Specific plant recommendation for USDA Zone 9a
August 2, 2018 7:24 AM   Subscribe

I need help figuring out what to plant in front of my house (USDA Zone 9a)

I live in NE Florida, near the coast, and I'm looking for some specific suggestions for what to plant in a particular spot in front of my house. The spot in question (reference photo) has the following characteristics:

- Around two-three feet square
- One side borders the front walk, one borders the steps leading to the front porch, one borders some pavers that lead to the driveway, and one borders the (unpaved, mulch) driveway itself
- On the northeast side of the house, so gets a smattering of direct sunlight in the summer and basically none for the rest of the year
- Current occupants are an extremely ratty rosemary bush, some ruellia, and a bunch of weeds

I'd like to clear out what's there and plant something great. The plant in question would need to have the following characteristics:

- Tallish (at least 3-4 feet I guess?) and upright
- Good shape (or can be readily shaped) such that it won't block access to the front door or the driveway
- Happy without direct sun
- No thorns/hitchhiking seeds/clouds of pollen
- Non-invasive
- Won't try to grow up in to the porch and tear it apart

Ideally it would also have some or all of the following characteristics:

- Incredible flowers, especially if they're good as cut flowers and/or smell amazing and/or attract bees and hummingbirds and butterflies
- Berries or seeds that attract birds, etc.
- Native
- Evergreen, or otherwise not just a pile of dead twigs 3+ months per year

So... what should I plant?
posted by saladin to Home & Garden (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hello from a few tens of miles to the north!

I'm no green thumb but I have planted Persian Shields in that same location at our house and they are enjoyable. I like them and they meet some, but not all of course, of your criteria. I think it meets all the needs and a few of the ideal wants. You could also do some Lirope.

My experience has been that if you want flowers to be *incredible* you have to put a bit more work into them doubly so for shade. Also that the things that are evergreen AND native to FL tend to be poky / thorny / sharp (ferns excepted).
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:13 AM on August 2, 2018

Ended up planting a marlberry, which we'll try to train into an upright form as best we can.
posted by saladin at 5:15 AM on April 10, 2019

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