Red Hot Poker, Torch Lily,

‘Christmas Cheer’ Poker Plant

Kniphofia rooperi hybrid
      ‘Christmas Cheer’

‘Christmas Cheer’ Poker Plant blooms in the fall, winter and spring, making it a rather unique poker, and delighting hummingbirds with its nectar during winter in mild climates.

  • Plant Form: Evergreen perennial
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 3 – 4 feet tall x  3 – 5 feet wide (flower spikes to 3 – 5 feet tall)
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Fall – Spring (Oct – Feb)
  • Native to: S. Africa
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 15 °F

Red Hot Poker is known for brilliant hot scarlet “torches” of flower spikes with yellow bases. The variety ‘Christmas Cheer’ is named for its ability to bloom through cooler weather, blooming in fall, winter and spring, making this a unique ‘red hot poker’ (most others bloom during the summer). While the clumping plant is cold-hardy, the flowers succumb to freezing, so consider planting in containers to move under cover in freezing weather to maintain winter blooms. Summer-blooming varieties are available with no risk of winter bloom damage. Cut spent flower spikes out at their base to make plants more attractive and to promote longer flowering. Butterflies, hummingbirds, and other nectar sippers like orioles are attracted to the tubular flowers. Considered to be one of the best winter hummingbird nectar plants for mild climates. Plant in full sun with good drainage. Eye-catching in borders, rock gardens, containers, wildlife gardens, and fire-wise gardens.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for December

Hot Lips Sage

Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’

Flowers on Hot Lips Sage can be either all red, all white, or both red and white, a combination that stops passers-by in their tracks.

  • Plant Form: Evergreen perennial
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 2 – 3 feet tall & wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
  • Bloom Time: Spring – Fall (Apr – Nov)
  • Native to: Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 15 °F

 

Hot Lips Sage is an early-blooming bi-color sage that you cannot look at without smiling. This plant always stops passers-by for a second look, including hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees that are attracted to the blossoms from late spring until the first frost. Two-tone flowers on the same plant vary depending on temperature throughout the season. With warmer evening temperatures, summer flowers are either all white or all red. As evening temperatures fall in autumn, flowers come back to their two-color nature: a clear white upper hood, and a cherry red lower lip. This compact, carefree, drought-tolerant shrub works for any water-wise garden, and resists browsing by rabbits and deer. Tolerates drought, but looks better with periodic water. With afternoon shade, Hot Lips Sage may grow to 4 feet tall. Stunning in borders, containers, rock gardens, and in mass plantings. A wonderful addition to cut floral bouquets. You will love this plant!

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for November

Paperflower, Whitestem Paper Flower

Psilostrophe cooperi

The bright yellow flowers on this showy shrub persist long after flowering, turning papery to give the illusion of a longer bloom season, and providing unique dried flower bouquets.

  • Plant Form: Evergreen perennial
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 2 feet tall x 3 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring – Fall (Mar – Oct)
  • Native to: S. California, Arizona, New Mexico, & Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 10°F

Paperflower is a showy, mounded shrub named for its bright yellow flowers that persist on the flower head long after blooming, turning tannish-yellow and papery—giving the illusion of a much longer blooming season. At peak bloom in late spring, its gray-green foliage is almost hidden by the mass of one-inch daisy-like flowers. It keeps blooming with a little summer water. Prune off old flower heads to encourage new growth and stimulate more flowers. To avoid leggy growth, plant in full sun, and don’t overwater, which favors vegetative growth at the expense of flowers. Paperflower complements rock and cactus gardens, works as a border, and brightens any garden space with good drainage and no organic mulch. Cut flowers make a nice dried flower bouquet.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for October

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

Sierra Gold Dalea

Dalea capitata ‘Sierra Gold’

This versatile, aromatic, flowering groundcover will perform beautifully for you in rock gardens, borders, narrow planters and medians, and even in areas with reflected heat.

  • Plant Form: Semi-deciduous groundcover
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 8 inches tall x 3 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full or reflected sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring and Fall (Mar – May & Aug – Oct)
  • Native to: Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F

 

Sierra Gold Dalea is a creeping groundcover with aromatic (lemon-scented), fine-textured, bright green leaves. In spring and again in fall, the plant is covered by small, yellow, pea-like flowers in spikes. This hybrid of Mexican parents drops many of it leaves during its winter dormancy, when it may look unattractive (in mild winters, it may retain its foliage). Plant in full sun and well-drained soil. Shear back by half in early spring after the last frost to rejuvenate the plant and keep it dense. Lovely in rock gardens, by patios, or in borders, and to create a soft backdrop for more pointed plants like yuccas, agaves, and tall cacti. Sierra Gold is a great choice for mass plantings in areas with reflected heat. Can be used in tight planting areas, such as medians and planters, due to its compact size and tolerance for reflected heat. Rabbits seem to leave this plant alone after establishment.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for August

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Plant of the Month – July

Red Yucca,
Red Hesperaloe

Hesperaloe parviflora

  • Plant Form: Evergreen succulent
  • Water Use: Very Low
  • Mature Size: 3 feet tall x 3-5 feet wide (flower spikes are 3-7 feet tall)
  • Exposure: Full or reflected sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring – Fall (March – Sept)
  • Native to: W. Texas, NE Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F

 

Red Yucca is not actually a yucca, but a relative whose 2 to 3-foot-long, stiff leaves are thornless, making it a safer choice for pathways, borders, and drives than true yuccas. In fact, its small size makes it perfect as a focal point for smaller landscape islands and patios, as well as around the base of trees or lampposts. It works equally well as a groundcover, in rock gardens, or in containers. Besides its versatility, arching flower stalks from its symmetrical rosette of leaves provide an artistic shape with abundant coral to red flowers from late spring until fall. Its gray-green, grass-like leaves are edged with curling, white fibers. Red Yucca’s abundant flowers attract hummingbirds by day, and night-pollinating moths by moonlight. The only maintenance needed is cutting the spent flower stalks and protecting the plant from hungry rabbits.

 

 

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for July