Blue plumbago.

This time of year I’m thinking about a patriotic landscape of red, white and blue. Red is a great color for adding an eye-catching pop to your landscape. Red penta, also available in other colors, firespike and salvia are good choices. Pentas can reach a height of 2-4 feet and spread of 2-3 feet, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Firespikes can be 2-6 feet tall and have a spread of 2-3 feet. Salvias/sages can reach a height of 8-10 feet and a spread of 1-10 feet. All are fast growers and attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Great selections for white flowering plants include scorpion tail, mandevilla, almond bush and climbing aster. Scorpion tail blooms all year on what appears to be the curved tail of a scorpion. It is a Florida native attractive to bees, butterflies and birds. The white mandevilla vine blooms profusely most of the year. This vine can be enjoyed in the Bette S. Walker Discovery Garden at the Hillsborough County Extension office; although, it sports new plantings at this time. Almond bush blooms repeatedly from late spring through late fall, needs full sun and can grow to 8 feet and over. The scent is amazingly like almonds. Climbing aster, a native plant, can reach a height of 1-12 feet and a spread of 2-4 feet. It prefers full sun and attracts butterflies and birds.

Blue selections can include ‘indigo spires,’ a fast-growing salvia with a height of 1.5-3 feet that attracts butterflies and hummingbirds with its blue/purple foot long flower spikes, and plumbago, a sun-loving perennial butterfly-attracting bush that has blue (or white) flowers all year. Blue daze, a groundcover with a ½ to 1-inch height and a 1 to 2-inch spread, shows off its blue flowers from spring to summer and needs partial shade.

Maria Carver, horticulturist and plant enthusiast, said, “Blue daze and plumbago are two of my favorites. Both have true blue flowers, which are very rare in nature.”

You can add these plants to your landscape temporarily using the pot-in-a-pot method. Select the location for your colorful plants and dig the hole. Place an empty plastic pot of the same size in the hole. Leave the plant you purchased in its plastic pot, placing it inside the pot you put in the hole. If you want to change out these plants with the season, remove the potted plant and place it elsewhere, replacing it with a plant that will fit into your next holiday theme.

Add some sparkle to your landscape and celebrate our independence. Contact your local county UF/IFAS Extension office for more information on Florida-Friendly Landscaping™. If you live in Hillsborough County, contact our office at 813-744-5519 or stop by to take a stroll in the Bette S. Walker Discovery Garden.

Contact Lynn Barber at

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