Low-Growing "Shrubs"?

shear_stupidity(9B)January 30, 2013

I am starting to attempt a lush, tropical-looking back yard like the one at Hoeandshovel.com (If you haven't looked at her photos, you really should. That woman has an EYE for this stuff! But alas, she doesn't consult on my size of the state)

I need suggestions for plants for the "mid-zone" in height range. I've got specimen trees and mature Loquats and Oaks, tons of Schefflera, Porterweed, and other tall-growers. And I think I might have a handle on the lower-growers and groundcovers. What is in the middle? I don't want to have to constantly prune things that want to be 10' tall down to the 2-4' range.

Suggestions?

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morningloree(9b)

Hi,
Azaleas get to be about that size and Lorapetulum is pretty reasonable, but might have to be trimmed. Have you tried Nelson Roses, they are Florida friendly and so are Knockout. I have Wendy's Wish Salvia, Duranta Goldmound, and Dwarf Butterfly Bushes that are all the size you are describing.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 6:59PM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

Something to look at might be wildflowers. There are many wildflowers that fit the range you are talking about and a lot of them are native to our state. The trick might be finding the right wildflower for the right conditions, but in that picture you have above, I could really see a mass planting of Blazing Stars providing a burst of purple behind that bench.

Just something to think about.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 9:38PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

shear_stupidity wrote: "I've got specimen trees and mature Loquats and Oaks..."

So these would mostly be full shade and under-story plants? Or would some be in full sun?

Carol in Jacksonville

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 11:19PM
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katkin_gw

Shear, just had to say your garden is lovely. I wish we could tour each others gardens. :o)

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 7:11AM
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shear_stupidity(9B)

Love_The_Yard, I have every type of growing situation: Full shade in dry soil, full shade in damp soil, part shade, blazing hot sun, uphill, downslope, you name it. I need plants for all these areas.
Leekle, wildflowers would work as long as they re-seeded and came back eyvery year.
Katkin, that's not my garden. That's what I'm trying to do in my garden. But I know what you mean!

This post was edited by shear_stupidity on Thu, Jan 31, 13 at 7:37

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 7:35AM
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castorp

If you like the look of the Hoe and shovel pick you can copy her scheme. She borders the beds with variegated liriope or aztec grass. The next layer is coleus. Then she has some red pentas--3 foot range--in the middle. I also see some caladiums. There's an agapanthus in the foreground. The paths look like St. Augustine. All of this will probably grow where you are. Keep in mind though it will require a good bit of water and some soil enrichment of some sort to look so good. Also keep in mind that coleus will have to be replaced every year and pentas every 2 or 3 to look their best. Freezes will nip all but the liriope border back. She's using the evergreen liriope as a "frame" for more temporary plants. When the plants die or get ragged she just tears them out and fills up the "frame" again.

I use wildflowers or well adapted exotics that grow pretty much wild for plants in this height range, but they are definitely not the "lush tropical look" you want, (They're more the meadow look).

Good luck with it.

Bill

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 6:09PM
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morningloree(9b)

The Dwarf Powderpuff Bush would look nice, too. I have a few in my yard and they are pretty care free. Pentas and Ixoras would add some color. Gingers for the shadier areas, variegated is pretty hardy. Mandevilla might work in your area, the winters of 2009 and 2010 did mine in. Jatropha, Duranta, and Plumbago are also some choices. BTW if you want Liriope, let me know, I had a landscaper do some work, and they filled my yard with the stuff, then they went out of business!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 7:24PM
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shear_stupidity(9B)

Thanks for the info, Castorp

Morningloree, I have copied your list and will start my homework. Yes, I want lots more Liriope! I want everything!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 7:30PM
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TheTradition(9b)

Be careful with azaleas. Some varieties stay small, and some don't. They do grow fairly slowly, though.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 11:42AM
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starryrider(9)

There is a pink spirea that is very pretty and stays short

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 11:57AM
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shuffles_gw

Heliconia Psittacorum and many cannas are easy to grow and grow to about five feet. When happy though, they can multiply agressively.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 5:35PM
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shear_stupidity(9B)

I love Heliconia... I have a little bit, and am hoping to divide them and have more. I've been eyeballing the Canna selection and have had them before and love them. My only issue with Canna is that they are the "goldfish" of plants. They're "dirty." (Like Papaya is "dirty")

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 8:22PM
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shuffles_gw

shear,
If you are near Tampa, I have plenty of Heliconia and cannas to share.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 8:08AM
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shear_stupidity(9B)

I'm not near Tampa, but I will actually BE in Tampa Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday-ish this coming week. (Helping my sister move) I don't have a definite plant for when I'll be there or how long I'll stay, but I'd love to try to arrange something. Where in Tampa are you? I don't know the area, but my sister lives in what she calls the "Carrollwood" area, near Bearss and Dale Mabry roads. Any of that make sense to you? I"ll email this to you, too.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 10:17AM
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shuffles_gw

shear,

Send me an e-mail. I am located near Dale Mabry and I275, about eight miles south of your sister. I am home most afternoons and some mornings.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 10:21AM
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jane__ny(9-10)

Hi Shear, you spent so much time helping me out on Landscaping, thought I might offer a suggestion. This bush is growing in front of my house. It was identified as white Plumbago. It is a medium bush and never stops flowering. It hasn't grown since we've been here (6mos) and is quite pretty. I haven't done a thing to it including water. Seems to thrive on neglect.

Jane

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 9:46PM
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shear_stupidity(9B)

I forgot Plumbago comes in white! (I don't like the blue/purple) Thanks for reminding me! I will add it to the list for sure. I mean, if it can grow on the side of the road, I'm sure it will do fine here. ;)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 7:26AM
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