Garden Talk

with Rebecca Jordi

Q: What is the name of this plant and what can you tell me about it?

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Japanese serissa

Japanese serissa

A:   I was glad you were able to show me a close-up photo of this plant.  Although it took me a little while to remember it, I finally realized the shrub was Japanese serissa or Yellow rim, Serissa foetida.  It can be grown in cold hardiness zones 7-9, which means anywhere in Nassau County, Florida.  Generally, it is classified as a semi-evergreen with small white flowers appearing in the spring.  Sadly, the flowers have no fragrance. The small green leaves have a thin outline of yellow – which is where it gets the common name Yellow rim.  It can be grown in most any type of well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade.  It would be considered a dwarf shrub as it reaches heights of only 3-4 feet with the same size spread.  However, it has a tendency to sucker similar to yaupon holly.  This means you may need to occasionally clip it at the bottom to keep the suckers in check.  It truly has no serious insect or disease issues if NOT over-fertilized or over-watered. This means it should not be in the pathway of any irrigation system.  Once it is established – usually just a few months – it is practically care-free.  Japanese serissa shrubs make a nice backdrop for perennials such as African iris, coneflower or yellow bulbine.  We will have a few of these shrubs at the spring sale on Saturday, May 7 from 9am to noon at the James S. Page Governmental Complex.  Remember these plant sale funds are used to provide us with professional development and help us maintain the two demonstration gardens.  Please come out and support us – see you there. 

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