Gainesville Landscape Plant of the Month: Golden Cassia

As a focal point, the cassia is a multipurpose tree that brightens the North Florida landscape with its bright yellow flowers.

While the tree is in bloom, it is easily the brightest plant in most any landscape. The Golden Cassia tree with all its glowing flowers definitely sends a signal to all bees and butterflies in the area to come join the party.

Due to our colder winters (compared to south Florida), the tree will drop its leaves after a hard frost - but can be pruned and come back stronger in spring. The medium-sized tree usually grows to decent heights but can be managed with winter pruning. It’s not really a large-sized tree and doesn’t require special arrangements regarding the location and space in your garden. You can practically plant it in a side yard or a tiny backyard.

Landscape Design Ideas using cassia trees:

  • This tree is most ornamental around a patio or around the pool
  • Centerpiece for a circular driveway
  • ...

Plant of the Month: ‘Black Diamond’ Crape Myrtle

Black Diamonds are a revolutionary new series of crape myrtles that provide unique beauty to your landscape and instant yard envy for your neighbors. Flawless black foliage emerges in early spring followed by masses of brilliant jewel-toned blooms that last until the first frost.

How Fast do Black Diamond Crape Myrtles Grow?

A Black Diamond Crape Myrtle tree can grow 2 to 4 feet in a single year. Once they get to mature height the trunks and branches grow thicker, but the trees stay around 12 feet tall.

How to care for Black...

Gainesville Landscape Plant of the month: Dwarf Ruellia

Dwarf Ruellia' is an improved variety and able to bloom beautiful pink or purple flowers almost all year long. We like this dwarf variety because they feature low, spreading mounds of narrow, dark green foliage. The combination of the flowers, grass-like texture, and green foliage make it a perfect filler to add color and interest to barren, dry areas in the yard. We also like to plant them in borders or on a sunny slope. Thanks to their compact form, these Ruellias are an excellent choice for use as a groundcover in tighter, narrower spaces and they also look great when planted in pots or planters!

Dwarf Ruellia is a low water use plant and is drought tolerant with little to moderate watering needs once established. This Ruellia variety thrives in full sun or partial shade exposures and is durable and easy to care for plants. These are a favorite for anyone that does not have a green thumb and still wants to have a thriving, colorful plant in their yard! They have a...

Gainesville Landscape Plant of the month: 'Mystic Spires' Salvia

Well-branched and very free-flowering, 'Mystic Spires' produces masses of sturdy, colorful flower stalks that are of great aesthetic appeal in beds, borders or containers and attract scores of butterflies, hummingbirds, and beneficial insects

This plant produces masses of colorful flowers that mix nicely with other annuals and perennials, is tolerant of heat and humidity (low and high), and is not bothered by pests or diseases or deer!

Exposure: full sun

Planting Time: spring to summer from containers

Soil type: adapts to most soils, but needs good drainage

This low-maintenance plant is perfect for Florida’s hot summers and keeps on blooming when other flowering plants have begun to decline.

How to Care for your Salvia:
Be sure to water every day during the establishment period after planting in the garden from a container, then, once plants have...

Gainesville Landscape Plant of the month: Coreopsis

Coreopsis may be just what you need if you’re looking for lasting summer color after most perennial flowers fade from the garden. It is easy to learn how to care for coreopsis flowers, commonly called tickseed or pot of gold. When you’ve learned how to grow coreopsis, you’ll appreciate their sunny blooms throughout the gardening season. Coreopsis flowers may be annual or perennial and come in a variety of heights. A member of the Asteraceae family, blooms of growing coreopsis are similar to those of the daisy. Colors of petals include red, pink, white, and yellow, many with dark brown or maroon centers, which makes an interesting contrast to the petals.

Coreopsis are sun-loving, low-maintenance perennials with daisy-like flowers. They are drought-tolerant, long-blooming, and happy to grow in poor, sandy, or rocky soil.

New coreopsis plants need regular water to keep the soil evenly moist (but not soggy) until they are established. After their first year, these plants...

Plant of the month: Trailing Lantana

The trailing Lantana is a popular groundcover prized for its masses of beautiful lavender flowers that appear almost year-round. Wonderful for cascading over raised beds and hanging baskets, or as a container plant. This plant is excellent for erosion control on sunny hillsides and slopes a perfect addition to your Gainesville Landscape.

Water your newly planted trailing lantana enough to keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Once established, the plants tolerate drought and only require occasional watering. Water plants once a week, if they do not receive at least 1 inch of rainfall weekly.

Lantana flowers have such a potent effect against mosquitoes they are a perfect addition to your outdoor living space. Both the native and non-native species are pollinator-friendly. As a bonus Butterflies and bees are strongly attracted to lantana plants. You will not find a flower that is better at attracting these fluttering beauties. They will flit around a bush for hours,...

Gainesville Landscape Plant of the month: Drift Roses

Drift Roses are a cross between full-size groundcover roses and miniature roses. They were bred to provide all of the resilience, disease resistance and frequent flowering of larger landscape roses on much lower-growing bushes, filling a special niche in the landscape rose market. They will fit beautifully into smaller spaces, provide the perfect size shrub for foundation plantings and look great in containers.

How tall do drift roses get?
2-3 feet tall. They're true, low-spreading, dwarf shrub roses that grow only 2-3 feet tall by 2-3 feet wide and are covered with blooms that open to 1 1/2 inches. Drift roses are perfect in small gardens, splashing your landscapes with visual delight.

What is the difference between drift roses and knockout roses?
Although newer than Knockout roses, Drift roses are quickly becoming a gardener's favorite. Drift roses also bloom nonstop and don't need to be sprayed for the disease. Drift...

Gainesville Landscape Plant of the month: Redbud Tree

The redbud tree is an attractive native tree with a range that stretches from Canada all the way down to Florida and into Mexico. It signals the start of spring with a striking floral display. Redbud's rapid growth and small size make it an excellent choice for gardeners hoping to add color or fill an empty space in the landscape.

Redbud trees are frequently recognized by their blooms. In early spring clusters of small pink or white flowers open along still-bare branches. White (alba) cultivars tend to bloom about a week after the pink cultivars. In late summer, seed pods follow these floral displays. The pods are green, sometimes with a red tinge, and mature to a red-brown. The beans they contain provide food for birds.

Redbud trees can be planted in full sun or partial shade and generally require little care. Plant them on their own as specimen trees, or use them under a larger tree with a dappled canopy. The further south in the state they are planted, the more...

Gainesville Landscape Plant of the Month: Little Gem Magnolia

In Gainesville, this Magnolia variety called 'Little Gem' has a compact, upright growth habit. It's a slow grower but eventually reaches heights of 30 to 35 feet with a dense, dark oval or pyramid shape that makes quite an impact.

With all the charm of a southern magnolia in a smaller size, the little gem magnolia is a popular ornamental choice for people living in hardiness zones 6 through 10. It is often used as a standout landscape specimen, to add evergreen beauty near decks and patios, as a floral screen or hedge, and in large containers.

This tree does prefer moist soil, especially when newly planted. When your tree is newly planted, water deeply 3 times per week. Water 1 to 2 times per week for the next couple of months. After establishment, your Magnolia will be drought tolerant and only need watering once weekly in summer. The tree produces a heavy bloom in spring and then blooms on and off the rest of the year (more in warm months).

Considering that...

Gainesville Landscape Flower of the Month: Pansies

Bring color to your flower beds in the dark days of winter with Pansies. This hardy plant will flower for the majority of the winter season and straight into spring, leaving your lawn looking bright and colorful all year long. Pansies prefer sunlight, however, they grow well in partial shade, which makes them a perfect addition to your winter landscaping.

In order to get the best-looking pansies in your winter lawn, be sure to plan ahead and plant these in the pre-winter months of September to early October. By doing this the pansies will use the warmth of the soil for faster growth and have a better chance at growing sturdy roots and producing more flowers throughout winter.

If you properly care for your winter pansies, you can expect to see them last for 3 or more years. These flowers are bred to withstand the harsh freezing temperatures. They may become a bit droopy, but they rebound when the temperature rises.

To care for your winter pansies start by...