Friday, January 17, 2014

It's Flower Friday! Meet Innocence (Houstonia procumbens)

Innocence (Houstonia procumbens). Photo: Stacey Matrazzo

Although often overlooked, the diminutive white flowers and verdurous leaves of Innoncence are a welcome sight for anyone with the winter blues! 

Innocence (Houstonia procumbens)
This low growing perennial creeps along the floors of many open habitats throughout Florida. It goes largely unnoticed until late winter and early spring when it blooms with lovely white four-lobed flowers on a tidy carpet of green leaves. Although its flowers are only 4-6 mm, the plant forms a miniature wildflower garden in pinelands and prairies. 

Family: Madder (Rubiaceae)
Hardiness: North, Central and South Florida
Growth Habit: Ground-hugging mat 1-inch high and 12- to 18-inches wide
Soil: Adapts from dry to moderately moist
Exposure: Open areas and light shade
Garden tips: Innocence is rarely for sale in nurseries, but is easy to grow and could be used as a slow-spreading winter ground cover in a lightly mulched or open area. It can be propagated by seed or cuttings. Although dormant in summer, it co-exists well with sparse grasses and seems to reseed or be long-lived.

- Stacey Matrazzo

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