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Variegated Shell Ginger

Variegated Shell Ginger - ( Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata' )

Variegated Shell Ginger - (Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata')

Basic Information: Variegated Shell Ginger is a beautiful tropical plant native to East Asia. This plant has great little flowers that resemble shells. This plant adds a great tropical look to your landscape. It should be noted that the plant likely won't flower for the first year and it could take even longer. This plant makes for a great accent plant around a tree or works well as an anchor plant when used in certain landscape settings. This plant will bring a lot to your lawn.

Shell Ginger - ( Alpinia zerumbet )

Shell Ginger - (Alpinia zerumbet)

Planting Information: This plant has some interesting characteristics that make it great for your landscape. First, the plant is a moderate grower so compared to other plants it spreads rather quickly. Second, it likes shade. This plant is happy growing under a tree or near a house. Ormond lawns can have a lot of shade and this plant can bring color to an otherwise shaded, overly green part of your yard. That being said, this plant can tolerate full sun but the leaves will often spot and brown a little bit. This plant can grow to heights of 3 to 6 feet, and grows 5 to 8 feet wide. Variegated Shell Ginger really performs best in zone 10, however, with some care you can cheat nature a bit and have this tropical beauty in your yard. This plant is not very cold tolerant and will need to be covered during freezes. If it does die back in the winter it will often send up new shoots in the spring and help bring back some color to your yard. Plant spacing is very important. Resist the urge to plant theses very close to one another as they can spread quite a bit more than they grow in height. Plant them 4 to 5 feet apart and allow at least 4 feet between a ginger and the nearest shrub. When planting next to a palm, tree or house come out 3-4' and at least 5' from a walkway. The picture to the right was taken at Ormond Memorial Gardens off of Granada Blvd (a great place to see many of these plants mentioned here in this guide).


Bird of paradise

Bird of Paradise - ( Strelitzia reginae )

Bird of Paradise - (Strelitzia reginae)

Basic Information: The Bird of Paradise is a plant native to South Africa. This plant was brought to England in the 1700's where it was installed at the famous Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. This is a plant that you have most definitely seen in many yards as you drive though Ormond and Daytona. Loved by homeowners and lawn care professionals alike this plant is easy to care for and pays huge dividends  when it does flower. The leaves are an attractive paddle shape with a flower that looks like... Well... a Bird of Paradise.

Planting Information: As with many of the of the tropical/semi-tropical plant one must pay special attention to weather and temperatures. Bird of Paradise is really happiest in zone 10 but can survive quite nicely in our zone 9b. Special attention should be paid to freezing temperatures and plants should be protected if frost is expected. Interestingly enough this is not as much of a concern beachside as the ocean prevents frost, thus, you're more likely to see large specimens of this beachside in Ormond and Daytona. They become more prevalent as you get further south towards Port Orange and New Smyrna. This plant is happiest in part sun or shade but will do fine in full sun. Plants should be spaced 3-4' apart to give them room to fan out as they grow. Make sure to come 4-5' off a walkway. These plants can grow to 6 feet, although, this is incredibly rare in zone 9b. Bird of Paradise are said to be dear resistant, but, that's not always the case.



Hibiscus - ( Hibiscus rosa-sinensis )

Hibiscus - (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

Basic Information: The hibiscus, everyone knows this plant with its beautiful tropical flowers. There are hundreds of varieties of this plant. They range from small annual plants to large tree-like shrubs. In some places around the world people make a tea from the flowers. The tea is high in vitamin c and described as tart and bright red or pink. This plant can be found all over the world in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Another interesting fact is that the flowers on the hibiscus generally only last one day. The plant has so many buds that this often goes unnoticed as when one falls there is another to replace it.

Planting Information: This is another plant that does best in zone 10, but we here in zone 9b love the great tropical look that these plants provide us. So we plant them here and subsequently pamper them and protect them from the frigid arctic temperatures we receive here in the winter. This is hyperbole of course, however, we still need to protect these beauties from the cold. There are so many cultivars of this plant it is near impossible to list them all. Hibiscus reach a height of about 6' in general but can be trained to grow as a tree. It should be noted that there is no true dwarf variety of this plant. Big box stores claim to have dwarf varieties, but this is achieved by spraying chemical growth regulator. Without these applications the plant will begin to grow to full size in about 6 months. Plant spacing should be about 3' apart and the same off of a structure. Plant at least 4' off of a walkway as these plants spread.



Cordyline - ( Cordyline   fruticosa ) "Red Sister"

Cordyline - (Cordyline fruticosa) "Red Sister"

Basic Information: Cordylines have many many different names as there are many different cultivars of this plant. Hawaiian Ti plant, good luck plant, palm lily, cabbage tree to name just a few. The "Red Sister" is a very common variety found in the yards of Ormond and Daytona.  Cordylines found themselves transported through the Pacific Ocean area and the early Polynesians used the rhizomes of the Ti plant as a starchy food source.

Planting Information: Cordylines do well in sandy soil and prefer full to partly shady conditions. Planting where they will receive afternoon shade can help the outer parts of the leaves from browning in the afternoon heat. While this is a tropical plant it is quite happy and healthy roaming freely in the lawns of Ormond Beach. This plant is technically a zone 10, so keep in mind that it may need to be covered if there is a freeze expected.  Cordylines can be planted very close to one another for a clumping effect. As with most plants in this size range 2-3' for spacing is recommended keeping in mind to give some space from walk ways as the can expand out as well. A good rule of thumb is to keep the plant spacing in mind for distances from walkways and patios. Different cultivars grow to different heights however the "Red Sister" (most commonly found in Volusia county and Central Florida for that matter) grow to a maximum height of approximately 5-6'.



Stromanthe Triostar- ( Stromanthe sanguinea )

Stromanthe Triostar- (Stromanthe sanguinea)

Basic Information: Stromanthe Triostar was named Florida Plant of the Year in 2008. This cultivar is known for its brilliant red, white and green leaves. Some people will actually give these as an alternative to poinsettia's during Christmas Time. These plants are very attractive, but do pose some challenges.

Planting Information: These plants are not very cold hardy at all. Even in yards beachside Ormond and Daytona they may not make it through the winter. For this reason this plant may be used as an annual in our area landscape. They prefer zone 10 for sure and often die back in zone 9b or less. This plant grows very low to the ground, about 2' max in height and it spreads about the same. Plant spacing on these is about 2'. Triostar prefers to be in part sun to shady locations as too much sun will cause leaf damage and prevent the colors from being as brilliant as they could be when planted in the proper location.


Split-Leaf philodendron

Split-Leaf Philodendron - ( Philodendron bipinnatifidum )

Split-Leaf Philodendron - (Philodendron bipinnatifidum)

Basic Information: A philodendron plant is a tree-like shrub. Young plants have sturdy, upright stems, which tend to lie horizontally as the plant ages. This plant is native to South America and can be found growing in the wilds of Brazil. There are many many different types of philodendron, however, the split leaf variety is among the most common found in Ormond. You are actually likely to see less growing in Daytona as there are fewer neighborhoods with trees to shade them. More on that in the planting info.

Planting Information: Philodendron need very well drained soil high in organic matter. They also do not like direct or full sun. If you plant these in an area that does not receive at least some shade the leaves will develop large brown splotches on them. These plants will spread wider than they are tall, spacing is important. It is advised that you plant these a minimum of 3' apart, but, 4' is a more appropriate distance as the will likely spread twice as much as their 4' height. Also make sure you are at least 3' from the house as this prevent growing too close to the home. This is also a good way to keep bugs out of your house. Remove lower limbs at the joint where each branch attaches to the main vine if you wish to prune the split-leaf philodendron to a treelike form. Pinch back new leaf buds at your desired height to encourage a more bushy look.



Croton  - ( Codiaeum variegatum )

Croton - (Codiaeum variegatum)

Basic information: Native to India and Malaysia, crotons are slow-growing perennial shrubs. They are ideal for Florida landscape because they maintain bright, vibrant colors year round. There are several different cultivars to choose from, however, the "Petra" (flat leafed) and "Mammy" (Corkscrew leaf) are two of the most common found in Ormond and Daytona landscape.

Planting Information: Crotons do well in a variety soils including our very own sandy soil conditions here on the coast. Crotons prefer bright locations as this helps promote the vibrant leaf colors, it should be noted however, that too much sun can cause the plant to have a washed out look. These plants can easily survive most of the temperature swings here in our zone 9b. Cold can cause damage to the plant and measures should be taken to prevent this during freeze warning which are common December through February. Spacing the plants depends on the desired effect. Clumping them together can give a burst of color to a drab area, however, general spacing will very from 2-3'. Crotons should only be planted to the depth of the container they were removed from. Any deeper can cause undo stress to the plant and may stunt its growth.


Hawaiian Schefflera

Hawaiian Schefflera - ( Schefflera   arboricola )

Hawaiian Schefflera - (Schefflera arboricola)

Basic Information:  Hawaiian Schefflera is an evergreen shrub that typically grows to about 3-6' tall in our climate if left un-pruned. The Schefflera is native to Taiwan and can grow to 10-25' in its natural tropical habitat. Another interesting fact is that the plant in the wild can actually grow as an epiphyte. This means that the plant will actually attach itself to trees and grow on them.

Planting Information: Like many of the plants found along the coast Schefflera do very well in our sandy soil. These make excellent shrubs for landscape because they can be trimmed like hedges or pruned to give a more natural look. This plant in its variegated form provide a great pop of color that many people are looking for in east Volusia. These plants like sunny to partly shaded areas and do well in most outdoor applications. In Zone 9b these plants will generally stay relatively small, however, different cultivars have different characteristics. Plant spacing is important depending on the desired result at maturity. 2-3' is acceptable if the plant is to be kept as a small shrub or hedge, if a natural look is desired spacing should be more in the 5-6' range or greater again depending on the cultivar.