Dwarf Elephant Ear has large leaves and tends to form a clump. It is one of the easiest alocasias to grow in the garden. It can take sun to shade, though prefers brighter light. It responds well to regular watering, but is also tolerant of neglect.
Scarlet milkweed is one of the favorite host and nectar plants of the monarch butterfly. It grows to about 3 feet tall and produces showy red and yellow flowers. The larvae of the butterflies will eat the foliage but the plant will recover. It is native to South America.
Baccharis dioica, known as hammock groundsel, was at one time found in South Florida but is now believed to be extirpated in the wild in Florida. It is also native to the West Indies and southern Mexico. Hammock groundsel produces clusters of fragrant white flowers with distinctive yellow stamens from August through September. A member of the Aster family, it produces flowers that attract several kinds of butterflies, including Cassius blue and hairstreaks. This shrub grows 3 to 6 feet tall to form a nicely rounded, dense screen.
Yellow Orchid Tree. This is an undemanding shrub or with yellow bell-shaped flowers. It prefers well-drained soil and sun.
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is a shrub that grows 8-10 feet tall. Its flowers change from purple to white over several days, whence its common name. It grows in light shade to sun.
Cameraria retusa is a medium-sized tree native to C. America and the West Indies. The delicate leaves surround small white flowers year round. Its furrowed bark is excellent for attaching epiphytes. It is well adapted to our limestone soils and is resistant to drought. Plant in full sun.
Long strap fern is native to South Florida and tropical America. It is an epiphyte which grows on trees, rotting wood and limestone rocks. It will also grow in moist leaf litter. Long narrow leaves arise from the rootstock. It needs light shade and moisture.
Carica papaya 'Thai Gold'
Carica papaya 'Thai Gold' is a promising new cultivar that grows less than 6 ft high and produces abundant golden-skinned fruit within easy reach. It is self-fertile, so a single tree will produce fruit. The petioles are bright red. This is a new introduction from seeds collected in Singapore
Carica papaya 'Thai Green'
Carica papaya 'Thai Green' is another new cultivar collected in Singapore that originated in Thailand. Not much is known of its characteristics aside from good flavor. It is likely a more standard-sized papaya.
Called wild grape, this sea grape relative grows throughout the West Indies, reaching 15 feet. Leaves have red petioles. It has separate male and female plants (dioecious), with female plants bearing flowers in the fall and fruit in winter. It grows in dry, coastal forest.
Coccothrinax cupularis has deeply divided palmate leaves which are sparkling silver underneath. It is a beautiful solitary palm that will grow well in a sunny, well drained location. The open forests of southern Cuba are its native habitat.
Bailey palm: This truly dramatic palm is native to Cuba. The name honors Liberty Hyde Bailey, a Cornell botanist who was associated with FTBG in its early days. The deeply pleated leaves can be 5 feet across. Plant in full sun with plenty of room for it to reach its columnar splendor.
A Caribbean native shrub with velvety leaves and bright yellow flowers. It grows up to 6 feet in dry scrublands on limestone in full sun.
Native to Brazil, this shrub or small to medium sized tree has white flowers and is rare in cultivation. The plants begin flowering early. Sun to part shade and good drainage are preferred
Maidenberry is native to South Florida. It is a shrub to small tree which produces small red fruits attractive to birds. It prefers to grow in a full sun location.
This is a low-growing shrub with deep green leaves that contrast nicely with pale pink/lavender flowers. It grows well in the sun and is relatively drought-tolerant. The Cuphea genus is native from warm temperate to tropical Americas.
This is an herbaceous plant that produces upright cane-like stems with fans of strap shaped leaves. The flowers are pale blue and the fruits are blue. Grow in part shade to shade with occasional watering.
Watermelon Dischidia is a small epiphytic climbing plant with heart-shaped striped leaves. It is generally easy to grow and makes and excellent hanging basket plant. It prefers filtered light outdoors. If grown as a houseplant, give it as much light as you can.
Drimiopsis botryoides subsp. botryoides
Drimiopsis botryoides subsp. Botryoides grows from a bulb and has succulent leaves with attractive natural mottling patterns. It likes good drainage, is drought tolerant and can take part shade or sun. The small white flowers are clustered in spikes. It should make a nice ground cover in South Florida and is also a great container and windowsill plant. It is native to tropical Africa
White stopper is a shrub to small tree growing to 20 feet tall. It is native to the coastal hammocks of South Florida, the West Indies and the Bahamas. It has small fragrant white flowers and aromatic leaves. The black fruits are enjoyed by birds. It will do well in full sun to light shade and well-drained soil.
Flame of Jamaica: This evergreen succulent shrub to small tree is endemic to Jamaica. Although first described in 1788, E. punicea has yet to find its way into many South Florida gardens, even though it thrives on limestone, needs no irrigation and is a very light feeder. Its slow growth, upright habit, and branching structure make pruning irrelevant. Flame of Jamaica has the potential to bloom almost year-round. What we see as a flower show is actually an odd inflorescence surrounded by showy bracts, or modified leaves. These bracts can range in color from orangish-pink to scarlet to crimson red. Warblers and honey bees visit throughout the day, taking advantage of the abundant sweet nectar. Plant Euphorbia punicea in well-drained soil, or even a rocky hole with full exposure to the sun.
A shrub that can be pruned into a small tree with fragrant cream-colored flowers. It grows in sun to semi-shade.
Formosan Creeping Fig is a groundcover of growing popularity in Southeast Asia, with small, glossly green leaves. It is better behaved than Ficus pumila because it does not climb. It prefers full sun to light shade.
This is an unusual tree from Southeast Asia that is actually a type of gymnosperm. Rather than flowers and fruits, it produces cones. Male and female plants are separate so you need both to produce seeds. It prefers part shade when young, but can take more sun as it gets taller and starts to grow up into the canopy. In Southeast Asia its seeds are used to make distinctive-flavored crackers.
Gustavia augusta, known as membrillo, is an attractive shrub to small tree in the Lecythidaceae family, native to Guyana and Amazonian Brazil. The attractive leaves form a frame to the amazing, sweetly scented flowers that have large, pale pink to white petals encircling the crown of dark pink and yellow stamens. Grows in moist soil.
Gynura bicolor (compact)
This is an edible and ornamental tropical vegetable that can be grown year-round. The leaves are dark purple underneath and can be eaten fresh or cooked. It is low growing and does not seem inclined to flower in South Florida. It can grow in full sun or part shade and needs regular watering.
Gynura bicolor (upright)
This is an edible and ornamental tropical vegetable that can be grown year-round. The leaves are dark purple underneath and can be eaten fresh or cooked. It grows more upright than the compact form but also sprawls and has narrower, thinner leaves. Grow in full sun or part shade and needs regular watering.
This is an edible and ornamental tropical vegetable that can be grown year-round. The leaves are green underneath and can be eaten fresh or cooked. Its stems are mottled with purple anad it grows more upright. It can grow in full sun or part shade and needs regular watering.
Hibiscus poeppigii is native to Miami-Dade County, the Keys, the West Indies, Guatemala and Mexico. Brilliant single red flowers are produced at the stem tip. Planted in full sun to light shade, it requires little care once established.
Hibiscus grandidieri var. greveanus
Hibiscus grandidieri var. greveanus is an uncommon weeping hibiscus with delicate red flowers that hang down. It prefers part sun to sun and will grow 4-6 feet tall.
Skyblue clustervine is a twining plant native to hammock edges, thickets and marl prairies of South Florida and tropical America. It will grow well in full sun and has moderate irrigation and nutritional requirements. Birds will eat the fruit and three species of sphinx moth nectar on the flowers.
Jatropha multifida is a member of the large Euphorbiaceae family and native to Mexico & the Caribbean. A narrow stem supports finely divided leaves and brilliant red bracts surrounding the unusual flowering structure typical of this family. It provides nectar for many butterflies. Plant in full sun with little irrigation once established.
Ghost Tree is a medium-sized deciduous tree with fuzzy purple young leaves and produces inflorescences made up of "clouds"of tiny flowers. It seems to have excellent hurricane tolerance so far. These are seedlings from a tree collected on limestone in Thailand in the 1990s
Lepidaploa arbuscula is an upright shrub from the Bahamas with abundant purple flowers and silvery-green leaves. It prefers sun and good drainage.
Key thatch palm is a native of Florida, the Bahamas, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and the western Lesser Antilles. Slender with palmate leaves, it grows well in full sun with no irrigation, once established. Previously in the genus Thrinax, it was recently studied and renamed by FTBG Director Carl Lewis.
Golden Licuala is a clustering palm from coastal Thailand that can reach 12 feet in height. It has large circular leaves and beautiful golden petiole bases. It prefers part shade to shade.
Licuala peltata var. sumawongii
This Licuala is a stunning solitary palm with huge circular undivided leaves. It is native from Thailand to Malaysia and thrives on heat and humidity. It will make a spectacular accent in a shady protected area of the garden.
Philippine coral tree (Macaranga grandifolia). Philippine coral tree has huge 1-3 ft rounded leaves. Mature leaves are tough like cardboard with a very special tropical look. This is one prehistoric looking tropical tree! With leaves reaching 3’+ across and the total height at about 20 ft, this is as good as it gets. It is in the Euphorbiaceae family.
Barbados Cherry' or 'Acerola' is a bushy shrub known for producing red, tart fruit high in vitamin C. The flowers are pink and appear throughout the year depending on conditions. It is easy to grow in part sun with good drainage and is also a good container plant. It is drought tolerant.
Muhly grass: Native to Florida and Central America, this fine-textured grass forms diffuse pink panicles above its foliage in the fall. Reaching 3 feet tall, it is drought resistant and adapts to most soils. Prefers full sun. This plant is a great complement to palms in the landscape.
Nashia inaguensis, commonly called Moujean tea, is a shrub to 8 feet tall native to the Bahamas. It is much branched, with tiny leaves that are aromatic when crushed. The young stems are red, becoming gray-brown. The tiny, fragrant white flowers are followed by small orange fruits nestled among the glossy leaves. We have found that the Atala butterflies and many others find Moujean tea hard to resist when in bloom. Grow in full sun. It is very drought tolerant once established.
Walking Iris. As the flower touches the ground and fades it develops roots and produces a new plant. It blooms from early spring into summer and benefits from morning sun and regular irrigation. Native to Brazil.
Mickey Mouse Plant is best known for its distinctive flowers, ususally present in different stages of development at the same time. It is a shrub or small tree that is easy to grow in full or part sun and well-drained soil.
Corkystem passionflower. One of the best butterfly-attracting plants. Small vine native to South Florida with tiny greenish flowers and small purple fruits. Leaves are a favorite larval food for zebra longwing, Julia and gulf fritillary butterflies. Easy to grow in sun or partial shade.
Pavonia bahamensis is a supreme hummingbird and butterfly attractor. This shrub grows to 15 feet tall can be planted in full sun to partial shade.
Barbados Gooseberry or 'Leaf Cactus' is a cactus that does not look like a cactus. When young, it is a woody shrub, but then becomes a climbing vine over time and can climb trees. It has edible leaves and fruits that are usually cooked. The fruits are sour. Unlike typical cacti it has prominent leaves, but it does have spines as well. It is drought tolerant and can grow in full sun to shade (more compact in higher light).
Queen’s wreath is an excellent vine native to the West Indies and Central America. It produces large masses of lavender and blue flowers in spring. Provide a strong support or allow to grow as a cascading shrub. Plant in full sun in a dry area.
Philodendron martianum is native to Brazil where it grows as an epiphyte in the Atlantic rainforest. It will also grow easily in the ground with minimum irrigation and in partial shade.
Pilea fairchildiana is a succulent endemic to the Constanza Mountains of the Dominican Republic. Low-growing rosettes will provide a perfect accent in a sunny area. This species was recently studied and renamed in honor of David Fairchild by FTBG’s Herbarium Curator.
A small endangered plant native to Jamaica. Its leaves have a distinctive texture and its tiny clustered flowers appear frequently. It makes a good groundcover in shady areas.
Small, columnar tree with leathery aromatic leaves. It produces white flowers and brown berry-like fruit. The trunk has attractive peeling bark. Oil of bay is distilled from the leaves and twigs. It will thrive in a lightly shaded area. It is a native plant of tropical America.
Portlandia proctorii x platantha
This cultivar is a hybrid between the red P. proctorii and the white P. plantantha. The flower is pink and a size between that of the two parents. It is a shrub that will grow to about 6 feet tall and may be planted in light shade. It blooms frequently.
Pseudophoenix vinifera is a majestic solitary palm with deep green pinnate leaves. The trunk has prominent rings. Wine palm produces massive pendulous clusters of brilliant red fruit. It is native from Haiti to SW Dominican Republic. Plant in full sun.
Rhapis excelsa is a slender-trunked, hardy palm native to southern China. It forms large colonies by rhizomes. Excellent for providing a screen and can be planted in full sun or light shade. Lady palm can also be grown in a container indoors or on a patio.
A small shrub with crisply ridged leaves native to Cuba and Panama. It has clusters of long-lasting crimson flowers with golden throats. Grows in sun or shade.
Rosemary is a Mediterranean herb used in cooking. Brush past the plant and the fragrance of the leaves will be released and fill the air. It grows well in South Florida, forming a small shrub in full sun to light shade. Little irrigation is needed after the plant is established.
This plant is an excellent purple flowering ground cover for South Florida. It spreads easily and grows to a height of 12 to 18 inches. Plant in full sun. It is native to Central and South America.
Schippia concolor is native from Belize to northern Guatemala. It is a petite fan leaf palm with showy fragrant white flowers followed by white fruit. Grow in a bright area.
Sedum formosanum is a small succulent that was introduced through a Garden expedition to Taiwan in 2015. It is drought tolerant and prefers full sun and good drainage. It should make a good groundcover in South Florida.
Bahama senna is a beautiful, salt tolerant, butterfly attracting shrub which should find a home in almost any sunny garden. It blooms almost year-round with golden yellow flowers. Native to South Florida and the Bahamas.
Twin Flowered Cassia is a bushy shrub with large golden-yellow flowers. It is adaptable but is best grown in full sun with good drainage.
Solidago stricta, commonly known as wand goldenrod, is native to the southeastern U.S, including south Florida where it is found growing in pinelands, marshes and prairies. Showy, 4 foot tall spikes of bright yellow flowers are produced in late summer through fall. Wand goldenrod should be planted in a sunny, moist location.
This is a small tree that was introduced to Fairchild garden from the Celebes via David Fairchild's Cheng Ho expedition in 1940. It has stood the test of time and is tolerant of coastal conditions, waterlogging and hurricanes. Over time it forms a spreading canopy with large leaves and eventually attractive buttress roots.
Native to the pinelands and prairies of the eastern United States and to the Greater Antilles, this aster has light blue to white ray flowers and yellow disk flowers. A shrubby perennial, it attracts butterflies especially hairstreaks, crescents and blues.
Black Bat Flower produces distinctive black inflorescences with long "whiskers." It grows in rainforests in Southeast Asia and prefers shade high humidity and plenty of water along with good drainage.
Chiggery grapes is a shrub or woody liana with elliptical leaves densely covered with coarse, shaggy hairs. The small white flowers are fragrant and they attract a host of insects, including butterflies. Birds love to eat the fruit. It is native to hardwood forests of central and southern Florida through tropical America. This plant does well in partial shade to full sun near a large tree where it can climb into the branches.
Dwarf Fakahatchee grass. A native Florida grass with fine leaves, dwarf Fakahatchee grass makes a mound to 3 feet tall. It looks great planted among palms. It is drought resistant and grows best in full sun.
Lemon Green Rain Lily is a selection brought back from Thailand with lemon green flowers produced several times a year. It grows from bulbs and has grass-like leaves, forming a clump over time. It can grow in full sun or part shade and is low maintenance in South Florida.