Companion plants for crotons

Discussion in 'THE CROTON SOCIETY' started by junglegal, Jan 17, 2016.

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  1. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    3,135
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    I'm curious what other members interests may be in the garden. We all have the common love of crotons but it takes companion plantings to complete a landscape. I'm questioning my logic given the current weather forecast but I recently went on a buying binge. Unlike a lot of you with established gardens, I'm still trying to fill my landscape. What are you excited to grow aside from crotons?
    Recently received the following:
    3 gal Gardenia tubifera 'Kula' - inspired by Randy posting about this plant on IPS
    3 gal Mussaeanda 'Calcutta Sun'
    Heliconia zebrina 'Inca'
    12 mystery ti plants from HI **fun watching the logs sprout on a heating pad in my lanai
    the fantastic red phil Dean has been auctioning
    a sabal lisa I bought from Tim
    Scott is really inspiring me to try different Ti plants, loads of color in small spaces.
    Seeing Mike's Ae Ae ,albeit, blown over :( makes me want to grow this again!
     
  2. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,644
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    Heliconias - gave them a try and after two years in the ground, most rotted out in a cold rainy winter some 15 years ago. Only the Orange Gyros remain and they are a bit invasive.
    Sabal 'Lisa" - good choice; the ones at Kopsik seem more prone to K deficiency than other sabals down there; easy to prevent with a bit extra K.
     
  3. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    3,135
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    Phil, if I am remembering, those gyros are along your back fence. Exposed to some strong sun right? I remember remarking that I would not do heliconia again because they shred & topple in the wind. I choose to try the zebrina because it maxes out at 3-4ft. I have my doubts that it will ever flower but the foliage is striking. If I can keep it alive, I will share a rhizome with you. You have ideal conditions for it from what I've read.
     
  4. kwtimo

    kwtimo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    586
    Location:
    key west, fl 10b-11
    Bren, I think a lot of it depends on lighting conditions. I always try to use as many species of palms in my designs as possible. There is such tremendous diversity in overall size, color and leaves to start, and then all the more subtle characteristics like tomentum, fiber, crownshaft color, root structures, etc. Everything from massive and stately Copernicia, Borrasus and Corypha. to shade loving understory palms like Calyptrocaylyx, Chamadorea, and some small Licualas. I also love fragrant material. Gardenias are more diverse and readily available now like the tubifera you mentioned. There is also the Tahitian, double Tahitian, and Vietnamese gardenias to choose from. Similar yet completely different are the Tabernaemontanas. Aglaia odorata is one of my all time favorite fragrant shrubs that can be used for screening, or as a specimen. Michelia alba is an amazing tree with fragrant blooms, Michelia figo is another fantastic fragrant shrub. Aroids, Calathea, Medenilla and Diffenbachia can be used in low light areas for texture and color. Cycads are a whole another animal. So much can be done with bromeliads too. There are a lot of really cool ferns also available. Tropicals like Costus, Ginger and Heliconia are always rewarding when they are happy. This is a pretty good base for what I like to use, but the possibilities are endless. Most importantly, have fun with it!
     
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  5. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,644
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    The Orange Gyros were along the back fence (they're still in the neighbor's yard); they are still in the side yard and do get a bit of wind damage (like last night); they're a good reliable bloomer but are still somewhat invasive. Will keep your offer in mind; thanks.
     
    junglegal likes this.
  6. koki

    koki Active Member

    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    pine island, fl
    Got to love the palms and cycads. Really a lot of different varieties for whatever application, and they are generally slow/low maintenance. Can't rule out anything that smells good. Osmanthus fragrans, chameadorea fragrans, and sweet almond can be added to the list above. Native plants, so important...if you hike deep in the woods, where the deer and the indians found a place to rest, it's all native. Buttonwood, live oak, cypress, resurrection fern, shoestring fern, encyclia tampensis, epidendrum, coonties, mimosa...the list is long. Shell ginger always looks happy and has a great tropical look. Rain lilies (zephyrathes), and mondo grass, just good fun for the understory.
     
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  7. ScotTi

    ScotTi Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    4,845
    Love our FL native Coontie mixed in the garden in the front boarder.
    pizap.com14531523358591.jpg pizap.com14531524887081.jpg
     
    junglegal likes this.
  8. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    3,135
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    Awesome suggestions! I noticed in well designed gardens that repeating of plants helps with cohesion but I struggle with that aspect. Smallish lot & hoarder mentality! I am using much of the above already but would like to incorporate more fan palms & small blooming trees for dappled shade. I also searched all day for an ae ae banana so if you know a source, pm please. They were easily sourced 5-6 yrs back
     
  9. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    I don't remember Caladiums ever being mentioned here - despite having some of the most beautiful leaves in all of nature - IMO

    How Come??? We have them, but they seem somewhat hard to grow for us - too cool probably, and fragile. But I bet they look really good in Florida. Doesn't anyone grow them?
     
  10. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    3,135
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    Certain times of the year the stores are packed with them. While They are really neat looking, they went dormant for me & then the bed looks naked. Some elephant ears & gingers do the same.
     
  11. ScotTi

    ScotTi Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    4,845
    I use them in the garden beds along the front boarders for low color. They usually look good about 9 months of the year. I do not like them near the Crotons as the colors seam to clash.
    pizap.com14532879845681.jpg
    How about some Crown of Thorns. Easy no fuss plant that puts on a nice show of flowers thru out the year. They come in large and small leaf and different colors.
    IMG_2831.JPG
     
  12. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    3,135
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    I have one crown of thorns, a yellow variety a friend started from seed from Thailand. I may use them in front while I have blazing sun. I try to keep pokier plants out of my dogs domain in back. I don't need the vet bills. I have a naughty threesome always hunting lizards.
    I am compiling quite the wishlist for spring based on suggestions and research.
     
  13. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,644
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    Dean - My neighbor across the street from me in Cleveland, Ohio had more caladiums in his front window than I normally see down here (and they looked great esp in the winter) even though Sebring, FL claims to be the caladium capital of the US or the world
     

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