Jul
1
0

Plant of the Month

Peruvian Verbena dresses up rock gardens and low planters, spreading to form a mat, and also looks great cascading from pots.

Peruvian Verbena
Glandularia (Verbena) peruviana purple

  • Plant Form: Perennial groundcover
  • Water Use: Low, Moderate
  • Mature Size: 6-12 in. tall x 2-3 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring (March-May), Summer (June-Aug), Fall (Sept-Nov)
  • Native to: South America
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F 

Peruvian Verbena is a fairly fast-growing groundcover that trails and spreads with new herbaceous roots to form a dense mat. This desert-friendly, rabbit-resistant perennial produces clusters of colorful flowers at the end of each stem, with colors ranging from purple to pink, red, or white, depending upon which of the many available varieties are chosen.While this verbena is great in low-water-use landscapes, it produces its best flowering with moderate water. Flowers are most prolific in spring, with a slight tapering off in summer, but fall spurs another big bloom, which attracts butterflies and bees.Deadhead spent flowers to encourage continued blooming, and prune back in late winter to stimulate new flowering stems before spring. Although not a long-lived plant, Peruvian Verbena is popular in rock gardens and low planters, cascading from pots, and mixed with wildflowers and other groundcovers.

Check out our “Garden Tasks” for July 

Jun
1
0

Plant of the Month – June

Artichoke Agave, Parry Agave
Agave parryi

  • Plant Form: Succulent
  • Water Use: Very Low
  • Mature Size: 2-3 ft. tall & wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Summer (June-Aug)
  • Native to: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 15°F 

Artichoke Agave forms a dense, symmetrical rosette that actually resembles a giant artichoke. Wide, foot-long, blue-gray leaves are edged with spiny margins and tipped with a one-inch terminal spine. A rosette slowly matures over time until it produces offset “pups” at its base, eventually forming a colony of rosettes. Each rosette flowers only once, usually after 10-15 years, but sometimes not until 20-30 years. From the center of the rosette, one giant flowering stalk rises up to 20 feet tall, after which the flowering rosette dies, but all the new rosettes formed by suckers around the base of the mother plant survive. The flowering stalk is eye-catching, with clusters of orange-yellow flowers on many side branches.This popular ornamental agave is used as an accent or specimen, in borders, or in mass plantings. It is great in succulent and rock gardens, and in containers.

Check out our “Garden Tasks” for June 

Apr
30
0

Plant of the Month – May

You don’t have to wait until spring to enjoy color from this beautiful cactus. Colors of the fleshy pads transform from blue-gray to rich purple depending on seasonal temperatures. Yellow flowers in spring just add to the lively palette.

Santa Rita Prickly Pear,
Purple Prickly Pear
Opuntia violacea var. santa-rita

  • Plant Form: Cactus
  • Water Use: Very Low
  • Mature Size: 2-6 ft. tall x 4-6 ft.wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring (Mar-May), Summer (June-Aug)
  • Native to: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F 

Santa Rita Prickly Pear defies the convention that plants are only showy when they are in bloom. This cactus is colorful year-round. In winter, the fleshy pads attain a rich purple color, lending its other name, Purple Prickly Pear. Warmer weather coaxes out soft blue-gray pads. Spring entices yellow rose-like flowers along the edges of each pad. Tufts of tiny spines dot each pad, and sparse, long spines line the upper edges of the pads. White cottony patches on the pads may appear if affected by cochineal scale, an insect that sucks juice from the cactus and covers itself with white fluff for protection. Easily removed with a strong spray from a garden hose, these insects were the source of purple fabric dye for royalty in times past, and are used today to color food and cosmetics (check for “carmine” in the ingredients). This beautiful cactus is used in succulent and rock gardens, as a barrier or accent, and in containers. Santa Rita Prickly Pear makes a great gift plant, as pads root easily in loose, well-draining soil.

Check out our “Garden Tasks” for May

This striking accent plant has lots going for it: sculptural beauty, interesting movement in response to breezes, low water use, easy care, and tolerance to heat and cold.

Mexican Grass Tree
Dasylirion longissimum

  • Plant Form: Succulent
  • Water Use: Very Low
  • Mature Size: 4-6 ft. tall & wide (to 10 feet tall in age)
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring (Mar-May), Summer (June-Aug)
  • Native to: Northern Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 15°F 

Mexican Grass Tree is neither a grass nor a tree, but that doesn’t detract from its superb qualities for landscaping. Stiff but arching grass-like foliage seems to flow out of the center of this tidy, sculptural succulent related to agaves and nolinas. Besides being prized for its easy care and low water use, Mexican Grass Tree is captivating as a living kinetic “sculpture”, serving as yard art whenever breezes animate its numerous 4-foot-long leaves. Its large woody trunk grows very slowly to 6-10 feet tall, and in late spring to summer, both male and female plants produce a 9-foot-tall spike of small creamy flowers. This spectacular accent plant asks only for good drainage (it hates soggy soil), and some protection from harsh afternoon sun in extremely hot regions. A beautiful accent or specimen plant, but also useful in rock gardens, as a border, or in mass plantings. It is stunning in raised planters or large containers.

Check out our “Garden Tasks” for April 

The large, delicate, white flowers of Little-leaf Cordia might fool you into thinking this is not an especially hardy plant. This plant actually exceeds expectations, being the perfect combination of heat-tolerance, cold-tolerance, drought-tolerance, long blooming season, low-litter, and low maintenance. Sit back and enjoy this plant.

Little Leaf Cordia
Cordia parvifolia

  • Plant Form: Evergreen or semi-evergreen shrub
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 4-8 ft. tall x 6-10 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring (Mar-May), Summer (June-Aug), Fall (Sept-Nov)
  • Native to: Mexico, Baja California
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 15°F 

Little-leaf Cordia blooms so profusely with showy clusters of white, crepe paper-like flowers, it is hard to believe it is such a low-water-use, low-maintenance plant. Arching branches can be slightly open to dense, covered with small, leathery, deeply veined leaves. The dark foliage creates the perfect backdrop for the 1 – 1 ½-inch flowers that appear in spring and fall, but may also appear in summer with monsoonal rains, since heat and humidity trigger blooming. This easy-care shrub is evergreen except when exposed to severe drought or extreme cold, when it may drop its leaves. Resistant to nibbling by rabbits and deer, this Mexico native is useful as an informal hedge, screen, flowering accent, foundation plant, or background planting, especially with low-growing plants in the foreground. The only maintenance it may ever need is pruning in early spring for shape. Its low maintenance and low water-use have made this a favorite in medians and parking strips.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for March

While some gardeners may avoid Rosemary because it so commonly used, there is a reason it is chosen so often to solve hot, dry, poor soil situations: it works! Rosemary has so many gifts to give to your garden, including aromatic joy as you pass it, pest resistance, rabbit resistance, drought tolerance, culinary use in so many recipes, tolerance to both heat and cold, and screening of unsightly utility or irrigation systems…why wouldn’t you want at least one rosemary plant in your yard?

Rosemary
Rosmarinus officinalis

  • Plant Form: Evergreen Shrub
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 2-5 ft. tall x 2-6 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Winter (Dec-Feb), Spring (Mar-May)
  • Native to: Mediterranean Region
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 15°F 

Rosemary has been prized for centuries for a multitude of reasons, including its aromatic properties, flavorful herbal use, picturesque form, and rugged landscaping uses.  This drought-tolerant native of Mediterranean climates endures hot sun, reflected heat, and poor soils, and all it asks in return is good drainage. A mint-family evergreen shrub that has wonderfully aromatic, needle-like green leaves, this fragrant plant resists browsing by rabbits and deer, while producing tiny, two-lipped blue to white flowers that attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. In winter-hardy regions like ours, it grows 4-5 feet tall, and blooms from winter through spring. Rosemary’s leaves are harvested for culinary use, toiletries, and sachets. In the garden, Rosemary adds value to borders, low hedges, herb gardens, foundations that need to be hidden, slopes that need to be stabilized, and pots to accent any patio. This versatile plant is pet friendly, pool friendly, and easy care. Low-growing varieties are used to trail over walls and banks.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for February