look best when
Illy grow out of unlbroken turf. therefore grass may be allowed
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 23
and diseases just as they are in commercial orchards. Un-
sprayed fruit trees will not look thrifty and clean and they
cannot bear abundant fruits of good quality. Most home own-
ers cannot maintain equipment and hire help that is needed to
apply insecticides and fungicides efficiently to mature fruit
trees, so it is strongly recommended that local grove service
organizations, nurseries, or tree maintenance companies be
engaged to apply spray materials in the approved manner at
the correct time. Your county or home demonstration agent or
the secretary of the chamber of commerce can furnish names
of approved service organizations.
If there is over half an acre in landscaped ground and it is
desirable to do the spraying yourself, a wheelbarrow sprayer
should be used. Single or double wheeled models with iron
rims or rubber tires are available. Hand-operated models are
efficient, capable of producing high pressure, they are easy to
clean and easy to repair as they have a minimum of working
parts. Advanced models have electric motors or gasoline en-
gines to run the pumps.
If the yard is small and you have a yard man, a five-gallon,
brass, knapsack-type sprayer will be a good buy, but if you
must do your spraying unaided, a stirrup pump is good to have.
The spray material is mixed in a water bucket, over the side
of which the intake element of the stirrup pump fits. Fairly
high pressure and satisfactory breakage of the liquid is ob-
tained with these sprayers. Attachments screwed on to the garden
hose will disperse insecticides and fertilizers with minimum
effort on the part of the home owner.
Garden supply houses, retail nurseries, seed stores and
mail order houses carry sprayers of the types mentioned. In
the national garden magazines will be found advertisements
of manufacturers of dependable spraying equipment.
Shade trees discussed in the following pages should not
need regular spraying except as noted specifically in the descrip-
TREES ESPECIALLY RECOMMENDED FOR FLORIDA HOMES
ACACIA (Acacia spp.) 8-50 feet. These showy members of
the legume family are noted for the large numbers of bright
yellow blossoms and are available at nurseries in several species
24 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
and varieties. Mostly semi-tropical acacias must be grown
the southern part of the state.
Propagation is by seeds, as is the case with most legum s
AFRICAN TULIP-TREE (Spathodea campanulata)* 75 fe
is admired when its bright, orange-scarlet flowers are produce
in sheltered places on Florida's lower coasts. There, it is e-
ployed both in dooryard and avenue plantings. The hands
tall evergreen tree, though native to tropical Africa as
common name suggests, is widely distributed in the Ameri
tropics. This is a prominent arborescent member of the bigno
family, which is propagated by cuttings.
ALMOND (Terminalia catappa) 80 feet, is favored r
avenue planting in tropical cities. Its striking horizontal bran
ing, smooth, brownish-gray bark, and stiff, magnolia-like lea s
account for its popularity. Principal color is contributed y
An excellent avenue tree or windbreak for the Miami area.
Nomenclature follows Manual of Cultivated Plants, L. H. Bailey, Mac ian,
New York, 1949.
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 25
CAJEPUT TREE-(Melaleuca leucadendra)
A beautiful small tree that is outstanding as a specimen, street tree
26 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
the leaves which turn red before being shed. This leaf fal
may be caused in Florida by cool weather, in the Antilles b
the excessive droughts which recur regularly. Though there
are 100 species in Terminalia, T. catappa is the one most widely
seen in the New World tropics.
Propagation is by seeds.
BLACK-OLIVE (Bucida buceras) 70 feet. The native bla -
olive is in high favor in southern Florida because of its adap -
ability and great resistance to strong winds. Small leaves a
clustered near the ends of the branches of the symmetrica
round head. As a street tree, windbreak or lawn specimen,
this tropical evergreen is highly commended to home owne s
within its range. Identification may be made by the folia e
described above, spikes of small greenish flowers and down
curved, oval fruits.
Propagation is by seeds.
CAJEPUT (Melaleuca leucadendra) 50 feet. A medium -
sized tree of great distinction, the cajeput is a popular la
specimen in central and southern sections. The thick, multiple -
layered bark, the strict habit, the small, narrow leaves and e
yellow-white, bottle-brush blossoms all contribute to make tis
one of our outstanding ornamentals and make identificati n
easy. In some areas this Australian tree has established its f
in great cultures which demonstrate its adaptability to con i-
tions in Florida. Other species of bottlebrushes, are popul r
ornamental trees or shrubs.
All are increased by seeds.
CAMPHOR (Cinnamomum camphora) 40 feet. Well kno n
as a beautiful, hardy, evergreen tree, the camphoi is satisfact
on fertile soils that do not become excessively dry. Identificaii n
is by the camphor smell of crushed leaves. Unattractive yell w
foliage and an unthrifty condition may be accounted for a
mineral deficiency in the soil or red spider mites attacking t e
leaves. Sulphur dust (325 mesh) or syringing with the h se
are effective in reducing mites, but these controls are seld m
employed for camphor trees. Florida red scale, those roun d
black dots with red centers, frequently attack camphor folia e.
A white summer oil at 2%dilution will give good control. T is
type of scalecide is obtainable at your seed store under the tr e
name "Volck", "Niagrol", "Linoil" or "Sunoco." Compl te
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 27
directions for use are printed on the labels.
malathion are scalecides but because of their
animal life, precautions are necessary.
toxicity to all
As they cast heavy shade and are voracious feeders, it is
usually difficult to maintain a good lawn under healthy camphor
Camphor trees do not transplant readily, and for this reason
they are container-grown so they may be moved without disturb-
ing the root systems. Seeds, employed entirely for propaga-
CAMPHOR TREE- (Cinnamomum camphora)
Suitable for any section of Florida.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
tion, are sown directly in these containers and the small plant
thinned to one to each vessel.
CASSIA is a genus of tropical trees rated very high by di-
cerning gardeners. Cassia fistula, 30 feet (the golden shower,
is popular in southern Florida. Like so many of the legume.
this tree flowers in early summer and so it is not well kno
to some winter residents. Grown from seeds, golden show r
is easy to come by and well worth growing in frost-free section
Cassia nodosa, 50 feet, is a beautiful pink flowering tree th t
has wide usefulness in many lands where it is a favorite doo -
yard and roadside tree. Perhaps, even more beautiful vet s
the gorgeous apple-blossom cassia (Cassia javanica). 40 fe t,
rated very close to the top of all lists of worthwhile flower g
Rainbow cassia, queen of them all, is a hybrid that s
grown from air layers by some specialty nurseries in south
This genus, with at least 400 species, has a tremendo is
potential for frost-free areas. In the section on shrubs will )e
found additional listings in this large plant genus.
CASUARINA (Casuarina spp.) 70 feet and more. Adapt d
to the widest possible range of conditions, the casuarinas are
the most numerous trees of southern Florida. C. equisetifaola.
150 feet, the species of open growth, withstands brackish soils
and salt spray and is grown extensively near the seashore as
clipped hedges, windbreaks and high screens. C. cunni g-
hamiana, 70 feet, is considered the most hardy and may be
grown as far north as Gainesville, yet here it is killed b ck
during most winters. C. lepidophloia, 60 feet, more wi Vly
planted than any other species, has an attractive dark gt en
color, dense habit and produces quantities of root suck rs.
These become troublesome in backyard plantings yet they re
used to increase this last kind, while the others are gr vn
CHASTE-TREE (Vitex agnus-castus) 20 feet. As a sn all
dooryard tree, the vitex is quite popular because of its att ac-
tive lilac blossoms. The 5-parted, lacy-digitate, decidu us
leaves are beautiful during mid-summer when the fragr
inch lavender spikes appear. A related species (V. trif lia
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 29
var. variegata), with white-margined, 3-parted leaves is popular
as a small tree, shrub or clipped hedge. Vitex may be grown
from softwood cuttings during summer. Identification is cer-
tain by the lavender spikes which appear in July.
CITRUS TREES and their allies (Citrus and Fortunella species
and hybrids) are among the most decorative of all of the broad-
leaved evergreen trees known to horticulture. As shade trees,
for backgrounds, framing and as free-standing specimens, the
oranges, tangerines, calamondins, kumquats, and their hybrids
are widely employed in Florida home grounds plantings. In
order that the health and beauty of the trees and the quality
of the fruits may be of the best, a careful spray program (as
suggested on page 23) is essential.
Citrus trees are usually sold as budded specimens and
moved while comparatively small in size. During the winter
they are moved with the greatest facility, but small orange trees
AUSTRALIAN-PINE-( Casuarina cunninghamiana)
This is the hardiest species of Casuarina.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
can be successfully transplanted during any month in the yea
It is the custom to grow citrus trees in circles that are k
hoed free of grass. Thus, the trees can be cultivated an
fertilized most efficiently. The turf may be allowed to gro
close around mature, established calamondins, kumquats an
sour oranges that are grown purely as ornamentals. There,
fertilizers are placed beneath the sod in punch bar holes.
COCK-SPUR CORAL TREE (Erythrina crista-galli) 20 fee,
is a woody member of the huge legume family which produce s
trusses of coral-red, butterfly flowers in springtime. Kille
by frost, coral trees of all species are recommended for Ta a
southward, however, they serve as renewing perennials in cold r
sections. Coral trees are increased by seeds and cuttings.
CRAPE-MYRTLE (Lagerstroemia indica), may be seen as a
shrub and as a tree in all tropical and semi-tropical regions.
Flowering on current growth that elongates after leaves appe r
in springtime, the huge terminal panicles of white, pink, red: r
purple florets are borne at the beginning of the rainy season .
Widely adapted to many soil types and different climates, s
cosmopolitan tree is justly popular. This gardener will agr e
with the Superintendent of Hope Garden in Jamaica in is
statement that the crape-myrtle is one of the finest flower g
species for the tropics. Even more spectacular than t e
Chinese species above is the queen crape-myrtle (Lagerstroe ia
speciosa) 60 feet, from India and Australia. This is a tr e
which acquires a height of 60 feet and has upright growth whi h
carries large, rough, deciduous leaves. These, which resemn le
huge guava leaves, may be as much as a foot in length. T e
terminal panicles, up to two feet in length, are produced y
current growth and are made up of gorgeous, crape-paper bl s-
soms about three inches across.
Powdery mildew may be controlled if the foliage is spray d
with Karathane at very first signs, and continued through e
rainy season. Customarily crape-myrtles are headed back
ing early winter when the leaves shed. This makes for hea y
bloom, a compact head and heavy, lush foliage. Suckers whi h
spring up around the trunks during the growing season must
be rubbed off while they are still tender. If allowed to remain,
these suckers are very untidy and detract from the beauty f
otherwise well grown crape-myrtle trees.
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 31
DOGWOOD (Cornus florida) 40 feet. Native to the ham-
mocks of central and northern Florida, the flowering dogwood
is well known and widely planted as a lawn specimen. Graceful,
beautiful, in flower and fruit, small in size and attractive when
not in leaf, this tree is strongly recommended to home owners
within its range. Nursery-grown, grafted trees are suggested
as the best for planting, and protection of the trunk against
borers by wrapping with moss or paper is essential for the first
2 or 3 years until a canopy of leaves is developed.
FRANGIPANIS, American trees or shrubs, which grow to a
height of 15 feet, are much planted in tropical lands for their
delightfully fragrant flowers. Plumeria rubra has 6-inch broad
leaves with conspicuous marginal veins and red, pink or purple
blossoms, while Plumeria alba has leaves half as wide, without
the heavy veins along the edges, and, as the specific name im-
plies, is typically white-flowered. The thick, fleshy, sausage-
like branches support tufts of leaves near their tips and, in
summertime, terminal clusters of spicy blossoms. Much planted
in dooryards and cemeteries because broken pieces root easily,
frangipani is among the most popular of small flowering trees
in tropical America.
My first frangipanis came to me years ago from Hawaii
when a friend went to a great deal of trouble to secure the
succulent, sausage-like cuttings by air mail. Used in the Land
of Aloha for making leis, frangipani is thought of perhaps, as
an Old World plant, when actually, it is native to our own
FRINGE TREE (Chionanthus virginica) 30 feet. The termi-
nal clusters of glistening white blossoms that appear with, or
just before, the leaves in spring are most attractive and account
for the popularity of this small native. In the upper part of
the peninsula and westward, the fringe-tree is successful when
grown in fertile soil. The trees are grown from seeds.
GEIGER TREE (Cordia sebestena) 25 feet. This native of
the Florida keys is coming into its fair share of popularity
with gardeners who live in the Palm Beach-Miami area. Of
slender proportions, the Geiger tree has large, rough, opposite
leaves that make for coarse texture. The showy orange colored
flowers are borne in terminal geranium-like clusters in summer-
32 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
GOLDEN RAIN-TREE (Koelreuteria paniculata) 30 feet. We
deserving its common name, this deciduous tree produces cloud
of golden blossoms in October when garden color is so welcome.
A second show occurs within a month as the seed vessels m-
ture and develop their rosy-red colors. The dissected, co -
pound leaves fall to allow the winter sun to penetrate benea
Seedlings usually occur in great numbers under fruiting spec -
GUMBO-LIMBO (Bursera simaruba) 50 feet. Because f
its bright tan bark that appears just to have been shellacked
and unusual knarled and bent branches, this native tree is hig y
prized and widely planted as a landscape subject in the Pal
Beach-Miami area. Well adapted to this section, the gumb -
limbo is particularly decorative. Propagation is usually y
seeds but cuttings, even in huge sizes, root easily.
HIBISCUS TREES, in two species, both of which may be s
tall as a three-story building, are worth growing near te
peninsula's tip. Both resist salt and grow in alkaline soi s.
Mahoe (Hibiscus tileaceous), well established on tropical s-
lands, has reclining branches and heart-shaped leaves like a
linden. The single hibiscus flowers open yellow with maro n
centers, and turn pinkish before they close at day's end. Velv ty
fruits with persistent calyces follow. Tree hibiscus (Hibis us
elatus) is said to have larger leaves with longer tips, flow rs
which are red at first opening, turning dark maroon by twilig t.
The fruits, according to Hortus, do not have calyces attach d,
and this is the identifying character.
HOLLY (Ilex spp.) 15-50 feet. Beloved by all, the ho ly
has come down through the ages as one of the most popular of
all evergreen trees. Thirteen species are native to Florida nd
of these, six are classed as trees. Horticultural varieties of
these and several exotic types that grow well here are offer ed
by nurseries. Good soil of acid reaction, an even supply of
moisture are requisites for success. The berries are borne on
pistillate trees and, to insure an abundance of fruit, one sho ld
be certain that a staminate tree of the same species grows in
the neighborhood. Hollies are protected by law and must not
be collected without permission of the property owner. W en
everything is considered, cutting-grown or grafted, true-to-na e,
_j---P - ^. ---t~ B &
. ", -. ,. .- r
-- .. ,. o- *. o . -. ....- ., .
v. . -
The Margaret Bacon Bougainvillea
at Cypress Gardens .'
White and green Bananas with Poinsettias.
Bird of Paradise, Water Lilies and Bougain-
villea at Cypress Gardens
d, -- q. .
Formosa Azaleas, Spirea, Ligustrum and
Fig Vine at the home of Mrs. George
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 33
heavily fruiting trees from a nursery are much superior to
those dug from the woods.
Our leading native species is the American holly, Ilex opaca.
Some trees bear leaves that have but one tiny thorn at the tip,
while others have leaves that are heavily armed with many
spines. The latter type more nearly approaches the traditional
English holly, so varieties with armed foliage are most popular
for clipping at Christmas time. Horticultural varieties of the
American holly that bear spiny leaves are Croonenburg, Lake
City, Savannah, Howard and Taber No. 4. East Palatka fruits
heavily every year, but as the leaves are almost smooth, this
variety does not closely resemble the English holly type. It
is free fruiting well down the peninsula and is grown from
cuttings taken in May or June.
Another native species of interest is the dune holly, Ilex
cumulicola. Thriving on the light sand of interior dunes, this
small tree has merit and certainly should be more widely grown.
Attractive upright habit of growth, thorny leaves, heavy bear-
ing and the ability to thrive on light sands are characteristics
of this good tree. Typically the leaves are quite heavily armed,
as is the commercial variety Fort McCoy, but occasionally an
individual with almost smooth leaves is found.
The dahoon holly, Ilex cassine, which grows throughout the
state, may be classed either as a shrub or a small tree, in cultiva-
tion it is usually the latter. This species has long, narrow, un-
armed leaves and small red berries that are borne in dense
clusters. As the dahoon prefers moist soil and will endure
inundation, it is useful in gardens that experience occasional
While the three are the principal tree hollies native to
Florida, several oriental species have become popular here.
Perhaps the most spectacular of all is the very beautiful. heavy-
fruiting Japanese holly, Ilex rotunda. Introduced by the Bureau
of Plant Introduction, this striking tree has demonstrated its
ability to thrive in our state. Because of rapid growth, its extra
heavy clusters of bright red berries and beautiful evergreen foli-
age, this Japanese holly is one of the most useful of the genus.
Propagation of tree hollies is accomplished by rooting
JACARANDA (Jacaranda acutifolia) 50 feet. This is central
34 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Florida's most spectacular flowering tree. In springtime te
trumpet-shaped blue flowers make a never-to-be-forgotten di-
play. Native to South America, this large sprawling tree wi
fernlike, deciduous leaves demands little attention save f r
careful planting and adequate moisture during the first fr
years. Jacarandas are grown from seeds.
JERUSALEM-THORN (Parkinsonia aculeata) 30 feet. T e
lacy foliage, pendulous habit, attractive yellow blossoms a d
green bark of the Jerusalem-thorn make it quite unusual a d
attractive. For all parts of the state, this graceful little har y
tree is of great ornamental value and is highly recommended.
Germination of the hard, brown seeds is hastened if the see
coat is broken by gently rubbing with fine sandpaper. Soa
directly in containers, so that the roots of young trees will not
be disturbed in transplanting.
KAPOK TREE (Ceiba pentandra) is the standout in tropik I
locations from the aspect of grandeur. Growing to fantastic
heights, with huge buttressed trunks, this giant is spotted at
once by all travelers to warm countries. When the leaves are
gone clusters of small white or rose flowers appear, later to e
followed by the fruits which bear the kapok of commerce.
Every tropical metropolis (Miami, Nassau, Havana, Kingston)
has its famed ceiba tree that is adequately exploited as a tour st
attraction. The mammoth kapok is too large for home plant-
ings and must be restricted to municipal properties where it
may assume its mature stature of one hundred twenty-five fe t!
LIGNUM-VITAE (Guaiacum officinale) 25 feet, is a sma 1.
slow-growing tree that has foliage of fine texture, a very co -
pact round head, beautiful small blue blossoms and bri ht
yellow fruits. All of these characteristics combine to make the
lignum-vitae a tree of great distinction and of more than o li-
nary usefulness for small residential properties. It is native
in Caribbean islands and up into the Florida keys.
Lignum-vitae grows very slowly from seeds.
LILY-THORN (Catesbaea spinosa) 15 feet. Indigenous to
southern Florida, this little tree can be used when fine scale is
indicated. The branches are wiry and heavily armed w th
sharp spines about an inch in length. In late summer he
creamy-white blossoms arc produced in profusion. Lily-thcnl
is grown from seeds.
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 35
LOQUAT" (Eriobotr)a jaJponica) 30 feet. Over most of the
.tate a favorite dooryard tree is the loquat. The attractive.
dark, evergreen leaves, the decorative, delicious fruit and its
small size commends the tree to home owners. Easily and
quickly grown from seeds, this Chinese fruit tree can be had
Unfortunately, loquats are host to fireblight, a disease which
may cause branches to die back for a considerable distance.
Infected branches must be cut back well into healthy wood by
sterilized shears as soon as the disease is discovered. Tools
used for this work must be sterilized by dipping in alcohol after
each cut is made.
While they will succeed and produce good crops of luscious
fruit under light cultivation, a heavy mulch of leaves, compost
or peat is ideal for loquat trees.
MAGNOLIA (Magnolia grandiflora) 100 feet. Justly famou-
throughout the South, this native is one of our choicest trees.
Evergreen, trim and graceful, the tree is highly desirable at
any time of the year, but in springtime, the huge, creamy-white
blossoms put the magnolia in a class by itself. Choice varieties
are grafted but the species increases naturally by seeds. From
Gainesville westward the deciduous oriental magnolias (M.
liliflora, 11. stellata, 11. soulangeana, and others) succeed if
given fertile, acid soils and adequate moisture. Deciduous
magnolias are increased by leafy, softwood cuttings taken in
Magnolias, of all classes, are forest dwellers, and thrive
with a thick, spongy blanket of leaves and twigs over their roots.
While clean cultivation is satisfactory, an organic mulch i-
preferred. Most serious pest is magnolia scale, a large, turtle-
shelled scale insect that succumbs to 2 percent oil emulsion.
Magnolias may be secured as balled and burlapped speci-
imens from nurseries in late winter and early spring, and moved
during that season with complete success.
MAHOGANY (Swietenia rahogani) 60 feet. The native
mahogany is frequently to be seen in the Miami area as a street
tree. Although evergreen, the tree does not cast dense shade
and lawns can be grown under it quite well. Mahogany pro-
duces seeds in great abundance which germinate and grow
36 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
MANGO (Mangifera indica) 50 feet. While essentially
fruit tree, the mango is very ornamental and is much used as
street tree and lawn specimen from Vero Beach around thl
coast to Tampa. Seedlings will grow easily and rapidly, b
improved varieties, purchased as grafted trees, are strong
recommended because of the superior quality of their fruits
Insects and diseases must be controlled by an adequnat
spray program (pages 22-23) and a mulch of leaves and gras
clippings, and 3 annual feedings are recommended for choice
MAGNOLIA- ( Magnolia grandiflora)
This is a \oung specimen of the South's favorite tree.
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 37
MIMOSA TREE (Albizia julibrissin) 40 feet The mimosa
tree is so much at home here that it has become naturalized.
It is popular because of its small size, horizontal branching and
attractive, pink, globular blossoms which are borne for a long
period each springtime. The graceful, fern-like leaves are
produced in March-April. Propagation is by seeds, and growth
is rapid even under trying conditions. For the first two or three
years, clean cultivation will encourage strong growth, there-
after, the mimosa tree will succeed in turf.
Mimosa wilt is a serious disease that is becoming wide-
spread in Florida. When trees decline and die, there is nothing
to do but to replace them with other species or with wilt-
resistant mimosa trees that have been grown from root cuttings.
Cottony cushion scale, may, upon occasion, attack trees
which lack vigor. Volunteer seedlings are found under old trees
in great profusion.
MORETON BAY CHESTNUT (Castanosperinum australe) 60
feet. This is a tall tree that has attractive, evergreen, pinnate
leaves and showy racemes of yellow flowers in springtime.
Highly thought of by those who possess it, the Moreton Bay
chestnut should succeed on good soils of acid reaction in warm-
est sections of the peninsula.
Propagation is by seeds, which incidentally, earn the tree
its name, as they are edible when roasted.
MOUNTAIN-EBONY. ORCHID-TREE (Bauhinia spp.) 6-20
feet. For the warmer sections this spectacular tree is unsur-
passed when a small flowering specimen is wanted. All of the
species, B. monandra, B. variegata, B. purpurea, and others
which are available are well worth growing as lawn specimens
for Orlando and southward. Hong Kong orchid tree (B.
blakeana), is the most spectacular member of the genus. Small
trees from grafts or air layers may be found in specialty nurs-
eries in the Miami area. All have deciduous leaves that are
cleft in two parts like the hoofs of cattle, and attractive butterfly-
Bauhinias are easily grown from seeds, but as they do not
transplant readily, it is suggested that the seeds be sown directly
in expendable containers so that the small plants can be trans-
ported and set without disturbing the roots.
These diminutive trees will not grow thriftily nor will they
bloom profusely if heavy turf covers their roots. Clean culti-
38 DEPARTMENT OF1 AGRICULTURE
ovation or a mulch of leaves together with 2 springtime feeding;
will assure healthy growth.
OAK (Quercus spp.) 100 feet. Several native species hav
been extensively planted as street, roadside and shade tree.
Their complete adaptability is beyond question and they ar
resistant to disease, insects and drought. Some thirty species
both evergreen and deciduous, are credited to Florida and the
range in size from the dwarf running oak to the giants of t e
The most desirable species is the live oak (Quercus vi--
giniana), identified by deeply corrugated gray bark of main
trunk and structural branches and by the thick, rough leaves
that are shiny above and downy beneath, with inward roll g
edges. This well known tree has the longest useful life of a
southern species and does not reach senility and break up wh n
less than fifty years old as may the laurel and water o
True, it grows less rapidly than the others, but, given good car
its rate of growth is satisfactory and, at the half-century ma k
it does not present hazards to public safety and necessi e
costly replacement. It is suggested that moss be removed a -
nually either by spraying with lead arsenate or hand pic g
so that normal growth will not be impaired. This clean-,
together with annual feeding of young live oaks is all the ca e
that is needed.
Trees can be collected from the woods or grown from aco s.
PINE (Pinus spp.). Native to our state and thriving u er
most trying conditions, the several species of pines are with ut
superiors for home grounds plantings. Where lofty, nar -
topped trees that cast light, broken shade can be used, the na e
pines will serve well. To break the direct rays of the sun o er
azalea or camellia beds and for backgrounds, these conifer us
trees are unexcelled.
Transplant very small seedlings during midwinter or at e
beginning of the rainy season and retain a ball of soil of g fli-
cient depth to encompass all of the far-reaching taproot.
If mature pines exist on your building site, be certain t at
stout protective barriers of 2-inch lumber be built around th m
so that it will not be possible for the contractor to pile build ng
materials or drive heavy trucks over the roots close to he
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 39
Irunks. Unfortunately, many valuable pine trees are fatally
injured by construction crews.
PONGAM (Pongamia pinnata) 75 feet. One of the best trees
for street and windbreak planting because of its strength, this
Australian tree is highly recommended. Beautiful and fast-
growing, the pongam is well adapted to conditions in southern
Florida where it seeds abundantly. These produce seedlings
easily. Identification is by the drooping branches, pinnate
leaves and pinkish, pea-like flowers in pendant clusters.
REDBUD (Cercis canadensis) 40 feet. Always popular be-
cause of its delightful spring color, this small native tree is
widely planted as a front lawn specimen. For the best soil
types that occur in northern Florida, the redbud cannot be too
highly recommended. The beautiful pink pea-like flowers,
which precede the leaves in springtime are well known to all
residents of northern Florida. The trunks of newly transplanted
specimens should be wrapped, rings of lightly cultivated earth
should surround the trees and an annual application of a bal-
anced fertilizer should be made in punch bar holes as suggested
on page 21.
Propagation can be accomplished by sowing seeds, but
nursery-grown trees of improved types are grafted.
ROYAL POINCIANA (Delonix regia) 40 feet. This, Florida's
most spectacular tree, is tropical in its requirements and is
found only in the warmest sections. The lacy, compound leaves
appear in springtime, and as the rains commence, the flaming
orange-red trusses are produced. To visit Florida's southern-
most cities in June-July is a rare treat as then, the flamboyant
trees are at their best. Usually increased by seeds, there are
color variants from the orange-red type.
RUBBER TREE (Ficus spp.) 80 feet. This genus, contain-
ing several hundred species, is well represented by many orna-
mental kinds in tropical Florida. Typical of most species is
rapid growth, great size and aerial roots that drop from the
larger branches to form multiple trunks. F. benjamin, the
weeping laurel, is favored as a beautiful avenue tree; F. elastica.
is the huge, big-leafed India-rubber tree; F. religiosa, is the
sacred bo-tree. Other interesting and worthwhile species are
widely available and much used in southern Florida. All tropi-
40 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
cal Ficus trees require much space for full development d
are not recommended for small properties. All of the rub er
trees are increased by cuttings or by air layers.
SAPODILLA (Achras zapota) 50 feet. This is a beautil
evergreen tree native to the American tropics that has fo d
a congenial home and a host of admirers in the Miami ai.
The brown, sandy-skinned fruits are edible and latex yi s
gum chicle from which chewing gum is manufactured. Hi y
thought of as a lawn specimen or shade tree, the sapodill is
widely planted within its climatic range. It is notably toleant
of salt-laden winds of considerable force.
Trees are easily grown from seeds.
ROYAL POINCIANA-(Delonix regia)
Southern Florida's most spectacular tree blooms in the summ r
SATINLEAF (Chrysophyllu!n oliviforne) 60 feet. This sa
native tree is well named because the under sides of the le r
are a soft, glistening, copper color. For the warmest place
this indigene is a distinctive and worthwhile lawn specimen
Propagation is by seeds.
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 41
SEA-GRAPE (Coccoloba uvifera) 20 feet. Native to the
coastal dunes, this stout, much-branched, small tree is frequently
seen as a landscape subject in its native habitat. Utterly distinc-
tive in appearance, because of its contorted branching and its
stiff, circular, red-veined, 8-inch leaves, the sea-grape exerts
a strong tropical influence and is much appreciated in resort
areas. Summertime dividend is the abundance of purple fruits
which are decorative and excellent for jelly as well.
Propagation is by seeds which are found singly in the
Rubber trees often have very attractive branching.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Tabebuia is a genus of American evergreen or deciduo
trees to which botanists ascribe a hundred species. General
producing terminal panicles of trumpet-shaped flowers and I
having well on poor soils that may be deficient in moisture, tl
large genus of bignoneaceous trees promises much for garde
and municipal plantings in frost-free sections. Best know
perhaps is silver trumpet-tree (Tabebuia argentea), 25 fe
with stiff awkward branches, deciduous compound leaves al
yellow trumpet flowers in showy clusters.
TAMARIND (Tamarindus indica) 75 feet. This massive tro
cal fruit tree is quite ornamental and is frequently seen towa
the tip of the peninsula. The leaves resemble those of I
Sea-grape is one of Florida's best landscape plants
for seaside planting.
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 43
black-locust, the pods contain an acid flesh that is used in ades
Propagation is by seeds.
TORREYA (Torreya taxifolia) 50 feet. One of the rarest
of Florida trees, this member of the yew family, is to be found
only in a restricted area on the banks of the Apalachicola
River. The cone-shaped crown is made up of drooping branches
furnished with sharp, evergreen leaves, which have a distinc-
tive odor when crushed.
PALMS FOR FLORIDA LANDSCAPES
Nowhere in the continental United States is it possible to
grow the wide variety of palms that can be successfully culti-
vated in our state. Mainly tropical in distribution, these grace-
ful trees do much for Florida's distinctively different landscape.
Many native and exotic species, varying from dwarfs of a few
feet to magnificent trees which attain a height of 100 feet, are
widely employed with telling effect in this semi-tropical tourist
land. They are appreciated for their full worth, and yet there
are thousands of homes that boast no palms, many others that
might be enhanced by additional specimens.
Palms may be used in many ways in landscape plantings.
Species in varying heights can be so planted as to form attractive
groups; they may be used as enframement and background for
the home, but the most telling way that palms can be employed
is as avenue trees. Tall, clean-growing, single-trunked speci-
mens, planted at 25-30 foot intervals on either side of an avenue
make a picture that is not soon to be forgotten.
Palms may be transplanted at any time of the year, but
the beginning of the rainy season is most favorable. Then,
root action is most rapid and the plants rally from the trans-
planting operation most quickly.
Several weeks before you plan to move a palm, prepare the
planting hole as described on page 20.
Palms are transplanted in all sizes from small seedlings to
finished landscape specimens; size being limited only by the
44 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
mechanical equipment that is at hand to transport the tre s.
The size of the root ball is much smaller, in proportion, t n
that habitually taken with a typical woody tree. In fact, te
roots are chopped a foot or so out from the trunk.
It is well known that palm roots will emerge higher ind
higher above the crown and, therefore, it is common praci e
to set palm trees slightly deeper than they grew. Use g wd
judgment as it is easy to plant too deeply. Too shallow pl it-
ing is dangerous and must be avoided.
When the palm is in place (slightly deeper than it gr r)
fill with the fertile soil that was taken from the enriched hi e,
allow water to flow in from the hose to eliminate air poc ts
and to make a good contact between the roots and the parti es
of soil. Finish the job by tramping to firm the soil and t in
build a saucer around the tree to hold water. Once each w k
that it does not rain, fill this depression with water.
Because of the drastic reduction in the volume of ro s,
it is accepted practice to remove the leaves at transplant ing
time. Tie the uppermost leaf stems around the bud as to-
Dwarf palms are valuable as patio subjects and lawn specimen
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 45
tection. Every effort must be made not to harm this vital
structure. When a large palm is felled, it must be guyed so
that it does not fall hard and harm the bud.
Palms over eight feet in height should be firmly braced.
Three 2 x 4's spiked to the trunk at one end and then firmly
s''cured to "dead men" in the ground are the most satisfactory
braces. If these timbers remain in place for about 18 months
a heavy root system will have been built to hold the palm against
,trong winds. Choice exotics may be braced each autumn as
Young palms will grow rapidly to attain mature landscape,
size if they are encouraged by proper cultivation and fertiliza-
tion. As already discussed on page 21 it is a good plan to keep
a circle of clean earth around your young trees for the first
few years. Cultivate a five-to-seven-foot ring frequently with
a scuffle hoe, allow the hose to run slowly for several hours
(all night is better) once a week during dry spells and fertilize
in punch bar holes during the growing season.
Palms that have been neglected can usually be reconditioned
by filling rbtted cow manure into post holes that are dug at
intervals around the trunk.
Most palms are particularly resistant to diseases, insects
and drought, and once they become established, the lawn can
be allowed to grow up around the crown and little routine
maintenance is required.
Several species of the genus Phoenix together with the pindo
palm are likely to be attacked by the palm leaf skeletonizer.
This destructive insect despoils the leaves by its feeding during
the warm months. In order that damage may be kept to a
minimum, an arsenical spray, benzene hexachloride, or DDT
with an adequate spreader should be applied at intervals dur-
ing the spring months. Fronds that have been made unattractive
by the palm leaf skeletonizer should be promptly removed with
a pruning saw or pole pruner.
Palms are increased by seeds and by division. As soon a-
they are ripe, the seeds should be sown in beds, pots or boxe-
of fertile soil. Cover the seeds to a depth approximating their
diameter and cover the whole with one thickness of burlap.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
This cloth will conserve moisture and discourage birds a d
rodents. In winter the seed beds must have full sun, Iut
during the warmer months, they must be protected by cheese-
cloth or slat shade. At the beginning of the rainy season, he
burlap should be renewed so that the seeds will not be wasted
out of the soil.
Palm seeds vary greatly in the length of'time required for
germination. Some will sprout in a few weeks, while others
will require as much as one and one-half to two years to acme
up. It is quite evident, therefore, that close attention is nee ed
until the seedlings are well under way.
Seedlings may be potted shortly after germination; t ey
must be potted before the roots attain much length. Then t ey
may be set individually in earthen flower pots, felt plant bards,
wooden boxes or discarded refinery cans. The soil used in
these containers should le a fertile organic mixture of slig tly
Coconuts are set in rows and buried only one-half tl eir
thickness, the upper portions being fully exposed. Germina ion
should be complete in about five months.
Division is the method of vegetative propagation in wlich
a plant is divided into several units. Species of Phoeix,
Chrysalidocarpus, Rhapis and Caryota may be so multip ied
when well rooted offsets are seen to be available. If the speci-
men is in a container, it can be turned out and cut into units
with shears or an axe, if it is a lawn specimen, sturdy offsets
several years old can be severed from the old tree with the aid
of a sharpened leaf from an automobile spring, large acisel
or heavy crowbar. The several divisions may be potted or set
directly in the garden where they are to grow.
Temperature, although only one factor that limits the dis-
tribution of plants, is a very important one. Along the coast
from Jupiter to Sarasota, it is possible to grow all but the nost
tender of tropical palms, as one progresses northward and in-
land, the list become notably shorter, until, finally, upon re ch-
ing the Georgia line, only about a half-dozen species car be
recommended as being fully hardy in all winters.
Hardiness is very important as these plants can be ;on-
sidered only as permanent elements in the landscape scheme.
Once chosen to serve a definite purpose in a planting, trees iust
be hardy in all weathers. The following list contains the iost
popular palms arranged by hardiness zones:
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 47
PALMS FOR FLORIDA LANDSCAPES
ARRANGED BY HARDINESS ZONES
groupp A. Tropical palms for warmest coastal positions.
Fiji fan palm
Plus all of the palms in
Croup B and C
Group B. Half hardy palms for the lower half of the Florida
Canary date palm
Chinese fan palm
Pigmy date palm
Senegal date palm
Plus all of the palms in
Group C. Hardy palms for gardens throughout Florida.
Eropean fan palm
CABBAGE PALM (Sabal palmetto)* 80 feet. The hardiest
of our native palms, this well known species grows well through-
out the state. Tolerant of a wide variety of soil types, salt
spray and brackish water, the cabbage palm well deserves its
universal popularity. Two exotic species of this genus, S.
causiarum from Puerto Rico and S. umbraculifera from His-
paniola are out-sized avenue palms, more tender than our cab-
bage palms, that are sometimes seen in botanical collections.
CANARY DATE PALM (Phoenix canariensis) 60 feet. Hardy
over the Florida peninsula, this huge pinnate-leaved palm has
been widely planted. Because of its massive trunk, low, droop-
ing leaves and its susceptibility to attack by the palm-leaf
skeletonizer it is not recommended as a dooryard tree. Until
it attains some size its branches interfere with traffic and it
cannot be recommended as a street tree. For municipal prop-
erties and large acreages its monumental size is well adapted.
Nomenclature follows Manual of Cultivated Plants, L. H. Bailey, Macmillan,
New York, 1949.
48 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
CHINESE FAN PALM (Livistona chinensis) 50 feet. Th s
is a beautiful fountain palm that has become popular in Florida
gardens because of its attractive leaves and comparatively
small size. Enduring a few degrees of frost, mature specimen s
are to be found in several communities of the upper peninsula.
In central Florida, and southward from there, Chinese fan palm
is perfectly hardy, well adapted to soils and climate and gro s
like a native.
The pretty fan-shaped leaves, deeply pleated, and shining
green, are displayed in attractive fountain arrangement. T e
pendulous, once-split leaf segments, bright green leaf-st is
with small, green, curved thorns at their edges, and the abseti e
of curling, gray filaments characterize the Chinese fan pal n
and distinguish it from the more common Washington pal .
Furthermore, the Asiatic species has a more slender trunk th t
is prominently ringed and more heavily furnished with bro n
fiber around the boots.
In most nurseries, young trees can be bought in egg ca s.
Because young plants are injured by hot sun, transplants rust
be protected by a lath- or burlap-screen fitted above the folia .
COCONUT (Cocos nucifera) 100 feet. The native cocon t
palm with its tall leaning trunk, immense leaves and spectacular
fruits lends a tropical aspect that can be equalled by no oth r
plant. As a street tree, lawn specimen or background subject
this palm is unsurpassed and. can be recommended with t
reservation to all who live south of Fort Pierce and Palmett .
DATE PALM (Phoenix dactylifera) 100 feet. The speci s
that produces the date of commerce is occasionally seen at a
single specimen in Florida, but because of the high humidi y
here, edible dates are rarely produced.
EUROPEAN FAN PALM (Chamaerops humilis), 30 feet. Ts
is Europe's only contribution to Florida's palm flora. Growing
naturally in a temperate climate, this dwarf fan palm will e -
dure temperatures experienced in all sections of Florida.
Although there is only one species of Chamaerops, the e
are many varieties, some are true dwarfs, others may atta n
heights of thirty feet. Foliage variations, too, are notable.
There is one characteristic which is constant for Chamaero s
humilis, and that is the habit of producing suckers from t e
The giant Royal Palms
at McKee Jungle Gardens-
- W Yq,
Massed Formosa Azaleas at Cypress Gardens
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 49
base of the stem. Though variations in stature, foliage and
fruit there may be, European fan palm invariably grows in
heavy suckering clumps.
As an urn subject for terrace or patio this dwarf, fine-scale
palm is popular, as it can be left outside all winter.
Fruits are produced in Florida, from which young stock
can be grown, but an occasional plant to give a friend can be
obtained by carefully dividing off a basal sucker that has be-
come well rooted.
FIJI FAN PALM (Pritchardia pacifica) 30 feet. One of the
most graceful and distinctive of all, this tropical palm with its
beautiful pleated fan leaves folded to wedge-shaped outline
is well thought of in southern Florida. Easily injured by cold
and by strong winds, the Fiji fan palm must be grown in pro-
FISH-TAIL PALM (Caryota spp.). Very satisfactory for the
lower east and west coasts and for the warmest parts of the
ridge section, these distinctive ornamental palms have gained
wide popularity for the curiosity of the pinnae which resemble
the tails of ornamental gold fishes. Caryota mitis (25 feet),
the smaller species suckers readily and may be increased by
separating these small offsets. In addition to its value as a
garden tree, this species is grown in urns for indoor decoration
during the winter tourist season.
GRU-GRU PALM (Acrocomia sclerocarpa) 40 feet. This
unusual palm from the American tropics, with its single massive
trunk and dense crown of soft, feathery fronds, resembles the
well-known queen palm, but it is set apart by the murderous
thorns which grow out from the trunk. These vicious spines
must be clipped off to a height of seven feet so that all danger
of injury is eliminated. Resembling, as it does, the queen palm,
and growing to comparable height, the gru-gru may serve well
as a free standing specimen, or as a framing tree in the out-
of-door living area of a plant enthusiast.
With good care, young plants grow off rather quickly.
MADAGASCAR PALM (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) 20 feet.
As an urn subject and patio plant, this clump-growing, yellow-
stemmed palm from Madagascar is extremely popular. Because
it requires moist, rich soil and freedom from frost and salt
spray, the areca palm is limited in distribution as a garden
50 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
plant. Wherever it will grow successfully, however, it is ver
well liked and is strongly recommended. Identification is po i-
tive by the yellow leaf-stems.
MERRILL PALM (Adonidia merrillii) 25 feet. In high favor
in southern Florida for street and lawn plantings, this ex bic
species is being substituted for the larger growing royal p4l .
The trunk is stoutly erect, tapering toward the top, and strong ly
ringed, giving much the same effect as the famed royal pa.
The medium-sized fruit clusters bear fruits, about an inch in
length; these are a bright cherry-red, that glistens in the s n-
light to enhance the tropical scene and to appeal strongly to
In the limestone soils of Florida's tip, growth is eminen ly
satisfactory. As a lawn specimen near a low, rambling hoU e,
this small species would be preferred to the massive royal
palm. As a framing tree, and for background too, it is equip ly
PARLOR PALM (Neanthe bella) 6 feet. This diminuti e,
feather-leafed palm has become so popular in southern Flor da
that nurseries must grow stock rapidly to supply the dema id.
Though parlor palms reach a height of 6 feet out of do rs
under best conditions of growth, container-grown plants ire
nearer half this size. They grow from a slender, ringed t- nk
and produce beautiful little feather-leaves with a dozen oppo ite
pinnae. Narrow, thin, dull green, symmetical in array, se
feather-parts give the palm its charm, which incidentally is
quite universal in its appeal.
Intolerant of direct sun, bright, reflected light and dust- ry
sand, this plant is best suited to use in containers in the pro ec-
tion of a patio or screened porch where the environment nlay
be modified to its needs. Apparently, overwatering can be
harmful too, as can a soil that is severely acid in reaction.
PAUROTIS PALM (Paurotis wright) 30 feet. In high f vor
for landscape plantings, this clump-growing, fan-leaved p lm
from southern Florida and the West Indies is found as a spci-
men in some of Florida's most beautiful gardens. Pau tis
palm tolerates alkaline soil, salt wind and poor drainage.
Of easy culture, tolerant of reasonable amounts of salt d ift,
the principal requirement of the Paurotis palm is free oni
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 51
Most wild cultures have been depleted, but cultivated speci-
mens are available at some landscape nurseries within the
PIGMY DATE PALM (Phoenix roebeleni) 7 feet. The best
liked of all dwarf palms, this tiny, feather-leaved species, with
petioles heavily armed with sharp spines, has many attractive
characteristics. As a pot plant, patio subject or as a part of
the landscape planting, the pigmy date is quite worthy of the
high esteem in which it is held. A partially shaded spot in
which the soil is fairly rich and slightly acid in reaction is to
the liking of this plant. This accounts in part for its wide ac-
ceptance as a patio subject and as a northside plant in the
foundation planting scheme.
Subject to several species of scale insects, the pigmy date
should be protected by several applications of a white summer
oil during the winter months. Container grown specimens,
apparently most prone to scale attack, can be covered efficiently
if the foliage is swirled about in a deep container of a 2 percent
oil mixture. For individuals growing in the open ground, the
oil must be applied by a mechanical sprayer, of course.
PINDO PALM-(Butia capitata)
Blue-green leaves recurve sharply toward the ground.
52 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
PINDO PALM (Butia spp.) 30 feet. Extremely'hardy, d
therefore capable of being grown in all sections, this Soh
American palm can be depended upon to succeed in every ar
den. The pendant, blue-green leaves arise from stout tru s
to arch sharply downward. Because of this low, spread g
habit, the pindo palm requires much space and is not ada d
for planting along streets, walks or in small dooryards. V
effective in palm groups, however, this type is recommend d
for parks and estates. Formerly this palm was erroneo y
known in the nursery trade as Cocos australis. Seeds ky
require 18 months or more to germinate.
QUEEN PALM (Arecastrum romanzoffianum) 40 feet. n-
tral Florida's most popular palm, usually called "C s
plumosa" is a native of Brazil. Wherever citrus will g w
successfully, the queen palm is highly recommended as in
avenue tree, a lawn specimen, or as a background subject. re
it serves well as a substitute for the royal palm which is re n-
mended only for the most nearly frost-free sections.
The beautiful queen palm is central Florida's most popular pal
RHAPIS PALM (Rhapis spp.) 10 feet. This genus is m-
posed of dwarf palms with fine, reed-like canes that
clumps by means of stolons. Very satisfactory as tubbed s ci-
mens, patio plants or as a part of the foundation plant s,
these hardy little palms can be depended upon throughout or-
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 53
ida as they are hardy to cold, but they must be grown in shady
locations. Propagation is accomplished by dividing old clumps.
ROYAL PALM (Roystonea regia) 100 feet. The massive
tapering, cement-grey trunks, the clean appearance, the bright
green crown shaft, and attractive crown of dark green, pinnate
leaves have universal appeal and make this the most popular
of all palms within the state. Classic examples of the effective
use of the Cuban royal palm as an avenue tree are well known
to everyone who has visited in our southern Florida cities. Indig-
enous to moist, rich soils of Collier County, the Floridian royal
palm (Roystonea elata) is best adapted to such locations. Some-
what taller than the Cuban royal, thickened mostly toward the
upper part, with shoulder at the top, and fruits that are nearly
globular are characteristics which identify our native species.
This species is less widely planted as a street tree than the
Cuban royal, but it is the one seen at the famed Hialeah race-
SABAL PALMS (Sabal spp.). In addition to the native cab-
bage palm several exotic species of this genus are occasionally
seen as specimens. The Hispaniolan palm (S. umbraculifera)
and the Puerto Rican hat palm (S. causiarum), both attain
heights of 50 feet or so and are characterized by very stout
trunks and huge, grayish, fan-shaped leaves. These are strik-
ing trees that are effectively employed as specimens or for
avenue planting. Sabal peregrina is planted in Key West and
the West Indies.
SARGENT PALM (Pseudophoenix sargentii) 20 feet. Native
to Caribbean islands, possibly, also Florida's keys, this little
palm resembles a scale-model royal palm. To 20 feet in height
with a ringed trunk only a foot thick, and pinnate leaves that are
grayish-green and about 7 feet long. Positive identification is
by the branched cluster of orange-red fruits that is sent out
among the leaves. Useful because of its small size and moder-
ate growth rate, Sargent palm is recommended for moist, shady
locations in the area below Palm Beach and Fort Myers.
SAW PALMETTO (Serenoa repens) 3 to 8 feet. The saw
palmettos are thought of as noxious weeds by stockmen and
farmers, but they do have definite landscape value. When one
is building on land on which they grow, clumps can be left to
good advantage as they blend in well both as a foundation
54 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Royal palms are favored for avenue planting in southern Flori4f.
-i~ -~w *o"~
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 55
subject and as a member of the informal shrubbery border. A
tree-like form with erect trunk is occasionally found and this
makes an attractive fine-scale specimen palm.
SENEGAL DATE PALM (Phoenix reclinata) 20 feet. A lean-
ing palm that grows in large clumps made up of many slender
trunks finds wide usage as a patio specimen as well as a lawn
tree. This picturesque, easily grown palm, is highly com-
mended for gardens south of Gainesville. Phoenix rupicola
which grows with a single slender trunk is a palm of fine scale
often used in landscape plantings.
SENTINEL PALM (Howea spp.) 35 feet. Formerly called
Kentias in the florist trade where tubbed specimens are widely
employed for decorating, the two species of Howea have be-
come well known. They are occasionally seen as lawn speci-
mens in the Miami area but they have not been widely planted
out of doors in America.
SILVER PALM (Coccothrinax argentata) 25 feet. This slen-
der, fine-scale palm is native to the Bahama Islands, the Florida
Keys and adjacent mainland. The very slender trunk is topped
by a small head of circular fan leaves 2 feet across which are
silvery white beneath. Occasionally used as a landscape speci-
men in that section, the silver palm is distinctive and unusual.
The black fruits of half an inch across, said to be edible, are
used for increasing silver palms.
WASHINGTON PALM (Washingtonia robusta) 100 feet. This
fan-leafed giant of northern Mexico grows very well in Flor-
ida's humid climate where it attains a height of nearly one
hundred feet. Hardy in the peninsula, this monumental tree
finds its greatest use for avenue planting. Identification is
positive by the harsh thorns which are on both edges of the
WINDMILL PALM (Trachycarpus fortune) 30 feet. This
is a slow-growing fan-palm from eastern Asia that grows by
an erect trunk which is always clothed with an abundance of
black, hair-like fiber, even after the boots slough off. This
single, hirsute stem gives the little palm a distinctive appear-
ance that makes it highly acceptable as a free-standing specimen
for small home grounds. Sometimes it is worked into informal
shrubbery borders for accent. In northern Florida, and in the
56 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
extreme western part of the state, where palms are all too sal-
dom used, the windmill palm has value, and grows in several
gardens there with telling effect.
Windmill palm is the exception to the rule that palms ifor
northern Florida will grow south too. This Asian species thri es
in the northern tier, yet it does poorly in southern sections a d
is not recommended there. It is rare and, very few nurseries
stock the windmill palm.
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 57
TREES AND PALMS FOR SPECIAL SITUATIONS
TREES AND PALMS FOR AVENUE PLANTING
African tulip tree ...----.....
Alm ond ..............-... ....
Black-olive ....-.........-... .
Cabbage palm .............
Cajeput ...--.......- ..--.. ...
Cassia ....-- ........... 21
Coconut -...........-- ....----- --
Dogwood ---...--. ....
Holly -..-..-... ~...-- ...-..
Live oak -------------
M agnolia ---------------
Mahogany ------. ---
PAGE COMMON NAME
Mango ..... ...............
Queen palm ..--.........
Redbud ...... ...-......
Royal palm --...... ....
Rubber tree ------------------.. ..
Washington palm .....-
TREES AND PALMS FOR LAWN SPECIMENS
COMMON NAME PAGE
Acacia ........-- ....-.......----- 23
Almond .....-......-- 24
Black-olive ....--. 26
Cabbage palm ....--......... 47
Cajeput .................. ....... 26
Camphor ...-- -... ----- ... ....-- 26
Cassia ....-..-.....-- 28, 72
Chaste-tree .......... ...-- .----- 28
Chinese fan-palm ..-......... 48
Citrus ..........-........ ....--- 29
Coconut ....---.....- -......- .. 48
Crape-myrtle .........-- ...-... 30
Dogwood ......................... 31
European fan palm .....- 48
Frangipani ....-..............--- 31
Gru-gru palm ...-... ..... 49
Gumbo-limbo ...........-....... 32
Fiji fan-palm ...-..-... ....... 49
COMMON NAME PAGE
Holly ....... .-------......32
Jacaranda ...........---- 33
Jerusalem-thorn .-- 34
Lily-thorn ..---. ..-.... 34
Loquat ................-...... 35
Madagascar palm -...-..-- 49
M agnolia ..............- ~.. 35
Mahogany .......-----...... 35
Mango .......--- 36
Merrill palm .-.... -50
Mimosa tree .....------..-.. 37
Mountain-ebony ......----- 37
Paurotis palm .....----. --- 50
Pigmy date palm ------ 51
Pindo palm ......... ..... 52
Pongam ...........-....- 39
Queen palm ----- 52
Redbud ~~~.~.--..... -.. 39
(Continued on next page)
58 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
COMMON NAME PAGE
Fish-tail palm ..----------..--.. 49
Royal palm ...-----...... .. 53
Sapodilla ...........- ..... 40
Sargent palm ---~..... 53
Satinleaf -....... ...-....-- 40
Sea-grape --...... ..-- ..----- 41
COMMON NAME PAG
Rhapis palm ..............5. 5
Senegal date palm ............ 5
Sentinel palm ................... 5
Silver palm .........-----........ 5
Windmill palm -----.....--. 5
TREES AND PALMS FOR THE SEASHORE
Alm ond .......------- ...
Cabbage palm ..-..-.---- ..
Cajeput ....----- .... ...-- ...-
Casuarina ........-- .----
Coconut ....-- .... ....---
Gumbo-limbo .. .......----
Live oak ...------- .....---
Loquat .. -------..... ..------
M agnolia -- ........ ...---
M ahoe ... ....--....
M ahogany ... ...-- .. ....
COMMON NAME PAE
Paurotis palm ................ 50
Pindo palm ..................... 2
Rubber tree ...-...--........----- 9
Sapodilla .....-...- .......... .... 40
Sargent palm .......- ..--- --- 3
Saw palmetto -...---- ..--.. 3
Sea-grape .............-- .... .. 4 1
Senegal date palm ......... 5
Silver palm ...-......- ..-....-..- 5
Washington palm .... --... 5
COMMON NAME PAGE
Acacia ---------------- -.... 23
Cajeput -......- .. .........--.... 26
Cassia ----..... --... -...- .. 28, 72
Chaste-tree .-----............ ---- 28
Crape-myrtle --- ............ 30
Dogwood -....-.....- .... .----- 31
Frangipani ..-------.~.----. --.. 31
Fringe tree ...-...- .------..-.. .- 31
Geiger tree .......- --........--- 31
Golden rain-tree .......- 32
Jacaranda .... .......... .. 33
COMMON NAME P1
M agnolia .....---- ------...-.. --
Mimosa tree ..............
Moreton Bay chestnut ......
Queen's crape-myrtle ......
Royal poinciana --------
Tabebuia -....... --..........
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 59
SHRUBS IN FLORIDA LANDSCAPE PLANTINGS
Shrubbery is considered an indispensable part of suburban
living today. Through countless successful demonstrations,
through the many useful articles in garden magazines, through
the work of the garden clubs, and by means of superlative plant
material, Floridians have carried this concept through to a state
of near-perfection that was not dreamed of two generations ago.
Generally speaking, landscape material can be set about
two feet out from the house and drip lines of the eaves are
disregarded. When below-floor ventilators are present, in the
rear of the house, carry the plants out in small promontories
to allow for the circulation of air and the entry of workmen.
No plant should be set closer to a choice specimen than five
feet, lest this specimen be crowded out of symmetrical shape.
Planting intervals, for best effects in the base planting,
should be comparatively short. Semi-dwarf species such as
boxthorn, lime-berry and Kurume azaleas may stand perhaps
two feet from their neighbors. More robust growers should
never be less than three feet, and when there is no objection to
a spotty effect for the first season, a four-foot planting interval
may be employed.
Arrange shrubs about on the beds for best landscape effect,
mark around the root balls or containers and then turn out the
soil and commence to plant. Make certain that shrubs are set
no deeper than they grew. If the plants are container-grown
or bare-root, it is easy enough to use the soil line as the depth
gauge, but if the stock is balled and burlapped, there is often
the tendency to cover the collar of burlap around the crown
and, as a result, the shrubs will be set too deep. To avoid this
possibility, cut the roll of burlap away and then the surface
of the original soil can be seen. Set the shrubs. so that this is
very lightly covered when planting is finished. Of course, too
shallow planting must be avoided.
Finish by firming the soil with your feet and soak the entire
bed thoroughly. Run the hose for a couple of hours or so each
week that it does not rain.
For satisfactory growth, lawn grass must be kept out of
shrubbery beds. Frequent, systematic edging is necessary dur-
ing the summer months so that the grass is kept outside the
60 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
drip of the outer branches. If this is carefully attended to,
ger of injuring shrubs with the lawn mower will be elimina .
Shrubs will grow best under a mulch of oak leaves, p t,
pine straw or compost. Clean cultivation, with a sharp sc e
hoe is acceptable for the most robust species, yet mulch is
ferred for choicer kinds.
acid soil, the beds or planting holes should be well prepa ,d
some weeks in advance of planting.
First remove all concrete and mortar that has been left y
the contractor. As many small fragments will pass thro h
the tines of a rake, it is recommended that careful hand pic g
be resorted to in the area immediately around the house at
landscape plants are to occupy. The presence of lime-bea g
materials will injure many choice shrubs. Next, remove the Kil
to a depth of a foot or so and replace it with a mixture m e
up of acid peat, hammock soil and cow manure. As this fe le
mixture is shoveled into the shrubbery beds, sprinkle on s e
commercial fertilizer that is fortified with minor elements.
Shrubs, properly planted, will not need to be fed uil
their second growing season. Then, during January, appl n
acid, balanced commercial fertilizer. Some gardeners br d-
cast the plant food directly on top of the mulch and was it
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 61
part way through with the hose, but this gardener holds that
fertilizer is much more efficiently utilized if it is placed in
punch bar holes that extend well within the root zone. Again at
the beginning of the rainy season ornamental shrubs should
receive a second yearly application of a balanced fertilizer.
Within recent years several fertilizer companies have formu-
lated special mixtures for azaleas and camellias. From experi-
ence and observation, these are reliable and to be recommended.
Not only are these special acid, slowly available fertilizers very
good for azaleas and camellias, but they are recommended for
gardenias, hollies, hibiscus, magnolias and all types of choice
ALLAMANDA-( Allamanda cathartica)
Huge waxy, yellow flowers are produced the year around.
For southern and central sections, this ornamental shrub is
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 63
SHRUBS RECOMMENDED FOR FLORIDA HOMES
ABELIA (Abelia grandiflora). Small, shiny foliage, bright
crimson twigs, and clusters of white blossoms subtended by
pinkish calyces make abelia a very choice shrub. Its best
growth is attained in sunny locations in the northern part of
the state, where it is accepted as one of the best plants for
Hardwood cuttings, lined out in mid-winter should root
satisfactorily and grow into landscape material during the
Clean cultivation is usually practiced to keep abelias free
from weeds and grass, but these shrubs, like all others, grow
well under a mulch of oak leaves, peat or compost.
Spraying is usually not required, but systematic pruning
is needed to head in succulent canes that push out in spring-
ALLAMANDA (Allamanda cathartica). The yellow-flowered
allamandas are among the most colorful and free-growing of
the tender flowering shrubs. Vine-like if not injured by cold,
or cut back in pruning, these vigorous tropical climbers quickly
grow to a large size in the warmer sections. The variety Hen-
dersoni, with its huge flaring trumpets of gold is the most
popular allamanda and most widely grown.
The true purple allamanda (A. violacea) from Brazil should
not be confused with the rubber vine (Cryptostegia), which is
sometimes sold under this designation. Allamanda neriifolia
has small yellow blossoms and narrow leaves and does not
become a vine.
Allamandas are easily increased by cuttings and ordinarily
are grown under clean cultivation. Generally, pests and dis-
eases are of little concern, though the plants are killed by frost.
ARALIA (Polyscias spp.). Its strict habit, ability to thrive
in poor soil and intense heat and its striking foliage of many
patterns has made aralia one of southern Florida's most widely
planted shrubs. As a narrow, tall hedge or screen where space
is limited this tropical shrub serves admirably. Identification
is positive by the many prominent lenticels along the stems.
Hardwood cuttings, stuck right where a hedge is wanted,
root quickly during the rainy season, pests are no problem,
but aralias are very tender to cold.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
AZALEA (Rhododendron spp.). Throughout the South count-
less millions of azaleas flower each spring and the fame o
these plants has spread to every part of our nation. If one is
careful about the preparation of the soil and the growing pos -
tion, these choice evergreen shrubs can be enjoyed in all se-
tions of our state north of Tampa.
A rich but well drained soil of high organic content, acid
in reaction (pH 4.5-5.5), is essential as is broken shade f r
most light sandy soils. In western Florida on fertile soils when
properly mulched with oak leaves, pine straw or compost,
azaleas grow quite well in full sun. An abundant supply (f
moisture that can percolate beyond the root zone is needed f
good bloom is expected.
Azaleas are effectively used in bold groups of a single col r
or grouped for color sequence. As specimen plants and s
edgings, certain varieties are very strikingly employed.
Azalea blight or azalea flower spot is a devastating disease
which is rather widespread in Florida during certain season;.
Some years azalea blight is non-existent, the next it may be ve y
severe. When the disease is present the blossoms look exact y
as though they had been drenched with boiling water. Expal -
ing buds are infected and, as a result, normal bloom is not
It has been demonstrated that complete control is possib e
when the recommended spray program is followed. Spraying
commences as soon as color shows and is repeated every three
days until the last blossom is shed. Dithane, zinc sulphate amd
a spreader may be obtained in a kit that contains the corre t
amount of each ingredient together with complete instructions
for the preparation and application. It is probable that r;-
search now in progress will result in the formulation of other
materials that will be useful in controlling this virulent disease .
In order that full coverage by fine droplets be obtained,
a wheelbarrow or power sprayer must be used. Small hard
knapsack sprayers do not atomize the liquid sufficiently. As
the fungus lives over beneath the plants the mulch under t e
azalea bushes must be thoroughly drenched.
Mushroom root-rot occasionally causes the death of azaleas.
The organism carried over on oak roots, causes one or two
canes in a clump to die gradually, and these are followed y
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 65
others over an extended period. Occasionally the typical mush-
room growths are found under infected plants. Pruning out
the dead branches is of no value in controlling mushroom root-
rot. If you are certain that a given plant has died from this
cause, other azaleas should not be used for replacement.
The principal pests of azaleas are red spider mites and
thrips. Neither will become a problem if azaleas are syringed
frequently during dry weather. In the event that red spider
mites become established, Kelthane will eradicate them.
Upon occasion azalea defoliator appears. This large cater-
pillar is controlled by DDT or toxaphene. Azalea galls are
grotesque proliferations which occasionally appear and are
easily controlled by hand-picking. Be certain that the galls
are completely destroyed, to prevent re-infection.
Azaleas of all types have the characteristic of producing
heavy, succulent canes during the spring flush, and these vigor-
ous shoots grow out beyond the contour to form that undesirable,
two-storied effect. In order that this condition may be avoided
the shoots must be pinched before the terminal bud reaches
the height of the upper branches. The thumb and forefinger
should be used several times during the spring and summer
months to execute this simple but necessary act of regulatory
pruning. In the event that these strong, irregular shoots were
not pinched back while they were succulent, it will be necessary
to employ the pruning shears to shape the plants. Azaleas
must be pruned before August lest flower buds be sacrificed
in the process.
Propagation may be accomplished by taking tip cuttings
in June or by wrapping a wounded branch in moist sphagnum
moss or by covering a partially cut branch with sandy soil.
NATIVE AZALEAS, Rhododendron austrinui. R. canescen.I
and R. serrulatitun are protected by law which makes it a mis-
demeanor to dig plants and cut flowering branches.
BOXTHORN (Severinia buxifolia) is one of the choicest
shrubs for central Florida. The glossy oval leaves closely
packed on fine, thorny branchlets, are supplemented many
months in the year by attractive globular jet-black fruits. Much
branched, slow-growing, shade-tolerant, amenable to shearing,
this citrus-relative is most highly commended to all gardeners
66 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
south of Gainesville. Scale insects must be controlled by o
annual applications of Volck or malathion and clean cultivate n
or mulching is accepted.
Boxthorn is usually grown from seeds.
A dense, slow growing, hardy shrub of the citrus family that is exce nt
for foundation plantings, hedges or specimens.
BoxwooD (Buxus microphylla) is one of the very best d rf
hardy shrubs for the northern section. Slow growing, of e
texture and deep green color this broad leaf evergreen is re n-
mended for northside plantings and for shady plant s.
There are several varieties, and Harlan boxwood is said t e
more resistant to nematodes than others. A deep organic ml h
is advocated, spraying is usually unnecessary.
BRAZILIAN-PEPPER (Schinus terebinthifolius). Tall scr ns
and windbreaks are effectively formed by planting the at c-
tive red-fruited Brazilian-pepper at six-foot intervals. is
husky evergreen is suited to the citrus belt and must be pr ed
frequently if it is to be kept below tree size. Thrips, w ch
may cause leaves to shed may be controlled by frequent sy jg-
ing or by a nicotine or rotenone spray. Lawn grasses shi id
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 67
be hoed back from the base of the plants and clean cultivation
used to encourage robust growth.
Seeds or cuttings can be planted for new stock, the latter
being preferred so that fruiting individuals may be perpetuated.
BRIDAL WREATH (Spiraea spp.). For Gainesville north-
ward and westward the several species of spirea are popular
as garden shrubs, blooming dependably each spring. For masses
of glistening white in informal shrubbery borders, these de-
ciduous shrubs are unsurpassed. Pruning must be done just
after flowering lest bloom buds be sacrified. A mulch of organic
matter over the roots, or hoed earth may be used at the discretion
of the cultivator.
Spireas of all types must be grown from softwood or hard-
Aphids, which frequently infest succulent, new shoots, may
be controlled by nicotine dust, nicotine spray, or rotenone dust.
CAMELLIA (Camellia japonica). Long considered the aristo-
crat of shrubs in the South, the japonica has been a part of
rural life since antebellum days. The compact growing habit,
the beautiful glossy foliage, and the blossoms that appear in
winter and early springtime account in part for the popularity
of this attractive shrub.
Like azaleas, camellias require a fertile soil that is acid in
reaction and retentive of moisture. In making up the planting
holes, the mixture must be acid in reaction. This will be assured
by the liberal use of peat and the omission of materials that
are known to contain lime. Camellias must always be set at the
same level at which they grew originally. Deep planting will
result in the decline of vigor and the eventual death of a plant.
Adequate moisture that percolates through the soil is needed.
A lack of drainage will result in the loss of roots and this will
be manifested above ground by a generally unthrifty condi-
tion, leaf-fall, bud-drop, dead twigs and in time, death.
In the peninsular part of the state choice camellias will
grow in broken, shifting shade, such as is cast by native pines,
palms or the smaller deciduous oaks. On the better soils of west-
ern Florida many beautiful camellias are thriving in full sun.
In any position, an organic mulch is recommended for
growing camellias as garden shrubs. Small plants in nursery
formation are grown under clean cultivation, but in landscape
68 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
plantings a thick mulch of oak leaves or peat is highly recom-
mended by all authorities.
An acid fertilizer, possibly one of the azalea-camelli
specials, may be applied in punch bar holes around the plant
in January. Another application may be made at the beginning
of the rainy season, but it is suggested that no stimulants be
given after mid-summer lest the plants go into winter with im
mature wood and thus be liable to winter injury.
Aphids will cause new leaves to curl downward and then
to be malformed permanently, so these pests must be eliminated
by spraying with malathion at very first signs.
As with azaleas, red spider mites are occasionally to be
reckoned with during dry spells. They can be forestalled by
syringing the leaves thoroughly when watering, yet if mite
become established, they succumb to sulphur dust. Kelthan
used at the rate of a teaspoon to a gallon of water will kil
mites. Repeat in two weeks to kill young mites that hav
hatched in the interim.
Scale insects of several species are forever a menace. Start
ing in February and again in May and perhaps in Septembe
or October, a 1% or a 2% oil emulsion may be applied wifl
a good sprayer. Because the leaves lie close together, shingle
fashion, diligence is needed to get complete coverage. Remember
a scale insect must be covered with an insecticide if it is to die
If just a few bushes are in your collection and scale become
very bad on one of these, a sure way to get a cleanup is to mo
the infested leaves with cotton dipped in the 2% oil emulsion
spray. Caution-do not apply oils during very hot or ver
Under several brand names, these white summer oils ar
for sale at your garden supply house. Parathion is sometime
effective against certain camellia scales and may be used where
there is no danger to humans and higher animals, and mala
thion, less harmful to humans, is favored by some experts.
Camellia twig blight or dieback is a disease of great con-
cern to fanciers. A leafy twig of current growth wilts and dies
and the brown leaves hang in place. Sometimes a large branch
may be lost and, upon occasion, an entire plant.
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 69
As this is written no preventive measures have been worked
out and the best we know to do is to remove infected wood as
soon as possible. Use your pruning shears to nick along the
branch and when you come to the normal, healthy, green inner
bark, make a sharp, slanting cut. Be certain to destroy the dead
twig and sterilize your shears by dipping in alcohol after each
cut, as twig blight is transmitted by pruning tools. The wounds
thus made should be mopped with paste of Bordeaux mixture,
wettable sulphur, or with a wash of Fermate. Pruning is usually
not needed by camellias, yet rampant shoots formed in late
summer should be pinched to keep the plants compact.
Yellow mottling has long been observed in camellia foliage
and it is of virus origin. It was demonstrated by grafting that
seedlings with normal green leaves could be induced to have
tip growths that were yellow-spotted. It is widely acknowledged
that the presence of this virus will cause flowers of scions
worked upon an infected stock to come marbled with white.
This virus apparently does not impair vigor, but perhaps in-
fected plants are less attractive in the garden than those with
typical dark-green foliage. A word of encouragement-the
virus is not spread by touch.
Most dyed-in-the-wool fanciers are deeply affected when
blossom buds are frozen. In spite of precautions, all too often
buds of late varieties will be injured. The over-worked bed-
spread is of little use and cannot be recommended. A tarpaulin
supported by a wooden frame, under which a lantern burns
will work, but construction of this type is a big job for a short
period each time cold threatens.
For smaller bushes of rare varieties, one could construct
pyramids of cheap fiberboard or insulation board. These would
nest and could be stored in the garage when not in use. Placed
over favorite plants on the afternoon before frost is anticipated,
and heated by one-hundred watt bulbs at the ends of extension
cords, they should carry flower buds through for the specialty
In the landscape, the uses of camellias are many. Next
to the main doorway, the compact growth and lustrous foliage
of camellias can be used to full advantage. Where a pillar-
type is wanted, Professor C. S. Sargent or Elena Nobile are
desirable. If, because of the architecture, a dwarf, globular
form is needed, Aspacia, Bella Romana, Gaiety and Magnoliae-
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
flora should be considered. For a heavy mass at the corner o
the house, there is upright Herme, Aunt Jetty or Mathotiana.
If there is an expanse of unbroken masonry, surface decora
tion can be provided by informal, spreading Lady Clare o
Gigantea of the japonica group and Mininoyuki and Hinode
gumo of the sasanqua varieties. A dramatic solution to th<
monotony of an uninteresting plane is an espalier of Camell
sasanqua. This, trained carefully to an exact pattern, can b(
strikingly effective. Espaliers may be procured from several
specialty nurseries. Although sasanquas are usually used i
espaliers, japonicas can also be trained to grow in fixed pattern
if one begins with young plants.
When espaliers are used, no other plants should be place(
too close to them lest they detract from the design's measure(
Under high windows on the utility side of the house, eithe
species may be planted. Among the japonicas best suited to
such locations are Donckelaari and Magnoliaeflora while sasan-
quas give us Hebe, Usu Beni and Hiodoshi.
When camellias are used as neutral fillers under window
or by a screened porch, they may be set about 3 feet apar.
Some plants must be given at least 5 feet lest their lowe
branches be shaded by encroaching shrubs. Espaliers must
have 10 feet to themselves.
To define boundaries of formalized settings, clipped hedge
of Camellias sasanqua cannot be surpassed. While a double,
staggered row of plants at 18-inch intervals is ideal, a single
row will serve almost as well. The plants must be pinched
frequently to induce thick branching and clipped regularly
during the growing season to insure a thick, compact hedge.
Although japonicas can be maintained as clipped hedge,
the sasanquas are better because their finer texture makes cli -
ping easier. Briar Rose, Dainty Bess, and Rosea are excellent.
Bulbs, spring-flowering perennials, drifts of annuals plante
in front of a camellia hedge make an enchanting sight.
Camellias may be used to enclose the service area because
they are hardy, evergreen, compact growers that will make
permanent barrier. Now that some of the robust, uprig t
growers may be had at reasonable cost these beautiful shris
can serve the utilitarian purpose of enclosure, and at the sa
time, furnish endless blossoms for cutting. In order that unit
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 71
Camellias may be grouped to separate one area from another.
This is a good hedge or specimen plant as it can be kept in any
desired shape by shearing.
72 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
may be served, plants of one single variety should be selected
for the service-area screen. Sarah Frost, T. K. Variegate,
Herme and Elena Nobile might be considered for this use, f
space is not at a premium; while narrow hedges of tightly clipped
sasanqua varieties like Rosea, Texas Star or Dawn would e
best where there is but little room for the utility screen.
CAPE-HONEYSUCKLE (Tecomaria capensis). Orange-red
little trumpet flowers make this well known, vine-like shru
very showy most of the year. As a screen or division plant t
serves well because of its adaptability to conditions in low(r
Florida. Clean cultivation is usual for cape-honeysuckle, an
generally, insects and diseases are of no concern. Identification
is positive by the toothed pinnate leaves and clusters of orange
funnel-shaped flowers and six-inch pods which follow.
Propagation is by cuttings or seeds.
CASSIA (Cassia bicapsularis). Cassia is a sprawling shr
which produces its golden butterflies in October, in northern
Florida to be ended by the first frost; in southern Florida t
continue to the New Year. Other yellow flowered, shrub-cassi s
(C. alata, C. bahamensis, C. corymbosa and more) are bei
widely planted in Florida gardens. Tender to cold, they di
back after frost, yet come back lustily to produce their yellow
blossoms again in season. All shrub cassias are increased by
seeds and repay hoeing and fertilization with increased flowering
CENTURY PLANT (Agave americana) is not a shrub, bIt
since it is used as such in Florida landscaping it must be includeL
here. Native, resistant to salt and strong wind, tolerant cf
poorest sandy soils, even those which are strongly alkaline, thi
succulent perennial has been widely planted throughout the
Peninsular State to enhance the tropical atmosphere. The huge.
upright leaves are green or banded in cream and are tipped
with vicious thorns. These must be clipped off as soon as leave
unfurl. There are many other species of century plants, an
countless horticultural forms. Tall candelabra flower stall
may be sent aloft after ten to twenty years of favorable growing
Century plants are increased by suckers which spring ui
around old plants and by plantlets which develop in the ii -
A heavily blossomed Camellia bush
Salvia, Snapdragons and Easter Parade
S Bougainvillea at Cypress Gardens
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 73
CHERRY-LAUREL (Prunus caroliniana). Although this plant
becomes a good sized tree in our hardwood hammocks, its great-
est landscape use is as a shrub. Beautiful, shiny, evergreen
leaves are held in good condition the year around and, during
springtime, the new growth is especially attractive. As a sheared
hedge or as a formal, clipped specimen, cherry-laurel is par-
ticularly recommended in northern Florida. Wilted foliage,
poisonous to livestock, must not be placed where grazing ani-
mals can reach it.
Small plants may be collected in hammocks or they may
be grown from seeds.
COCCULUS (Cocculus laurifolius). Because its long, oval
evergreen leaves are carried well to the ground by the drooping
green branches, this shrub is approved by those who admire
good landscaping material. For foundation plantings and for
screens, this tropical shrub is offered by most central Florida
nurseries. Ordinarily cocculus is kept free of grass and weeds
by flat hoeing and no pests or diseases are of great importance.
Softwood cuttings root easily in summertime.
COONTIE (Zamia floridana) is a native cycad that is admired
for its lacy, soft texture and.its ability to grow in dense shade.
Trunkless, coontie sends up its fernlike leaves from the large,
subterranean stem. Seeds are used for increase and transplant-
ing is extremely difficult because of the deep, far-reaching roots.
Florida red scale is a major pest that must be controlled by
several annual sprayings of an oil emulsion.
COPPERLEAF (Acalypha wilkesiana). Much planted in
southern Florida, this large-leafed, fast-growing ornamental is
well known to all gardeners in that section. Copperleaf grows
easily from cuttings and will succeed in any situation that is
not too shady.
As a foundation material it is too coarse, usually gets out of
scale, certainly it serves as too strong an accent. The green
acalypha with cut and dissected leaves marked with cream-color
is A. godseffiana heterophylla.
CRAPE-JASMINE (Ervatamia coronaria). With its opposite,
glossy, evergreen leaves and fragrant white flowers, crape-
jasmine is often confused with cape-jasmine. The milky juice
easily distinguishes the former, which also has larger, glossier
leaves, smaller flowers, less hardiness to cold, and greater toler-
74 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
ance of nematodes in sandy soil than has gardenia. Usually
the double-flowered form is grown, and the scent is more mark d
at night. The petals are ruffled or craped, giving rise tot ie
name crape-jasmine. A sunny location is best for this fine lar ge
shrub, which is best used in borders. Propagation is by so t-
CROTON (Codiaeurn variegatun). The world's most coldr-
ful and variable shrub comes into its own in southern Flori a.
Here, crotons in endless variety, are seen in every conceival le
landscape usage. Good taste insists that they are much over
used. Their garish, boldly variegated colors demand that they
be strong highlights in a green composition.
Crotons are easily grown from cuttings stuck in sand at the
beginning of the rainy season.
EUGENIA (Eugenia spp.). This is a diverse genus that i as
several important representatives in southern Florida. he
pitanga (Eugenia uniflora) is in favor as a hedge mater a]
because it shears well and bears delicious and decorative fru ts.
Brush-cherry (E. paniculata and varieties), is a favorite land-
scape material that is frequently seen as sheared accent pla ts
in foundation plantings. Both types are carried by southern
Eugenias are propagated by seeds and softwood cuttings,
and hoeing and mulching will be satisfactory.
FEIJOA (Feijoa sellowiana). Hardy throughout our stite,
this South American fruit plant is admirable for landscape use
as well. The gray-green leaves with whitish under-surfaes
make this a good plant for contrast and transition.
Seeds are sown when the fruits ripen in summertime, and
seedlings grow very slowly.
FIRETHORN (Pyracantha spp.). Of all fruiting shr bs
that grow in the cooler sections of Florida none is more showy
during the winter months than the beautiful fire-thorn. N.rs-
eries supply the kinds that are known to be successful in lhis
area. As large pyracanthas do not transplant well from open
ground, it is suggested that small plants in expendable con-
tainers be selected.
This member of the rose family may be infected by fre-
blight upon occasion and. as a result, an appreciable pot ion
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 75
of a plant may be lost. A mild copper fungicide directed into
the open blooms is said to arrest the development of organisms
brought in by bees and flies. As recommended for fire-blight
in the loquat, the prompt removal of infected wood is imperative.
Use a sharp pruning implement to sever the dying member well
below the point of apparent infection and paint the wound with
sulphur paste or Fermate solution. Remember that the fire-
blight organism is carried on pruning tools, so immediate dis-
infection in alcohol is necessary.
A lace-bug, which attacks firethorn foliage, will be control-
led if a spray containing DDT. malathion or parathion is applied
in April, June, and August. Wax scale, though not easy to
eradicate completely, can be held in check by two annual ap-
plications of a 2';, white summer oil or by parathion.
As firethorns grow very rapidly within their climatic range,
pruning is usually necessary. They flower (and therefore fruit)
on current buds that arise from fruiting spurs one year old or
older. It is obvious, then, that these handsome shrubs cannot
fruil the season after they have been cut to the ground. A
systern of renewal pruning is advocated to keep firethorns
within bounds yet to assure annual displays of the colorful fruits.
One or two large canes can be sawed off near the ground one
winter, allowing several to remain intact to carry their fruit;
then when the new canes arise and develop fruiting spurs, the
ones which had been left originally may be discarded.
It is known that firethorns grow best, flower and fruit
most satisfactorily when lawn grasses are kept out of the root
zone and a mulch of oak leaves or peat moss is used as an
insulation against excessive heat and to assure a moist growing
Named varieties are propagated by cuttings, yet seeds will
germinate well and produce fast-growing young stock.
GARDENIA (Gardenia jasmninoides). Ranking with the ca-
rmellia, rose and hibiscus, the gardenia has long been a favorite
doorvard shrub in the South. Usually grown as a free-standing
specimen this beautiful broadleaved evergreen is much planted
by urban and rural homeowners alike.
While botanists place 60 species of subtropical plants of
the Eastern Hemisphere within this genus, only 2 are prominent
in American horticulture. Gardenia jasminoides, from China,
is the species to which belong all forms: those available as cut
76 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
flowers in retail shops and those obtainable as landscape shnbs
in nurseries and chain stores.
A second species. Gardenia thunbergia, is important beca se
it is used as a root stock for outdoor gardenias in south rn
Florida, as it resists attack of the rootknot nematode and to er-
ates the hot, inorganic sands. Quite unprepossessing in appear-
ance and easily killed by low temperatures, this tropical pl nt
serves only as the below-ground portion of southern Flor da
In its natural habitat in China the gardenia grows in a d ep
fertile soil that is slightly acid in reaction, retentive of moist re
and well supplied with organic matter.
If it is feasible to treat the gardenia plot with a soil fu ni-
gant in advance of planting it is an excellent plan to do fis.
Garden supply houses stock chemicals that will kill nematodes
and other soil-borne troubles. Patented applicators are ur-
nished when the chemical is bought.
A location in full sun well away from trees or large shr ibs
is recommended. The north side of a tall building is not the
best location because of the absence of sunlight there, nor is
the south wall of a building a good location for gardenias be-
cause of the excessive heat of summertime and water loss to
The light, shifting shade cast by tall pine trees is good for
gardenias and the fallen needles make an excellent mulch. O en-
headed turkey oaks and tall palms cast mild shade in w ich
gardenias grow well.
Gardenias thrive on lake banks if the water level is congt nt.
The plants will be killed, however, by inundation.
A heavy mulch, four to six inches deep, of oak leaves, ine
straw, tobacco stems, cane bagasse, peanut hulls or other org nic
material will be reflected in vigorous growth and heavy flower-
ing. Cultivation should be unnecessary under this system. In
large nurseries where gardenias are propagated on heavy feitile
soil, clean cultivation is used.
In sections where the soil is of poor quality, of alka ine
reaction, or infested by rootknot nematodes, it may be desire ble
to grow gardenias permanently in containers. These may be
boxes of cypress, pots, urns, jardinieres or cans. Vessels twelve
to fifteen inches across should be large enough to support na-
ture flowering gardenias. Holes for drainage must be in the
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 77
bottom to allow the free passage of water, and an inch of neutral
silica gravel or broken flower pots should cover the bottom.
The growing medium may be composed of peat, cow manure
and soil. Because of the prevalence of rootknot nematodes and
soil-borne diseases, gardenia soil should be pasteurized by
heating to about 160 F. for an hour or so. The containers
should be placed upon an off-the-ground support so that infected
soil particles will not splash in from the earth.
When a potted gardenia is received at Easter or Mother's
Day it should be kept in a cool moist spot. The dry atmosphere
inside our houses is unsuitable to its continued welfare. Bud-
In southern Florida gardenias are grafted on Gardenia thunbergia
which is resistant to rootknot nematodes.
78 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
drop is the first response to an uncongenial environment. Sev-
eral times a day the foliage may be lightly moistened with the
mist from a hand atomizer. The applicator sold with window
cleaning fluid is suitable. After the flowering period the potted
plant can be plunged in a shrubbery bay or it can be kno ked
out of the container and planted as a permanent garden shr b.
Sooty mold, well known to everyone who grows garden as,
is a fungus disease that injures by withholding light and re-
venting gaseous exchange. The leaves become covered b a
crusty black film which is most unpleasant. This fungus lives
on honey dew from white flies and aphids. A one per cent or
two per cent white summer oil will cause the sooty film to oll
off within hours after application.
Chlorosis is the manifestation of an abnormal condition.
The loss of normal green color so that the veins appear br ght
green on a yellow field may be due to several causes. In Flo ida
the most outstanding cause of chlorosis is the lack of ron
brought about by an alkaline soil. A foliage spray of ferous
sulphate at the rate of a teaspoon to a gallon of rain water ith
a half teaspoon of detergent as a spreader will usually work
a quick cure. If the soil is not corrected to an acid reaOt on,
however, the foliage will develop chlorosis soon again, brhwn
areas will develop, and the plant will be stunted and up ro-
ductive. The only permanent corrective method is to transp ant
the chlorotic gardenia to a new site that has been prepared, ith
a known acid mixture that contains all necessary mineral ele-
ments. Never fertilize gardenias with bone meal, lime or any
material that will make soil basic in reaction. Much muniic pal
water in Florida is very alkaline and this, alone, is suflicient
to induce chlorosis in potted gardenias.
Chlorosis of similar pattern may be caused by over-wato ing,
low soil temperatures in wintertime and by rootknot nematodes.
In Florida it is customary for specialty nurserymen to sell
budded field-grown, balled and burlapped gardenias thr ugh
chain stores in April. These are excellent plants, well grown,
clean, free of rootknot and invariably well furnished with 1 rge
flower buds. The lifting, transporting, displaying, with attend-
ant sacrifice of optimum environmental conditions, usually re-
sults in marked bud-drop. Though consumers are justified in
their complaints, nothing can be done, under this system of
merchandising, to assure the holding and opening of flower
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 79
buds. Gardenias, container grown or those carefully trans-
planted by the balled and burlapped method early in the winter,
should re-establish themselves well in advance of flowering time.
GLORY-BUSH (Tibouchina semidecandra). Glory-bush is
somewhat distinctive in Florida gardens because of its flowers
of violet-purple. Upright-growing, hairy-leaved, tender to frost
and too tall for foundation plantings, glory-bush is probably
best adapted to use in informal shrubbery borders. As a free-
standing specimen it will display its large purple blossoms to
advantage, as they appear at the tips of the branches. Increase
is by softwood cuttings.
GOLDEN DEWDROP (Duranta repens). This large, fast-
growing shrub is widely distributed throughout Florida both
as a garden plant and as an escape from cultivation. As a
background plant for gardens in the citrus belt it is recom-
mended, but it ordinarily attains too great size to be employed
as part of a foundation planting. Clean cultivation ordinarily
is employed for these cosmopolitan plants as they grow quite
well without an organic mulch. Insect pests and diseases are
of little concern.
HIBISCUS (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis). Sometimes called the
Queen of Shrubs, the beautiful rose of China has more uni-
versal appeal than any tropical shrub the world around. The
graceful habit, beautiful glossy, evergreen leaves and the gor-
geous colorful blossoms all contribute to make this shrub a
top-flight landscape material. Propagation of most common
varieties is by tip cuttings taken during the summer, but rare
kinds are grafted upon understocks of the single red or other
fast-growing variety. While for commonplace types an oc-
casional hoeing and watering will suffice, choice varieties are
set into carefully prepared planting holes and protected by a
thick mulch of leaves or peat. Scale insects, mites, and thrips
are held in check by spraying with malathion or parathion. Use
one tablespoon of the 15% wettable powder in each gallon of
water. Becoming widespread throughout Florida is the red-leaf
hibiscus (Hibiscus eetveldeanus). This tender African species
grows as a straggly shrub to about 8 feet in height and is quickly
identified by the smooth red stems and the maple-like, magenta
leaves. Flowers, lavender-red with darker eye-zone are pro-
duced in late autumn, when the plant is usually killed to the
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
This handsome shrub has many uses in the landscape scene.
HYDRANGEA- (Hydrangea macrophylla)
This is an ideal north-side plant.
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 81
ground by frost. Increase is easily accomplished by softwood
cuttings or seeds when available. Credit for identification and
first published record of. red-leaf hibiscus must go to Morton
and Ledin. in their excellent garden book-400 Plants of South
Known in Florida gardens since earliest history is Confeder-
ate-rose (Hibiscus mutabilis). The sprawling, untidy shrub
with large hairy leaves, is cultured for the handsome blossoms
that open white during autumn mornings, turn pink, and finally
red by evening. Sometimes known also as cotton-rose, this.
like all hibiscus, is propagated by cuttings.
ROSE-OF-SHARON (Hibiscus syriacus), that hardy, deciduous
shrub of northern gardens, succeeds in upper Florida, thriving
particularly in places where the soil is heavy and fertile. Spring-
time sees the first leaves after winter dormancy, and summer-
time witnesses the arrival of the white, pink, rose or lavender.
single or double, bell-shaped flowers.
Hybrid mallows, involving four species of Hibiscus are
admired for their striking white, pink or red blossoms of dinner-
plate size. These herbaceous hybrid mallows can be grown on
fertile soil of the upper peninsula. Stock can be obtained from
nurseries which advertise in garden magazines of national cir-
HYDRANGEA (Hydrangea macrophylla). This deciduou-
flowering shrub from Asia is another of universal appeal. The
huge trusses of blue which appear above the attractive shiny
leaves in late springtime are very striking. In Florida, this
plant is shade-demanding and the best position for hydrangeas.
therefore, is a northern exposure. Any cutting back must be
done immediately after flowering, else blossom buds will be
removed. Aluminum sulphate, which acidifies the soil, makes
for blue hydrangeas, and if you want them pink the soil must
be limed so that it has a basic reaction.
Propagation is by hardwood or softwood cuttings.
ILEX (Ilex spp.). Several small-leaved hollies can be kept
to shrub size by careful pruning and these are in high favor as
they are handsome plants. The most important is the striking
native yaupon (Ilex vomitoria). Because it is so much at home.
stands shearing well and bears small, scalloped leaves and
beautiful berries in wintertime, the yaupon is unsurpassed for
82 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
hedges and sheared specimens. Nursery-grown, fruiting sI ci-
mens are much more satisfactory than are plants collected f m
woodlots. Yaupons are protected by a law which makes i a
misdemeanor to cut or dig wild plants.
The Japanese holly (Ilex crenata variety convexa) has e-
come very popular for foundation work in northern Floii a,
.r. 4l ,-'-t. ,. -, .. .. A :-.'" '.. ...... .' ", .t' ,. *
Red-flowere ixo" i. poua in, ,s e o
Red-flowered ixora is popular in southern Florida.
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 83
but it is not tolerant of adverse growing conditions, so a north-
side location and an adequate mulch are held to be necessary
for its well-being. Small shining evergreen leaves are closely
packed alternately on much-branched, green stems. Numerous
black fruits are attractive highlights during fall and winter.
This choice landscape plant is grown from cuttings.
The Chinese holly (Ilex cornuta) is another favored land-
scape subject from Asia that is offered by most nurseries in
northern Florida. The variety Burford, with single-thorned.
waxy, green leaves and small clusters of large red berries, is the
form of Chinese holly most frequently seen in Florida gardens.
IXORA (Ixora coccinea). Garden forms with showy, tubular
flowers in shades of red and yellow are seen in the warmer
sections. Counted as one of the best ornamentals there, the
ixora serves as a hedge, specimen or base planting material.
Likely to display evidences of nutritional deficiencies on
sandy calcareous soils in southern Florida, ixoras should be
set with care in made-up acid planting holes. A sprinkling of
a mineral mixture should be given with the fertilizer in January
and June. A heavy mulch of leaves or peat should protect the
roots at all times.
Tender tips root in white sand in summer.
JASMINE (Jasminum spp.). This genus furnishes several
sprawling evergreen shrubs that are widely employed in land-
scape plantings. For the colder sections, the flowering jasmine
(J. floridum) and the primrose jasmine (J. mesnyi) are excel-
lent, hardy, yellow-flowering shrubs; in the citrus belt the white-
flowered star jasmine (J. multiflorum) is often seen as a shrub
and as a vine, while in the warmest locations, the fragrant
Jasminum gracile (syn. J. simplicifolium) is in high favor.
There are many other species, some of which are grown as rare
plants by nurseries and plant collectors. All of the jasmine
root readily as cuttings and where canes touch the ground.
JUNIPER (Juniperus spp.). This is the most dependable
genus of coniferous shrubs for Florida. Many beautiful horti-
cultural forms, which will thrive in northern and western sec-
tions, are available at the nurseries. One of the best low ground
cover forms is the shore juniper (Juniperus conferta) identified
by the two white bands on the upper surface of each leaf; an
intermediate horizontal grower is the well known Pfitzer's juni-
84 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
per (Juniperus chinensis pfitzeriana) identified by outwa -
pointing branch tips, while one of the very best of the 11
evergreens for a sheared accent is the beautiful pyramid 1i
Japanese juniper (Juniperus chinensis columnaris). This n
be told by the strong upright trunk and the two types of lea is
on every branch.
STAR JASMINE-(Jasminum multiflorum)
Almost indispensable as a landscape plant in central Florida, it I
periodic crops of star-shaped white flowers.
All junipers are propagated by cuttings and clean cull
is usual in most landscape plantings. Red spider mites, wi
cause browned foliage in dry weather, are controlled by
peated syringing with the hose or by dusting with sulphu
very first signs.
Juniper blight, a fungus disease that causes needles to
out in the heart of the plant, is difficult to control. Freq
applications of a copper-bearing fungicide must be made
LANTANA (Lantana spp.). So well adapted that it has
caped cultivation, lantana is known by everyone. Someti
lantanas will fill that difficult sunny garden spot as no o
shrub can. Botanically, the red and yellow-flowered shru
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 85
Lantana camera and the attractive lilac-flowered weeping lan-
tana is L. montevidensis. Both will be killed by frost but will
recover in springtime.
LIME-BERRY (Triphasia trifolia) is a favored landscape
plant for southern Florida. Graceful, dense, evergreen, amen-
able to shearing, this beautiful plant well deserves the high
esteem in which it is held by nurserymen and landscape planners.
Its susceptibility to rootknot nematode seriously limits its use-
Seeds are employed to increase stocks.
MALPIGHIA (Malpighia coccigera) is popular with home
owners in southern Florida because of its dwarf habit of growth.
It has fine-textured, spiny-toothed, holly-like leaves, attractive
rose blossoms, red fruits, and grows quite well in the shade.
Most desirable malpighia is "Lowboy," which must be grown
from cuttings. Nematode-free soil and constant mulch are
requisites for success with all types of this plant. Barbados-
cherry (Malpighia glabra) produces its 3-lobed, cherry-like
fruits on a taller, more straggly bush and is not widely grown
in home grounds beautification.
NANDINA (Nandina domestica. West of Live Oak, on rich
soils, this decorative ornamental grows to perfection. The many
reed-like, erect stems, lacy, compound leaves and hanging clus-
ters of rich, red fruits make this a must-have for gardens within
its range. Nandina does not look its best on the open, infertile
sands of peninsular Florida.
Seeds germinate slowly, but are used for propagation as
are suckers that come from old plants.
NATAL-PLUM (Carissa grandiflora). This West African
fruit plant serves well as an ornamental in the Palm Beach-
Miami area where it is favored for ocean-front locations. Its
compact habit, horizontal branching, oval, evergreen leaves,
beautiful white flowers and decorative red fruits, account for
the high favor in which the natal-plum is held. Leathery op-
posite leaves accompanied by sharp, forked thorns -make identi-
Plants are grown from seeds and are available at most
landscape nurseries in southern Florida. Malathion, parathion
or an oil emulsion spray will be needed to control scales and
86 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
a heavy mulch of leaves is better than clean cultivation.
OLEANDER (Nerium oleander). This cosmopolitan eve -
green shrub is too well known to warrant detailed discussion.
It is too coarse and fast-growing for foundation planting wor.
Adapted to almost any soil, resistant to reasonable amounts f
salt spray, the oleander, in many attractive colors, is valuab e
for tall screens and windbreaks. DDT and parathion are
effective in controlling the oleander caterpillar which is t e
Propagation is easily accomplished by cuttings taken at a-
most any season.
In landscape plantings oleanders are usually kept free of
weeds and grass by flat hoeing and seldom are mulches e-
ployed. Fertilizer can be applied in January and in June bit
countless oleanders grow without hand feeding.
WARNING: Oleanders are extremely poisonous, and pe-
pie have died from breathing the smoke from burning oleand ;r
wood. In some cities it is unlawful to burn oleanders, and in
all cases, the prunings must be disposed of with caution.
ORANGE-JESSAMINE (Murraya paniculata) is identified by
the 7 to 9 rhombic leaflets, fragrant, white flowers and red, ovoid
fruit. Well adapted to frost-free sections, this citrus-relative
is recommended for tall, informal screens, clipped hedges and
free-standing specimens. A mulch will make for better growing
conditions, and this beautiful plant responds to this extra ca e.
Seeds germinate well and softwood cuttings strike sat s-
PITCH-APPLE (Clusia rosea). Although it is a tree which
may grow half a hundred feet in height, this native of t e
Florida keys is currently used as a shrub by landscape nurseiy-
men in frost-free sections for the curiosity of the huge, leatheli
broad-oval leaves. The three-inch pink flowers are followed
by greenish-white fruits of about the same diameter, which turn
black and split open to discharge the seeds which are used for
increase. Mulching and twice-annual fertilization is recon-
mended for pitch-apple.
PITTOSPORUM (Pittosporum tobira). For clipped hedg s,
particularly near salt water, this attractive broad-leaved ev r-
LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR FLORIDA HOMES 87
green is liked. In these coastal areas and in western Florida
it seems to be especially good, but in some localities pittosporum
is prey to Cercospora leafspot. A copper fungicide may keep
the plants clean if applied three times in spring and summer.
Malathion or parathion must be added to control aphids and
cottony cushion scale.
The variegated form is popular as a point of interest in a
green composition and it must be increased by cuttings. The
green type is grown from seeds in western Florida, from tip
cuttings on the peninsula where seeds do not set every year.
This broad-leaved evergreen can be clipped in any desired form.
PLUMBAGO (Plumbago capensis). Because of its small size,
compact growth and attractive blossoms of soft blue, this is
without doubt, one of Florida's most widely used landscape
shrubs. Tender to frost, plumbago comes back rather quickly
during springtime warmth. A fertile soil, full sun, an adequate
supply of moisture and annual cutting back in early spring are
requirements for its success. A white-flowered form is popular
as a change from the blue type.
Plumbago is grown from seeds or root cuttings,
PODOCARPUS (Podocarpus spp.). Among the best narrow-
88 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
leafed evergreens that grow in Florida gardens are the seval
species of Podocarpus. Yew podocarpus (P. macrophylla) s
seedlings, or in several garden selections, is the one most wi ly
grown. Serving as accent plants, hedges or screens in e y
section of our state, this admirable plant justifies its popular y.
Podocarpus nagi is characterized by a rigid trunk and ev ly
spaced, horizontal branches and makes an excellent co er
carpus elongata, with its graceful weeping habit, very fine x-
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PODOCARPUS-(Podocarpus macrophylla) (Sheared specimen'
An evergreen that is very desirable for formal plantings as it m
be sheared to any desired form.
Poinsettias near Leesburg
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An Ixora hedge near Winter Haven