I’ve seen beautiful hydrangeas growing in the mountains of Jamaica (the weather is very cool). Unfortunately, it’s not a plant I would try to grow in Southwest Florida. Hydrangea’s like it colder than Southwest Florida can give them. However, we have a wonderful substitute.
Mayer from Riverland Nursery turned me onto a plant called the Seminole dombeya. It’s also called the Florida hydrangea. Mayer is passionate about plants and knows what to to grow in Southwest Florida. He told me I would love this plant. I bought two of them last year from him and planted them right away.
I’ve also heard this plant referred to as a tropical rose hydrangea. It’s flowers do have a delicate, rose-like aroma. It has the most beautiful and prolific display of hot pink flowers and blooms from November to June. The Seminole dombeya’s a warm weather plant though. One of my plants suffered frost damage last winter but recovered quickly. It was a small plant and last year was an unusually cold winter for Southwest Florida. The plants have grown quite large this year and I’m sure they will be able to handle our winters just fine from now on.
Mayer was right, we do love this plant. My kids visit it daily to study all the honeybees on it and to see what else will show up. It has some pretty interesting visitors. It is very alive with an assortment of excited (and a little intoxicated) bugs that are diligently working. We’re enjoying this plant so much that we’ve decided we need more of them. We’re going to try our hand at grafting it.
I don’t recommend planting the Seminole dombeya by an entrance. There are an enormous amount of bees, butterflies, skippers and (other bugs I can’t identify) all over the plant. This is one of the sole reasons we love this plant so much, but I wouldn’t want to continually dodge them while trying to enter an area.
Come grow with us!