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Winter Show in the Garden
Dombeya seminole and Euphorbia leucocephala together.

Winter Show in the Garden

PLANT TALK
Mike Malloy
mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com

Dombeya wallichii (pink ball).

Dombeya wallichii (pink ball).

The Dombeya burgessiae (Seminole) puts on one of the best flower shows of any shrub in Florida. It is sometimes called the Tropical Hydrangea because its flowers are similar to the Hydrangeas we know from up north.

The flowers are pink to rose color and bloom from fall to spring. Blooming all winter here in Naples during tourist season, when the most color is desired and appreciated. Last year in Naples, they bloomed all the way into June.

Dombeya Seminole is a large shrub growing seven feet tall and the same in width. It can be kept to about five feet tall with pruning. I usually cut my Dombeya down to about four feet after the spring bloom so it remains manageable all year. If we happen to get cold temperatures here (which we are not) it will rebound quickly and continue on its blooming way.

Dombeya seminole. Photos by Mike Malloy

Dombeya seminole. Photos by Mike Malloy

This shrub will grow in full sun to partial shade and will tolerate our so called soil here in Florida without amending. The more sun the fuller the shrub with maximum flowers. It is also fairly drought tolerant once established. Propagation can be done by air layering or six-inch cuttings rooted in perlite, coarse sand or peat moss.

Dombeya Seminole is truly, in my opinion, one of the showiest landscape plants we have in Naples for its color and massive blooming capabilities all winter long. A real show stopper and a bonus of this already great shrub is that it will also do well in a container. On the flip side, there is the Dombeya wallichii, or Pink Ball tree, which in January, will produce hundreds of flowers that are the size of softballs, pink in color and hang on pendants covering the entire tree.

Euphorbia leucocephala (Snow Bush).

Euphorbia leucocephala (Snow Bush).

One last note, a really great shrub that also is one of our winter show stoppers is Euphorbia leucocephala (Snow Bush), which stays pure white from late fall into the new year. This plant combined with Dombeya make the best winter color combination there can be in any garden. Surprise! It also serves as nectar plant to a large number of our Florida butterflies.

KEEP BUTTERFLYING!!!!!!!

About The Author

Mike Malloy, local author and artist known as “The Butterfly Man” has been a Naples resident since 1991. A Collier County Master Gardener, he has written two books entitled “Butterfly Gardening Made Easy for Southwest Florida,” and “Tropical Color – A Guide to Colorful Plants for the Southwest Florida Garden”, and currently writes articles on various gardening topics for several local publications. Mike has planted and designed numerous butterfly gardens around Naples including many schools, the City of Naples, Rookery Bay, the Conservancy and Big Cypress. Bring your gardening questions to the Third Street Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings or on Thursdays at the Naples Botanical Garden where he does a Plant Clinic or visit his website, 
www.naplesbutterfly.com

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