World Famous GRIMAL GROVE After 160mph Winds Video

Grimal Grove Mangos

This legendary tropical fruit property in the Florida Keys had a massive hurricane roll through 2 years ago, so everyone’s been wondering… How did this 60+-year-old Grimal Grove recover after another battling round of catastrophic winds? After Hurricane Irma’s colossal damage to Big Pine Key, the losses were extreme, our friend Patrick Garvey didn’t give … Read more

Cocoplum Chrysobalanus icaco

Reaching a height of 15 feet and a spread of 15 feet, salt-tolerant Cocoplum grows in full sun or partial shade on a wide range of soils, needing little irrigation once established. Plant 3 to 4 feet apart to establish a hedge farther apart for a less formal effect in a shrub border. Trees are … Read more

Sabal Palmetto or Cabbage Palm

The sabal palm, or cabbage palm, is native to Florida and coastal regions of North and South Carolina and Georgia, and is the state tree of both South Carolina and Florida. The name “cabbage palm” comes from its edible immature leaves, or “heart,” which has a cabbage-like flavor. Sabal palms have curved, costapalmate, fan-shaped leaves … Read more

Mangrove Black – White – Red – the Protector of Our Florida Keys Coastlines

The Mangrove is a shrub or small tree that grows in coastal saline or brackish water. The term is also used for tropical coastal vegetation consisting of such species. Mangroves occur worldwide in the tropics and subtropics, mainly between latitudes 25° N and 25° S. Mangrove are salt-tolerant trees, also called halophytes, and are adapted to live in harsh coastal conditions. They contain a complex salt filtration system and … Read more

American Beautyberry – Callicarpa americana a Florida Keys Favorite

Beautyberry a rapidly-growing North American native forms a rather loosely-arranged, rounded shrub, five to eight feet tall and equally wide (Fig. 1). Branches form long arches bending toward the ground and lend almost a weeping habit to older, established shrubs. The coarse, fuzzy, light green, deciduous leaves are combined with small, lavender-pink blossoms densely clustered … Read more

Coontie in the Florida Keys Yard

Sunshine State gardeners have rediscovered the Florida coontie (Figure 1) as a native plant well adapted to Florida yards. Its increased use in landscapes has encouraged the presence of the rare atala butterfly, which uses coontie as a larval host plant. Landscapers and homeowners can encourage either the plant or the butterfly by following the … Read more

Native Plants Take a Stand Against Hurricanes

Many Florida Keys property owners will be tasked with replacing landscaping damaged by Hurricane Irma. Native plants have grown for centuries here in the Florida Keys and are well designed to survive hurricanes. Following are some suggestions from a Key West Master Gardener on plants to replace what you lost. Among the trees that survived … Read more

Black Torch – A Beach Lover That Can Be Used As A Torch

Black torch shrub (Erithalis fruticosa) is threatened in Florida because the coastal hammocks in which it grows have turned into condominiums. The loss of habitat has significantly reduced the number of 6-foot shrubs. It is a buffer plant on the coastline with a high tolerance for winds. It can hold its own on the beach, … Read more

Plants Iguanas and Key Deer Ignore or Eat

Iguanas and Key Deer are plant eating animals and will eat many kinds of plants. In particular, they like flowering shrubs, like hibiscus, berries, fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, strawberries and figs. The best way for eliminating iguanas is to keep them out of the garden in the first place. This form of iguana control … Read more

Mangoes As Money Makes The Most Of A Fruity Season

South Floridians are no strangers to mangoes – the time of year when round colorful fruit falls from trees in backyards across the region. One local business is taking advantage, and using the fruit almost as currency. The Whip N’ Dip ice cream shop, 1407 Sunset Dr., Coral Gables,  has a sign in the window that … Read more

Health Can Bloom in the Florida Keys Home Garden

No one thinks of the Florida Keys as a major farming community anymore, but it was in the 1800s. Thousands of bushels of tomatoes were produced and canned. In 1882 Keys farmers sold $200,000 worth of pineapples alone. They sold Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, beets, carrots, turnips, and cassava, as well as the plentiful … Read more

Poisonwood: The Good The Bad and The Ugly

More than 150 native plants call the Florida Keys their home and a few people can identify all of them. However, the poisonwood tree – Metopium toxiferum – Common Names: Poison Wood, Poison Tree – related to Metopium brownei (also known as chechem, chechen, or black poisonwood – is one plant that everyone, both residents, and visitors, should learn to identify. “Why?” you ask. … Read more

Stock Island Nursery Cultivates Rare and Endangered Plants

The Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden is a Stock Island nursery that is one of the Lower Keys’ best-kept secrets, a sanctuary for plants and people just off College Road. And at the heart of the 7.5-acre garden is a native plant nursery where it all begins. The nursery was born of necessity, … Read more

DOT Gives 4 Miles of Islamorada U.S. 1 a New Bloom

Rows of new pink bougainvillea and other plants now line four miles of the Islamorada U.S. 1 corridor on Upper Matecumbe Key. A five-month project to landscape the Islamorada highway shoulders from mile marker 81.5 to marker 85.6 should finish its planting phase in early June, said Paulette Summers, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department … Read more

Dahoon Holly is Tolerant and Colorful

Pagans wore holly in their hair to ward off evil spirits and gave it as gifts in honor of the winter solstice at the Saturnalia celebration. Christians took advantage of its winter green-and-red colors, removed one ‘l’ and called it holy, comparing it to the crown of thorns and sacrificial blood. But don’t eat the … Read more