While we need to add natives to our landscapes to promote sustainable and ecologically healthy ecosystems, we also need to understand the importance of diversity.
Native plants are not only beautiful but also come in a variety of form, color, texture and fragrance. Too many homes use the same material for their foundation plantings, creating costly, unsustainable monocultures that require harmful chemicals and constant attention: perfectly trimmed walls of green island ficus, manicured spikes of podocarpus, and adjacent rugs of jasmine minima add nothing to the surrounding landscape.
If this is the look you’re after, you may as well be planting plastic for all the help you’re giving the environment. Besides, don’t you want to be a little more creative? Foundation plantings don’t need to be boring, symmetrical and lifeless; they provide far more curb appeal with diverse heights, shapes and textures.
A foundation using cocoa plum or wild coffee could still be pruned, but at least it would be providing pollinators with a food source. For added interest, Jamaican caper could be added along with the dense, rounded black torch and pearlberry.
Jamaican caper, Capparis cynophallophora, is one of Florida’s most versatile ornamentals, working equally well as a specimen,