On the third day of winter
a dear friend gave to me
three flowering shrubs.
Monrovia actually supplied plants to nine extension offices of UF’s NE District. We were bestowed with Jatropha integerrima ‘Petite Pinkie.’ Likewise ‘Blue Cascade’ and ‘Emerald Heights’ distylium. I looked forward to blooms of ‘Blue Enchantress’ hydrangea. ‘Bronze Anniversary’ abelia promote lime-gold leaf during summer months.
What was the purpose?
Observe and contrast these species in a typical garden situation. Soil pH range from acidic to alkaline. Sites range from sandy, loamy, well drained to wet. Levy County Extension is fortunate to have a Florida’s Automated Weather Network (FAWN) station in Bronson. Our data include rainfall and relative humidity. Temperature data was also sourced at FAWN.
What are 18-month results?
- Two of the three reblooming hydrangea ran into a mower. Has that ever happened to you? Since they are showing new growth, we’ll dig and replant. The new site will be cooler, sunnier and safer.
2. Evergreen distylium did well. We discovered red blooms this spring. Blueish leaf provide nice contrast. According to Monrovia, distylium grow Zone 6- 9. Levy County is at extreme southern range.
3. The well failed. Supplemental water was not available. The abelia died as a result.
4. Atlas of Vascular Plants classifies jatropha family as Euphorbiaceae. You may know it as peregrina. ‘Petite Pinkie’ is not evergreen in frost prone areas. Levy County is at its northern growth range.
According to Marc Frank, Botonist, UF Herbarium, flower structure may provide clues as to pollination mechanism. Were the pink flowers pollinated by bees? Insects or wind? I am pleased to see many nickel sized fruit at the Bronson Discovery garden. Could these yield viable seed? Will they revert back to one of the parent plants?
5. 100% of agents experienced good results with distylium. Results were fair with jatropha. Abelia and hydrangea yield mixed response.
Will jatropha survive 2017 winter?
Good question. We use mulch, irrigation and other recommended practices . We do not cover plants. Do you cover plants when frost or hard freeze is predicted?
Stay tuned for jatropha updates. ~ Happy Gardening.