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Plant Subject: Golden dew drop (Duranta repens)

By Staff | Sep 23, 2010

First impression: Great plant for a big wow factor. Cascades of lavender flowers draped with golden yellow/orange berries. A great color combo, surrounded by small toothed green leaves. Golden berries dripping like dew, hence the name “Golden Dew Drop.” What a show stopper! You can see this glistening display in bloom at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.

Upon further investigation: Our star can be planted alone or grouped together, mature height is 10-15 feet. I have some that are hedged low (two to three feet), or groomed into a tall shrub/specimen. Very versatile for our tropical gardens will take well-drained soil, partial shade to full sun and is salt-tolerant. Always a winner, for it is in the little or no pests, drought-tolerant and few diseases category. Dew drop is my number one favorite to suggest for hedges. Its growth habit lends itself to privacy with a wonderful display of color and habit friendliness. Dew drop is a great food source for birds, butterflies, a huge variety of pollinators and wildlife. I enjoy watching our garden birds hop from twig to twig. The small warblers are attracted to the insects that hover around the flowers. The mockingbirds, cardinals, blue jays, thrashers and catbirds not only look for insects but also relish the juicy berries. I have even discovered many birds nesting in our dew drops. Nests fit very nicely in the groupings of shrubs. Closely grouped shrubs will offer prospective parents plenty of support and multiple exits and entrances to confuse predators. Butterflies flock to the blooms! I liken this tropical plant to the Buddleia or butterfly bush-which doesn’t grow well in Southwest Florida. We have many opportunities as tropical gardeners, to be creative with our northern memories using substitutes of southern realities. A non-native (this status fluctuates) which hails from South America.

Pros : Ever blooming, drought tolerant, very attractive to wildlife, fast growing, minimal insect damage, blooming brings in the pollinators, butterflies love its nectar, great for a privacy hedge/barrier, versatile with pruning, can be purchased as a standard (looks like a tree).

Cons: Can get twiggy over time needs pruning, blooming brings in the bees, some varieties have barbs, needs to be cleaned/pruned every now and then of old berries, non-native.

Conclusion: Follow the butterflies to this golden display of draping lavender. So many blossoms, so little time in a tropical eye catching garden. Don’t wanna miss this bloomer!