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Patriotic Plants

Summer is in full swing and it’s time for our most patriotic celebration of the year: Independence Day. Did you ever think about making a patriotic garden? We have a few suggestions for you.

RED

Tropical sage (Salvia coccinea): This short-lived perennial wildflower produces sweetly aromatic foliage and brilliant red flowers that are irresistible to butterflies and hummingbirds.

Jatropha (Jatropha integerrima): Evergreen shrub or small tree with glossy leaves and clusters of bright, star-shaped scarlet or vermilion flowers. Grows in full sun or part shade; drought tolerance high; attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

Red pentas (Pentas lanceolata): Dark green, lance-shaped, somewhat furry and deeply veined leaves with clusters of never-ending, five-pedaled flowers. Likes moderately fertile soil, partial shade, and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

WHITE

White Geiger (Cordia boissieri): The silvery green leaves have a velvety texture and the showy, white flowers appear year-round if enough rainfall or irrigation is available. Its olive-like, white fruits have a sweet flesh relished by birds and other wildlife. Grows 15 to 20 feet tall with a 10 to 15 foot spread; full to partial sun; water regularly after planting and during dry spells. Interesting tidbit: resistant to wind-storm damage.

White plumbago (Plumbago scandens): This is the plumbago species that’s native to Florida and likes to be in full sun to partial shade. A fast-growing evergreen (up to 4 feet), its white showy flowers bloom from spring through early winter. Dense and compact, it’s great for containers, or low, informal hedges. This native shrub is a nice nectar source for several butterflies.

Sweet almond bush (Aloysia virgate): One of the sweetest flowers you’ll come across, also known as the incense bush, it smells like almond or vanilla. This fast-growing non-native (from Argentina) will flower year-round. Grows best in full sun. Attracts pollinators such as butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

BLUE

Blue porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis): Native, low-growing, semi-woody shrub. The height ranges from 2 to 3 feet and leaves are 1 to 4½ inches. The blue-violet tubular flowers are on a long spike that can reach 3 feet and bloom all year. Great for a butterfly garden.

Blue plumbago (Plumbago auriculata): Blue plumbago is an excellent evergreen shrub that provides color nearly year-round. Grows in partial shade to full sun. Drought-tolerant once established. Native to South Africa, it is popular here in Florida and California.

Blue daze (Evolvulus glomeratus): This beautiful groundcover produces profuse amounts of powder-blue flowers almost continuously. Grows in full sun and attains a height of about 12 inches maximum, but spreads twice that in a neat mound. Can tolerate a little shade and needs well-drained soil.

Linda Whitman is a senior planner and Sharon Vollmer is an urban forester for the city of Coconut Creek.

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