2010 Spring Plant Sale

Fairchild's Spring Plant Sale - April 24-25, 2010

After this winter's very cold days gardeners are looking forward to warm spring days and spring flowers. 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.

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'll want to plan an early start. 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. 
  • There will be local plant societies participating in the sale. Please check back for more details.

Plant Societies Participating in the 2010 Spring Plant Sale

  • American Bamboo Society
  • American Bougainvillea Society
  • South Florida Cactus & Succulent Society
  • Tropical Fern & Exotic Plant Society
  • Dade Chapter of Florida Native Plant Society
  • Orchid Society of Coral Gables
  • South Florida Palm Society
  • Rare Fruit Council

Click on images to enlarge

The 2010 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:

Oxera 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. During spring months white flower clusters among rich green leaves makes a beautiful statement on any fence, wall or trellis. The royal climber on Fairchild's vine pergola showed no cold damage during the 2010 winter. 

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. 


X Ruttyruspolia 'Phyllis van Heerden', a shrub to 6 feet tall, is a natural, sterile bigeneric hybrid between Ruttya ovata and Ruspolia hypocrateriformis var. australis from South Africa. It produces showy clusters of lovely pink flowers from fall through spring. This plant has been in Fairchild's plant collection since 1982. It has proven to be pest free, an easy grower and attracts butterflies too! Plant this lovely shrub in full sun to light shade. You can call her Phyllis! This plant was so popular at the 2009 Members' Day we grew some more for the 2010 Spring Sale.

Byrsonima lucida, locust berry, is native to pinelands and hammocks of South Florida. The new leaves on this shrub to small tree reaching 15 feet emerge a beautiful shade of mahogany red. Locust berry has clusters of flowers in the spring. These flowers turn from white to pink and from pink to crimson with bright yellow stamens. The beautiful colors of the flowers attract butterflies. Green fruits ripen to pinkish brown. Birds love the fruit. Locust berry makes a beautiful, full shrub for a sunny to lightly shaded location. It is both drought tolerant and salt tolerant.

Salvia caymanensis, Cayman sage, is endemic to the island of Grand Cayman. Believed to be extinct for nearly 40 years, it was rediscovered in 2007. This is very fortunate because Cayman sage is a real charmer. Small sky-blue flowers are borne on spikes above aromatic grey-green leaves, covered on the undersurface with a soft felt covering of tiny white hairs. Photo by Scott Zona.


Croton linearis, a native of South Florida pine rocklands and coastal areas, is commonly known as pineland croton. This 2' to 6' tall semi-woody shrub has dark green linear leaves with white or golden hairs on their lower surface. Small white flowers and small dry fruits which pop open when ripe are present all year. Pineland croton is the larval food plant for the Bartram's Hairstreak and the Florida Leafwing butterflies. This shrub grows best in a sunny, dry location. Once established it requires no supplemental irrigation.

Sisyrinchium angustifolium, known as blue-eyed grass, is actually a member of the iris family. It is an herbaceous wildflower with leaves 6 to 18 inches long. This Florida native will have flowers in shades of blue, purple or violet during the spring. Plant this jewel in a sunny moist location. 

Nashia inaguensis, known as Moujean tea, is a Bahamian shrub to 8 feet 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. It is a tried and true Fairchild favorite. It attracts people, too! 

Brunfelsia plicata is a small, erect eight-foot shrub endemic to Jamaica. The sturdy, dark green leaves make a good background for the showy, white flowers. Appearing in profusion several times during the year, they waft forth an amazing, spicy, clove-like fragrance at dusk. Stems tend to be upright, but the uppermost ends of the branches cascade down, giving the plant a vase-like shape. Grow it where it will receive morning sun and afternoon shade.

Acacia pinetorum, known as pineland Acacia, is native to South Florida pine rocklands. One of my favorite native plants, during our dry season, this shrub to small tree is covered with yellow, incredibly fragrant flowers. Pineland Acacia should be planted in a sunny dry location. 


Caesalpinia granadillo, sometimes called bridalveil tree, is native to Venezuela. Not commonly available in nurseries, bridalveil tree may increase in popularity once people discover its outstanding characteristics. The fine-textured foliage combines with an upright-vase shape to form a canopy tree to 35' tall with few equals. Yellow flowers appear during summer and fall. The trunks are very showy with bark peeling off in thin strips to reveal an interesting green and grey mottling. Bridalveil tree is well suited for a residence, staying small enough to keep it from overtaking a property. It can be planted along a road or placed in a parking lot to create a nice canopy of soft foliage. Bridalveil tree should be grown in full sun on well-drained soil. The tree is moderately drought tolerant.  

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 sip from 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.


Vallesia antillana, pearlberry, is a dense shrub reaching eight feet tall at maturity. 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. Our plants growing in Fairchild showed no damage during the cold winter of 2010.

There will be many other plants for sale including Maxillaria tenuifolia a commonly cultivated orchid native to Mexico to Nicaragua. Narrow, strap-like leaves and circular pseudobulbs give an interesting look to this epiphytic orchid. The best feature of M. tenuifolia is the amazing coconut-infused-with-vanilla fragrance of the dark red flowers produced from spring to early summer. It is easy to grow, preferring bright light and good air circulation. For the native plant gardener, there will be Schizachyrium rhizomatum, little bluestem, which is endemic to pine rocklands of South Florida where it is found growing among pines in sunny, dry locations. Little bluestem will eventually grow 1 to 2 feet tall and taller when producing its red and green inflorescences. It spreads easily by rhizomes and is a great choice for restoration projects, pineland gardens, or used as a ground cover around native palms. Grow in full sun in a dry location. Ruttya fruticosa is called hummingbird plant or rabbit's ears because the bright orange flowers look like 1-2 inch hummingbirds with their wings swept back or, from the front, like rabbit's ears. The showy flowers are full of nectar and attract birds, bees and butterflies. It grows as a 4 to 6 foot tall shrub. Plant it in full sun to light shade.

We will have a selection of Anthurium species and many colorful 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.

Page added 3/15/10, updated 4/9/10