All Florida (and anyone that wants to join us) Chat Thread 4

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

This is a continuation of our previous Florida chat thread. All are welcome!

We try to refresh the thread every few weeks so that those with dial-up Internet connections don't have to wait so long to load a loooooooonnnnnggggg thread.

We came from here:

Photo: Passiflora incarnata, hardy native passionvine, growing in an empty field near my house. Come see me and we can join in some pilfered propagation! LOL Passionvines are larval host plants for Gulf Frittilary and Zebra Longwing butterflies.


Thumbnail by JaxFlaGardener
Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

BonnieGardens: I forgot to answer your question about how to propagate the Yellow Cestrum (Cestrum aurantiacum) that you got from me.

Best way: It will occasionally send out suckers from the roots within the immediate area of the parent plant (usually within about 1 ft from the main stalk). You can sever the root between the parent plant and the sucker, then transplant the sucker to a pot to stabilize it for a week or two, then plant in the garden.

Also works: You can propagate stem tip cuttings as with most greenwood shrubs. Choose a stem tip of about 12 to 18 inches in length. Try to find a stem tip that is not flowering or has already flowered (difficult to do because the shrub is generally covered in flowers from the first warm days of spring until the first hard freeze of winter). I then use the method of stem propagation that I do with everything:

1. Fill a plastic pot or other container (taller rather than wider, if possible) with potting soil. Tamp the soil down tight with your fist, then add more soil, repeat tamping and adding soil until the container is nearly full (about 1/2 inch from top of container).
2. Use a bamboo stick (or your preference for a magical propagation wand about 1/2 inch in diameter) to poke a hole into the tightly tamped soil. Poke the hole all the way to the bottom of the pot. Make this hole immediately adjacent to the interior wall of the pot.
3. Remove the bottom side branches and leaves of your cutting so that you have a bare stem about equal to the height of your container of soil. I don't pull off all the leaves, or topmost leaves, as do some propagators, but this may be an individual choice for what works best for you.
4. At the bottom end of your cutting (the end that will go into the soil), use your thumb nail or a sharp knife or other instrument to scrape off the top layer of bark/skin of the cutting to expose the bright green cambium tissue. Scrape the cutting to just about the height of the soil level of your container. Do this on two or three sides of the cutting. Especially ensure that you peel the skin/bark off the nodes (the points where the side branches or leaves had been on your cutting stem) as these are the most likely places where roots will form.
5. Sprinkle some rooting hormone into the hole you made in the container soil. I don't dip cuttings into rooting hormone because the hormone is an organic material that can pick up, grow and transmit virus, fungal and bacterial infections if you happen to stick an infected cutting into the hormone.
5a. (alternate step) If you happen to have Clonex or other gel type rooting hormone, this seems to work best for woody stem or somewhat woody stem cuttings, but Clonex can be expensive and I've only been able to find it online. I get fairly good results with just the powder-type rooting hormones.
6. Use your thumb or fingers to press the soil tightly around the stem of your cutting.
7. Repeat Step 2 to make another hole along the interior side of your pot within an inch or two of your last hole where your cutting now stands. Repeat Steps 3 - 6 for another cutting. Keep repeating until you have cuttings all around the interior circumference of your container. I use compressed potting soil and place cuttings around the interior wall of the container to help stabilize the cuttings. When the tiny root hairs begin to form, they can be easily broken if the cutting sways a little bit in the wind or a curious pet or child or other critter touches or moves the cuttings. Once your pot is full around the interior edge, you can add some more holes and cuttings toward the center of the pot, if you wish. I put a lot of cuttings in one container in order to use less potting soil.
8. Water the cuttings until you see water coming out the bottom holes of the container. If you have any magical willow water (fresh willow tree branch tips allowed to soak a few days in a tub of water), you can use this to water the cuttings, but I get fairly good results with just captured rain water.
9. Place the pot of cuttings in dappled shade/filtered sunlight (such as under a large old Live Oak tree).
10. Continue to water daily so that the soil in the pot is consistently moist, but not soggy (you may need to water more often in hot, dry weather). If you have a misting system in your propagation area, that may help the cuttings to root, but I get fairly good results without a misting system.
11. Keep watering daily until you see new leaves begin to form on the cuttings. At this point, I usually just spray city water from a hose in the direction of the propagation container. New leaf formation is generally a good sign that the cuttings are taking root. Gradually begin to reduce watering. If the new leaves show signs of wilting, add water; if they are standing and not wilting, withhold watering.
11a. (alternate method) Some cuttings (Azalea, passionvines, etc.) seem to benefit by having the container stand in about 1/2 inch of water. I'm not sure if this would help or hurt the Yellow Cestrum cuttings because I generally root them without standing water.
12. At the point you see new leaves and can tell which cuttings took root and which didn't, pull out the non-rooted cuttings. Leave the rooted cuttings in the pot for a few more weeks, then turn them out of the pot and separate them into new pots of soil. Wait another month or two before putting the rooted cuttings out in the garden.

Hope this helps! I think I may have a few rooted cuttings of the Yellow Cestrum (and other plants) to give away if anyone wants to come visit.


Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Jeremy thanks

I do have a extra white Texas Star, it is blooming, a good size plant, will have the yard guys pot it up for you this fall. It is in a large pot with a number of other hibiscus

Fleming Island, FL(Zone 9a)

Hi all ,
Wow after this dry spring in NE FL the Gingers are having a comeback . I have a few that have never bloomed that are budding now. At one time these were all named but the tags ether floated away or are in squirrel nests now !
Hope everyones gardens are drying out and guessing this is not the last storm we see this summer.

Thumbnail by LoveBrug
Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

mine has dried out so much that I am back to watering, but I am on kind of a hill

Fleming Island, FL(Zone 9a)

wren I'm beside myself as it's water day here and had to water too ! With another 100 degree day tomorrow everything would be bone dry and no way wait till next water day.

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

I use a hose as most of my plants are either in pots or new plants and that is allowed.

Desoto, TX(Zone 8a)

Are we all having problems with the heat? It has been 100+ here in North Central Texas for the last week. My water bill will be astronomical. Just can't stand to see everything wilt, never to return. The heat doesn't seem to be as bad as the ray of the sun. Everything is just singed. We did this last summer and I was hoping this year would be different. Have gone almost all Texas natives and even they are dying.

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

I'm also back to using the hoses. That few days of rain from storm Debbie really did make the plants pop up and look great. We can water 2 days a week and every day on new stuff which I just set out around new pond.

Jeremy I did the cutting about the way you said except I make my own potting soil as I have composted cow poop a plenty. I use Root Tone. The cuttings have been in the pot for about 2 weeks so we shall see of some root. I never thought to skin some bark off so if they don't take I'll try that next time. Thanks for your taking the time to explain it all.


Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

Nice Ginger show LoveBrug.
Thanks for the new thread Jeremy.
We had 21" in 4 days but it just perked right on thru.
Everything got spoiled and wants water now.
I used to spend $200 a month on water.
No plants, no spend $200.
Hi Bonnie.

FU, United States(Zone 9b)

Jeremy, .. please do take my Racer Snakes, (I just can't bare the thought of them eating my anoles, lizards or frogs).
As far as the raccoons I've seen at 3:00 in the morning, they are huge. The are tall and long, but will run away if you bang on the window.

I love the flowers near your home.You always have 'gorgeous' photos of flowers of yours and those around you. Always a joy to look at.

FU, United States(Zone 9b)

My white 'Pentas" have grown into 2 foot wide and 2 1/2 foot high plants since the rains started heavely. What awesome plants they are. I want to get more of them.


Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Despite several feet of rain per square inch (literally!) during TS Debbie, my sandy garden soil is dry already and plants are wilting. I'm running the sprinklers today to keep the plants fresh.

Bonnie - glad to help with the propagation efforts. I hope the Cestrum root for you. Scraping the top layer of skin/bark off the portion of a cutting that goes in the soil was a trick taught in Master Gardener training by the Extension Office. It had never occurred to me either to do it, but it does sometimes seem to help spur the stem to send out roots.

Christina and I were walking back from the Winn-Dixie yesterday (no working vehicles currently, and the city forced me to get rid of the van that I had hoped to repair). I was sad to see the empty field with the sun-loving ferns, Coreopsis, Drummond's Phlox and native Passionvine getting its once or twice a year mowing. I know the Passionvines will pop back up soon after the mowing, but I was hoping to get some of the sun ferns before they were mowed down. Oh, well. I'll wait a few weeks and hope the ferns return.

Too hot to be outside! I go through clean T-shirts about one every 5 minutes from sweating when I try to do even simple tasks in the yard. Was soaking with sweat from a few minutes waiting for the bus to bring me downtown today. Off to Lowe's later to return a post hole digger handle that doesn't fit my digger (and of course, raid the 75% off plant sale distressed plants rack!).


Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Jeremy the Bracket fern is poison and very invasive at times. Loves it dry and hot

Pentas explode when they freeze.

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

I did some checking about Sylvain and this is the latest from last night.
"Sylvain is having a tough time of it. He developed some kind of skin problem which was operated on and is waiting for skin grafts to help heal the situation. He has been in the hospital almost two weeks and doesn't seem to be getting the treatment he needs. And , of course, he has diabetic and weight problems which make the situation more difficult."
I hope it doesn't upset Sylvain that I posted this. He will appreciate all the prayers he can get.
As for me I had my 2nd physical therapy yesterday. I have a broken tip-toe button. I sure hate to think I can't get on my tip toes to get things from top shelves for myself and those not so tall.
Life is wonderful,

Desoto, TX(Zone 8a)

Thank you, Sidney. Sylvain is a friend to all and doesn't deserve to be so ill. Will continue prayers for both Sylvain and Gail.

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

Yes, I don't know how Gail is getting along without him. I will inquire as to how she is doing also.

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Sidney thank you for finding out for us.

Send him some {{{{{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}} from us


Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

Sheldon's wife is helping Gail and watering his plants. Just pray all is well for both of them.

Desoto, TX(Zone 8a)

thank you

Homosassa, FL

Hi Guys: I have 2 Nandinas in huge pots next to my front entrance. One is in semi-shade which is doing great, and the other one is in full sun, which is not doing so well. It looks like something ate a lot of the leaves off, but I can't see any bugs on it. Anybody have a similar experience? I don't know what to do for it. It looks worse every time I look at it.

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Good morning everyone, thankfully World War III is over for another year

jbhomosassa Go out after dark with a flashlight and check, and show a picture maybe someone can tell from the picture


Fleming Island, FL(Zone 9a)

Anyone else get that great rain last nite? Almost 2" in my gauge this AM. When the fireworks around us were going off ~9:30 it was still raining out. Of course I hadn't finished the front bed & again had a moat. Hopefully I'll be able to get the lava rock delivered & spread out by early next week.

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

We get the rain up here but it cleared out in time for World War III to start.

Allthingsplants, FL(Zone 8b)

Thanks for the update on Sylvain & Gail Sidney. Will continue to send positive energy for them both. Sylvain is such a good guy; I hate to hear of his troubles.
We can all bet he's givin' 'em hell! And charming the nurses no doubt. THAT'S our Sylvain!

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Good morning everyone

{{{{{{{{{{Sylvain & Gail }}}}}}}}

Waving at everyone else


Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Thanks for the update on Sylvain, Sugarweed! I do hope he recovers soon and that all will be well.

We got the downpour also that ended just in time for the July 4th fireworks (including those around the neighborhood). Was glad for the rain because everything was drying up even after the gallons per hour downpours of TS Debby.

Anyone tried the plant in the attached photo? A new find on the 75% off bargain plant rack at Lowe's (final price, $1.50 for 1 gal). It is Otomeria genus, O' Primiera series. From what I see from brief research online, it is native to east Africa and "thrives with extreme heat and high light." I hope it does well. Would hate to waste a buck-fifty. LOL


Thumbnail by JaxFlaGardener
Cape Coral, FL(Zone 10a)

Hello All -

We've had consistent rain for the past few weeks here in Cape Coral. It's nice to see the plants and grass stand tall after the rain.

JaxFlaGardner - Sounds like you got a good deal! Love those last chance plants. I just bought an Echinacea today for $.99. I don't know if it will actually grow down here, but figured it might be worth a shot for that price.

Ocala, FL(Zone 9a)

Jeremy & floridabunnie - I hear ya on Lowe's clearance rack. Scored two magenta Sunpatiens yesterday for $1 each that were in surprisingly good shape. ALMOST picked up some pitiful caladiums, but never grew caladiums and not familiar with how they bounce back with some TLC.

Cape Coral, FL(Zone 10a)

Hi Denisemb -

I have had pretty good luck with Caladiums. We have them planted around a tree in our backyard. The only problems I have had is when the neighborhood armadillo decided to dig some of mine up. Happiness Farms in Lake Placid has great caladium bulbs at pretty good prices.

Thumbnail by floridabunnie
Ocala, FL(Zone 9a)

Oh, those caladiums are gorgeous! Guess I'll have to start educating myself on another new addiction. ;)

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Caladiums seem to be hit or miss for me, but I have a few that returned from last year. I have a difficult time finding a spot with enough sun to make them robust, but not so much sun that they burn up.

If it weren't for Lowe's 75% off distressed bargain plants, I would be in serious plant addict withdrawal on our current household budget. I do tend to come home with more plants than I can reasonably carry on a city bus, but just consider it as my temporary landscaping gift to the other bus passengers. LOL

Did anyone in Jax get the rain last night? Thunder rumbling off to the south, severe thunderstorm warning scrolls for Duval County at the bottom of Channel 12 TV shows, but not a drop at my house. Will be running the sprinklers today to keep plants alive.

Some more bargain plant finds in the photos:
1. Red Hot Poker - Kniphofia 'Creamsicle' - $1.50 - have had trouble growing these in the past, but I do know they will grow and return here from year to year because they are growing at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in the Savanna Blooms area.
2. Obedient Plant - Physostegia 'Pink Manners' - $1.50 - never tried these here, but I grew them in a NYC rooftop garden that I tended for artist, Lowell Nesbitt. The common name of "Obedient Plant" comes from the fact that you can move the small flowers in any direction along the stem and the flowers will stay put.
3. This was labeled as Penstemon 'Lavender Ruffles', 62 cents - but I think either the grower got the tags mixed up or the tag got switched around at Lowe's. It looks and smells like a true lavender (Lavandula species).
4. Bat Face Cuphea - Cuphea llavea - $1.50 (there were a lot of these available a few days ago) - I've grown these before, but I think they died out from the severe winters of 2009 - 2010 or for other reasons.
5. Salvia greggii 'Heatwave Series' - $1.50 - I've not tried this cultivar of sage before, and not sure which color I got (the Heatwave Series ranges from white-pink-and a few reds). Some sage cultivars do great here and others croak within a few days or weeks. I've been told by a Facebook friend that hummingbirds love this one -- hope it makes it!


This message was edited Jul 8, 2012 12:45 PM

Thumbnail by JaxFlaGardener Thumbnail by JaxFlaGardener Thumbnail by JaxFlaGardener Thumbnail by JaxFlaGardener Thumbnail by JaxFlaGardener
Archer/Bronson, FL(Zone 8b)


The bat faced cupheas die out here from the heat, they never get to the cold of winter.

This year I have found what does well in the heat of summer. Planted them in the spring and they are still doing well: Gazanias, periwinkles, portulacca, sedum, in shade, oh and not to forget the dianthus. I thought they would all be dead by now, but happily, are not.

Spent several hours out today pulling weeds. We have had the rains too and the weeds certainly do thrive from it. It's one thing trying to take over the flowerbeds, but they get my ire up when they trip me on the pathways. Came away with hitch hikers stuck to my clothes and even my bare legs. Mosquitoes are very bad right now. But I try not to let them run me into the house until the sun beats me down.

On my way over to ds's house for steaks on the grill and a dip in their clean pool. Haven't seen my dgd's for 3 weeks as I was sick for a while. Doing better, still have a cough but not contagious. It will be a nice play day with the kids. Better move now, they are waiting for ice.


Cape Coral, FL(Zone 10a)

Hi Jeremy -

Wow, you really hit Lowes at the right time! I have been looking for red hot pokers around here - but no luck yet. Guess I'll check at Lowes, maybe they'll have some. I just purchased a plant there yesterday on their sale rack for $3. It was not labeled, but almost looks like mini sunflowers. I love finding deals like this!

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Looks like I need to start a bounce of Red hot poker plants from seeds for next years RU. LOL

Brooksville, FL(Zone 9a)

those red hot pokers are very easy to grow from seeds, floridabunnie, give it a try.


Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Sandy -- what is the trick to getting the Red Hot Pokers to survive? I can't seem to get them to last long. I know they like dry conditions, but even when I provide that, they are not happy.

Dern! It seems I've lost my trait that made me distasteful to mosquitoes. I haven't worried about mosquito bites for years (some people do have a natural chemical makeup that mosquitoes don't like, but my body repellent seemed to have built up over time). Last night about dusk, I was trying to pot up some Golden Cestrum pruned limbs for propagation and was surprised to find mosquitoes swarming in all around me and trying to devour me. The only thing that has changed is that I started taking fish oil and omega 3 supplements as part of a trial test program from Harvard Brigham & Women's College. Maybe the fish oil makes me edible again by mosquitoes?? If so, I may have to drop out of the study. It has been great for several years to be outside all day, any part of the day and never get a mosquito bite.


Desoto, TX(Zone 8a)

Come to my house.....mosquitos, fire ants and chiggers. I am covered with bites. Even DEET does nothing.

Cape Coral, FL(Zone 10a)

Meadowyck - Thanks for the tip, I will try it. I've been trying my hand at seeds lately. Have had a little luck, but I'm not Johnny Appleseed yet. Looks like this will be my next test - LOL!

JaxFlaGardner/Lou C - I was the same way - almost immune. My husband was the one that ran around the yard swatting like a madman to get away from the bugs. However, this year, I have found that they are feasting on me. I've noticed that we have some mosquitoes that I don't remember seeing before though. The ones that have been biting on me are black with white markings. A lady that flies a plane for mosquito control goes to my gym and she said there are over 3500 different types of mosquitoes!! I had no idea.

Milton, FL(Zone 8b)

Hi I am new to this thread and fairly new to Dave's Garden. I live in Northwest Florida, Zone 8b, however a little too far inland for the warm seabreezes to reach. I have had great success with 'Lavender Ruffles' but have not been able to find it recently. My blueberry bushes, African iris, blue daze, Bulbine frutescens and bottlebrush do very well. I have never heard of the Red Hot Poker but have a couple firecracker plants which thrive. One of these I found on the Lowe's clearance rack!

I could use some advice on how to get Bromeliads to bloom and also wonder if anyone in this zone has had success with growing citrus. I have a meyer's lemon and Persian lime in pots. They have produced fruit despite the container being a bit small but recent drought followed by deluges have taken its toll on both plants. I consistently remove the orange dog catepillar, relocating them to somewhere else in the yard and have already seen a few Swallowtails this year. Look forward to any responses and hope to contribute in the future. Thank you! Kristal

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