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Odontonema cuspidatum – Firespike

In spite of the current temperature readings, it is officially the first day of fall. Lasting less than three months, this season provides the opportunity to showcase a bevy of landscape materials that provide the hues of red and orange that our brethren to the north experience naturally. As Florida seldom provides natural indicators of the changing of the season from summer to fall, we compensate by scouring nurseries for plant materials that will not only provide visual interest through color and texture, but survive the conditions of the various climates of Florida.

The Odontonema cuspidatum, or Firespike, is an exquisite perennial in shades of red belonging to the Acanthaceae family. Growing to heights of up to 6 feet tall and producing , tubular red flowers generally three inches in length, the Firespike can be grown in zones 8 to 11 preferring full sun exposure to partial shade. If your more interested in establishing a tree that will show well in the months of fall, then perhaps you should consider the Oxydendrum arboreum – or Sourwood.

The Sourwood, also commonly referred to as Sorrel-Tree, typically grows to heights between 25 to 35 feet, but some trees have been found reaching heights up to 60 feet with a spread of 30 feet. Boasting leaves of lovely dark green throughout most of the year, the Sourwood leaves take on tinges of vibrant reds and oranges when the fall season arrives. Conducive to zones 5A through 9A, the Sourwood can thrive in light exposures from full sun to partial shade, and is tolerant of a mixture of soils including clay, sand, loam, and acidic.

If you find that you prefer the deep purple to yellow tones of fall, then there are a wonderful variety of annuals and shrubs that can paint the landscape palette in those tones. One of the simplest annuals that can invoke the deep purples of fall are pansies. The Viola x wittrockiana, belonging to the Violaceae family, is a cold tolerant annual that can be grown in zones 7 through 11, and makes a wonderful addition to beds that are showcased throughout a property.

Regardless of your color or plant material preference, the pros at LMP can help you create a stunning fall visual at your commercial property. Call us at (877) LMP-PRO1 today for all of your landscape related needs.


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