Duranta sapphire showers tree

Care Of Duranta: How To Grow Duranta Plants

The American tropics are home to over 30 different species of evergreen Duranta plants, member of the Verbena family. In the United States, the Golden Dewdrop species is cultivated. In all areas apart from the USDA plant hardiness zones 8-11, this plant is treated as an annual. Let’s learn more about Duranta propagation and care in the home garden.

Duranta Flowering Plant Info

The Duranta flowering plant (Duranta erecta) may reach up to 10 feet in height and flowers profusely from summer until the first heavy frost. The shrub-like plant is multi-stemmed and the branches are somewhat droopy. The stems may have sharp spines.

Orchid-like flowers may be light blue to light purple in color. Some plants develop loads of yellow, ball-shaped drupes. Chemicals in the fruit may make them poisonous to humans but harmless to birds that enjoy them immensely.

How to Grow Duranta

If you live in an area where Duranta plants are treated as annuals, a large container (such as a half whiskey barrel) is a fantastic place to grow the plant. When the weather becomes chilly, you can bring the plant inside and place it near a south-facing window for beautiful color all winter long.

Duranta plants prefer rich organic soil that is somewhat loamy and drains well. It is especially important to keep soil light if you are planting in a container. Be sure that your container has plenty of drainage holes.

If planting in the ground, choose a location that receives full to part sun for best flowering display. Allow plenty of room for this tropical beauty to spread out.

Care of Duranta Plants

Slow -fertilizers help encourage prolific flowering and fruiting.

It is important to water frequently while the plant is establishing. Water requirements after establishments are low, watering just enough to keep the soil moist and more during times of drought.

Some renewal pruning is necessary to keep a nice shape.

Duranta propagation is fairly easy using a piece of the woody limb (hardwood cutting) taken in the summer. Dip the end of 6-inch piece of limb into rooting compound and plant. Roots will establish fairly quickly. Seeds are also available and also seem to do well.

Are the berries of the Golden dewdrop poisonous to my children?

The plant you described is most likely the golden dew drop, Duranta erecta. The origin of this small evergreen tree is subject to debate. Some sources claim it is native to the West Indies and Central America, while others claim it is native to the Florida Keys. It currently can be found in many states within the sun belt of the United States, including Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, California, and Hawaii.

Golden dewdrop grows best in full sunlight but will tolerate partial shade, and can reach heights of up to 18 feet. It works well as a specimen shrub or even a beautiful hedge. Simple and oppositely arranged leaves grow from 1 to 3 inches long, are ovate to obovate in shape, and have serrate margins. The leaves are yellow-green, glabrous (or hairless) and thin, and each one possesses a thorn on the bottom side along the rachis (stem). The bark of the golden dewdrop tree is light brown and slightly furrowed.

Small, showy, tubular flowers, ranging from purple and white to violet or blue, bloom in the spring and hang in 6-inch racemes. Bright yellow spherical fruits about ½ inch in diameter hang in long, trailing clusters in the summer which is attracting your children.

It is critical to note the fruits of golden dewdrop are poisonous to humans so it will be important to either remove the shrub or keep your children away. If you decided to keep the shrub, then be sure to remove the fruit when they emerge.

Butterflies enjoy nectar from the flowers, and although the fruit is poisonous to humans, birds use the berries as a food source. For more information check out the University of Florida publication: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fr327

by Rebecca Jordi

Posted: August 21, 2017

Category: Home Landscapes

Tags: Duranta fruit poisonous

Golden Dewdrop Plant Care

Written by: Norman Category: Garden Ornamental Plants, Shrubs, Bulbs, Bromeliads And Ground Covers Published: January 14, 2019

Garden designs with golden dewdrop

Bontical Name

The botanical name for this shrub is called the Duranta Erecta.

Golden Dewdrop

The golden dewdrop or the golden duranta is a perennial shrub, this plant with its yellow leaves and small purple flowers can really put on a show, what I love about the golden duranta is its colourful leaves and flowers which means installing these garden beauties in your landscape and gardens will give you that constant colour. As the bloom season passes for this garden beauty the leaves will continue to maintain its colour of yellow until the next bloom season when a beautiful mass of tiny purple flowers reappears.

I have worked with these plants on a few garden projects which give that WOW. But be careful however because this perennial shrub has tiny prickles, if not handled with care can give a painful experience, how do I know because this was my experience on many occasions when working with them. What is also good to know is the golden duranta attracts wildlife such as butterflies.

But how do we make this garden beauty a part of our landscape and spring garden? Keep reading to find out, trust me you will be amazed how simple golden dewdrop is easy to grow and maintain.

Things you must know

  • Planting Location
  • Soil Type
  • Watering Methods
  • Fertilizing Methods
  • Garden insect pests of golden dewdrop
  • Disease of golden dewdrop
  • Some ideas of where to install golden dewdrop
  • Container grown golden dewdrop

Planting Location

The golden dewdrop or golden duranta loves the sun so look for a sunny location to install these garden beauties this perennial shrub will also withstand partial shade.

Soil Type

The golden duranta loves a well-drain soil so preparing or adding organic matter to your existing soil will help to retain water but allow excess water to drain through.

Watering Methods

When watering ensure that the soil is moist then allow the soil to dry somewhat between watering before giving your dewdrop another drink of water.

Fertilizing Methods

When fertilizing this shrub it is good to use a slow or quick release fertilizer. Before applying fertilizers read and follow the manufacturer’s label because the label is the law.

Garden insect pests of the golden dewdrop

There are few garden insect pest of the golden dewdrop which are

  • Whiteflies
  • Mealybugs
  • Spider mites
  • Scales

These garden insect pests are known as sucking insects that suck the sap from the plant which can cause injury. These insect pests can be controlled with the use of insecticidal soap sprays or horticultural oil during the dormant season. When applying these chemicals follow the manufacturer’s label because the label is the law.

Disease of the golden dewdrop

There is no major know disease of the golden dewdrop.

Care of the golden dewdrop during the fall and winter months

When caring for the golden dewdrop during the winter months discontinue pruning because pruning this time of the year will encourage or stimulate new growth which will cause the new growth to be killed. Pruning can be continued during the following spring. Keeping the soil somewhat moist will help your plants during this time also adding a three-inch layer of mulch will protect the roots from the winter frost.

Ideas of where to install the golden duranta

The golden duranta can be installed

  • In your garden areas
  • Near fences
  • Along porches
  • Along patios
  • The golden dewdrop can be placed along driveways just keep them well pruned
  • Can be installed in containers and placed near the entrance of doorways
  • Golden dewdrop can be grown as a specimen plant.

Container grown golden dewdrop

A great way to grow these garden shrubs is from containers because during winter time and other adverse conditions which may cause much damage the containers can be removed to a more safer area. When growing golden dewdrops from containers install in a well-drained soil that holds water but will allow excess water to drain.

The container should have drain holes to allow water to drain through remember to place the containers in an area that gets full to partial sun, also place a saucer under the containers to catch excess water and empty the saucer as it fills.

The fruits of the golden dewdrop shrub

A word of warning!

The golden dewdrop may give that WOW but a word of warning! the fruits of the golden dewdrop are said to be “poisonous” so it is good to install these plants in an area that children and pets have no access to.

The final word

The golden duranta is an amazing plant which will give your garden and landscape colour year round so consider adding this garden beauty that will give that WOW taking your garden to the next level. Trust me you will glad that you installed these garden beauties.

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Sky Flower

Sky flower is a showy evergreen that grows eighteen feet tall and wide, if it doesn’t freeze back. It is a multi-trunk plant with arching branches that droop and trail in a downward appearance. Some species have spines on them, while others are spineless. The dark green foliage is thin with long leaves arranged in whorls of three and pointed at the tip. This plant produces showy, bluish-purple, tubular blossoms that flower for most of the year in warmer climates. It also attracts butterflies. There are a number of varieties available, including one that produces a white flower. In the Southwest desert, the sky flower begins blooming in the spring and continues its magnificent color show throughout the fall, until the first frost. It also produces a showy, golden yellow berry that hangs from the plant. The berry is poisonous to humans. Use it as a large background shrub for its amazing flower color, as a screen, windbreak, or container plant around patios, pools, and water features. The plant is native to the scrubby woodlands of the West Indies and Central and South America. It has become established in western Texas and Florida.

Duranta erecta (Brazilian Sky Flower) – Grown for its summer flowers and ornamental fruit, this evergreen shrub spreads and arches to 25 feet tall and nearly as wide – grown as a tree it is more upright in habit with a spread about half the width. In the summer, cascading clusters of light blue tubular flowers appear followed by wonderfully contrasting orange-yellow berries. In mild climates this plant can be in flower nearly year round with flowers and fruit appearing at the same time. It does best in full sun with frequent deep watering and is hardy to about 20-25 ° F. A good choice for espaliers, as a small tree or large bush; all forms benefit from frequent selective pruning. Flowers are very attractive to butterflies. Duranta erecta, long grown as D. repens is native to the New World from Florida, the Caribbean south to Brazil and has many common names, including golden dewdrop, pigeon-berry and sky-flower. The attractive fruits and the foliage have saponins that are poisonous to humans. Both are considered to be bitter and while poisonings in the US were unreported in 1986 when Poisonous Plants of California was published (Thomas C. Fuller and Elizabeth McClintock, University of California Press, 1986), there were reports of children becoming ill from eating berries in Australia. This plant was first introduced to California by Joseph Sexton at his Goleta Valley Nursery in 1879. The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery’s garden and in other gardens that we have observed it in. We also will incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing Duranta erecta.

Duranta erecta ‘Sapphire Showers’

Golden dewdrop grows fast and a little wild, with frilly purple flowers that attract butterflies and golden berry clusters so weighty they give the plant an appealing, weepy appearance.

Photos of this plant don’t do it justice – the purple blooms and yellow berries often decorate the plant at the same time.
Dewdrop blooms on and off year round, making it an outstanding and showy shrub.

You can use it as a specimen plant, mix it in with other plants in your landscape, or plant in a row for a cottage-garden style hedge.

This shrub can be tamed with regular shearing and shaping for a more formal look.

Or use it in a casual setting with its natural form kept in check with an occasional trim.

Frequent trimming can remove flowers and berries, so try to time “haircuts” after a bloom cycle.

Another way to trim is just snip off the berry clusters (plus a bit of branch) once the berries are past their prime.

This will leave the branches fairly long but encourage fresh new growth and more flowering.

These purple flowering plants are butterfly attracters you can to add to your landscaping or to a dedicated bed for butterfly plants.
The flower petals are small and the berries won’t drop off and make a mess, so this shrub can be placed near a patio or walkway without creating extra maintenance…other than trimming back wayward branches from time to time. And giving it room to spread out so it doesn’t encroach on foot traffic areas will keep this chore to a minimum.
The leaves and berries contain toxins and ingesting them can harm people and pets, so keep this in mind when choosing a place to plant.

Golden dewdrop can also cause skin irritations in some people – if you have sensitive skin, wear gloves when trimming and handling.
You can sometimes find this shrub available in a single-trunk standard (tree-form).

Or you can let it grow up into a large multi-trunked tree, keeping the base of the plant clean of new shoots and the top shaped.

There’s a variety with white flowers…and a stunning variegated one with purple blooms for even more color in the landscape.

Plant specs

Golden dewdrop grows fast but it can be kept in the realm of 5 to 6 feet.

It can grow very wide if you let it, or keep it about 4 to 5 feet in width.

Cold tolerant, it will do fine in Zone 9B and southward.

This shrub is moderately salt-tolerant. It’s evergreen and grows in sun to part shade (but you’ll get more flowers with more sun).

Plant care

Add top soil or organic peat moss combined with composted cow manure to the hole when you plant.

Trim as often as the plant needs it for looks and do a hard pruning in spring (late March or early April) for overall size.

You can repeat this hard pruning in early fall (before mid-October) if you like and if the plant’s size warrants it.

The berries can be cut off once they’re past their prime to improve the shrub’s overall looks and to promote new growth on the branch ends.

Water golden dewdrop on a regular basis, and fertilize 3 times a year in spring, summer, and fall with a quality granular fertilizer. You can supplement feedings with bloom boosters such as bone meal and liquid to promote heavier flowering.

Plant spacing

Dewdrops should be planted 3 to 5 feet apart if you’re planting them in a row.

Allow 4 or 5 feet of space between this shrub and nearby plants so the dewdrop’s exuberant growth doesn’t overwhelm them. You can place smaller shrubs 3 feet away if you plan on using them as underplantings, keeping the base of the dewdrop trimmed back and the top a wider canopy.

Place golden dewdrop at least 3 feet out from the house.

If you’re planting along a walkway come in 3 or 4 feet. Golden dewdrop can be trimmed more tree-like as it matures to form a canopy over a walk.

Along a driveway, come away from the pavement 4 feet or more.

You can grow these plants in large containers.

Landscape uses for golden dewdrop

  • single yard specimen
  • hedge
  • anchor for a butterfly garden
  • along a walk or drive
  • entryway accent
  • lining a fence
  • around a patio for privacy or shade
  • accent in a mixed bed
  • backdrop for smaller plants
  • as a sheltering shrub near a birdbath
  • in pairs flanking each side of a gate or driveway entrance

Other plants you might like: Thunbergia, Tibouchina

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How to Care for a Sapphire Showers Plant or Tree

Nothing gathers attention like deep blue-violet flowers, and the Sapphire Showers golden dewdrop (Duranta erecta “Sapphire Showers”), also called pigeon berry or skyflower, delights with blossoms edged in white. This cold-tender tropical shrub to small tree relishes sunlight and heat and is hardy in USDA zones 8 to 12, where winters are very mild. The soil must be light and well-draining; sandy soil rich with organic matter is perfect. Light tip pruning of branches in spring allows for lush regrowth.

Provide 1 inch of water to the golden dewdrop each week during the growing season. An evenly moist soil in the heat of summer will encourage lush foliage and abundant flowering.

Layer organic mulch or compost around the base of the shrub in a ring that extends 1 to 2 feet beyond the spreading reach of the branches. The layer of organic matter should be 2 to 4 inches deep and 3 to 4 inches away from the actual trunk of the plant. The nutrients that leach from the organic matter into the soil will benefit the plant and help keep the soil moist.

Consider adding an all-purpose, slow-release fertilizer around the root zone of this plant in spring and summer according to product directions. This is especially important for plants growing in sandy soils or regions that get copious amounts of rain in summertime. Plants grown in containers need this supplemental fertilization for best performance, too.

Prune back branches by 50 percent each early spring if desired, to keep the shrub looking fresh and tidy. Make the pruning cuts anywhere along the stem, as regrowth will occur in several locations of remaining stems and can be thinned out once they appear. In regions where a killing frost or mild freezes occur in winter, the plant will naturally die back to its base or roots, and will rejuvenate in spring. In tropical regions the plant will grow upwards of 15 to 20 feet without pruning or nipping frosts.

Plant Finder

Sapphire Showers Duranta flowers

Sapphire Showers Duranta flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 20 feet

Spread: 20 feet


Hardiness Zone: 8b

Other Names: Picotee Sky Flower, Golden Dew Drop, Pigeon Berry


A beautiful large shrub or small tree producing clusters of showy violet-blue flowers with dazzling white petal edges; can be maintained as a small accent tree; showy flowers and fruit makes this a noticeable addition to the landscape

Ornamental Features

Sapphire Showers Duranta features showy clusters of violet flowers with blue overtones and white edges at the ends of the branches in mid summer. It has dark green foliage. The serrated pointy leaves remain dark green throughout the winter. It produces orange berries in late summer.

Landscape Attributes

Sapphire Showers Duranta is a multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This shrub will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season’s flowers. It is a good choice for attracting birds and butterflies to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Sapphire Showers Duranta is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Hedges/Screening
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Sapphire Showers Duranta will grow to be about 20 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 20 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 2 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This shrub should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil type, but has a definite preference for acidic soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a selection of a native North American species, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets.

Sapphire Showers Duranta makes a fine choice for the outdoor landscape, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. Its large size and upright habit of growth lend it for use as a solitary accent, or in a composition surrounded by smaller plants around the base and those that spill over the edges. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag – this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

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