Flying in or out of Tampa International Airport provides passengers the opportunity to see how beautiful Tampa actually is. The lovely yards, homes and buildings dot the landscape, displaying pools and lush vegetation in yards, parks and even planted to decorate traffic islands on the roadways. One of the advantages of living in an area with a semi-tropical climate is the humidity that encourages plant growth and the intense colors of leaves and flowers.
Whether people are looking from the air or noticing homes in Tampa Bay while driving by, the sameness of parts of the landscaping themes gradually inserts itself. It is so tempting to purchase a flower, shrub or tree that has caught our interest and plant it in the yard. The more people that see it, the more areas it ends up in; it becomes the latest fashion plant fad because of its appeal. Soon there are so many of that plant variety growing in the area that visitors and new residents believe them to be native plants.
The Adonidia palm is commonly referred to as the Christmas palm or Manila palm. It is native to the Philippines, but has caught the fancy of many in the Tampa area because of its graceful stature and elegant beauty. The idea that all palm trees should thrive in any area of Florida is disproved by this plant. Florida's southern territory suits it much better than the grounds in Tampa and its surrounding communities. Even temperatures that hover near freezing injure the Adonidia by attacking the fronds. It does not tolerate frost at all. If you must absolutely have one, plant it in a roll-away container so it can be moved to a warm, sheltered area during the cold days and nights that visit the Greater Tampa area several times each winter.
You might notice one of the native tropical sages in some of the yards. Growing to 3 feet in height, it is one of the plants that can be grown from seed and re-seeds itself each year. The bright red flowers yield a brilliant splash of color to any part of the yard, drawing hummingbirds and butterflies. Although it is drought tolerant, continued flowering during long dry spells is dependent on occasional watering. Tropical sage prefers full sunlight.
Here is a great article I wrote on grub worms a few years ago.