Last week I discussed several shrubs that provide nearly constant summer color with minimal maintenance and which I have found to be virtually insect and disease free. Today, I will conclude with a few more which, like last weeks plants, I have in my gardens.
Cape plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) is a Texas Superstar plant. Once they begin blooming in early spring, their blue blooms continue until cold weather shuts them down in the fall. Although they can be from 1- to 3-feet tall by 1- to 3-feet wide, mine are about 18 inches because I always plant them in moderate shade, making them less robust.
Their largest short-coming is that they are not winter hardy here. I dig them in fall and overwinter them in the garage. Since mine are relatively small, maintenance is virtually non-existent - I prune them back when I dig them in fall. They may or may not require a bit of pruning for tidying them up in your garden depending on the conditions where they are planted.
Yellow bells (Tecoma stans) are fast growing shrubs that will bloom in partial shade or full sun. They are also not hardy here, so I dig and overwinter them also. From 2- to 6-feet tall and 2- to 4-feet wide, they are filled with bright yellow flowers all summer.
Since they are fast growing, they sometimes require a bit of pruning for shape and size. I get a few new plants from self-seeding and they propagate readily from stem cuttings.
Lantana (Lantana camara) are also favorites of mine. Although many of the newer varieties are not hardy here, at least two are, but I don’t know their specific names. One is orange and yellow and the other is yellow and pink. The hardy ones, about 4-feet tall and 4-feet , die back to the ground each year and sprout again in spring after removal of dead stems. I dig and overwinter the non-hardy ones which include some dwarf varieties that I use in pots.
These great plants bloom constantly from about June until frost and I get occasional new plants from self-seeding and from stem cutting propagation.
Turk’s cap (Malvaviscus drummondii) is another Texas Superstar plant. A tough plant, it will grow in sun or shade, wet or dry soil and alkaline or acidic soil. Like Russian sage, this 4- to 5-feet tall and 4- to 5-feet wide plant is an herbaceous perennial that is very shrub-like.
Its red flowers appear from July to October. Maintenance is only pruning dead stems in late winter unless needed for size or esthetic reasons during the summer.
There are other shrubs which share most of the traits of the ones I’ve discussed. One other that I have but don’t have the space to discuss is Texas hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus). A recent addition to my gardens about three years ago, I find it does well in sun or shade. It can be found easily on the internet.
As with the plants discussed last week, all these plants attract pollinators.