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Q.

What to plant that will survive

Zone Jacksonville florida | Anonymous added on April 29, 2016 | Answered

Jacksonville, Florida - I have attached pictures so you can get the full extent of what I am working with. I have lived in the home for 2 years prior to purchasing it, so I basically know what I am working with. I also have done research on what will work based on the conditions of the areas I am trying to landscape, but I am honestly having a hard time. When I moved in, the only landscaping there was were 2 red tip photinias. They are located on the right hand side of the front of my house. Looks like there used to be three, but one died. So I recently dug up the remains of it and replaced it with a sweet viburnum (local nursery recommended) I planted it 2 weeks ago and now it is starting to get some spotting on the leaves, which I included in the pictures. I was advised this was downy mildew but not sure. I also am concerned because I read that photinias have issues with leave spot. If I do have an active leaf spot bacteria or fungus, will anything survive or not catch this? I have read it does not go away. I have put some coffee grounds around it and also purchased a fungicide that I will use once it stops raining. I trimmed back the red tips beginning of March. The plant in the middle is doing well, coming back but the one on the left had dead branches with ants in it and is really only coming back on one side. I am waiting to see what the next few weeks will bring since I removed all the damaged wood this past weekend. As for the left side of the house, I planted elephant ears last year which seem to be doing well. This area retains a lot of water, as we do not have gutters but are planning on installing some in the near future. Behind the elephant ears I planted a selloum philodendron about a week ago. I am hoping it will grow large to provide coverage for that corner, and outgrow my elephant ears by height. This area is extremely wet especially after rain. The roof line pours directly onto that location and keeps it pretty much soggy. I purchased some oleander seeds that I was hoping to grow because I see around my neighborhood many people have them. I was wondering if the oleander likes a lot of water and could be included in that corner also. On the right side in front of the elephant ears I was also recommended by Lowes to plant white Indian hawthorn as a hedge along the side of the house (I planted 4 of them 2 feet from the foundation and 18 inches apart). The closest one to the elephant ears I planted did have water treading into the hole as I dug. This area seems to be less soggy as you get further from the house. In the corner of this same area by the sidewalk, I planted a pygmy date palm. In front of the garage on both sides, I also planted 2 red ruffle azaleas. My soil seems to have a lot of clay in it. I have read up on soil types and if I put the soil in my hand, I am able to make a ribbon or a thick string with it that remained together for the most part. When planting, I used Miracle Grow soil and topsoil. I have Saint Augustine grass that does well. I have not removed all the grass round the hawthorns or azaleas because I am waiting to see how all these plants thrive. If so, I plan on using pine needles as my mulch. I was recommended a French drain but due to the fact we just purchased the home, we can’t afford that cost. As you can see in the middle of my front yard, I planted a Florida peach tree that seems to be doing very well so far. My main concern is the boggy wet area to the right of my front door. I would like to have a flowering hedge or something with some good color. I have a lot of green going on. I would like something that kind of grows full and not too slow, but also that does not have invasive roots that will disturb my foundation or my plumbing. I have also attached a picture of one of my neighbor's hedges in their front yard. I assume they have the same soil as I do. I just need a little advice based on what I have done. Do you think it will work? And also, what would you recommend for my front area that is bare next to the front door? If my email has been sent to the wrong department or too much for your program, please forgive me. If you have advice of who can help me if you can't, please recommend whom I need to reach out to. It seems as I search web, go to stores, or nurseries, I receive different answers. All the pictures are attached and labeled if you can help!! Thank you so much Kerry Myles Sent from my iPhone

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Downtoearthdigs
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on April 29, 2016

Leaf spot
I am leaning towards it being downy mildew, which is typically not fatal. Treating it with a fungicide should clear it up. But it does indicate that the plant has an issue with moisture. If possible, try to water it down near the roots and avoid getting the leaves wet.

Ants
The plant that has the ants likely also has an aphid problem. Ants are not attracted to plants, but they are attracted to plants that have aphids. And plants that are stressed because they have a fungus are more likely to get aphids. It would be best to also treat your plants with a pesticide to clear up the aphid problem.

Oleander water needs
Yes, they do like wetter areas, so they should be happy in that area.

Wet areas in yard
If you cannot afford a French drain then you may want to consider putting in a rain garden. This article explains more:
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/spaces/rain-garden-design.htm

Hedge
Have you looked at brouganvilla? It is a popular choice for those kinds of areas and requirements.

Front door area
It is really hard to say what would be best. What are your requirements for plants for this area?

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