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Master gardeners’ May 18 plant sale includes state wildflower

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Eyewear Unlimited Niceville

Many of the plants available for purchase at the plant sale will be Florida native plants such as coreopsis, gaillardia, wild asters and lobelia.

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The UF/IFAS Okaloosa County Master Gardener Volunteers will hold their 2019 Spring Plant Sale 8 to 11 a.m. this Saturday, May 18 at the Extension Annex located at 127 NW Hollywood Blvd. in Fort Walton Beach.

Many of the plants available for purchase at the plant sale will be Florida native plants such as coreopsis, gaillardia, wild asters and lobelia.

Coreopsis is not only native to Florida but it is Florida’s State Wildflower. There are possibly as many as fourteen native species of coreopsis in Florida with lanceleaf coreopsis, Coreopsis lanceolata, and Leavenworth’s Coreopsis, Coreopsis leavenworthii, being two of the more common species found along our roadsides.

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Coreopsis, also known as tick seed because the seeds resemble ticks, can grow from one foot to three feet in height, dependent on species. Plants produce bright yellow daisy-like flowers during spring through fall, again dependent on species. The plants prefer sunny locations and well-drained but moist soil. It is best to plant coreopsis in areas with enough space to allow for reseeding.

Gaillardia, also called blanket flower, is a durable native wildflower with bright flowers that bloom from summer through fall.

The flowers are single, semi-double or double and grow on long stems above the soft foliage. They come in yellow, orange, red or bicolor and make excellent, long-lasting cut flowers that attract butterflies.

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Gaillardia can be planted anywhere in the state and will tolerate extreme heat, sun, sandy soils and even salt, making it a great choice for the coastal landscape.

Gaillardia also reseeds itself, so don’t be surprised if you see it year after year. Use coreopsis and gaillardia in the landscape as a groundcover or plant them in containers. They also can be used as an accent or in mass plantings.

The plant sale will take place rain or shine indoors at the Extension Annex.

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There will be a selection hard-to-find, Florida-friendly, native and pollinator plants.

Proceeds from the plant sale will be used by Okaloosa County Master Gardeners in providing their educational programs for the public.

Please note that cash or checks only will be accepted.

Larry Williams is the Extension horticulture agent with the Okaloosa County Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida. Contact Larry at 689-5850 or email lwilliams@myokaloosa.com.

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