With all the discouraging news about Rose Rosette disease versus Knock Out roses, it’s time to think out of the box for next year’s flower garden. Take a deep breath and peruse a list of hardy plants at www.TexasSuperstar.com. Called Texas Superstars of course, the Texas A&M System AgriLife Research unit recommends these.
Here’s your challenge: Come up with three good reasons not to like landscape lovelies that are tough, reliable, and good looking into the bargain. These plants survived field trials in Texas where they endured minimal soil prep, as little watering as possible, and no pesticides. Keep your horticulture eye peeled for:
Texas Bluebonnet (lupinus texensis and its red varieties Texas Maroon and Alamo Fire)
Texas Gold Columbine (aquilegia chrysantha hinckleyana Texas Gold) – cool weather perennial that likes full sun and medium watering.
Firebush (hamelia patens) – happy in heavy clay and full sun once established.
New Gold Lantana (lantana camera New Gold) – full sun annual, drought and heat tolerant, but likes periodic pruning of dead stalks.
Dwarf Mexican Petunia (ruellia brittoniana) – full summer heat lovers are annual or perennial depending upon planting location once established.
John Fanick Perennial Phlox (phlox paniculata John Fanick) – heat, drought, and disease resistant perennial.
Henry Duelberg Salvia (salvia farinacea) – low maintenance, heat tolerant, Texas native, full sun, and deer dislike its taste.
Blue Princess Verbena (verbena x hybrida Blue Princess) – easy to grow perennial that likes full sun. Shear to promote new flowers.
A few words of advice. The first year in the garden ALL perennials need regular watering to become established. Resist the late summer urge to dig out established perennial skeletons because there’s green hidden among them brittle brown bones. “As soon as the temperature drops, everything turns green and starts growing again,” one landscape designer said, “dormancy is a plant’s defense mechanism against bad weather.”
The average date of autumn’s first cool front in Denton County is September 15. With El Nino pushing the jet stream around this year, autumn could be cooler than usual. Nobody knows for sure, but based on what happened this past spring it’s a dreamer’s possibility.
If Texas Superstars don’t tickle your imagination here are some other native perennials to look for:
Yarrow (achillea millefolium)
Texas Blue Star (amsonia ciliata)
Wild Columbine (aquilegia Canadensis) – smaller than hothouse columbines
Butterfly Weed (asclepius tuberosa)
Ox-Eye Daisy (chrysanthemum leucanthemum) – a Texas among daisies
Golden Wave (coreopsis lanceolata)
Prairie Larkspur (delphinium viriscens) – loves summer heat
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Spider Lily (hymenocallis liriosme) – likes wet spring weather
Red Yucca (hesperaloe parviflora)
Irises of all varieties
Scarlet Sage (salvia coccinea) – self reseeding with a capital S
Turk’s Cap (malvaviscus drummondii)
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