2008 Spring Plant Sale


April 26, 2008
9:00 to 9:30 a.m. - Fairchild Tropical Botanic 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 Garden's own nursery, and plants propagated from the Garden's 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 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 Fairchild's 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.

Plant Societies Participating in the 2008 Spring Plant Sale

  • American Bamboo Society
  • Bromeliad Society of South Florida
  • Tropical Fern & Exotic Plant Society
  • Rare Fruit Council International
  • Heliconia Society of South Florida
  • Dade Chapter Florida Native Plant Society
  • Orchid Society of Coral Gables
  • South Florida Palm Society

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, you'll 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 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.

Click on images to enlarge

The 2008 Spring Sale features plants that are both attractive to birds and butterflies and don't need regular irrigation once they are well established. Soon, summer rains will arrive and these plants will add carefree color and charm to your landscape. Among the plants for sale are:

Holmskioldia sanguinea, Chinese hat plant, is a magnet for hummingbirds. The orange-red flowers appear during our dry months and so do the hummingbirds that visit the nectar filled flowers. This shrub grows 6 to 8 feet tall and can be easily trimmed to a smaller size. It loves the sun and is very drought tolerant.


Pavonia bahamensis, Bahama swamp-bush, is another favorite plant for both hummingbirds and warblers. Regardless of its common name, this plant is another tough, drought tolerant species. It grows 8 to 10 feet tall and produces small green-yellow miniature hibiscus flowers all year. Although they are not showy, the flowers are filled with nectar that hummingbirds can't resist. The Bahama swamp-bush may be grown in sun or shade.

If you want monarch butterflies to visit your yard, you should have some Asclepias curassavica, scarlet milkweed, in your garden. Once this plant is established, seedlings will sprout in areas with mulch or bare ground. Milkweed is both a nectar source and larval food for butterflies. The yellow-orange and red flowers appear throughout the year. Plant this milkweed in full sun to light shade.


We will be selling Senna ligustrina and Senna mexicana var. chapmanii, both native shrubs that have bright yellow flowers. These will attract many kinds of sulfur butterflies. Senna ligustrina, privet cassia, is a slender, upright grower, topping out at about 6 feet. Clusters of cheery yellow flowers appear at the tops of the stem. Senna mexicana var. chapmanii, Bahama cassia, will grow to about 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Bright yellow flowers appear all year. Both of these shrubs prefer a sunny location.

Cordia globosa, butterfly sage, is a shrub to small tree native to south Florida. The small cup-shaped white flowers attract numerous butterflies, including Gulf frittalary, Atala, hairstreaks, ruddy daggerwing, and skippers and other insects as well. With so much insect activity, birds, including warblers, come to feed on the insects. Fruit-eating birds are attracted to the small, bright red fruit. The butterfly sage is a wildlife magnet! Grow in full sun to light shade. Pictured: Cordia globosa with Atala butterfly. 

Buddleja davidii, butterfly bush, is a shrub 6 to 12 feet tall with lance-shaped leaves on arching stems. Showy, fragrant, purple flowers are produced in cone-shaped clusters 8 to 12 inches long, sometimes in such profusion that the branches arch and give the plant a weeping habit. Flowers are present from spring through fall. This plant is a must have for anyone who wants to attract butterflies. Grow in full sun; pinch off old flower clusters. In south Florida, this species should be cut back severely 2-3 times a year.

Flaveria linearis, yellowtop, is a native wildflower found in sunny, moist locations. It can grow to 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide, with bright yellow blossoms in upright clusters. Trimming after flowering will encourage more flowering. It attracts some of south Florida's small but showy butterflies and tiny native bees. Grow yellowtop in full sun.


If you like pink flowers, x Ruttyruspolia 'Phyllis Van Heeden' is the plant for you. It is a compact low-growing shrub to 3 feet tall with small dark green leaves and clusters of dusky rose colored flowers at the branch tips from spring through fall. It is thought to be a naturally occurring intergeneric hybrid between two African species of Ruttya and Ruspolia. 'Phyllis' may be grown in sun to light shade.

Sophora tomentosa, known as necklace pod, is a shrub 6 to 10 feet tall. It is native to south Florida, the Keys and the West Indies. The dark green pinnate leaves are pubescent and nearly white on their lower surface. Yellow flowers are produced on spikes 6 to 10 inches long. The seed pod is brown with constrictions between each seed. The necklace pod is salt tolerant and best suited to a sunny location.

We will be selling several species of plants which produce fragrant flowers. These include: Brugmansia aurea, golden's angel's trumpet, which produces 12 inch long pale orange flowers. The showy flowers are incredibly fragrant at night. Brunfelsia plicata is a small, erect 8 foot tall shrub endemic to Jamaica. The sturdy, dark green leaves make a fine background for the showy white flowers. The flowers produce a spicy, clove-like fragrance during the eavening and early morning hours. Jasminum sambac 'Grand Duke of Tuscany'is a double-flowered sterile form of Arabian jasmine with incredibly fragrant, white flowers. This will add an exotic perfume to your garden.   

We will be selling the very popular and sought-after Neomarica caerulea, a tropical iris from Brazil whose long, strap-shaped leaves form a fan shape. Large, fragrant blue flowers appear every few days in the fall, winter and early spring, adding sparkle to the garden. It prefers morning sun and moist, fertile soil.

We will have a selection of palms for sale, including Copernicia alba, caranday wax palm. It is native to South America. It is a single trunk species with blue to silver green leaves. The leaves have a thin, waxy coating. It is a fast growing species, sometimes to 60 feet tall and is happiest in a sunny location. It is believed to be one of the most cold-hardy Copernicias.

We will have a selection of Anthurium species and begonias, perfect for container growing. We will have other native species and ground covers available. For the best selection, plan on arriving at the sale at opening time. The plants sell fast and quantities are limited.

 Updated 4/10/08