The following compilation covers information concerning plants used for different landscape purposes in the Florida zones. Some of these plants are followed by the letter (T) which indicates that such material is tropical and is not adapted to the middle-south and northern portion of this state.
This list is subject to considerable modification as further study of these plants brings more complete information concerning their adaptations and uses.
The subject of Florida horticulture, especially from the landscape viewpoint, concerning the use and adaptations of plant materials, is yet in its infancy. Very few men have given any serious thought to this subject; at least very little information is now in printed form and available to those interested in this work.
Florida is fast developing into one of the great winter playgrounds and home sections for many northern people who wish to escape the undesirable winter conditions. These people enter the state with the intention of developing homes and with every desire to beautify them, as is customary in connection with northern homes. A great disappointment is encountered as soon as they endeavour to consult information which will tend to assist them in the landscape development of their property. This list will be of some value to those persons and to many others who are interested in the use of landscape materials throughout this section of the south.
In selecting material for various types of Florida plantings two things must be taken definitely into consideration: Material should be selected which is of real value during the summer months in Florida, and also material must often be selected which is of distinct value during the winter months. The plants included in this list have been selected for their general value throughout the year and more particularly during the winter months. In view of this it is essential that this material should be interesting because of its foliage or its flowers during the months from November to the first of April.
There are many northern types of material which can easily be used in Florida plantations for its value during the winter months. There are many other types of northern material with which experiments should be conducted concerning their value for plantations in this climate.
Many of the plants so familiar to northern plantings can be equally well used in plantings of the far south. Privet, golden bell, magnolia, and spirea are among this group which have value during the winter months. Most of the more hardy-flowering shrubs can be used in plantings, but because their period of flowering and of fruiting does not come during these winter months (December to April) they have been little used. The northern tourist is seeking colour of flowers while occupying his winter home in Florida. He also seeks air and sunshine. The heavy shade provided by the silk oak and the water oak so much desired by Floridians he wishes replaced by warmth of winter sunshine and tropical growth of palms which cast but little shade. The familiar growth of shrubs carrying the atmosphere of the north must be replaced by shrubs and vines with brilliantly coloured flowers and foliage like the croton, oleander, trumpet-vine, Chinese hibiscus, and chenille plant.
The great tendency in Florida plantings has been to develop a "spotty" effect at the expense of sacrificing interesting landscape compositions. The "mass" planting of the north is seldom seen. Most types of southern plants are perhaps better adapted to specimen planting than to mass effects. For effective mass planting around buildings, the croton, Chinese hibiscus, and chenille plant are among the best.