May
1
0

Plant of the Month

Large, eye-catching flowers adorn this carefree shrub that performs impressively in extreme conditions with almost no maintenance, taking drought, poor soil, wind, and heat in stride.

Bicolor Rock Rose

Cistus x cyprius var. ellipticus f. bicolor
  • Plant Form: Evergreen shrub
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 3-4 ft. tall x 4-7 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring (April-May), Summer (June – August)
  • Native to: Mediterranean region
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 15°F

Bicolor Rock Rose looks so elegant in bloom that it may fool you with its sturdy, easy-care nature. This rock rose tolerates drought, poor soil, drying winds, and desert heat. Clusters of large, white, crepe-like flowers with golden “eyes” and five burgundy spots cover this evergreen shrub from late spring to summer. Although each flower lasts only one day, buds are so abundant that bushes produce an endless procession of color for two or three months. This low-maintenance plant is best pruned in late winter after threat of frost has passed. Its growth habit of being both upright and widely sprawling make it ideal for use on dry slopes as a groundcover, as well as for borders and low hedges. Charming in both Mediterranean-style gardens and cottage gardens. Adds evergreen beauty to rock gardens, and performs great in containers.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for May

Golden Barrel Cactus
Echinocactus grusonii

Everything about this plant makes it a desert gardener’s delight: extreme drought-tolerance, very low maintenance, suitability for both formal and casual landscapes, attractive clumping habit, and glowing spines for added interest.

  • Plant Form: Cactus/succulent
  • Water Use: Very Low
  • Mature Size: 1.5 ft. tall & 2 ft. wide (3 ft. tall and wide in very old plants)
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring (Mar-May), Summer (June – August)
  • Native to: Central Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 18°F

Golden Barrel Cactus is one of the most popular cacti in cultivation today—one look, and you’ll know why. Bright golden spines line the ribs of this spherical cactus, which lights up in the sun. Older specimens produce offsets around their base, eventually forming large clusters with dozens of individual heads. Yellow flowers form late spring to summer in a ring at the top of the plant on larger, mature plants only, peeking out of the dense patch of white woolly hair that protects the top of the barrel. Planted in mass, these whimsical plants create a dramatic effect, even giving the illusion of rolling hills in a flat landscape. Golden Barrels keep getting more beautiful as they grow, needing very little care or water, and usually only suffer if they get not enough sun or too much irrigation. Plant groups close together among large rocks for impact. Wonderful in containers on sunny porches and in atriums.

 

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for April

Spanish Lavender
Lavandula stoechas

Spanish Lavender offers a trio of qualities that gardeners seek: beautiful blossoms, drought tolerance, and fragrant foliage. Add to that rabbit resistance and tolerant of heat, cold, and poor soils, and you have a real winner!

  • Plant Form: Evergreen perennial
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 24 – 30 in. tall & wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring (Feb-May), Summer (June – August)
  • Native to: Mediterranean region and North Africa
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 15°F

Spanish Lavender can fulfill your desire for a durable evergreen plant with bright flowers, enchanting fragrance, drought resistance, and heat tolerance. Both flowers and foliage are wonderfully fragrant. Purple bracts on flower heads appear like rabbit ears, and lend a whimsical look. Spanish Lavender is probably the same plant that the ancient Greeks and Romans used to scent their bath water, and is still popular today for dried aromatics and cut stems in homes. Prune lightly after flowering to stimulate next season’s growth. This water-wise, easy-care plant is perfect in both formal and casual Mediterranean-style gardens, as well as in cottage and wild gardens. It also performs superbly on dry slopes and rocky outcrops. Spanish Lavender attracts butterflies and pollinators, but luckily repels rabbits. Beautiful in large artistic pots, mixed borders, mass plantings, and rock gardens.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for March

Trailing Indigo Bush
Dalea greggii

Trailing Indigo Bush is one of the toughest groundcovers available, resisting drought, heat, and rabbits, while offering soil stabilization on slopes and a durable cover in rock gardens and medians.

  • Plant Form: Evergreen groundcover
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 1-2 ft. tall & 3-9 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring (Feb-May), Summer (June – August)
  • Native to: New Mexico, Texas, Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 10°F

Trailing Indigo Bush creates a mounding, low-maintenance, easily established groundcover for any arid location. Silvery blue-green foliage adorns this spreading plant that roots at the nodes of long, trailing stems, covering everything in its path and making it especially useful to stabilize slopes. Its tiny, purple, pea-like flowers are not showy from a distance, but butterflies, native pollinators, and humans appreciate their beauty close-up. This durable groundcover shuns fertilizer and overwatering, but some watering in summer helps keep the foliage full. In the late winter or early spring, cut off the stems of last season’s growth to stimulate new growth in spring. Besides being tolerant of drought and reflected sun, Trailing Indigo Bush is happily rabbit resistant. One of the toughest groundcovers available, it is valued on slopes, medians, in rock gardens, and wherever soil stabilization is needed.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for February

Queen Victoria Agave
Agave victoriae-reginae

Queen Victoria Agave_plant_RK

For a stunning accent almost anywhere in your yard, rock garden, on your porch, or in an atrium, it’s hard to beat the elegant form and color of Queen Victoria Agave.

  • Plant Form: Evergreen succulent
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 18 inches tall and wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Summer (June – August) Blooms once after about 10-15 years in the garden
  • Native to: Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 10°F

Queen Victoria Agave is among the most striking century plant species in cultivation, and looks so perfect, you’ll wonder if it’s real. Each thick leaf of the symmetrical rosette is edged with precise white lines wherever the leaves are angled. A single spine finishes the tip of each leaf. Queen Victoria Agave is prized not only for its mesmerizing leaf patterns, but also for its small size and ability to withstand desert heat, drought, and cold. This slow-growing agave may bloom once at considerable age, producing a single 15-foot stalk with reddish-purple flowers, after which the mother plant dies–but not before starting new “pups” from below the rosette. Looks best when watered deeply twice a month in summer and once a month in spring and fall. Like most agaves, this beauty looks great in containers, especially on either side of an entry to view up close. In the ground, it is stunning in rock, cactus, and succulent gardens.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for January

Texas Ranger, Rain Sage

Leucophyllum species

Texas-Ranger-plant_RK

Versatile, long-blooming, and extremely tolerant of drought, heat, cold, and poor soils, you have found a true performer in any selection of the low-maintenance Texas Rangers.

  • Plant Form: Evergreen shrub
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 3 – 8 feet tall and wide, depending on selection
  • Exposure: Full and reflected sun
  • Bloom Time: Summer – Fall (Mar – Oct)
  • Native to: Texas, Mexico, SW U.S.
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 10°F

Texas Rangers belong to a genus of flowering shrubs that are prized for their profuse flowers, long bloom season, exceptional drought-tolerance, and low maintenance. Over a dozen species and selections are now available, with variations in plant size and shape, leaf color, and flower color. Explore choices such as ‘Thunder Cloud’, ‘White Cloud’, Green Cloud’, and ‘Cimarron’ for flower colors from white, pink, rose, or purple, and leaves from green to silver. Taller forms (6-8 feet high, such as L. frutescens) make excellent screening hedges, and a great alternative to oleanders. Reduce supplemental water in early fall to increase cold tolerance. Allow these beauties to grow naturally – resist pruning into box-shapes or globes. While creating a denser appearance, flowers will be sacrificed, and water use will increase. Prune only lightly in fall after flowering to maintain the plant’s natural form. There is a perfect Texas Ranger for your particular garden situation!

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for September