“Can you tell me, please, which ground cover plants do well in SW Florida, in a shady and wet location, as well as an area that is drier and gets sunshine most of the day!” Question from Colleen of Englewood, Florida
Answer: There are several groundcovers, for wet and dry areas, that are suited to your Zone 9 landscape.
Florida Groundcovers for Moist Shade
Ogon Golden Variegated Sweet Flag(Acorus graminius ‘Ogon’): This evergreen, grassy perennial will tolerate soil moisture, shade, and brings sunny yellow color to shaded spots.
Evergold Sedge (Carexhachijoensis ‘Evergold‘, Zones 5-10): Evergold produces moppy clumps of grass-like blades of green striped with gold. The plants will tolerate both moisture and shade.
Snow Drift Caladium (Caladium hybrids, Zones 9-11): All Caladiums are beautiful, but snowdrift is extra elegant and brightens shady spots. They will grow well in moist soils and shade.
Fizzy Mizzy™Sweetspire (Iteavirginica Fizzy Mizzy™): These compact shrubs grow well in partial shade, boggy soils, and are natives that feed wildlife. White, fragrant, spring flowers feed bees and butterflies and the fall leaves turn shades of russet-red.
Florida Groundcovers for Dry Sunshine
Texas Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora, Zones 8-11): This semi-evergreen groundcover reaches 3-6 inches and produces small pinkish-white flower clusters that feed bees and butterflies. The flowers may appear from late spring to fall. It is a Florida native that can tolerate sunshine and partial sun as well as moist and dry soils.
Asian Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Minima‘), Zones 8-11: The evergreen Asian jasmine is compact, slow-growing, and it has deep-green, glossy leaves that are bright red when they first emerge. Throughout the growing season, it produces small, white flowers that are fragrant. Established plants tolerate drought and light frost.
“Can you tell me of a good, hardy plant that can survive in a shady spot that gets wet frequently here in SW Florida? It’s along my house facing North but floods when we get lots of rain, but the flooding never lasts more than a day?” Question from Colleen of Englewood, Florida
Answer: There are a number of attractive landscape plants suited to shady spots with intermittent flooding where you live in Florida. Here are just a few.
Florida Garden Plants for Moist Shade
Canna Lilies (Canna hybrids) grow well in partial shade, have beautiful leaves and flowers, and thrive in wet and average soils. I like the manageability of dwarf varieties.
Florida Gamma Grass (Tripsacum floridana) is a tidy, grassy perennial native to your region that will grow in partial shade. It will tolerate both bouts of drought and standing water.
African Iris (Dietes bicolor) is a groundcover for shade that tolerates periodic wet soil and has attractive iris-like yellow flowers.
Elephant Ears (Colocasia spp) thrive in moist soils and shade, come in many sizes and colors, and have beautiful big, bold leaves.
Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum) is a house plant up north but grows beautifully in the landscape down in Florida where it can take moist soils and shade.
White Begonia (Begonia popenoei) is a large-leaved, shade-loving begonia that does not mind wet soils now and then.
For more plants suited to your moist-shade location, reach out to your local Florida extension agent (click here to find yours).
“Have been using your Black Gold Cactus Mix and Perlite for about a year now. I am growing primarily succulents. When I started, I experimented with many different kinds of soil and your soil mixed with perlite gave me the best results. In Hawaii, my climate is hot and humid. I have noticed lately that the soil is becoming hydrophobic. Is there any solution to this problem or ways that I can avoid this from happening? I really love your soil and would want to avoid this with future planting. Thank you.” Question from Patti of Mililani, Hawaii.
Answer: Yes! There are several things you can do to make dry soils moist again.
If the soils in your pots are repelling water, I suggest incorporating some Black Gold Peat Moss Plus or Black Gold Just Coir into your mix. Both products soak up water well and Peat Moss Plus contains an added organic wetting agent to keep soil water retentive. I also suggest adding a pebble layer on top of pots to help keep moisture in the mix.
For bagged soil, seal your bags well after use to keep the soil from getting dry. You can even add a little extra water to the mix and blend it by hand before sealing it. The ambient heat should help re-wet the mix.