|Shrub or Small Tree (depending on species)
|All year except when temperature falls to 50s
|Bright to Dark Green
|Trees get 10-15 feet
This beautiful and versatile blooming shrub is becoming more and more popular in Florida home gardens. Mussaenda blooms nearly year-round, requires little care and adds bright splashes of color to flowerbeds and gardens.
Mussaenda is a somewhat sprawling tropical plant that can hug the ground or grow upward when supported by trellises or trees. The leaves are dark green rounded ovals, deeply veined and sometimes lightly furred. The abundant, evergreen foliage of the Mussaenda is attractive, but the blossoms are this tropical plant’s showpiece. The actual flowers are white or yellow miniature trumpets borne on thick, tube-like stems. Showy, brightly colored leaves called bracts surround the flowers. The bracts resemble petals and are variegated in pink and red. The arrangement of flowers and bracts creates the illusion of a larger blossom, somewhat like a poinsettia. In Florida, Mussaenda often blooms throughout the year. Removing spent flowers can encourage new ones to open.
Mussaenda is not drought tolerant and requires regular watering during hot, dry spells. Although Mussaenda thrives in full sun, flowers may appear more frequently and linger longer if shaded from bright afternoon light. For best results, enrich the soil with lightweight organic matter such as compost or peat before planting and fertilize periodically with a complete formula including trace elements. Place plants three to five feet apart to allow them room to spread. Generally resistant to pests and diseases, Mussaenda can be damaged by temperatures that fall below 40 F. Frost damage usually results in leaf drop and minimal dieback. Remove dead wood and stems if damage occurs. The plants will recover as the weather warms. Heavy pruning in late winter or early spring can spur the development of new growth.
Fill your flowerbeds with Mussaenda and let this brilliant bloomer give your garden a bright burst of color year-round.