Mexican Blue Sage
Electric Blue Sage
Salvia chamaedryoides 

  • Plant Form: Evergreen perennial/subshrub
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 1-2 ft. tall x 2-3 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full sun, part shade
  • Bloom Time: Spring (Mar-May), Summer (June-Aug), Fall (Sept-Oct); heaviest bloom Spring & Fall
  • Native to: Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 10°F

This petite, aromatic sage fits perfectly into containers, rock gardens, or dry borders. Mexican Blue Sage attracts butterflies and hummingbirds to its nectar, and attracts human admirers to its electric blue flowers that bloom from spring through fall.

Mexican Blue Sage is a fast-growing, low, mounding perennial that spreads by underground runners. The small silvery-green foliage is a perfect backdrop for its electric blue flowers that are heaviest in the cooler spring and fall months.  Also known as Germander Sage, this beautiful aromatic plant is one of the more petite sages that can be grown in containers. While fast growing, it lasts only a few years. Plant in well-drained soil (no fertilizer), and let the soil dry out between waterings, as it is sensitive to overwatering. Trim off spent flower stalks to encourage continued blooming. Shear in winter to stimulate new lush growth and good flowering the next season. Butterflies and hummingbirds love this sage for its nectar. Tuck this plant into rock gardens or dry borders, preferably close to living spaces.   

Check out our “Garden Tasks” for April

Mar
1
0

Sundrops

Sundrops, Fendler’s Sundrops
Calylophus hartwegii fendleri

  • Plant Form: Perennial subshrub
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 1 ft. tall x 2 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full sun, part shade
  • Bloom Time: Spring (Mar-May), Summer (June-Aug), Fall (Sept-Oct)
  • Native to: Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F

This long-blooming, cheery perennial brightens up any space where it is planted. Besides its masses of yellow flowers, you will appreciate Sundrops’ drought tolerance, heat tolerance, and its low water use. Your night-flying pollinators will love it as well. A fabulous addition to rock gardens!

Sundrops cheer up drab spots in your garden, and quickly spread by underground rhizomes into rounded, flower-filled mounds. Masses of yellow 1-2 inch flowers appear over a long season above narrow, bright green leaves. Flowers open in the afternoon and remain open until the next morning, providing nectar to night-flying moths. Each flower lasts 24 hours, and then fades to orange-pink, creating a nice sunset color palette. Cut back the stems of this evening primrose look-alike when it goes dormant in winter to reshape and prepare for new spring growth. This tough plant takes heat and drought, and is attractive between boulders, massed in clusters, or in containers. Plant in well-drained soil, and even though they don’t like to be overwatered, they appreciate a little extra water in summer. Lovely in rock gardens, meadow gardens, borders, beds, on slopes, as a ground cover, or anywhere they can drape over edges.

Check out our “Garden Tasks” for March

Feb
1
0

Plant of the Month

Island Snapdragon 
Gambelia speciosa

  • Plant Form: Evergreen shrub
  • Water Use: Very low
  • Mature Size: 3-4 ft. tall x 8-10 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full sun, part sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring (Mar-May), Summer (June-Aug)
  • Native to: Channel Islands, CA, & Guadalupe Island, Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 30°F

This fast-growing, vine-like California native is easy to grow, whether you leave it to trail out as an excellent ground cover, train it to crawl up a trellis or arbor, or let it lean against other shrubs for height. Hummingbirds love its long, tubular red flowers, which are most prolific if grown in full sun.

Island Snapdragon is a magnet for hummingbirds with its bright clusters of lipstick-red, snapdragon-like flowers on the tips of arching stems from spring through mid-summer. This vine-like perennial, native to several offshore islands of California, is fast growing and easy to grow, developing a dense and sprawling habit. Blooming is heaviest in spring, but occurs intermittently the rest of the year. Flowers hold up well in bouquets. Its long stems can be left free as a groundcover, trained like a vining shrub on latticework, or leaned against other shrubs to grow higher. Island Snapdragon takes full sun but prefers some shade in inland desert areas (although flowers are reduced in shade), and tolerates both heat and drought, requiring little or no summer irrigation. It tolerates irrigation twice a month in summer. Use this dense shrub along borders, on slopes, by patios, as a groundcover, hedge or screen, and in containers.

Check out our “Garden Tasks” for February

Jan
1
0

Plant of the Month

Apache Plume
Fallugia paradoxa

  • Plant Form:Semi-evergreen shrub
  • Water Use: Very low
  • Mature Size: 4-6 ft. tall x 5 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring (Apr – June)
  • Native to: So. Calif, SW U.S.
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to -10°F

Apache Plume provides months of interest in your garden with its long-lasting, feather-like seed heads. This extremely drought-tolerant California native plant needs only occasional watering after established, and quickly expands to about 5 feet wide.

Apache Plume is one of our showiest native desert shrubs. Rose-like, white flowers in spring produce eye-catching, silky pink seed plumes that cling to the stems into winter, adding months of interest. These feather-like seed heads are said to resemble an Apache headdress.  This fast-growing, semi-deciduous shrub with small dark green leaves is extremely tolerant of heat and drought, and is an important erosion control plant. Apache Plume likes full sun but accepts part shade, and needs only occasional if any irrigation after it becomes established. Cut the oldest woody stems to the ground to revitalize the plant. Beautiful on banks, in rock gardens and raised planters, as a background or accent plant, or in open spaces. Give this plant ample room—it doesn’t stay small for long.

Check out our “Garden Tasks” for January

Firecracker Plant
Coral Fountain
Russelia equisetiformis

  • Plant Form:Perennial shrub
  • Water Use: Low, moderate
  • Mature Size: 3-4 ft. tall x 4-6 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full sun, part sun, filtered sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring (Mar – May), Summer (June – Aug), Fall (Sept – Oct)
  • Native to: Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 25-30°F

The brilliant red flowers cascading along abundant arching stems of Firecracker Plant make this perennial shrub a true show stopper. It will impress you as it spills over containers, window boxes, raised beds, walls, a trellis, or across the ground as a ground cover.

Firecracker Plant turns heads with its showy, 1-inch-long red flowers on arching stems throughout all warmer months of the year.  Hummingbirds and butterflies can’t resist it. Also known as Coral Fountain, its fine-textured, nearly leafless stems appear to flow like a fountain carrying flowers from a central point to the tips of its weeping branches. This long-lived, dramatic plant has excellent heat and sun tolerance, as well as moderate drought-resistance once well-established. Dead-heading spent flower stems helps with continuous blooming. Although they thrive in full sun, they do best with morning sun and afternoon shade in our hottest months, and prefer protection from drying winds. A fast-growing, easy-care shrub, Firecracker Plant has only one drawback: it can freeze in our Zone 8b Cold Hardiness Zone if not protected during hard frosts. Place this frost-sensitive plant in warm, sheltered areas, or containers that can be moved. Looks great spilling from containers, window boxes, raised beds, over walls, on a trellis, or as an informal groundcover.

Check out our “Garden Tasks” for December

Spanish Dagger
Yucca gloriosa ‘Variegata’

  • Plant Form: Succulent shrub
  • Water Use: Low, moderate
  • Mature Size: 2-4 (-8) ft. tall x 2-4 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full sun, part sun
  • Bloom Time: Summer (July – Aug), Fall (Sept – Oct)
  • Native to: Southeast U.S.
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 15°F

This award-winning evergreen shrub brightens up gardens year-round, but is especially attractive when it produces its dramatic flower stalk with hundreds of creamy white, bell-shaped, nodding flowers. Spanish Dagger performs great in beds and borders, rock gardens, city gardens, coastal gardens, cottage gardens, or Mediterranean gardens.

Spanish Dagger is a beautifully symmetrical shrub native to coastal plains, dunes, and sandy woods from North Carolina to Florida. Sword-shaped, spine-tipped leaves radiate from its center. The variegated form has blue-green leaves with creamy-yellow edges. Bell-shaped,  creamy-white flowers bloom along a tall central spike from summer into fall, attracting butterflies and pollinators. In age, the basal rosette can form a trunk and grow to 8 feet tall. This ornamental succulent is easily grown in well-drained soils, in full sun or light shade in the hottest inland deserts. Tolerates poor, sandy soils, and resists rabbits and deer. While drought-tolerant, it does need regular water to look its best. This easy-care, exotic accent plant is beautiful in borders and beds, along foundations, on dry slopes, and in dry garden areas. Use as an individual specimen plant, or in mass groupings, on slopes to stabilize soil and prevent erosion, or as a border plant to mark property lines.

Check out our “Garden Tasks” for November