March 18, 2018

star magnolia The star magnolias (Magnolia stellata) in my Kentucky neighborhood were ready to bloom two weeks ago but sub-freezing temperatures caused a delay. I hope they wait a bit longer because depite recent warmer temps, hard freezes are predicted for later in the week. At least the early spring flowers, like crocus, snowdrops and some daffodil (Narcissus spp.) are cheering our spirits! Thanks for visiting, please tell your friends about us 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:

Easy Annual Flowers

spiderflower The spiderflower (Cleome hassleriana) is a tall (to about 5 feet) branching plant that is tolerant of hot weather and is virtually pest-free. Improved cultivars like 'Violet Queen' are shorter and more compact and grow well in pots and containers.

Texas Sarlet Sage The Texas scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea) is a heat and drought tolerant annual that is often planted in wildflower meadows and butterfly gardens. Despite the common name, Texas scarlet sage also has white and pink flower forms. Regardless of color, hummingbirds and butterflies love to visit this sage for dinner. Here's some links to more easy to grow flowers for hot sunny gardens:

Cornelian Cherry

cornelian cherry Despite the common name, cornelian cherry (Cornus mas is actually one of the dogwoods. It is a large shrub or small tree and is one of the earliest blooming woody species. In late winter cornelian cherry covers itself in clusters of tiny yellow flowers. By mid-summer the attractive, edible fruits ripen providing food for birds and other wildlife. Read about the cornelian cherry and about these other dogwoods (members of the genus Cornus):

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:

Early Blooming Ornamentals

weeping Higan cherry The 'Okame' flowering cherry (see Prunus campanulata) trees began blooming last week and I noticed on Saturday that the Higan cherries (Prunus subhirtella) were starting to break bud too! The weeping (var. pendula) Higan cherry in full bloom is one of my favorite springtime sights. Click here to download a large version (800x600) to display on your computer desktop.

Here are a few more ornamental woodies that you might see blooming at this time of year:

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.

Fragrant Woodies

banana shrub Banana shrub (Michelia figo) is a large broadleaf evergreen that produces small waxy flowers that smell like bananas. The banana shrubs are beginning to bloom now down in my in North Florida (Zone 8) yard. Click to download a large version (800x600) of this gently photoshopped banana bush beauty blossom. Here are a few other fragrant spring-blooming woody species:

Tropical Spring Bloomers

golden trumpet tree Tabebuia chrysantha) This is the time of year, just before the leaves appear, that brilliant yellow blossoms appear on the bare branches of this very showy small tree. Click here for more on the golden trumpet tree, a tropical beauty suitable for smaller yards and spaces in frostfree areas of Zones 9-11. Here are some other tropical and sub-tropical trees you may see blooming at this time of year in Florida and similar warm climates:

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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Attracts Birds
Attracts butterflies
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drought tolerant plants
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easy to grow plants
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atamasca lily The Atamasca lilies (Zephyranthes atamasca) bloom at this time of year back home in North Florida. Roadside shoulders come alive with millions of these pretty little lilies, often in combination with the purple lyreleaf sage flowers. I'm missing a lot of pretty wild things while I'm living up here in Kentucky (although there are a lot of others here to discover). Here are a few favorites:

violets The lovely little violet (Viola sororia) is beloved as a garden plant by some and reviled as an invasive pest by others. The tasty little violet is also consumed in salads and sugared into flowery confections. Click here for more on this pretty little perennial that grows across a wide range of USDA Zones 3-9.


queen's tears bromeliad Although the queen's tears bromeliad (Billbergia nutans) has one of the showiest floral displays you can imagine it is also one of the easiest plants to grow inside or out (Zones 8-11). One this species' common names is friendship plant due to its habit of forming many baby plants (offsets) that can be shared with fellow gardeners. Click here for more on the queen's tears bromeliad which is hardy in USDA Zones 8 - 11 but that can easily be grown indoors everywhere. Use these links to see more members of the Bromeliaceae (pineapple or bromeliad family) to appreciate the diversity of these species:

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