2003 Spring Plant Sale

April 26, 2003
9:00 to 9:30 a.m. - Garden Members Only
9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. - Open to the Public

April brings spring flowers, occasional showers . . . and the plant sale everyone waits for. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden will be overflowing with treasured plants specially grown in the Garden¹s own nurseries, unusual plants started from seeds brought back from Garden-sponsored expeditions and plants propagated from the Garden¹s own collections. Below you'll find detailed descriptions of just a few of the plants offered.

Please remember: there are many plants, but quantities of each species and cultivar are limited. In addition to the Fairchild plants, there will be extensive offerings from local plant societies, which will offer both dependable favorites and fascinating new discoveries. This is the perfect place to find a special plant for your collection. 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'll 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. As always, Garden members have the advantage of early admittance. From 9:00 to 9:30 a.m., members have the first chance to make their selections. If you are hoping to take home a rare, unusual or one-of-a-kind plant, you¹ll want to plan an early start. If you have friends or family members who are not Garden members, this would be an advantageous time for them to join. 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.
  • Your membership card must be presented before you may purchase plants from 9 to 9:30 a.m.. 
  • There will be "plant valets" to help you move your purchases to convenient plant loading areas. 
  • You must be at the sale in person. We can not ship or hold plants for members or non-members unable to attend. 


 (Native habitat in parentheses) Garden plot numbers follow.
Adiantum tenerum, brittle maidenhair fern, has slender, black stems topped by arching leaves. Plant in well-drained soil top-dressed with crushed coral rock. Keep soil moist; grow in shade to bright filtered light. Cut back foliage at the beginning of the rainy season; new pink foliage emerges quickly. Endangered in Florida. Conservatory
Rarely Offered for Sale!
Alvaradoa amorphoides forms a V-shaped shrub or small tree with jointed, fine-haired twigs and small, pinnate leaves with numerous round, delicate leaflets. In early winter, look for inflorescences of tiny, pale green flowers. Female plants produce delicate, showy racemes of green to red samaras. Plant in full sun to light shade. Endangered species in Miami-Dade County. Keys Coastal Habitat
  Calyptranthes zuzygium, myrtle-of-the-river, is a shrub to small tree with fragrant white flowers appearing in the spring, followed by blue fruits.  This species may be used as a screen or planted singly and shaped into a small tree.  Rare in south Florida, myrtle-of-the-river, may be grown in light shade to full sun.  (hammocks) Plot 45, Keys Coastal Habitat
Coccothrinax argentata, Florida silver palm, is worth growing just for the leaves alone.  The deeply divided palmate leaves are silver on their lower surface, which shimmer in the sunlight and moonlight when gently wafting breezes blow.  Silver palm is slow growing, with some individuals flowering and fruiting when under 1'  in height.  This species is native to some of the harshest environments of south Florida, the pine rocklands, where soil is scarce and the hot sun relentless.  Silver palm, once established, is an excellent choice for a sunny, dry location in a prominent location where this terrific native palm can be fully appreciated. (pine lands, coastal)
Coreopsis leavenworthii, common tickseed, is one of south Florida's most delightful wild flowers.  The cheery yellow blossoms brighten any sunny location. Plants may be trimmed after flowering to encourage more blooms. Re-seeds easily. (pine lands, marshes)
Flaveria linearis, yellowtop, is a native wildflower found in sunny, moist locations. It can grow to two feet tall and wide, with cheery yellow blossoms in upright clusters. Trimming after flowering will trigger rebloom. It attracts some of South Florida¹s small but showy butterflies and tiny native bees.
Prunus myrtifolia, West Indian cherry, is a slender tree 25 to 40 feet tall, with grey, roughened bark. When crushed, the dark green leaves give off the aroma of almonds. Small, white flowers appear in winter, followed by black fruit in the summer. It may be grown in full sun to light shade. 
Pseudophoenix sargentii, is slow-growing, but will reach 30 feet. Dark green pinnate leaves top a distinctive gray banded trunk. Sale plants are excess plants from seed germination experiments, part of a program to replenish the palm in its native habitat. This coastal hammock species withstands strong winds. Grow in full sun to partial shade. A Florida Keys native. Endangered. (Plot 113)
Randia aculeata, white indigoberry, is a shrub related to gardenia, with small fragrant white flowers and marble-sized white fruits with a dark blue-purple pulp. Easily grown in sun or light shade, the indigoberry is a sturdy plant for dry locations. (Pine lands, hammocks)
Rapanea punctata, myrsine, is a native tree growing to 20 feet. It has thick, leathery leaves and small flowers. Dark blue to black fruits, loved by birds, are produced along the branches. Myrsine is native to hardwood hammocks, swampy areas, pine rocklands, and open prairies. Grow it in conditions ranging from sun to shade and wet to dry.
Suriana maritima, bay cedar, a fine-textured, spreading shrub, has gray- or yellow-green, downy leaves clustered at ends of the branches. Small yellow flowers usually appear nestled among the soft leaves during spring and early summer. It grows near the shore, where high winds, shifting sands, and salt spray sculpt it into interesting shapes. Plant in a bright, sunny location. (Keys Coastal Habitat)
Rarely Offered for Sale!
Vallesia antillana, pearlberry, is a dense shrub reaching eight feet tall. It is native to the Florida Keys, Cuba, Jamaica, and Hispaniola. Considered endangered in Florida, this enchanting shrub produces white flowers that appear like small stars among the lush, dark green leaves. Elegant pearl-like fruits are produced throughout the warm months. Pearlberry is best grown in light shade. It is salt tolerant. (Plot 47)


  Brassiophoenix drymophloeoides, native to New Guinea, is a small, slow-growing palm with a solitary trunk, rarely reaching more than 15 feet tall. Attractive, dark-green, wedge-shaped leaflets are spaced evenly on six-foot long pinnate leaves. Clusters of bright yellow fruits are produced below the crownshaft. Grow in partial shade; protect from cold. Previously thought to be B. schumannii, this species differs in having five-lobed seeds. It is from southeastern Papua New Guinea. (B. schumannii has nine-lobed seeds and is found in western Papua New Guinea.) Plots 131, 132
Chamaedorea glaucifolia is native to southern Mexico. Its slender, dark green, solitary trunk measures only one to two inches in diameter, but it can grow to more than 15 feet tall. Delicate pinnate leaves of  four to six feet ascend towards the forest canopy. Very slender, glaucous green leaflets grow in many directions along the rachis, giving a plumose effect. Female plants produce black fruits on an orange infructescence. This species should be grown in a shaded, moist location. Several planted as a group, add a gossamer texture to the garden. Plot 149
Chelyocarpus chuco usually has clustering trunks, but single trunks may occur. The bright green, palmate leaves are divided into wedge-shaped leaflets. Fairchild¹s 35-year-old plants have produced a large, full cluster twelve feet across. Eventually reaching to 25 feet tall, it makes an excellent screen or background specimen. It grows best in a moist location in full sun to light shade. Supplemental irrigation may be needed during the dry season. Origin: Brazil. (eastern end of Plot 76)


Begonia cultivars & Anthurium spp.
  Asclepias curassavica, scarlet milkweed, is a favorite food for the monarch butterfly. This three-foot herbaceous to slightly woody plant poduces showy red orange to yellow flowers. Cut back the stem periodically to encourage multiple branching. Grow in full sun to light
shade. Origin: Pantropical.
Hedychium coronarium, butterfly ginger, has fragrant, white flowers, thrives in a sunny, moist location. Origin: India.
Neomarica caerulea, a tropical iris, has long,strapped-shaped leaves that form a fan. Large, fragrant, blue flowers appear in fall and winter. It prefers morning sun. Plant it among other plants, or use it as an edging plant. Origin: Brazil. (Plot 130)
Onoseris alata, a ground cover, is beautiful with or without the vivid pink flowers which are produced on twelve-inch stems above dark green leaves. Origin: Bolivia & Argentina. (Plot 4)


Euphorbia leucocephala, the little Christmas flower, produces masses of fragrant, snowflake-like white flowers in mid-winter. Origin: Central America.
  Pavonia bahamensis, is a 15-foot shrub. A member of the hibiscus family, it produces small, nectar-filled yellow-green flowers that hummingbirds find hard to resist. Grow in full sun to very light shade. Origin: Bahamas.
  Rosa odorata 'Mrs. Dudley Cross' requires room to ramble. A thornless rose variety, its lightly fragrant flowers open ivory and gradually turn rose-pink. They are produced year round. It is far less susceptible to black spot fungus than most roses.


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. Origin: Burma & Thailand.
Stephanotis floribunda (bridal bouquet) its handsome leaves set off the fragrant white flowers, providing a charming contrast. Origin: Madagascar. Grows next to South Gate.

Photos: Mary Collins, Suzanne Kores

Become a Garden member and enjoy one of the exclusive benefits - Early Admission to the Spring Plant Sale