Botanical Makeover

These plants will give structure to the landscape and provide colorful flowers and fruit.


From: Desperate Landscapes

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Wax myrtle

The waxy blue berries of the females of this native tree were once used to make candles.

  • Tolerant of salt spray, drought, heat and sand.
  • Leaves are yellowish green and fragrant when crushed.
  • Can grow as much as five feet in a year.
  • USDA Zones 7-10
  • Can be pruned to encourage dense foliage, but untrimmed it has an irregular shape with multiple trunks that form a kind of thicket.
  • Aromatic foliage is said to repel insects in a yard.

Mop hydrangea

The large ball-shaped flowers can be blue, pink, or white.

  • Flowers can be blue pink or white.
  • Prefers morning sun and afternoon shade.
  • Requires regular watering. Doesn't tolerate drought.

Variegated ginger

The variegated leaves of this tropical plant can be up to two feet long and six inches across.

  • Flowers look like small seashells, but in northern Florida it doesn't often flower.
  • Prefers partial shade but grows in sun.
  • USDA Zones 8-12
  • Maintenance: not drought tolerant. Will need watering.

Dwarf Japanese blueberry

This shrub makes a great hedge, column or foundation plant.

  • Can grow up to 40 feet tall and 30 feet wide
  • Fragrant white flowers turn into blue-black fruit in the fall.
  • Fruit will not stain sidewalks.
  • Full sun or part shade
  • USDA Zones 8-11
  • Maintenance tip: Can be pruned to shape.

Fiber optic grass

The blades of this very finely textured grass are almost hairlike and resemble fiber optic lamps.

  • Bright green grass with flowers at tips
  • Grows about 12 inches tall.
  • Perennial in USDA Zones 9-11. In other zones it's an annual.

'Southern Charm' azalea

This popular azalea produces pink flowers in early spring.

  • Grows moderately fast, reaching 6-8 feet tall and wide.
  • USDA Zones 8-9

'Big Blue' liriope

This grass-like perennial is often used as a groundcover.

  • It has tall lavender flowers in late summer.
  • It grows to about 2 feet tall.
  • It prefers part sun to full shade.
  • USDA Zones 5-10


This hardy perennial is often associated with English or cottage-style gardens.

  • Tall stalks bear flowers that can be purple, pink, white or yellow.
  • All parts are poisonous.
  • Remove plants after they release their seeds or cut back the flowering stalk to almost ground level and to encourage growth and more flowers.


This evergreen shrub produces either white or red flowers, depending on variety.

  • Can grow 12 feet tall and about six feet wide
  • Drought tolerant once established
  • USDA Zones 7-10

Japanese boxwood

This evergreen shrub can get up to six feet tall, but it can be pruned to maintain size.

  • Heat tolerant
  • Deer resistant
  • Prefers full to partial sun
  • USDA Zones 6-9

New Guinea impatiens

This colorful annual blooms from spring to fall.

  • Available in many colors from lavender to orange to white.
  • Grows about 12 to 24 inches tall.
  • Low drought tolerance. They wilt under water stress.
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