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What’s Blooming in Paradise: Gold Mound a show stopper

By Staff | Mar 2, 2016

The Gold Mound grows around 4 to 5 feet tall and is a natural shaped shrub. PHOTO BY ANITA FORCE MARSHALL

Plant Subject: Gold Mound (Duranta)

First impression: Wow, what a fabulous display – cascades of tiny light lavender flowers draped with glowing yellow berries. I notice butterflies all around waiting to sip from the flowers sweet nectar. Golden mounds of glowing yellowish green leaves, hence the name Gold Mound. What a show stopper! You can marvel at this glistening display that never runs out of sparkle 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. They are part of the large family of plants known as the Verbenaceae, or Lantana family. Our species is an evergreen shrub whose leaves are the year round star. Light colored new growth in a chartreuse golden hue, and mature leaves are glowing light green. Then add the small corolla shaped fringed flowers of light purple and oh my! They are small, but numerous in numbers and grouped beautifully in a pendulant raceme fashion.

Pea-sized round fruits are just as showy in sunshine yellow to citrus orange color range. Guess what? The fruits and flowers occur together and cover our star in a can’t take my eyes off you display. Gold Mound is my number one favorite to suggest for shorter hedges. Mature height for this natural shaped shrub is around 4-5 feet tall. I have had great success with naturally pruning it to not so much from the sides, but at the top for height. 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. Its growth habit lends itself to low level for a view, or can get tall and bushy for privacy with a wonderful display of color and habit friendliness.

It’s a great food source for butterflies and pollinators. 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 S.W. Florida. Your butterflies will thank you!

Pros:

Ever blooming

Drought tolerant

Very attractive to wildlife

Full sun to partial

Butterflies may give you butterfly kisses!

Can be low growing for a view area

Non Invasive

Brings that glimmer of chartreuse to your garden

Cons:

Can get twiggy over time if hedged and edged

Not cold tolerant turns dark

May grow weary with re-telling name of that glowing gold plant

Nonnative

Will want more and more!

Conclusion: Follow the butterflies to these mounds of golden leaves at the end of a lilac rainbow. Don’t let anyone know if you find a leprechaun hiding in our tropical eye catching garden. Don’t wanna miss this bloomer!