By Susan Patterson, Master Gardener
The American tropics are home to over thirty different species of evergreen Duranta plants. Learn more about Duranta propagation and care in the home garden by reading the article that follows.
Gold mound duranta (Duranta erecta "Gold Mound") grows 2 to 4 feet tall and wide. Its main attraction is its bright yellow foliage, although it does produce small lavender flowers as well. This plant grows well in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 9b through 11. When frost hits it might damage the tips of the plant, but duranta usually recovers without a problem. If you plant this shrub in the right location, it will require little attention after establishment.
Select an area with full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil of almost any kind. The more sun this plant receives the brighter its foliage. Gold mound duranta does not do well with saturated or flooded soils.
Dig a hole twice the size of the plant's root ball and as deep as the height of the root ball. Space holes for multiple plants 1 to 3 feet apart, depending on dense you want the area to look.
Mix the removed soil with organic compost until you have about half soil and half compost. Compost will increase drainage in clay soils, increase water retention in sandy soils and provide extra nutrients for the plant in all kinds of soil.
Remove the duranta from its pot and set it upright in the hole, making sure the top of the root ball is even with or slightly above ground level. If it falls below ground level, remove the plant and add some of the compost and soil mixture until the root ball reaches the right height.
Fill in the soil and compost mixture around the shrub until the hole reaches about half full. Water deeply and wait until the water seeps into the soil. Refill the rest of the hole until you reach ground level.
Tamp down the soil around the duranta firmly with your hands to secure it in place. Water deeply again from the base of the plant to the edge of the planting hole. The foliage of the gold mound duranta might droop at this time, but if you keep the soil around the plant moist in the first week after planting it should do fine.
There are many varieties of prayer plants, but the most popular by far is the tricolor variation available at many garden centers. Prayer plants and calathea plants are so closely associated with one another that it's not uncommon for them to be mislabeled. Within the Maranta genus, a few species are the most common: