ShadyGardens Blog

April 22, 2012

Chapman’s Rhododendron: Rare Evergreen Native Shrub

Filed under: chapman's, chapmanii, evergreen, Florida, gardens, native, nursery, rhododendron, Shady, shrub — shadygardens @ 1:33 pm
Rhododendron Chapmanii, Chapman’s Rhododendron
Evergreen Rhododendron Native to Florida
The rarest rhododendron of all might also be the most beautiful! I have grown native azaleas in my garden for years, but I did not even know an evergreen native rhododendron existed until recently.

The beautiful green foliage has a reddish tint in early Spring.

Rhododendron Chapmanii is the only evergreen rhododendron native to Florida, and actually there are only a few evergreen species of rhododendron native to the United States. 

Chapman’s Rhododendron is very rare, and is probably the most rare of all wild rhododendrons in North America. This rhododendron is an endangered species, so if you are lucky enough to find some growing wild, it is illegal to dig them up or disturb them in any way.

The beautiful rose pink flowers appearing in Spring are exquisite. The blooms are borne in clusters and look like bouquets on the tips of the branches.

Chapman’s Rhododendron occurs naturally only in Florida, but it can be grown anywhere in USDA Zones 5b – 8.

Rhododendron Chapmanii prefers dappled shade beneath pines or hardwoods. 

All rhododendrons need well-drained soil, but Chapman’s Rhododendron will need regular water.

I would not give it much direct sun. Afternoon sun would burn the lovely green foliage. 

To obtain this rare native plant for your garden, please visit Shady Gardens Nursery.





March 16, 2011

Florida Anise: Small Tree for the Shade Garden

Filed under: Anise, bog, Florida, gardens, nursery, shade, Shady, shrub, tree — shadygardens @ 4:52 pm
Florida Anise

One of my favorite native plants is Florida Anise. Illicium floridanum is usually thought of as a shrub, but actually makes a tree about 10 feet tall. Florida Anise is native to moist wooded ravines of the Florida panhandle and Southeastern Louisiana. 

Shiny evergreen leaves, single trunk, and compact stature with a maximum height of 10 feet make Florida Anise a lovely small tree. 

Leaves have a spicy scent when crushed, much like anise, which is why deer won’t eat it. 

Very unusual red flowers appear in spring and have star-like petals. Once flowers fade, interesting seed pods develop. The large star-shaped seed pods are not a substitute for the culinary anise and are poisonous if ingested, which is probably another reason deer will not eat it. 

Drought tolerant once established, Florida Anise is a good choice for the southern garden. Native to Florida and Louisiana, Illicium Floridanum is too tender for northern gardens as it is hardy in USDA Zones 7-10 only.

Plant in partial shade. Enjoys wet soil, if you have some, and can take a little more sun if planted in a boggy area.


Enjoying the same growing conditions as azaleas, camellias, and gardenias, Florida Anise is a good companion for them. If you’ve been searching for something unusual for your shade garden, Florida Anise is perfect.


If you find one growing in the wild, do not dig it up to move it to your garden since Florida Anise is a threatened native species.

Spunky likes sniffing the variegated Florida Anise

If red is not your color, Florida Anise is also available in a white-flowering form and a variegated form with soft pink blooms, as shown above. 

April 16, 2009

Florida Azalea: Rhododendron Austrinum

One of the brightest and showiest of all native plants in the spring garden is definitely the Florida Azalea.

Blooms appear in early spring and can be anywhere from bright yellow to a dark reddish orange. Rhododendron austrinum is deciduous so plant it among your evergreen azaleas and it will really stand out!

Blooms are very sweetly frarant, so you might want to plant one near your garden bench to enjoy as you relax.

As the name implies, Florida Azalea is native to Florida, but grows well anywhere in the Southern US and in zones as cold as USDA Zone 6.

Rhododendron Austrinum in on the endangered species list, so do not dig it up for planting in your garden if you find a specimen in the woods. Florida Azalea is propagated and sold by native plant nurseries, so you can purchase container grown plants for your garden.

Florida Azalea will eventually grow into a large tree-like shrub up to 10 feet tall. When found in the wild, it naturally occurs in woods beneath large deciduous trees, but flowers much more profusely when grown in full sun. Drought tolerant once established, but needs regular water to become established. Bloom buds on this spring blooming shrub are formed in late summer, right when we have our yearly drought, so water regularly during August and September to ensure good flowering in spring.

Let me know if you have trouble finding this plant in your area, because we have plenty! You can purchase them in our online store Shady Gardens Nursery.

April 5, 2009

Florida Anise: Evergreen, Drought Tolerant, Deer Resistant!

Filed under: Anise, bloom, blooms, Deer, evergreen, Florida, garden, native, nursery, proof, red, resistant, shade, Shady, shrub, tree — shadygardens @ 3:04 pm


One of my favorite native shrubs is Florida Anise. Illicium floridanum actually makes a tree about 10 feet tall.

The evergreen leaves are dark and shiny. Very unusual red flowers appear in spring and have star-like petals. Once flowers fade, large star-shaped seed pods develop–very unusual.

Drought tolerant once established, Florida Anise is a good choice for the southern garden. Native to Florida and Louisiana, Illicium Floridanum is too tender for northern gardens as it is hardy in USDA Zones 7-10 only.

Plant in partial shade. Enjoys wet soil, if you have some, and can take more sun if planted in a boggy area.

If you find one growing in the wild, do not dig it up to move it to your garden since Florida Anise is a threatened native species.

Illicium floridanum is not the culinary Anise used as a spice–Florida Anise is poisonous if ingested, which is why deer won’t eat it.

Enjoying the same growing conditions as azaleas, camellias, and gardenias, Florida Anise is a good companion for them.If you’ve been searching for something a little less common than a camellia or gardenia, Florida Anise is perfect.

Blog at WordPress.com.