The Shrub Queen: Spiked Tropical Punch

I finally have some spikes blooming in my garden. Showy panicles or racemes in the classic style are few and far between in Tropic Florida. I love Butterfly Bush and Oakleaf Hydrangeas and all sorts of plants with those flower types, even Lysimachia. None will grow this far south. I found some Tropical Red or Blood Sage (Salvia coccinea) plants, native to coastal sandy soils in the Southeastern US, bought some thinking it should be perfect for my garden.

As these things go sometimes, this widely advertised Tropical Red Salvia is supposed to love dry sandy soils and be drought tolerant. Mine was not feeling that way at all and insisted on water and the addition of some organic matter in the soil before flowering at all. It rained a couple of inches in the past week or so and they shot up these nearly fluorescent red spikes. Yay. Here are the plants:


Native people of the Florida peninsula used this Sage medicinally for all sorts of ailments, the more widely known herb Sage is Salvia officinalis. A tea made from this plant was the cure for anything from menopause to infections. Given the wide range of its curative powers I am not too sure if would help with what ails me so, I am sticking to our modern pain relievers at this time as I don’t really like the taste of culinary Sage.

Other members of this arrangement are in white, Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica), Parrot Flower (Psittacorum) in red and yellow, Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis) in yellow, the burgundy foliage is from “Hallelujah” Bromeliad and a Split Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) Leaf.

Yes, the Split Leaf Philodendron grows in my Rainforest Garden. With many other house plants without spikey panicles.

Amelia Grant

A native of Atlanta, Georgia and extraordinarily well seasoned Landscape Architect/Designer/Writer. I began bouncing around South Florida in the late 1980’s selecting and buying plants for Shopping Mall Interiors I had designed.
Eventually my college roommate landed in Hobe Sound and I came to visit and fell in love with the Treasure Coast. My husband was on the verge of retiring from the practice of Architecture so we came down, bought a house near the Indian River and left the big city’s cold and the traffic far behind.
The blog began as an effort to fill what I considered a vacuum in good gardening information for the Treasure Coast. The Shrub Queen name is a nod to a long standing joke, my husband has called me this for years after one too many Architects asked me to “shrub something up”.

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  • Posted 8 years ago

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