Gardening Outside Your Zone

Burgundy Loropetalum in Atlanta

Burgundy Loropetalum in Atlanta

The song by the Rolling Stones goes, and I am paraphrasing  “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you get what you need.” Sage words. That made me remember I want to plant some sage..

There are many transplants here in Florida – people and plants as well. The people are trying to grow the plants they know from home, maybe 4 hardiness zones north. The plants are unhappy. I was surprised by the number of folks trying to grow Lilacs in South Florida. Lilacs grow in the Northern US, not South Florida. South Florida may be the mold and mildew capital of the world and Lilacs are extremely susceptible. Of course, there are some delightfully fragrant plants that people in the North are trying to grow that thrive here and are really well suited for this climate- on it goes. Ylang ylang, anyone? If for no other reason it would be fun to try this because of the name. I actually had a vanilla orchid for a while, but I think one of my dogs stepped on it.



I am as guilty as the next gardener, to a certain extent. I like the new and unusual and there is a lot to see when you move to the tropics. My favorite tree ever, the Autumnalis Cherry, cannot be grown here. I readily accept that because of the other trees that can be grown here. My new favorite is Tabebuia which I have just found with orchid colored flowers – the Ipe Tabebuia. I also like the yellow one because of the nice corky bark. It is a dilemma to choose between the two, fortunately the back garden of my house is, well, um, non-existent. So, I can have either.

Burgundy Loropetalum in South Florida

Burgundy Loropetalum in South Florida

I have succumbed to Zone pushing by planting some Burgundy Loropetalum. One of my favorite shrubs from the frozen north. This is not supposed to grow in Zone 10, my research says Zone 9 is it for the Loropetalum. But I found one for 5 bucks and decided to try it. It is cheerfully blooming in my front yard in January. You may notice the Atlanta Loropetalum is robust and more than 6 feet tall. The one here in Florida tops out at 8 inches and looks a bit chlorotic. I guess it is time to wait and see.

9 comments on “Gardening Outside Your Zone

  1. My area is also filled with transplants of all kinds and many of us had to learn how to garden all over again.


    • I don’t think of it as starting from scratch, it is refining your experience and embracing a new plant palette. One gardener in my area said “Throw away rhe book” I really don’t think anyone has captured microclimate gardening in the Deep South in a book.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. mattb325 says:

    I see the Burgundy Loropetalum all the time here: it is definitely out of its zone because it needs hot summers and short, coldish winters to thrive. We can give it the cold, but not the heat, so it rarely gets to more than shrub height (which is still nice). In its native China, it is grown as a highway tree and teams of gardeners fastidiously cloud prune them. It’s quite a sight!


  3. What a beauty!
    Great buy for such a small price.


  4. Chloris says:

    A wonderful challenge growing totally new plants. What fun! I saw a Tabebuia growing in Martinique. Gorgeous. Your Loropetalum is lovely too.


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