Tropical Hydrangea is probably not a very good common name given the fact this plant is not related to Hydrangea at all. However, the flowers strikingly, do resemble the temperate species. I am referring to Dombeya wallichii. About a month ago I wrote about its cousin, Dombeya burgessiae ‘Seminole’. Dombeya wallichii also attracts an abundance of honeybees and is blooming now, but it is a more substantial speciman. It is tree like and can reach 12-15 feet with numerous clusters of light pink flowers which hang down in a spectacular ball. The flowering period is much shorter than ‘Seminole’ but very showy none the less.
Richard Lyons Nursery currently has this plant in stock.
Lonchocarpus violaceus – The Lilac Tree smells as good as it looks. This moderate- to fast-growing tree matures in the 25-35 ft. range and features a dense, broad canopy. In the late summer and fall it produces showy lavender flowers scented much like those of northern lilacs. It is a butterfly and bee attractant. Native to the West Indies and northern South America, the Lilac Tree tolerates poor soils, as long as they’re well-drained.
Richard Lyons Nursery currently has this tree in stock.
Today’s topic brings me to 3 native Lantana species. Lantana is a genus of perennial flowering plants in the Verbenaceae family (Verbena Family). The first native lantana is Lantana depressa var. depressa (Pineland Lantana). This plant grows in the Pine Rocklands habitat which has been greatly reduced in area over the years due to development. It is officially listed as endangered and only grows in Miami-Dade County along with another species of Lantana, Lantana canescens (Hammock Shrubverbena). Finally, a third native species, Lantana involucrata (Buttonsage), occurs in 16 coastal counties, including the Florida Keys to Key West. This species is more upright and can attain a height of 6-7 feet. All three of these species are excellent nectar sources for our local butterflies and are currently in stock at Richard Lyons Nursery.
A winter blooming vine is today’s topic. The vine is the Garlic Vine (Mansoa alliacea). Some may know the old botanical name, Cydista aequinoctialis. It is native to Northern South America, where it is called by its Spanish name, ajos sacha (False Garlic). It is so named due to the strong garlic smell and flavor of the crushed leaves. It has even been used as a spice in South America.
Very much like the Yesterday, Today, and, Tomorrow shrub, the flowers turn different colors after blooming. Deep lavender, pale lavender, and then almost white. All three colors are present at the same time on the vine.
Richard Lyons Nursery currently has this vine in stock.
Mandarin Hat or China Hat Plant (Holmskioldia sanguinea) is well named due to the flower shape. It does in fact resemble a hat from the far east. This Asian shrub flowers most heavily between October and May. This is ideal for South Florida since this shrub is an excellent hummingbird nectar source and that is the time when the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is present here.
If you want to maintain the plant’s compactness, do some selective pruning after it flowers. In addition to the red and orange varieties, there is a lesser grown yellow variety. I would say hummingbirds seem to hone in on the red and orange flowers more than the yellow variety.
Richard Lyons Nursery currently has this plant in stock now and it is in full bloom.