2012 Spring Plant Sale

Welcome to the 33rd Annual Spring Plant Sale. This is the perfect time of the year to plan and plant your garden and home landscape. I work with dedicated propagating volunteers year round to make sure that the plants we offer at the Fairchild sales are interesting, useful, beautiful or rare. Many of the plants we grow for the sale attract butterflies, birds and hummingbirds. All the plants will have signs which give important information regarding the size, needs and uses of each plant. Take a photo of the sign and you will have your own information source! In addition to Fairchild plants, there will be extensive offerings from local plant societies. Our knowledgeable staff and enthusiasts from local plant societies will be available to answer your gardening questions.

Mary Collins, Senior Horticulturist

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.

  • 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.

Among the Fairchild plants for sale will be:

Click on images to enlarge. Images by Mary Collins except where noted otherwise.

The 2012 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:

Petrea volubilis, known as Queen's wreath, produces masses of blue to purple flowers in spring and during other dry periods as well. Queen's wreath, reminiscent of wisteria, thrives in a hot, sunny location. This vine may be grown on a trellis, fence, or wall or trimmed as a scrambling shrub with no support.


Morus nigra, black mulberry, produces a delicious, sweet, black mulberry. The ones we are offering is an ever-bearing, many-branched shrub. Cutting back the plants will encourage flowering and fruits will soon develop. The colorful fruits are first green, turn red and then ripen to shiny black. 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 berries may be eaten fresh or used in jams, pies or cobblers. Morus nigra should be planted in full sun. 

Senna ligustrina, privet cassia, is a native shrub that produces bright yellow flowers which will attract many kinds of sulfur butterflies. 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. Bright yellow flowers appear all year. Grow this native shrub in full sun to light shade. Photo by Valerie Inzinna.

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. Photo by Roger Hammer. 

Cordia lutea, known as yellow cordia or yellow geiger, is one of our most beautiful flowering shrubs to small tree. The bright, crepe-textured yellow flowers appear all year on this large shrub to small tree from Peru, Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands. Yellow cordia loves the sun and dry conditions.

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.


We will be offering the beautiful, popular, Guaiacum sanctum, lignum-vitae, which is a shrub to small tree native to the Florida Keys, the West Indies, and Central America to northern South America. The pinnate, evergreen leaves are a rich, dark green, making a great background for its dark blue flowers with their bright yellow stamens. Flowers cover the plant several times a year. This slow-growing but long-lived species is adaptable to dry rocky areas in full sun to light shade. Lignum vitae is one of our finest native plants.

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. 

The 2010 Fairchild Plant of the year, Byrsonima lucida, known as locustberry, is a shrub or small tree reaching 15 feet tall. Clusters of small flowers are produced at the apex of the stems in the spring. It has an attractive multi-stemmed habit with leaves opening red and changing to shiny blue-green as they mature. The individual flower has spoon-shaped petals, changing from white to pink to red as they age and are enhanced by yellow stamens. The berry-like fruits ripen to a pinkish brown and hold one seed. The Florida Duskywing butterfly uses it as a larval host and many butterflies take nourishment from the nectar of its flowers. The fruits provide food for birds in early summer. It requires full sun to light shade and good drainage. After initial planting irrigation, it is drought tolerant locustberry can be used as a screening plant or as part of a native hedge, combined with other native species. Photo by Roger Hammer.

Bourreria succulenta, known as Bahama strongbark, is a rare large shrub to small tree with spreading branches which are pendant at their tips. Very fragrant small white flowers are followed by showy orange to red fruit. The flowers are visited by Bahamian Swallowtail, Giant Swallowtail, Julia, Large Orange Sulphur, Mangrove Skipper, Southern Broken-dash Skipper and other butterflies. Hummingbirds also gather nectar from the sweet flowers. Bahama strongbark may be grown in full sun to light shade. A wonderful plant for wildlife, this species also provides fruit for many kinds of birds. Photo by Roger Hammer.



Salvia caymanensis, known as Cayman sage, was once thought to be extinct for 50 years in its native area of the Cayman Islands. This rare, lovely salvia can reach a height of up to three feet, with tiny blue flowers and a silvery cast to the underside of its leaves. In the spring of 2007 the Department of Environment of the Cayman Islands in cooperation with the Darwin Initiative offered a reward for the rediscovery of the Cayman Sage. During the flowering time around June 2007 the plant was rediscovered and photographed. About 300 individual plants have been found and approximately 18,000 seeds have been collected. Scott Zona graciously donated three plants to FTBG and we have propagated from these to offer this very special plant. 

Satakentia liukiuensis is a beautiful palm endemic to the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. A lush crown of ten-foot long, dark green, pinnate leaves tops an exquisite crownshaft: smooth, lustrous, and dark red to mahogany green. In Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, a 30-year old plant is 20 feet tall, with a trunk twelve inches in diameter. The straight, gray-brown trunk provides a foil to the colorful crownshaft and leaves. Pink inflorescences produce slightly fragrant, cream-colored flowers which give way to small, orange fruits. Grow it in full sun to partial shade.



One of our 2008 Fairchild Plants of the Year, Myrcianthes fragrans, Simpson's stopper, 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. Crush the small, slightly leathery leaves and you will discover a pleasant aroma. 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. When grown in shade, the foliage is less dense and the trunk displays its attractive, smooth, exfoliating bark. Plant one near a feeder or bird bath for shy birds such as painted buntings and cardinals to use as a safe haven.

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. Pineland passionflower produces large white flowers followed by pale yellow fruits. This vine grows best in a sunny location. (It may be seen in Fairchild's Butterfly Garden.) 





Sisyrinchium angustifolium, known as blue-eyed grass, is actually a member of the iris family. It is a 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.



Glandularia maritima, beach verbena, is a fabulous purple-flowered ground cover. 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.


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.

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!



Eranthemum pulchellum, commonly known as blue sage, produces vivid blue flowers in the winter through spring months. Blue sage, native to India, produces a full shrub from five to eight feet tall. The large dark green leaves contrast nicely with the gentian blue flowers. Blue sage grows easily in sun to light shade and will add special color to your springtime garden.


Ruellia squarrosa is a wonderful choice for a flowering ground cover in a lightly shaded to sunny location. It spreads easily and the bluish-violet flowers appear all year. As a bonus, butterflies visit the flowers.



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!



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. 

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. 

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. 


Acalypha 'Inferno' is a shrub reaching 12 feet tall. 'Inferno' refers to the incredibly bright colors of its small leaves, which include pink, red, maroon, purple, orange and yellow. In full sun, the colors become even more vivid. This shrub provides year-round color in the landscape. Lightly tip prune branches to create a compact shrub.



Pentalinon luteum, also known as wild allamanda, is native to coastal areas of central Florida continuing south to the West Indies. The showy yellow flowers among shiny bright green leaves appear from April to November. This beautiful vine grows best in full sun on a trellis, fence or other type of support. 


Scutellaria havanensis, known as Havana skullcap, is native to rocky pinelands of Florida and the Bahamas. This wildflower blooms periodically throughout the year. Plant in a sunny, moist location. Small butterflies visit the flowers.


To see the entire list of plants for sale from Fairchild, click here.

Check this page frequently for updates and additions.

Page created 3/1/12
Page updated 3/29/12