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

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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!

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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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Jun
30
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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.

 

 

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 July Garden Tasks

As temperatures climb, it becomes more important to check your irrigation emitters, valves, and lines for clogs, leaks, and breaks.

As temperatures climb, it becomes more important to check your irrigation emitters, valves, and lines for clogs, leaks, and breaks.

 


Smart water-wise practices pay off now:

 

Climate-adapted plants + mulch + deep watering =

less water use + happy plants + a beautiful yard!

 

 

~ Check irrigation emitters, valves, and lines for clogs, leaks, and breaks.

~ Flush out lines by removing end caps with your water system on; sand or deposits that build up in lines can clog emitters.

~ If you water by hand, leave a dripping hose at the drip-line of trees and shrubs (at the outer edge of branches) to deeply soak soil once a month; set a timer to remind you to move hose to next plant.

~ Keep adding to mulches as they decompose to conserve water, keep roots cool, and reduce the frequency of watering.

~ Encourage repeat blooming by pinching or cutting back annuals, perennials and shrubs

 

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 June Garden Tasks

An easy way to move cactus during planting is to use micro-tube hose for smaller plants or a section of old garden hose for larger cacti.

An easy way to lift and move cactus during planting is to use micro-tubing for smaller plants or a section of old garden hose for larger cacti.


Good season to plant or transplant palms or cacti

 

~ Prune fast-growing trees like mesquite, palo verde, and acacias to reduce chances of wind damage. Don’t remove more than 20 percent of a plant’s foliage at any one time to avoid stress or sunburn of trunk and branches.

~ Keep adding to mulches throughout the summer to conserve water, keep roots cool, and deter weeds. Water well before applying the mulch (or through an opening in the mulch), or you’ll insulate dry soil rather than moist soil.

~ Water your plants deeply enough to thoroughly soak the soil, but infrequently enough that the soil dries out between waterings. This encourages roots to grow deeper into cooler soil for better drought tolerance.

~ Continue to deadhead spent flowers for a longer bloom cycle.

Check out our featured “Plant of The Month” for June

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