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Fresh Friday: Miniature Roses

miniature rose

©National Gardening Association

Miniature roses are small plants that pack a lot of personality.

Their flowers are small–about the size of a dime or a quarter–but come in almost every color of the rainbow.

Given their colorful nature, it’s not surprising that they’re popular gift plants. But miniature roses need a high amount of light, so they’ll perform best if they’re grown outdoors.

Try planting them in containers with a rich, well-drained potting media. Or you can also plant them in mixed borders.

Just be sure to place them near the front of beds so that they won’t disappear behind other plants. By definition, miniature roses are small plants–they’ll grow only 8 to 24 inches tall.

With proper care, these little plants can be big stars in your garden!

See Growing Roses in Florida for more information about these and other roses.

Fresh Friday: Perennials for the Shade

Shade gardens are a wonderful way to utilize the areas under trees, beside fences, and along foundations. But be sure to choose the right plants for your shady spot.

Check your garden’s shade patterns. High tree canopies give partial or dappled shade, while buildings or low trees provide full shade. Some shade-loving plants also love the sun, so if your shade shifts, look for plants like flax lily that adapt.

Many shady areas are also dry, so use drought tolerant shade lovers like devil’s backbone.

Shade-loving perennials include ferns, crossandra, and gingers, but many more are available.

Perennials with white or brightly colored flowers or variegated leaves, such as jewels of opar, will stand out, and turn that shady area into a garden showpiece!

Blue ginger flower and foliage

Blue ginger (Dichorisandra thyrsiflora) thrives in shade

Learn more about plants for shady landscapes at UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions.

Fresh Friday: Tomatoes

tomatoesTomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables among home gardeners. They can be grown successfully in Florida through a number of growing methods—in a traditional vegetable garden, in containers, in a hydroponic system, or even in hanging baskets—so long as you understand a few key concepts. Read the rest of this article at gardeninginaminute.com.

Fresh Friday: Redbud Trees

redbud treeFor today’s Fresh Friday feature, we decided to focus on this beautiful tree.  You’ve probably noticed, but redbud trees are in full bloom in Florida.  Here’s a little more information about them.

Eastern Redbuds grow well in some shade in Florida. Best growth occurs in a light, rich, moist soil but Eastern Redbud adapts well to a variety of soil including sandy or alkaline.

redbudTrees look better when they receive some irrigation in summer dry spells. Its native habitat ranges from stream bank to dry ridge, demonstrating its adaptability.

Trees are sold as single or multistemmed. Young trees are easiest to transplant and survive best when planted in the spring or fall. Containerized trees can be planted anytime.

The beans provide food for some birds. Trees are short-lived but provide a wonderful show in the spring and fall.

Fresh Friday: Fakahatchee Grass

fakahatchee grassFakahatchee grass, or gamma grass, is a southeastern ornamental native that’s gaining popularity among gardeners. Easy to grow and virtually pest-free, this grass has rich green spiky foliage rising upright from five foot tall clumps.

Distinctive wine-colored flowers appear in late spring to mid-summer on slender stems above the leaves. Fakahatchee grass will freeze to the ground, but returns in the spring, and is evergreen in sub-tropical areas.

This grass prefers sunny to partially shady fertile soils, but will tolerate most soil as long as it’s moist. It’s frequently found growing along river banks, hammocks, swamps, and other wet sites throughout most of Florida.

Fakahatchee grass is easy to grow, easy to propagate, and makes a wonderful addition to any garden.

Fresh Friday: Poinsettias

white poinsettiaVery few plants are as closely associated with a holiday as poinsettias are with Christmas. The poinsettia, native to South America, was given the botanical name Euphorbia pulcherrima, which literally means “very beautiful.” Its popular name honors Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico, who introduced the plant here.

Listen to the Gardening in a Minute show.

Read more about poinsettias.

Check out photos from the 2007 and 2008 Poinsettia Field Day.

Fresh Friday: Holly

hollyHollies are bright and festive landscape plants that meet many landscaping needs. Some species make great hedges, while others are best as accent trees.

Berries are an attractive feature of many hollies, but only the female plants have them. Holly berries are a great source of food for wildlife.

Holly plants have many different leaf shapes, varying from small to quite large. The growth forms also can vary from upright to weeping types.

Hollies will tolerate a wide range of light and soil conditions. They require minimal pruning, except to train the plants for special purposes or to remove diseased or dead branches.

Once your holly is happily established in your yard, use its attractive foliage in indoor arrangements or enjoy watching birds feed on the berries outside!

Read about Hollies in Florida.