2014 Spring Plant Sale

Guaiacum sanctumOn April 12 and 13, Fairchild will be overflowing with treasured plants specially grown in the Garden's own nursery, and plants propagated from the Garden's own collections. Below are the detailed descriptions of just a few of the plants offered. Please remember: there are many plants, but quantities of each species are limited. In addition to the Fairchild plants, there will be extensive offerings from local plant vendors which will offer both dependable favorites and fascinating new discoveries. This is the perfect place to find a special plant for your garden. With such a variety from which to choose, you'll be happy to know that Fairchild¹s knowledgeable staff along with enthusiasts from local plant societies will be on hand to help you make your selections. They will also provide culture and care information to ensure that your choices thrive in our sometimes challenging South Florida environment.

There will be plant valets, but you may want to bring a wagon or cart as well. If you are hoping to take home a rare, unusual or one-of-a-kind plant, you will want to plan an early start. For membership information, call 305-667-1651, ext. 3331 or join online.

  • Location: the Palmetum, south of the Cycad Circle.
  • Parking is available in the lowland meadows. Enter through the first driveway north of the Garden; watch for signs.
  • There will be "plant valets" to help you move your purchases to convenient plant loading areas but you may want to bring a wagon or cart as well. 
  • You must be at the sale in person. We cannot ship or hold plants for members or non-members unable to attend.

 All photos and text by Mary Collins

Anthurium faustomirandae Anthurium faustomirandae is endemic to the state of Chiapas in Mexico where it grows at elevations of 2,000 to 3,000 feet. Sometimes known as giant anthurium, this species has amazing, large heart-shaped leaves which may grow to 4 feet long and about 2 feet wide. New leaf growth emerges with a red coloration and the new leaves are glossy. As the leaf blade matures and hardens, the gloss is lost and the surface of the leaf becomes matte green, leathery and quite stiff. This species has proven to be easy to grow in light shade or morning sun and is a wonderful anthurium for South Florida. (may be seen in front of the science labs).

Anthurium watermalienseAnthurium watermaliense is an easy to grow birds-nest anthurium native to Central and South America where it may be found growing from sea level to over 5000'. The large, sturdy heart-shaped leaves to 2 feet long, dark purple inflorescence and bright orange fruit create a beautiful plant for container culture or planting in a well-drained shady, moist location.

Brunfelsia densifoliaBrunfelsia densifolia, Serpentine Hill rain tree, is a hardy, beautiful flowering shrub to small tree, endemic to Puerto Rico. It has simple, lanceolate leaves. Brunfelsia densifolia's yellow, tubular flowers are most prolific in the spring and summer, but occur to a lesser extent through the rest of the year. It produces orange fruit in the summer. It is native to dry areas with serpentine soil, which contains high amounts of magnesium, iron, nickel and chromium and little calcium and nitrogen. In Puerto Rico, it has become endangered because of habitat loss through the clearing of land for agriculture. Serpentine Hill rain tree thrives in South Florida landscapes with minimal care, growing in sun or part shade, preferring partial shade while young. Fertilize regularly with a complete fertilizer containing macro and micronutrients. (This species may be seen in Plots 5, 27, 49).

Brunfelsia nitidaThe plant of the year in 2012, Brunfelsia nitida, lady of the night, is a shrub 4-6' tall and native to tropical America. The trumpet-shaped flowers, 4-5" long, are white at first and gradually turn shades of yellow. Masses of flowers are produced by the 4' tall shrub. It never shows any insect, disease or nutritional problems. It does not grow huge and need constant pruning. This shrub is called lady of the night because of its flowers' incredibly spicy fragrance, usually present only after dark, but I've discovered that as the flowers age over a few days, the fragrance is produced earlier each evening. I wish that I could bottle this wonderful essence and keep it with me always. Brunfelsia nitida is a great shrub for anyone's garden. It remains a tidy size, is not demanding in its care, can be in sun all day or half a day and produces masses of flowers intermittently throughout the year. (This species is growing in Plot 8)

Brunfelsia unifloraNothing says 'Spring' quite like the sweetly fragrant Brunfelsia uniflora in full bloom! This small shrub, native to Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela, produces flowers which are dark purple and gradually fade to white in a few days. This species has been growing in the arboretum at Fairchild for more than 60 years. It remains small, seldom exceeding 5 feet tall. The heaviest bloom occurs in April and May with sporadic flowering during the summer. This Brunfelsia grows and flowers best in light shade such as under an oak. (This species is growing in Plot 25 and 27)

Eugenia confusaEugenia confusa, redberry stopper, is native to South Florida, the Keys and the West Indies. It is considered endangered in Florida. Redberry stopper is an evergreen small tree or large shrub which slowly grows to about 20 feet and can serve many purposes in the landscape. The opposite leaves with interesting, elongated drip tips emerge reddish turning a medium green several weeks later. The straight trunk is covered by distinctive finely divided bark. The canopy remains dense, even in partial shade. White or cream-yellow flowers have numerous, showy stamens that are yellow in color. These flowers occur in axillary clusters in May or June. The edible fruits are small, drupe-like, juicy red berries which are globose and very showy. The small stature and narrow crown make the redberry stopper an excellent choice for a small yard or a confined space. (This species is growing in Plot 46)

Holmskioldia sanguineaHolmskioldia sanguinea, Chinese hat plant, is a magnet for hummingbirds. The orange-red flowers appear during our dry months and so do the hummingbirds that sip from the nectar filled flowers. This shrub grows 6 to 8 feet tall and can be easily trimmed to a smaller size. Chinese hat plant blooms best in a sunny location and is very drought tolerant. (This species is growing in Plot 3)

Oxera pulchellaOxera pulchella, royal climber, is a beautiful vine native to New Caledonia. Large clusters of pure white, tubular flowers hang downward at the tips of branches. From January through March the masses of white flower clusters among rich green leaves make a beautiful statement on any fence, wall or trellis. Plant the royal climber where it is lightly shaded or exposed to morning sun on a trellis or fence. (This species is growing on the vine pergola).

Clusia lanceolataChosen as one of the 2007 Fairchild Plants of the Year, Clusia lanceolata is a delightful shrub or small tree 8-10' tall from the sandy coastal regions of Brazil known as "restingas". It was introduced to South Florida by noted USDA researcher and Fairchild Research Associate Alan Meerow. The white, waxy 6-petaled flowers have a distinctive ring of wine-red markings around the center. These 2-inch wide flowers appear all year. The distinctive fruits are round and crowned with a circle of black glands. When ripe, the fruit opens to disclose seeds covered with orange-red arils. Well adapted to our growing conditions, it thrives in sun or partial shade with minimal irrigation requirements. It can be maintained as a smaller specimen with judicious pruning or allowed to fill a larger space. As a container plant, it will provide a unique highlight to a patio collection. (This species is growing in Plot 49).

Coccothrinax cupularisCoccothrinax cupularis is endemic to Cuba. Personally, I have never met a Coccothrinax that I didn't like, but this one is absolutely gorgeous! I am so glad that I purchased one in 2005 at one of our plant sales. It is flourishing in my yard in a sunny area that receives no irrigation. The large stiff leaves are beautiful silver on their lower surface. The trunk is covered with a woven mat of fibers. I have found this species to be quite fast growing. Caution: we have a very limited number of these at this sale.

Stephanotis floribundaStephanotis floribunda, known as bridal wreath, is a well behaved vine with thick glossy leaves and clusters of fragrant white flowers, often used in wedding bouquets. Bridal wreath is an excellent plant for a chainlink fence in full sun to light shade. There is a lovely example of this plant, admired for many years, on the fence at the South Gate entrance to Fairchild.

Guaiacum officinaleGuaiacum officinale, native to continental Tropical America and the West Indies, is known as lignum vitae or tree of life. This species, although not native to Florida, is similar to our native Guaiacum sanctum. It will grow faster than our native species, eventually developing into a beautiful flowering tree to 20 feet tall with gorgeous mottled green trunks. Lovely blue to pale blue flowers appear in spring to summer, followed by orange-yellow fruit. Birds love the seeds. Grow in full sun to light shade. If you have room for just one tree in your yard, Guaiacum officinale should be your choice.

Solidago leavenworthii is a beautiful wildflower native to Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. It may grow to 5 feet tall with cheery yellow flowers for months at a time. It loves a sunny, moist location. As a bonus, butterflies love it too!

Hamelia patens, firebush, is one of the absolutely best plants for attracting wildlife to your garden. Ours is the native species which is loved by nectaring butterflies, thirsty hummingbirds, and other songbirds which eat the fruits. Plant a firebush in your yard – our wildlife is depending on it! 

Psychotria nervosa, wild coffee, is an excellent small shrub that can be grown as a screen, a short hedge, or just to fill in a shady location. The glossy, bright green textured leaves, white flowers and vivid red fruits attract butterflies to sip the nectar of the flowers and birds to dine on the fruit. Wild coffee may be grown in shade to full sun.

Glandularia maritima, beach verbena, is a fabulous purple-flowered groundcover. Endemic to peninsular south Florida, it is an endangered species. Beach verbena typically grows 4 to 12 inches tall and prefers a sunny, dry location. Butterflies visit the nectar-filled flowers.

Passiflora suberosa, corkystemmed passion flower, is one of our best native plants for attracting butterflies to your garden. This vine may be grown as a ground cover or allowed to climb upon a low structure or shrubs. It is the larval host plant for Gulf Fritillary, Julia and Zebra Longwing butterflies who linger around this vine, searching for new growth to lay their eggs. Birds will visit this vine to eat the tiny dark purple fruits. The corkystemmed passion flower may be grown in full sun to light shade.

Callicarpa americana, beautyberry, is one of our most beautiful native shrubs. Beautyberry is a fast growing shrub to 6 feet tall. Clusters of pink flowers encircling the stems at the leaf axils are produced in the summer followed by vibrant clusters of bright purple fruits which remain on the plant for several months. Beautyberry attracts wildlife, particularly birds, to eat the fruit and the flowers attract bees. This native shrub looks best if it is cut back during May or June to encourage new growth. Beautyberry may be grown in full sun to light shade.

Morus nigra, black mulberry, produces a delicious, sweet, black mulberry. The ones we are offering to members is an ever-bearing, many-branched shrub. Cutting back the plants will encourage flowering and fruit soon develop. The colorful fruits are first green, turn red and then ripen to shiny black and sweet! Birds will also be attracted to the fruit. The heaviest crop of fruit appears in the spring, but if you desire fruit at other times of the year, just prune it back and flowers, then fruit will be produced. The ripe, black berries may be eaten fresh or used in jams and pies. Plant in full sun.

Salvia coccinea, tropical sage, is native to southeastern U.S. and tropical America. Bright red flowers are produced on 12 to 16 inch long spikes nearly all year. Both hummingbirds and butterflies visit the nectar-filled flowers. This wildflower grows best in a sunny location with well drained, organic soils.

We will have Tripsacum floridanum (dwarf Fakahatchee grass). This native grass looks beautiful planted in groups among palms or upright shrubs.

Please continue to check this page. I will add updates as I add to the sale list. The plants described above just represent just a small portion of what species will be available at the 2014 Spring Plant Sale. I hope to see you there! If you have any questions, please contact  me: mcollins@fairchildgarden.org 

Page uploaded 2/27/14

Page updated 3/3/14