Panama rose – revisited

Panama roses
Clusters of pink Panama roses

When you start noticing more underutilized flowering shrubs being planted in the area, the value of that plant begins to shine through.  Several years ago, I noticed a whole hedge line of Panama roses in front of a commercial building on 41 in Port Charlotte.  They are flowering at this time of year, as were some new specimens I noticed at the Nature Park in Punta Gorda.  Also called “Bush Penta” because of its similarity to Penta flowers, the Panama rose is not a true rose, but a great flowering shrub and butterfly attracter. The Panama rose is in flower right now and is worth rediscovering!

These sprawling evergreen shrubs with lance-shaped leaves sport clusters of dark-pink tubular flowers with yellow centers. Blooming commences in December and continues on through May each year.   As a bonus, blooms may occur and on and off the remainder of the season. The Panama rose is noted for its beautiful aroma as well. The scent of the flower is more intense at night, but butterflies favor them during the day when the fragrance is lighter.  Best in full sun to part-shade, the Panama rose is moderately drought-tolerant once established and can be easily maintained at three to five feet tall with careful pruning best done in early summer. Make sure the soil is well-drained to avoid root rot. While the flowering hedge of Panama rose, I saw in Port Charlotte was eye-catching, this plant can also be used as a single specimen, small mass plantings of three to five plants in butterfly gardens – near a patio to enjoy the evening fragrance – or even in a large container or planting box.  As I mentioned earlier, the Nature Park has a nice display of Panama rose shrubs to visit and admire.

On occasion, I see the Panama rose available at local box-store garden centers, but more often run into them at botanical gardens or established local gardens. As such, local family-run garden shops are more likely to carry this plant. A quick search revealed that the Panama rose does seem to be abundantly available through on-line plant mail order companies, so you may also want to look in that direction. Making your own cuttings from a friend’s specimen is another option with this easily propagated plant. However, you find one, this is a worthy plant in your landscape, and it is flowering now! For more information on all types of flowering shrubs suitable for our area, or to ask a question, please visit https://www.facebook.com/CharlotteMGLifeline/ .   Ralph E. Mitchell is the Director/Horticulture Agent for the UF/IFAS Charlotte County Extension Service. He can be reached at 941-764-4344 or ralph.mitchell@charlottecountyfl.gov.

Resources:
Maccubbin, T. (2007) Panama rose. Orlando Sentinel. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2007-05-05/news/PROFILE05_1_flowering-growing-plant
Landre, C. (2019) South-Florida-Plant-Guide – Panama Rose. South-Florida-Plant-Guide.com
Stallsmith, A. (2019) How to Grow a Panama Rose. https://homeguides.sfgate.com/grow-panama-rose-96266.html
Gibson, M. (2022) How to Grow Panama Rose Flowers.  Gardening Channel.
Hubbuch, C. (2019) The Genus Rondeletia – Family Rubiaceae – Gardening in the Coastal Southeast. http://southeastgarden.com/rondeletia.html

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Posted: March 31, 2022


Category: Home Landscapes
Tags: Drought-tolerant, Panama Rose


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