Mailbox shrubs/flowers?

cynthiainsouthflaMay 15, 2012

Fellow gardeners,

I have a very boring mailbox area. The mailbox itself is ordinary white plastic, which unfortunately needs to stay that way due to the propensity of young people to knock over mailboxes in our area.

I want to dress up my area with flowering and/or foliage shrubs. The problem of course is that the plants will be right next to the street with all the traffic fumes and of course it is a hot location in full sun.

Close by, I have a croton bed (purple red orange) with orange epidendrums and foxtail ferns, so it should coordinate with that, but I don't want to repeat the same thing because there are several other beds just like it already and it will get monotonous.

I was thinking of a hot pink mandevilla on a trellis with some orange achmea bromeliads and maybe some foxtail ferns for repetition's sake. Do you think those are hardy enough to survive? Other ideas?

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I planted a small tree (oleander) and put some bromeliads under it and around the mailbox. I used full sun ones. I also have ground orchids, spathaglottis, in the bed.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 6:11AM
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Confederate jasmine...might eat the mailbox though.


Morning Glory.

I am partial to the Mandevilla, I have 4 that I put out a month ago and they twine an inch overnight.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 10:49AM
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jellybobelly(Orlando 9B)

I planted a crape on the west side of my mailbox area to provide some shade to counter the extra heat of the area. Although my plan didn't work out due to the fact the crape never grew (still working on that problem) I think the idea was a good one.

For plants, I mostly chose drought tolerant ones figuring they would take the extra heat and roughness of the area better. Mexican petunia, Mexican heather, guara, liriope and purple fountain grass have all survived the heat of the summer there. I've just planted some plumbago, day lily and flax lily.

I'd love to see pics if you can as I love to drool over others beautiful plants.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 11:40AM
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Hi Kathy
I came across this while searching for something else.

You have ground orchids planted at your mailbox in the full blazing sun? Got a pic?

I find my spathees get all sunburned if they're not in shade. But I'd love to put them in a mailbox or lamppost garden! That would be so pretty - they really deserve to be up front when they're in bloom.

How do you keep them watered?

And Jelly - your mailbox garden is a work of art. I saw your pictures and was doing some research on guara when this post came up. How much and often do you water yours?

Thanks and sorry for butting in on you, Cynthia.


    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 3:30PM
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jellybobelly(Orlando 9B)

Susie, I planted some guara late last year so I can't really comment on watering them during the summer. This year I planted some more around a month ago but I was still hitting them as I kept planting the area. I'm just now starting to cut down on the watering of the area. I'll be posting a follow-up on the guara in my mailbox thread and I'll let you know about how the watering goes.

They are supposed to be drought tolerant once established, but we'll see how that works in that area in a month or two.

I would love to know more about your ground orchids. Just saw them for the first time at Lowe's last week. LOVED THEM. Was too afraid to buy them as I'm not sure how much sun or water they need.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 10:06AM
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Jelly -
here's a shot of a couple of my ground orchids in pots in a garden with a Red Tip in the center for some shade.

You can see that the one on the left had gotten too much sun. This is what makes me wonder how they would do in the mailbox garden. . . . unless there were nice tall oaks nearby that give it the shade.

My mailbox is not on my side of the road and it is on a post that is shared with three of my neighbors. The yard it sits in doesn't get any water. So for this one I doubt the orchids would be good.

But I've got tons of baby guara plants that I have no room for in my yard. Here's the side yard with about 8 white ones in a long row:

And here's the end of the bed:

I don't think I can cram anymore in this space! But they look so great in real life when you can see them against the grass with roses peeking out.

I did a search for ground orchids to see what the experts say so I could direct your question. My experience is mostly from way further south - where it was frost-free and shady. I had some awesome ground orchids down there. then we moved to Highlands County and got hit with the "mild" winter. It is taking the ground orchids a long time to recover, even though they are all (about 12) in containers and we moved them onto the porch.

My mom lives in Longwood and used to have them so gorgeous under the oaks. I guess that was during a long stretch of warmer winters. Hers have just petered out over the years. So I don't know what to tell ya. The ones I have seen at stores cost around $16. So I keep dividing mine to get new ones! If you can get them cheap enough, they might be worth trying in Orlando.

I'm sure there are lots of folks here with more experience with them than me!

Keep us posted on what you end up doing, especially on that mailbox garden!


    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 7:09PM
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No troubles, Susie. I put in a red mandevilla (husbnd preferred). Nothing else yet, but with all the rain we've been having, I haven't had to worry about water!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 1:37PM
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jellybobelly(Orlando 9B)

Susie, your ground orchids are fantastic. Ok maybe not so much the one with the sunburn. LOL. I was thinking of them for a different area probably next to the house where they would be in shade. Definitely too much sun at the mailbox area.

Last years guaras died back to the ground over the winter probably due to lack of winter watering (the area isn't irrigated so it only gets watered when I drag a hose down there). But they did come back before I started watering the area for the new plants. They may need some hand watering over the hottest months if we go without rain for a bit. I'll definitely know in a few months.

Since you have so many white ones (they look great), it could be worth trying them out. Of course you'll have to carry a watering can to get the mail while they get established. But in return you would have something pretty to look at when you get the mail.

Let me know what you end up doing as I'm interested in how it turns out.

cynthiainsouthfla, red mandevilla is lovely. I bet it looks great with your white mailbox.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 2:49PM
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