What’s Blooming in Paradise: Golden dew drop butterfly and bird attractor
Plant Subject: Golden Dew Drop (Duranta repens)
First impression: Wow, what a fabulous display – cascades of tiny dark lavender flowers draped with glowing yellow berries. A dramatic must have color combo, surrounded by a naturally shaped ever green shrub. I notice butterflies all around waiting to sip from the flowers sweet nectar. Golden fruit dripping like dew, hence the name golden dew drop. What a show stopper!
You can see this glistening display all day long in full bloom at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.
Upon further investigation: I discover that the genus Duranta hails from tropical South America. Our species repens is an evergreen shrub, which has small corolla shaped fringed flowers in deep purple. Look close inside the pedals are beautifully dotted and lined with colorful nectar guides.
Even though they are small they are numerous in numbers and grouped beautifully in a pendulant raceme fashion. Pea-sized round fruits are just as showy in a sunshine yellow to citrus orange color range.
Guess what? The fruits and flowers occur together and cover our star in a kaleidoscope color display. Dewdrop is one of my favorites to suggest for hedges. Its growth habit lends itself to privacy with a wonderful display of color and habit friendliness.
It’s a great food source for birds, butterflies, pollinators and wildlife. You will enjoy watching garden birds hop from twig to twig. The small warblers are attracted to the insects that hover around the flowers. 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 dewdrops. Nests fit very nicely in the grouping of shrubs. Closely grouped shrubs will offer prospective parents plenty of support and multiple exits and entrances to confuse predators.
Mature height for this natural shaped shrub is around 10-15 feet tall. I have had great success with naturally pruning it to encourage more flowers. This means no hedging or edging, so that it doesn’t look like a mushroom or box. Plants have a natural shape, which should be mimicked when pruning. Out dated, over pruning is a huge waste of resources and leads to a very unhappy, unhealthy and unattractive garden. Always a winner, for it is in the little or no pests, drought tolerant and few diseases category.
I liken this tropical plant to the buddleia or butterfly bush, which doesn’t grow well in SW Florida. We have many opportunities as tropical gardeners, to be creative with our northern memories using substitutes of southern realities. I guarantee your butterflies will thank you!
Very attractive to wildlife
Minimal insect damage
Blooming brings in the pollinators
Butterflies may give you butterfly kisses!
Great for a privacy hedge/barrier
Can be purchased as a standard (Looks like a tree)
Blooming brings in the bees
Some varieties have barbs
Needs to be cleaned/pruned every now and then of old berries
Will want more and more!
Conclusion: Follow the butterflies to this cornucopia of golden berries at the end of a lilac rainbow. So many blossoms, so little time in a tropical eye catching garden.
Don’t wanna miss this bloomer!
**Remember we have a yearly fertilizer restriction during July 1 through Oct. 2. This is a very important mandatory restriction to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus runoff into our precious waterways. Any fertilizing during our rainy season, only ends up in our water resources as unwanted algae blooms. **