by Amanda Rose Newton
Spring is officially in full bloom and with so many of us having extra quality time in our yards, it’s hard to ignore those areas where nothing seems to grow. Take comfort in knowing you are not alone in this predicament, as here in Brevard County, Florida, every yard has its quirks. Whether it’s a shady corner, a lower spot that seems to retain water, or essentially being left with sand as your only growing medium, there is a plant for you. Below are a few of what we gardeners consider “impossible to kill” plants that take readily to just these scenarios.
Let these plant superheroes inspire you to get creative in your yard.
Plants for sandy and dry soil areas
This sandy soil-loving classic doubles as a visual focal point in your garden and pairs well with other succulents or cacti. With many varieties to choose from, ranging from blue hues to variegation, an agave adds a pop of color to your yard and requires minimal care on your end.
By planting choices like dune sunflower, sea grapes, or sea oats, you get the low maintenance value offered by native plants and can capture the look of seaside Florida. Everyday in your yard will be feel like a vacation!
If you thought picking tough plants meant having to forego flowers, let the captivating desert rose change your mind! With its bonsai-like growth and beautiful jewel-hued flowers, it is another garden showstopper made for dry, sandy areas.
If you have struggled to get grass going in sandy soil but are missing the lushness offered by a lawn, consider a carpet of sedum or purslane. Both have minimal water requirements and provide desired coverage.
Plants for shady areas
Annuals and Perennials
Believe it or not, you can grow flowers successfully in shady spots! Some of the classics include crossandra, cat whiskers, impatiens, and begonias. Coleus, caladiums, and Persian shield offer foliage in bright shades that will certainly wake up this forgotten corner of the yard.
Shrubs and Vines
Many of the classics from up North that snowbirds might be missing can be done here in Florida successfully in the shade. Such is the case for the familiar blooms of camelias, azaleas, and gardenias. Those going for a tropical look can feel free to add ginger, dracaena, cordyline, and powderpuff plants. Vines are not off the table either, as beautiful scented confederate jasmine, bleeding heart vine, and creeping fig are stellar performers in shady spots.
Plants for Wet Areas
If you have an area that is slow to drain, you can still get away with adding colorful additions to your space. African Iris has inviting tall foliage with lovely yellow or white blooms throughout the season. Both calla and canna lilies, known for their beautiful foliage display, perform well in extra moisture. Shrimp plant is another colorful classic that gives a tropical flare, especially paired with alocasias (elephant ears). Florida’s own firebush and wax myrtle are not slowed down by extra moisture and will continue to thrive season to season.
Outside the Box Suggestion
Several varieties of bamboo do quite well in wet conditions. Buddha Belly, or Wamin is especially well suited and stays at a manageable height. Exotic Hawaiian stripe and black timber bamboo are visually striking and provide a handy screening effect, perfect for blocking air conditioning units or adding privacy.