How many names can one plant have? Well, the Tropical Dogwood (Mussaenda erythrophylla) has many— from Red Velvet, Prophet’s Tears, Virgin Tree to Red Flag Bush and Ashanti Blood among others. A cousin to coffee, gardenia, pentas and ixora, Tropical Dogwoods have a vibrant and showy bract (like bougainvillea) that surrounds the petite flower. Star-like blooms are typically cream or yellow and can reach widths of seven inches when combined with their bracts.
Tropical Dogwood is commonly pruned to maintain a shrub form as it flowers on and off throughout the year in Southwest Florida (left to ramble as a vine, it can reach heights of 30 feet). Rich, moist and sandy soil will make the perfect home for this bee and butterfly-attracting plant while partial to full sun will help it product the best foliage colors.
Native to West Africa and the subtropics, Mussaendas have more than 200 species to choose for your Florida landscape. Consult your local professional for the best option in your microclimate.