FLORIDA GARDEN SELECT PLANTS ANNOUNCED, by Larry Williams UF/IFAS Extension Agent

The Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association announced the Florida Garden Select Plants for 2013.

A jury of growers, horticulturists, retailers, landscape professionals and University of Florida faculty members select these plants each year, which are deemed superior for Florida’s environment. Note some of the plants are listed for zones south of our Plant Hardiness Zone 8.

Center Stripe Agave (Agave lophantha ‘Splendida’) is a hardy and easy to grow century plant. It grows in Hardiness zones 7-10. The sword-like green leaves are stiff, glossy and most varieties have a prominent bright green stripe. It prefers well-drained soil, full sun to partial shade and needs little water.

Giant Elephant Ear (Alocasia x portidora) is a tropical plant that wil grow in Hardiness zones 8-10. It is a hybrid cross with broad, heavily scalloped leaves that are held high on strong stems. This fast grower can reach 8 feet in height and needs rich, moist soil and full sun for best growth. It provides a strong tropical appearance in the landscape.

Orange Marmalade Crossandra (Crossandra infundibliformis ‘Orange Marmalade’) is a perennial for Hardiness zones 9-11. It grows 1 to 3 feet tall with a 1- to 2-foot spread that prefers full sun to partial shade. It produces clusters of frilly orange flowers all season and shiny, dark green leaves. It needs protection from frosts and freezes.

Yellow Trumpet Tree (Handroanthus umbellatus) is a tropical flowering tree for Hardiness Zones 8b-11. In the warmer zones, it may grow to a height of 15 feet and a spread of 40 feet. This small tree produces silvery foliage, deeply furrowed silvery bark and bright yellow trumpet-shaped flowers.

Bridal Bouquet (Plumeria pudica) is a tropical perennial suitable for Hardiness zones 9b-11. It produces large clusters of white flowers with yellow centers but unlike other plumeria is absent of fragrance.

Wendy’s Wish Salvia (Salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’) is a perennial that produces incredible flaming magenta tubular blooms spring through fall. Proceeds from the sale of this spectacular plant are donated to the Make-A-Wish® Foundation Australia as directed by its Australian developer, Wendy Smith.

Dwarf Fakahatchee Grass (Tripsacum floridanum) grows in Hardiness Zones 8-11 with a 2- to 3-foot height and spread. This ornamental grass is a clump forming ground cover with thin, light green leaves that move in the wind.

You can review these plants at the FNGLA website.  Click here to see these fantastic plants.

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