A tropical powerhouse, the golden dewdrop plant (more commonly known as duranta) is a fast-growing tropical shrub with beautiful blooms and fantastic foliage. With the potential to become quite large where they are hardy (some varieties reaching over 15 feet!), these plants make great, quick-growing, warm-season annuals, and can even act as houseplants. Grown primarily for its bountiful blue blooms, many varieties of duranta also have highly ornamental golden foliage.
With its brilliant blue chains of flowers, duranta is a stand-alone knockout. Each individual five-petaled bloom most commonly is a vibrant blue shade, often edged in white. There are also other varieties in lighter shades of violet-blue, and even some in bright white. Many varieties can bloom throughout the year where they are hardy. When used as an annual in more temperate climates, their largest display of blooms is in midsummer. After this, these plants continue to put on a show with golden berries, which is where the common name "golden dewdrop" comes from. These berries are highly ornamental, but be cautious because they are poisonous to people and most animals. However, birds delight in eating them and are not affected by their toxins.
The foliage of these beautiful shrubs can also be very ornamental. Typically, they are simple green leaves with an appealing glossiness. A number of beautiful variegated varieties exist as well. Some have solid golden leaves, others lave light green leaves centered with a golden edge, and some even have a white or cream variegated leaf. In general, variegated varieties tend to be less floriferous, but the ornamental foliage definitely makes up for it.
Duranta Care Must-Knows
Duranta is an extremely easy-to-grow shrub or annual, depending on your location. These plants thrive in well-drained, moist, fertile soils. They are also very tolerant of sandy soils. In containers, give these plants a standard, well-drained potting mix, and add some slow-release fertilizer. Full sun is best for these shrubs, as they will have better habit and won't get loose as they would in the shade. Flower production will also be much better in full sun. Keep these plants well-watered. If they start to wilt, they will quickly bounce back once watered.
Related: Fertilizing Annuals
Duranta grows extremely fast. In many cases, this will mean it will need frequent pruning to keep the plant looking its best. The overall habit of duranta tends to be semi-weeping, but you can keep the plant manicured to rounded shrubs. In landscapes where these plants are hardy, it's best to avoid planting them near sidewalks and paths, as they are quick to overtake them and will require constant maintenance. Some varieties can also have small thorns on the branches—another good reason to keep them away from paths. Because of the many berries these plants produce, they can become invasive in tropical areas, so check with local authorities if you have any concerns.
More Varieties for Duranta
Duranta erecta 'Gold Edge' is a variety grown primarily for its foliage. 'Gold Edge' has rich green leaves with a bright gold edge. Light blue flowers appear in summer followed by orange berries. Zones 9-11
Duranta erecta 'Sapphire Showers' is an extremely floriferous selection. Deep blue flowers with a white edge cover plants in summer, and throughout the year in tropical climates. Zones 9-11
Duranta 'Alba' bears pure-white flowers followed by yellow fruit. It grows 1-2 feet tall as an annual and up to six feet tall as a tropical shrub.
Plant Duranta With:
These shade-loving plants bloom in just about every color except true blue and are well suited to growing in containers or in the ground. If you have a bright spot indoors, you may be able to grow impatiens all year as an indoor plant.
Among the most popular container-garden plants, sweet potato vine is a vigorous grower that you can count on to make a big impact. Its colorful foliage, in shades of chartreuse or purple, accents just about any other plant. Grow a few together in a large pot, and they'll make a big impact on their own. Sweet potato vines do best during the warm days of summer and prefer moist, well-drained soil. They thrive in sun or shade.
If you love blue flowers, tweedia is for you. Tweedia produces beautiful turquoise blooms all season on grayish, felted foliage. The fragrant five-petal flowers make great cut flowers, complementing any bouquet. A short vine growing 2 to 3 fall, tweedia will twine around short trellises or other supports. (Try a shrubby branch cutting inserted into the soil for a naturalistic support.)