Welcome to my zone 9 garden. My roots are deeply planted in the sandy soil of sub-tropical central Florida, where the summers are long and hot, but the rest of the year is paradise!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

A Little Christmas in Summer

  A favorite plant of the bright yellow Cloudless Sulphur butterflies and mine too is Senna alata . . . more commonly known as Christmas senna, popcorn senna, Christmas candle, candle bush, empress candle plant, candelabra bush, candletree, and the name I've always used . . . candlestick plant.

Call it whatever you like . . . there's no doubt it's a wildlife-friendly plant to have in the Florida garden as the bees love it as much as the butterflies.

 It's easy to see why the word candle is used in most of the common names as the spiky yellow blooms look very much like candles, but I'm not sure how it got the name Christmas senna since it blooms in summer.

The Cloudless sulphur butterflies can always be seen hovering around this plant as it serves as both a host and nectar source for them.

This plant grew in my mother's yard when I was a kid and the plants in my garden are from seeds (which propagate easily) of her plants that I've kept going in my own gardens over the years.  

It's one of those plants that gardeners passalong to other gardeners as I can't recall ever seeing it for sale in  local nurseries, but one worth having . . . not only for the beautiful plant and flowers but also to attract large numbers of sulphurs to your garden. 


FlowerLady said...

I have this grown from seed and it is about 2' tall. When I brush by it I definitely smell popcorn. I love it and look forward to those yellow blooms and the sulphur butterflies too.

Happy Gardening ~ FlowerLady

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan - I was going to ask if you've ever tried growing this from seed and then I saw FlowerLady's comment. :-) Such a beautiful plant . . . I'm going to have to add this to my wish list too!

One of my favorite things about your blog is your discipline in listing your plants names. When I have something I need to know the name of, I check out your blog first. It's a great resource - it's just great period.


daisy said...

Wow! Never seen that before! My boy got a kick out of the way the caterpillar blends into the leaves.

Leslie said...

Wow, how pretty! And I just love all the colorful names!

Susan said...

Hi Flowerlady...You know I've never thought to take a whiff of it to see if it smells like popcorn. Okay...I'm headed out right now. Thanks for mentioning that.

Hi Eli...Thanks for your kind comments. I'd be happy to send you some seeds later this fall if you'd like. Just leave me another comment and I'll touch base with you later this year.

Hi Daisy...It is difficult to spot those cats and sometimes there's lots of them just munching away.

Hi Leslie...This plant definitely is known by a lot of names. I guess it must be an old-timey plant.

Floridagirl said...

I don't recall ever seeing that plant for sale either. My sister has a grouping in her garden that she inherited when she bought her property about 20 years ago. They are quite striking in bloom!

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