In the Garden:
Tropical South
July, 2004
Regional Report

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Gently squeeze a pinecone ginger bloom and you'll get a handful of delightful, refreshing lotion to rub on your hands or face.

Fragrant Plants for the Shade

The most comfortable place to garden, especially in the summer, is in the shade. Someone recently asked me to recommend fragrant flowers for the shade. So I promised a list, rubbed my hands together, and compiled the following. Dracaena, some orchids, and sansevieria have blooms that are only fragrant at night. "NCS" after the name means that it will grow in north, central, and/or south Florida.

Choice Shade-Loving Plants
Angel trumpet (Brugmansia species); CS; shrub or small tree; sun to partial shade;
Yesterday-today-and-tomorrow (Brunfelsia australis); CS; shrub; sun to light shade;
Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit (Citrus species); CS; shrub or tree; sun to partial shade;
Sweet autumn clematis (Clematis ternifolia); NCS; vine; sun to partial shade;
Spider lily, swamp lily, tree crinum (Crinum species); NCS; perennial; partial shade;
Angel trumpet (Datura species); CS; shrub; sun to partial shade;
Fragrant dracaena (Dracaena fragrans); S; shrub; full shade to sun;
Eucharis, Amazon lily (Eucharis amazonica); CS; perennial; light to dense shade;
Gardenia (Gardenia species); NCS; shrub; sun to partial shade;
Carolina yellow jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens); NC; vine; light shade to sun;
Butterfly ginger (Hedychium coronarium); NCS; perennial; partial shade to sun;
Yellow ginger (Hedychium flavum); CS; perennial; partial shade;
Kahili lily (Hedychium gardnerianum); CS; perennial; partial shade;
Florida or Chinese anise (Illicium species); NCS; shrub, tree; yellow, red; partial shade to sun;
Moonflowers (Ipomoea alba); NCS; annual vine; sun to partial shade;
Vine jasmines (Jasminum species); NCS; shrub; partial shade to sun;
Trumpet and coral honeysuckle (Lonicera species); NCS; perennial vine; light shade to sun;
White walking iris (Neomarica gracilis); CS; perennial; partial to light shade;
Orchids; S; perennial; partial to dense shade;
Vick's salve plant (Plectranthus amboinicus); NCS; perennial; partial to deep shade;
Tropical or Vireya rhododendron (Rhododendron species); CS; shrub; partial shade;
Snake plant, mother-in-law's tongue (Sansevieria species); CS; perennial; partial to full shade;
Confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum species); NCS; vine; sun to deep shade;
Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus); NCS; annual; sun to partial shade;
Pinecone ginger, lanolin lily (Zingiber zerumbet); NCS; perennial; sun to deep shade.

My Own Favorite
Pinecone ginger is one of my favorites. It grows easily anywhere I've planted it, spreads quickly but is not rampant. It goes dormant in the winter so there is no worry about frost, comes up again in the spring, and starts blooming by July 4. The same "blooms," which are actually bracts, stay on the plant until cold weather and gradually turn from apple green to bright red.

Every time you pass, you can squeeze a bloom gently for a handful of lanolin-like, sweet-smelling lotion that is great for hands, face, or hair. The blooms make an ideal focal point for bouquets where you can squeeze them for two weeks, after which time they will dry in the vase and can then be cut up for potpourri.


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