March 23, 2018

Ice Follies In my Kentucky neighborhood, the snow keeps falling and squashing the early-blooming 'Ice Follies' daffodils. Happily they bounce right back, good as new when it melts! They help remind me that spring is coming here. Snow or no, please visit Floridata often in 2018 and be good and grow. Jack

New Plant Profile

African iris African iris (Dietes bicolor) is an easy to grow evergreen perennial that is popular in warm winter climates (USDA Zones 8-11). This durable species likes moist well-drained soils but can handle short periods of both flooding and drought (good candidate for a rain garden). Read the profile» for more on this garden favorite.

fortnight lily Closely related to the African iris is the fortnight lily (Dietes iridioides). It is slightly less hardy but otherwise very similar in appearance and use. Several hybrids between the two are available. Read the profile» of this popular perennial for USDA Zones 8-10.


Spring Flowers!

crocus I saw a hillside covered in pretty little 'Pickwick' Dutch crocus (Crocus spp.). This variety blooms the flowers are white with purple veins that age to solid purple with age. For more on spring flowering bulbs, read Ray's articles about The Daffodils and history of The Tulips then check out Floridata's profiles of these and other spring-blooming favorites:


acanthus in bloom Bear's breeches (Acanthus mollis) produces large flower stalks in spring but it is more famous for its large leaves.  Acanthus foliage is reproduced in the ornamentation of classical Greek artwork and in the capitals of Corinthian order columns. Some of these shade loving species have showy flowers but these are nice to grow just for the attractive foliage:

white bleeding heart Pink-flowered bleeding hearts (Dicentra spectabilis) are more common, but this white form is also readily available at garden centers. The handsome foliage is a bonus. Click to download a large version (800x600).

Annual Re-seeders

purple poppy The opium or bread poppies (Papaver somniferum) bloom at this time of year. The opium poppy is an annual that must reseed itself each season so the ground must remain exposed and not mulched over. If you don't smother the seeds and the poppies will return year after year! Click to download a large version (800x600) of the pretty purple poppy to display on your computer desktop.

Grow Greens

celtuce Also called celtuce, this lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is known and grown for its crisp crunchy stems and is just one of dozens of varieties that you too can easily grow. Grow and eat leafy salad greens like the lettuces and friends:

Spring Blooming Shrubs

Florida anise The Florida anise (Illicium floridanum) blooms at this time of year back home in North Florida. It's one of my favorite native shrubs with super-model blossoms that are a treat to photograph. Click here to download a large version (800x600) of this native (to the southeastern USA) beauty and visit the Florida Anise Profile to see others.

Here are some other spring-blooming shrubs that are natives of the SE United States:

Flowering Plants of Hawaii

Plants of HawaiiThe Hawaiian Islands are home to an array of native plant species that has attracted the attention of botanists, naturalists, horticulturists and world travelers ever since Europeans first visited the islands near the end of the 18th century. Read more »

You'll find more links on our Articles and Resources page.

Spring Blooming Woodies

red buckeye The red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) is a delightful little tree (or large shrub) that is native to the southeastern United States. They bloom in spring, taking over the show as the azaleas and dogwood flowers are fading. Click here to download a large version (800x600) of this native (to the southeastern USA) beauty and visit the Red Buckeye Profile to see others.

red horsechestnut The red horsechestnut (Aesculus x carnea) is a very showy spring bloomer and popular ornamental tree. Red horsechestnut (Aesculus x carnea) is a hybrid species resulting from a (presumed) chance cross between the shrubby red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) from SE North America, and common horsechestnut (A. hippocastanum), a much larger tree from Europe. Click here to download a large version (800x600) of this flamboyant flower and read more in the Red Horsechestnut Profile.

Here are some other spring-blooming shrubs that are natives of the SE United States:


lemon balm This herb has been grown for centuries and used by herbalist to cure ills and heal wounds. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is also reported to "renew youth, strengthen the brain, relieve languishing nature and prevent baldness". I'm going to plant some because I feel a need to languish less. More herbs that may not renew youth but they do taste good:

Master Plant List

Click here to find plants in our Encyclopedia using the Master Plant List grid. Use this widget to search, sort and filter Floridata's plant database to easily locate Plant Profile pages. Use the dropdown menus to filter the grid to display items matching the selected Plant Type and Feature tags.

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Beneath the snows..

lesser celandine Also known as fig buttercup, this little perennial began blooming in my neighborhood last week and then they got snowed on. ...and then they got snowed on again. Ranunculus ficaria is a European species that has naturalized across much of the eastern United States so this is one "wildflower" that is good to know but that you shouldn't grow (unless you live in its native range). Read more about the lesser celandine, a pretty little plant that inspired a William Wordsworth poem, and that you are likely to encounter in USDA Zones 4-8.

Summer Fragrance

moonflower Two summers ago I planted some moonflower (Ipomoea alba) seeds in a big tub on my Mom's condo balcony. By the end of August they had grown all over the awning, rail, etc. and each evening the vines were covered with huge fragrant moonflowers. They were beautiful but very thirsty - I often had to water them twice a day in hot weather to keep them from wilting. Now I know not to ever do that again but they sure were pretty and smelled good too! Here is a sampling of more fragrant summer bloomers that you'll find profiled at Floridata:

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