Monday, March 8, 2010

New Plants!

I'm still working on my shady corner area that extends into a boggy area that is in the middle of my back fenceline.  I found the coonties I've been looking for at a price I could afford.  Zamia pumila are Florida natives which I'm trying to utilize more.  These lovely cycads are cold hardy as well.  Some I've seen in other landscapes did get a little tip damage from the extended cold we had this winter, but overall they stayed green and happy.  I'm going to have to rework where I have planted things so a landscape view will be coming later.  But aren't these wonderfully primordial Florida looking?

I couldn't resist getting a few of these acalypha reptans, dwarf chenille.  They are not  as cold hardy as the coontie but in the dappled sunlight under the big oak I'm hoping they get some protection in winter.  Ones I have seen in use go semi-dormant in winter but spring back well.  I have used them as ground cover between the iris/caladium border and the path.  They are so cute and I know the 'grands' are going to love them. 
Posted by Picasa

On Saturday I attended a workshop at a local garden center on cold hardy plants.  Of course, they sell all the ones recommended :)  I now have a list of some beautiful shrubs to add to my wishlist.  More on that later.


  1. i have that chenille plant too.I have mine in a hanging basket.I never thought of using it as a ground cover.thanks for the idea!

  2. NanaK...How exciting to get new plants! I am currently writing a post on the coontie to go with photos I took yesterday. It is a wonderful plant!

    I used to grow that chenille at my old Winter Haven house. Very prolific! My mom still has it growing under an oak tree. These days, I grow the large chenille bush (Acalypha hispida), which is an attention-grabber in my garden. Definitely not cold-hardy, though. It goes "dormant" every year.

  3. NanaK,
    We both have cold hardy on the brain today. I'm adding the coonties gradually (they are a little pricey)in more places. All of mine did fine this winter but, like you, I have seen them bitten around the edges in some outlying locations. I found a nursery (on my end of town)that sells them for $15 each (after I made all my purchases however)... that's the best price I've found. Curious where you found yours? Always wondering if it's worth the drive ~~ the one where the driver follows the directions LOL. :-)

    Lots of people buying that chenille to use for groundcover lately ~~ I have only seen it in hanging plants. I'd like to find one like FG mentioned in her comments... so tropical and showy. To add among the foundation (cold hardy) plants of course.

    Glad you're getting out and about in the garden while this weather holds out... it is glorious right now.

  4. Great Wall - I love this chenille in a hanging basket. If it proliferates I will be putting some in a basket for my back porch.

    Floridagirl - That's funny that you've got coontie on your mind as well. I'll look forward to your post. Good to know about the chenille growing under the oak. Thanks for the info.

    Meems - Coonties are pricey and that's why I hadn't bought any. I found these at Colorfield Farms for $12. Yes, $12. But...they rang up for $15, (still a good price from what I've seen), so I had to show the tags which were on them, $12. I'm thinking they must have been old stock or something. They are small but the size I have seen around for as much as $20-$25. Colorfield is usually at the USF spring plant sale, I'm not sure about Greenfest which is coming up on 3/27.

    I am enjoying this weather tremendously. Digging and trimming is soooo much easier when it isn't HOT.

  5. It is always exciting to get new plants! I also have some dwarf chenille under the sago palm (see picture in my Feb favorites post). They went through the freeze just fine (probably also because of the protection of sago palm). I also wanted to buy the one like FG mentioned. I used to see that in HD last year.But at that time, I just started working on the new garden, and I was like a kid lost in the candy shop, don't know what to choose! LOL

  6. I know you'll love the Coontie. I recently posted photos of my 25 year-old female Coontie with fruiting cones. If you're interested, here's the link:

  7. The Chenille plant is really neat. I saw one of the big shrub type Chenille in Costa Rica in bloom that was fantastic. It has been on my get a cutting list ever since.

  8. Ami - Good to hear your positive experience with the chenille. You are a zone south of me, but it still gives me hope.

    Grower Jim - Thanks for the link to your post on the coontie. It was very informative. Mine are still small and I know they are slow growers but I love their look. Knowing they are a native is a plus.

    sanddune - I've seen so many pictures from Costa Rica of lush gardens. I can just imagine that a large chenille plant growing there would be stunning. Hope you find someone to share a cutting.

  9. That chenille looks cute, I wonder whether its the same as the those that I see with broad leaves and hardwood stem.

  10. Fun facts about coontie: It's expensive because it grows so slowly. It's Florida's only native cycad, and the only larval food of the atala butterfly (a dozen plants and you, too, can have an atala colony!) It was almost wiped out in the 19th and 20th centuries (and the atala along with it) because it was the main ingredient for arrowroot biscuits. (Remember those?) It's slowly getting re-established. ... So, grow a coontie and you're a good Florida citizen!

  11. James - I think this one is a different cultivar. It stays low as a ground cover or hangs from baskets but the leaves and stems stay supple. Is the larger version common where you are? Evidently there are a lot of Floridians wanting the larger plant.

    Penlyn - Thanks for sharing the facts about coontie. I would love to have atala butterflies IF they didn't decimate my slow growing coonties. There is such a trade-off with butterfly attractors.

  12. NanaK and Penny,
    From everything I've read those atala butterflies are only in the southern tip of FL... like Miami. So if you have coonties down there you get that benefit... but not here. :-(


Thank you for travelling down My Garden Path with me. I love hearing from you. Please leave a comment and share what is going on in your gardens.