Richard Lyons’ Nursery today continues its survey of plants that are sometimes overlooked in their capacity as ground covers.
Beach Creeper, Ernodea littoralis: This beautiful Florida native is a long-lived perennial shrub that makes a very nice ground cover topping out at 3 ft. and under. It features reddish stems, pink to white flowers, and yellow berry-like fruits that make it attractive to birds and butterflies.
Blue Flag Iris, Iris virginica: This perennial is native over a wide expanse of coastal areas of the southeastern United States. Reaching 2-4 ft., it produces a showy violet flower, with white and yellow highlights, above sword-shaped leaves. It is happiest in very wet conditions, including standing water. It is regarded as long-lived.
Bolivian Sunset Hardy Gloxinia, Seemannia sylvatica ‘Bolivian Sunset’: This South American native produces intense red-orange tubular flowers with yellow throats, and does a great job of illuminating filtered light settings. Its nectar makes at a significant attractant of hummingbirds. Keep soil moist during the warmest part of the year.
Caladium, Caladium spp.: Featuring a great variety of hues and patterns, the caladium is hard to beat for providing ground-level color during the warm months of the year. Florida, in fact, is the world’s premier producer of this popular aroid. Massed plantings create an eye-catching ground cover. Caladiums appreciate a moist, well-drained soil during the summer. As temperatures cool, they go dormant, and watering should be reduced drastically.
Bahama Wild Coffee, Psychotria ligustrifolia: See “Native Florida Coffee Species (Psychotria ligustrifolia, P. nervosa, P. sulzneri)” (February 9, 2013) on this website.
Porterweed, Stachytarpheta jamaicensis: See “Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis)” (March 30, 2013) on this website.
Portulaca, Portulaca grandiflora: See “Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora)” (June 24, 2013) on this website.