2012 Members' Day Plant Sale

Welcome to the 74th Annual Members' Day Plant Sale. Since 1938, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has distributed plants to members for use in the South Florida landscape. Through the years, Fairchild's horticultural staff have observed, evaluated and introduced beautiful, interesting and diverse trees, palms, shrubs, vines and ground covers to the community. For over 34 years, a concerted effort has been made by Fairchild's Senior Horticulturist, Mary Collins, to identify plants that are well adapted to our climate and soils, non-invasive and will provide a welcome addition to the yards and gardens of South Florida. There has been an emphasis on uncommonly available or rare native species, in addition to introducing more common native plants to members who want to establish their own backyard natural habitats to attract birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Plants from other lands have been observed, monitored and carefully chosen to add to the palette of plant choices for home gardens. There are descriptions and photos below of many of the plants being offered, or look at the mature plants growing at Fairchild and decide which would fit your home landscape. 

The Distribution Plants have been grown in larger quantities than the other sale plants and are carefully selected for this program. While you may purchase up to four of the Distribution Plants there will be many other plants for sale. Plan an early start:  lines form quickly, and while we have a good supply, it is not endless. Along with other staff members and knowledgeable volunteers, I'll be available to advise you on site selection, planting and growing these very special plants.

General Information

  • The sale will be Saturday, October 6, from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.
  • The Members' Day Plant Sale is for Fairchild Members only.
  • Unfortunately, members' guests may not purchase plants.
  • Location: UPDATE 9/27/12: MEMBERS DAY PLANT SALE WILL BE IN THE PALMETUM! Please park in the Lowlands. Enter through the North Entrance, drive to the Lowlands parking field, watch for signs. The parking lot will open at 7:30 a.m. You may park your car and walk up to the Cycad Vista to wait in line until opening at 9:00 a.m. You must show your membership card to purchase sale plants and distribution plants. Each membership may purchase up to four distribution plants - limit one per species. These plants will be located in Plot 117 in numerical order according to their placement on the distribution list (see below) and handed out to members by knowledgeable staff and volunteers.
  • The sale plants will be located in the Palmetum in Plot 119 and the west end of Plot 117. The number of sale plants that may be purchased is unlimited, except for those plants with blue tags, which are limited to one per species.
  • We strongly suggest that you bring a container, wagon or cart to carry your purchases to your vehicle. There will be plant valets to help you.
  • Unfortunately, we cannot pre-sell, ship or hold plants for members unable to attend.

2012 Members' Day Distribution

You will need your membership card and the distribution list to purchase plants. Each membership may purchase four distribution plants. Limit one per species.

 Distribution List

  1. Hoya lacunosa ...........................................................$18.00
  2. Anthurium dombeyanum ..............................................25.00
  3. Aristolochia grandiflora ................................................25.00
  4. Anthurium sp. (S-104-10) ...........................................25.00
  5. Licuala peltata .............................................................18.00
  6. Koanophyllon villosum ................................................15.00
  7. Aloysia virgata ............................................................20.00
  8. Dietes iridioides 'Amatola'  ..........................................15.00
  9. Brya ebenus ................................................................20.00
  10. Guaiacum sanctum ......................................................22.00
  11. Hibiscus coccineus ......................................................20.00
  12. Baccharis dioica ..........................................................20.00
  13. Euphorbia leucocephala ...............................................20.00

Click on images to enlarge them 

Photos by Mary Collins 

For years I had admired this wonderful plant which bloomed continuously in a hanging basket in the display area of our conservatory. Hoya lacunosa, comes from the warmer regions of Malaysia and Indonesia. It is a plant that is ideally suited to a hanging basket in partial shade or may be planted in an oak or other good epiphyte tree in South Florida. The leaves are small, deep green and are "lacunose" which means cupped or sunken between the veins, thus giving an uneven appearance to the leaf surface. An appealing aspect of this plant is the wonderful soft scent of the flowers described by some as the fragrance found inside a florists' refrigerator. The blooms are a tiny ball of white with a yellow center, very fuzzy and are in clusters of 15 to 20 flowers. (Not in FTBG)

Anthurium dombeyanum is a beautiful birds-nest anthurium native to South America.This anthurium is an Andean species ranging from central Ecuador to southern Peru. This species is recognized by its beautiful leaves with slightly wavy margins, and an interesting inflorescence with a moderately short tapered, usually purple spadix and a thick, pale pink spathe. This species has proven to be easy to grow in light shade or morning sun and is a wonderful anthurium for South Florida. (Not in FTBG)

Aristolochia grandiflora, known as giant pelican flower, is native to the lowlands of southern Mexico to Panama and Jamaica. One of the most incredible flowers in the world, the flowers are huge, one of the largest flowers of any New World species and deserves its name 'grandiflora' (large flower). Rich maroon hued blotches and veins cover the creamy white face of the flower. At the center of the blossom, a maroon bull's-eye leads to an inflated pouch. An added adornment, a foot-long, slender tail hangs from the flower.  Each trumpet-shaped flower lasts for two days. On the first day it is in the female phase, attracting flies by its foul smell, similar to that of rotting meat. The flies are trapped by the downward facing hairs in the pouch of the flower to ensure pollination. On the next day, the flower changes to the male phase and pollen is deposited on the trapped flies, the odor disappears, the hairs wither and the insects are released. Pelican flower is the larval food plant for tropical swallowtail butterflies. This is a fast growing vine which should have some means of support. Grow in light shade. (Not in FTBG)

Anthurium sp. (S-104-10) are seedlings of Anthurium 'Marie', a wonderful cultivar which produces dark purple leaves when grown in bright light. Because these are seedlings of this cultivar, there will be some variablility in both the leaf shape and color. These plants should be grown in bright light with plenty of room for the leaves which will grow three to four feet long and 18" wide. This birds' nest anthurium will thrive in a large container on a patio or in a sunny to lightly shaded location in the ground. (Not in FTBG)

Licuala peltata, is native to warm moist forests of Myanmar and India. It usually forms several stems but may remain single trunked. The stem is slender, three to four inches in diameter. The beautiful leaves are three to six feet in diameter with deeply divided wedge-shaped dark green segments attached to petioles six to twelve feet long. This great length creates a large, open and nearly rounded leaf crown. While young and small, these plants would be great, indoor or patio plants for containers. This licuala should be planted in a shady, moist location.

Koanophyllon villosum, known as Florida Keys shrub eupatorium, is endangered in south Florida but is also found in the West Indies. A member of the Asteraceae family, shrub eupatorium is a great addition to any butterfly garden. The clusters of white to pale lavender flowers which are filled with nectar, attract atala, sulphur, skipper and other kinds of butterflies. This is a medium sized shrub growing five to six feet tall. (Plot 19b)

Aloysia virgata, known as sweet almond, became very popular as soon as people smelled the incredible fragrance of its white flowers. I compare the fragrance of the flowers to that of vanilla, almond and cherry. It is a fast growing shrub which will benefit from regular pruning to keep it looking neat and tidy. The branches end in terminal spikes of extremely fragrant white flowers that serve as an attractant for butterflies, other cool insects, and people! Sweet almond blooms all year in south Florida. It may grow up to 15 feet tall but can easily be kept smaller. Sweet almond may be grown in full sun to light shade. (Plots 44, 33, 49, 19b)

Dietes iridioides 'amatola',  native to South Africa, is a member of the iris family with sword-shaped leaves to one foot long and fragrant flowers. The flowers are white with yellow-orange nectar guides and pale blue to purple inner petals. The delicate flowers last only a day, but the plant continues to form new blooms for long periods of time throughout spring and summer. You may tuck this plant into any lightly shaded location. (Plot 44)

Brya ebenus, West Indian ebony, is native to the West Indies and Central America. It is a deciduous shrub or small tree to 15 feet tall. The small leaves are on slender branches. Bright yellow-orange flowers sometimes cover the stems in masses and appear throughout the year, usually after a rain. The open growth habit of West Indian ebony and its fissured bark make this tree an excellent host for epiphytes. It should be planted in full sun. (Plots 158, 164)

Guaiacum sanctum, lignum vitae's, gorgeous violet blue flowers amid dark green, glossy leaves make it an outstanding choice for almost any garden. This rare Florida native also occurs in coastal forests of the West Indies, Mexico and Central America. It is a shrub to small tree, usually less than 12 feet tall, periodically graced at the same time with showy violet-blue flowers and ornamental yellow fruits which open to reveal a single black seed covered in a vivid, red aril. Lignum vitae grows successfully in a wide range of soil types and once established, is drought and salt tolerant. Regular irrigation and fertilizing will encourage new growth in this plant, reputed to be a slow grower. Although it flowers best in full sun, it can flourish in partial shade. There are no significant insect pests or diseases associated with this species. (Plot 137 – next to South Gate Booth, 37)

Hibiscus coccineus, known as scarlet rose mallow, is an amazing plant which is native to south Florida and the southeastern United States. It is sometimes called swamp hibiscus because it is native to marshes and swamps in Alabama, Georgia and Florida. It produces vivid red flowers the size of dinner plates! The scarlet rose mallow likes full sun and plentiful moisture. Within a year it will grow to 8 feet tall with dark red stems and huge showy flowers followed by seed pods. The main stem may die down in the winter but new growth will appear in the spring. (Amphitheater pool)

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 November. As a member of the Asteraceae family, it produces flowers which attract several kinds of butterflies, including Cassius blue and hairstreaks. This shrub has small leaves and typically grows three to 6 feet tall to form a really nice rounded, dense screen. (Plots 43, 45, 50)

Euphorbia leucocephala, little Christmas flower, is native to Central America. Fragrant little flowers with glistening, white bracts completely cover this shrub in December. A second flowering may occur in March. Flowering is apparently controlled by photoperiod or daylength, just like the flowering of its relative, the poinsettia. The little Christmas flower should be planted away from any outdoor lighting to insure long nights which are necessary for flowering. This shrub grows as tall as 12 feet, but may be pruned to control its height. Little Christmas flower grows and blooms best in a hot, sunny, dry location. It will not tolerate flooding. (Plot 41a)


In addition to the Distribution Plants for 2012, the following specially selected sale plants will be offered. Most may be purchased in whatever quantities you wish; those with blue tags are limited to one per membership. It is first come, first served, so consider alternates. The sale plants are available in smaller quantities than the distribution plants described above. In addition, there will be many other species at the sale not mentioned here. My advice is to come early to get the best selection! We open parking in the lowlands at 8:00 am. Once parked, you may walk or ride a shuttle to the Cycad Vista where the lines form. The sale opens at 9:00 a.m. Many people bring their own plant cart or wheelbarrow. We will have plant valets to assist you.   

Click here for the entire sale list

Click on images to enlarge. 

Bougainvillea arborea is an absolutely amazing plant that develops a trunk and grows upright as a tree to 20 feet tall. Practically thornless and the flowers are lightly fragrant! The white flowers are surrounded by bright lavender bracts in this incredible bougainvillea. Be the talk of your neighborhood with one of these tree bougainvilleas in your garden. It is easy to grow, likes full sun and blooms throughout the year. (Plot 33)


Hibiscus sabdariffa is one of the most useful flowering shrubs in the Caribbean. Commonly known as sorrel or roselle, the fibers found in the stems are used to make jute, while the fleshy, red calyx are utilized in the West Indies and elsewhere in the tropics fresh for making roselle wine, jelly, syrup, gelatin, refreshing beverages, pudding, and cakes, and dried roselle is used for tea, jelly, marmalade, ices, ice-cream, sherbets, butter, pies, sauces, tarts, and other desserts. Calyces are also used in the West Indies to color and flavor rum. Tender leaves and stalks are eaten as salad and as a pot-herb and are used for seasoning curries. The roselle produces a lovely flower which is yellow to pale pink to red. Once the flower falls, the calyces become swollen and vivid red. Plant your roselle in full sun to light shade. Photo by Marilyn Griffiths.

My favorite hedge is Myrcianthes fragrans, Simpson's stopper, which is a native of hammocks of south Florida and Tropical America. This shrub or small tree grows to 20 feet tall. It makes a great hedge and is a low maintenance alternative to the commonly used ficus hedge. Simpson's stopper's silvery gray to warm brown bark naturally peels to reveal a smooth burnished copper colored inner layer. Fragrant little white flowers are produced intermittently through the spring and summer. Showy red-orange fruit provide food for several bird species. Simpson's stopper will have a dense branching habit if grown in full sun, creating a wonderful, carefree hedge. To create a hedge or screen, it should be planted about 3-4 feet apart. (Plots 3B, 3A, 46)

Passiflora edulis is the wildly popular, tasty passionfruit. The smooth, waxy round purple fruit has a thick rind inside which is filled with an aromatic mass of double-walled, membranous sacs filled with orange-colored, pulpy juice. The flavor is appealing, musky, similar to guava. As an added bonus, this vine has a lovely lavender and white flower.  Plant it in light shade on some support such as a trellis. (Not in FTBG)

Ruellia squarrosa is an amazing flowering ground cover for a very lightly shaded to sunny location. It spreads easily and the bluish-violet flowers appear all year. As a bonus, butterflies visit the flowers! Plant about 12" apart for a quick, full ground cover. (Plots 49, 50)

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! (Plot 19B)


Senna mexicana var. chapmanii, known as Bahama senna, is native to South Florida, the Bahamas and Cuba. It is a small shrub to 6 feet tall with yellow flowers nearly all year. Bahama senna is a larval host plant for several butterflies, including the orange-barred sulphur, sleepy orange sulphur and cloudless sulphur. It grows best in full sun to light shade. Bahama senna is a wonderful choice for all butterfly gardens. (Plots 19A, 19B)

Everyone should have this plant in their yard! What plant, you ask? I have a lady of the night, Brunfelsia nitida planted near the east side of my house. It has been there about seven years. It is absolutely, positively one of my favorite plants. The flowers are tubular, opening white and gradually turning shades of yellow. Masses of flowers are produced by the 4' tall shrub, on a monthly basis during our rainy season. The leaves are a deep green, always dark green. 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 the incredibly spicy fragrance of the flowers, 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. It may be grown in light shade to full sun. (Plot 8)

For those people who would like to plant a meadow garden, we will have a selection of native grasses including the colorful Muhlenbergia capillaris, muhly grass, Schizachyrium rhizomatum, little bluestem and Eragrostis elliottii, Elliott's lovegrass.

Zamia integrifolia, coontie, is our only native cycad. Once locally abundant in Florida, it is now uncommon and threatened by urban development. The stems, after suitable treatment, were used as a source of starch by the Seminole Indians; a small starch extraction industry was established in South Florida in the 1850s. Coontie is a small cycad, with much-branched, underground stems. The leaves are a favorite larval food for the rare Atala butterfly. It grows in full sun to light shade. New growth appears each spring, although if cut back, new leaves may be generated at any time. (Plots 124, 136, 19B. 19A) 

Stachytarpheta jamaicensis, blue porterweed, is a wonderful flowering ground cover. Native to South Florida, this porterweed stays low, usually under 1 foot tall. It grows best in a sunny to lightly shaded location. An added bonus to this plant is that it is a butterfly magnet! It is a larval host for tropical Buckeyes and a source of nectar for many kinds of butterflies, including Great Southern White, Gulf Fritillary, Julia, large Orange Sulphur, Long-tailed Skipper, Schaus' Swallowtail, Variegated Fritillary, Lyside Skipper. Once established, no irrigation is required. 

Citharexylum spinosum is a fast growing tree to 15 to 20 feet tall. In spring the bright green leaves turn an unusual salmon-orange colour, and in cooler areas about half the foliage falls. In tropical climates fiddlewoods do not lose as many leaves. Creamy white sprays of fragrant flowers appear at the branch tips from about midsummer to early winter. The fiddlewood is a lovely South Florida and West Indian native tree grown for its attractive foliage and fragrant flowers. Both the genus name Citharexylum (from the Greek - kithara, lyre, and xylon, wood) and the common name of fiddlewood refer to the use of the tree's timber to make sounding boards for musical instruments. Fiddlewood does not have spines.

Ocimum campechianum is a species of basil native to South Florida and the West Indies, although it is endangered here. It may be found growing in habitats such as pine rocklands or on the sunny edge of a hammock. Your nose may detect this wild basil before it is seen, as it yields an incredible warm, spicy aroma. This basil may grow from one to two and a half feet tall. Once established, it prefers a sunny, dry location: the warmer the location, the more intense the fragrance. Although living only ten to twelve months, it re-seeds readily and will provide a steady supply of sun-tolerant, cold tolerant, and drought tolerant basil.

Nashia inaguensis, known as Moujean tea, is a Bahamian shrub to 8' tall. Small fragrant white flowers are nestled among the tiny, shiny leaves. After flowering, small orange colored fruit are produced. It is an excellent shrub for a sunny, dry location. We have noticed the rare Atala and Malachite butterflies feeding on the nectar of the flowers. This plant can also be pruned and trained as a Bonsai. 




One of the most unusual plants introduced from parts of Malaysia, India, and East Asia, Tacca chantrieri, the bat plant, will make you look twice. The main attraction of the plant is the strange, unique, purple-black flowers. The flowers superficially resemble a bat in flight with long whiskers, and can grow up to 10 inches long. Tacca should be planted in partial shade and in a humid and warm environment. Soil should remain consistently moist, not allowing the plant to dry out between waterings. In winter months, when temperatures drop to 40° or lower, the bat plant should be protected or moved indoors.

Pavonia bahamensis,  from the Bahamas, is a shrub to 15' tall. A member of the hibiscus family, it produces small, nectar-filled, yellow-green flowers that hummingbirds find hard to resist. This shrub is best grown in full sun to very light shade. In the Bahamas, pollinators of Pavonia are Bananaquits and Bahama Woodstars. Several years ago, there was a Bananaquit sighted near our Pavonia in the lowlands. Birders from all over the country came to see the rare bird and add it to their life list. Four years ago a rare buff-bellied hummingbird was also sighted at Fairchild, feeding on the nectar of our Pavonia bahamensis for a few weeks. Ruby-throated and rufous hummingbirds are the most commonly seen species that visit Pavonia in South Florida.

Coccothrinax argentata, known as silver palm, was selected as a 2008 Fairchild Plant of the Year. Watch Coccothrinax argentata as the undersides of its deep green leaves flash metallic silver and you will know why it is one of Florida's native gems. It is small but perfectly proportioned, with a five foot wide canopy of fan leaves sitting atop a trunk that is six inches thick. In late summer, two-foot long spikes laden with hundreds of small creamy-white flowers hang down from within the canopy. Small pearl-sized fruits follow the flowers, changing color from green to dark purplish black. Silver palm is a small, slow growing palm perfect as a specimen plant in a patio garden. It will thrive in a hot, sunny location. Salt spray is no problem either, as C. argentata grows naturally along the coastline. The only thing that can kill it is too much shade and water.

Stephanotis 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. 

 Congea tomentosa, shower-of-orchids, is a vine from Thailand and Myanmar which produces masses of showy lavender-pink bracts during the winter and spring months. It requires sun for best bloom.



Wercklea ferox is a member of Malvaceae, or hibiscus family. One of the original collections received from FTBG was collected in Ecuador where it was a common plant to 20' growing along a forest trail in secondary forest. The botanist who collected seeds described the plant as having a ……"striking flower and horrific fruit". Stems are red, semi-woody, with spines. The large leaves have red veins on the lower surface with a puckered surface and spines. Small spines cover the flower calyx and fruit. The flowers are bright yellow.

Passiflora pallens, pineland passionflower, is a state listed endangered species native to some pinelands and sunny edges of hammocks in South Florida. It attracts several kinds of butterflies including Gulf frittalary, zebra longwing, and Julia. This vine grows best in a sunny location. Photo by Roger Hammer. (This may be seen in the butterfly garden near the education chickee) 


Jacquemontia pentanthos, known as skyblue clustervine, is one of our most beautiful native vines. At times this vine produces hundreds of lovely, small, sky-blue flowers. It is fast growing, showy and pest free. Skyblue clustervine is an excellent choice for growing on a chain link fence. It prefers a sunny, dry location. 


Cymbopogon citratus, lemon grass, is native to tropical Asia. Stems and leaves of this plant are commonly used in cooking to add a wonderful, lemony flavor to soups, drinks, a key ingredient in many Thai dishes, poached salmon and tasty recipes such as grilled lemon grass ginger chicken. A member of the grass family, this species will grow 3 to 4 feet tall. Plant it in full sun in a well-drained location. Grow your own lemon grass and open your world of cooking to a new level of flavors.

Click here for the entire sale list

Click on map to enlarge.

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 Members' Day Plant Sale. I hope to see you there! If you have any questions, please contact  me: mcollins@fairchildgarden.org

Page created 8/7/12
Page updated  10/4/12