Monday, 25 January 2016 00:00

What is an Invasive Plant?

You may often hear about invasive or exotic plants, but what exactly do those terms mean? Can you still plant invasive or exotic plants? 

An exotic plant is simply a species that was brought to Florida from elsewhere. A native plant is one that is naturally occurring in Florida.  An "invasive exotic" is a plant that has an expanding population and did not originate in South Florida.

So doesn’t that mean everything that is not native to Florida is exotic? Yes, but not invasive.  The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council only lists about 11% of the exotic species as invasive.  With more than 1,400 exotic species in Florida many of these plants do not have invasive qualities and are perfectly suitable for the environment.  While the FLEPPC (Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council) has a list of invasive plants separated by category, this does not mean that you cannot use these plants in your landscape. Broken into two categories, Category I (more threatening) and Category II (less threatening), they have varying levels of aggression within plant communities.  

Some popular Category I plants include: Mimosa/ Silk Trees, Asparagus Fern, Australian Pines, Sword Fern, and Strawberry Guava trees. 

Category II: Mexican Petunia, Coconut Palm, Silverthorn, Chinese Fan Palm, Bottlebrush, Golden Bamboo, Senegal Date Palms, Solitaire Palms, Oyster Plant, and Washington Fan Palms.  Also on the list is Orange Jessamine, which has been restricted because of its threat to the citrus crop. 

These lists do not restrict homeowners from using these plants, but caution should be used when planting.  Proper maintenance and pest plant management should be taken to ensure plants do not spread or overtake other plant communities.  On a regional and municipal scale, heavier restrictions are in place preventing these plants from being used in mass planting.  If you are unsure about restrictions in your area check your local government website for guidelines as well as maintenance advice. 

Published in Blog
Monday, 18 January 2016 00:00

Wire Trellis System

Wire trellising is a popular trend and great way to bring greenery to spaces of all sizes.  They are produced as freestanding units or even stainless steel wires that can be adhered to walls.  Their benefits extend well beyond aesthetics, but they are a creative option for parking garages, courtyard walls, or even fences.  In addition trellis systems, if wired with dense vines, can help buffer wind and sound, decrease energy consumption by regulating air temperatures, and even protect exterior walls from UV and weather damage.

Wire trellising can be laid out in a diamond or square pattern.  The diamond pattern, seen immediately below, is a more classic and traditional layout.  This application also has vines growing on the surrounding frame. 

The grid pattern, below, is often more contemporary and usually features a surrounding frame.  

The best vines for wire trellises include: Confederate Jasmine, Allamanda, 'Barbara Karst' Boungainvillea, and Bleeding Heart Vine.  Another beautiful option is Purple Passion Vine, but it requires more maintenance and spraying for pests. 


Published in Blog
Monday, 11 January 2016 00:00

Plant Spotlight- Bougainvillea

With winter here many plants in Southwest Florida are in bloom, including an Outside Productions favorite, 'Helen Johnson' Bougainvillea.   Named after Helen Johnson, the first female licensed as a landscape architect in Florida, this low-lying variety of Bougainvillea features blooms on and off all year.  Helen Johnson began her career in landscape architecture at the age of 12 when she worked at the Everglades Nursery.  From there she worked for Thomas and Mina Edison as their landscape designer.   The 'Helen Johnson' cultivar was hybridized by the Everglades Nursery and features smaller thorns, dought, cold, and salt-tolerance.  Another unique feature of this variety of Bougainvillea is the height, which can be around 3' when trimmed.  Unlike "Barbara Karst' this variety is typically used as a shrub or groundcover and can be used as a border.  The plant color can range in color from a purple-pink to a pink-orange shade.  The actual flower is the small white blossom inside the colorful flower bracts. 


'Helen Johnson' Bougainvillea works well as a border due to its low-lying form. 

Published in Blog