Seems so east to go to you local independent garden center to get one or two plants for a spot in your garden, but you're talking about sifting through
of choices! Use this handy little cheat -sheet list to pick up some of the best New, Unusual, Native, and Old Favorites to make gardening the pleasure it's supposed to be. Well, but I guess somebody still has to dig those pesky holes.
LEMON GRASS: Cymbopogon citratus
Use it in center planters, in your herb garden, and/or as a 3' ornamental grass. Edible. You may have to replace it, or pull it inside in winter. Not native. Sun to part shade.
TROPICAL BUTTERFLY MILKWEED: Asclepiad curassaica
A butterfly host plant where they lay their eggs. Never spray with chemicals. The ones we carry may have aphids on them, but that's a good sign it has not been sprayed and is safe for your butterfly garden. 36" tall or so. Native to Mexico. Easy to grow. Should re-seed. Sun to Part Shade.
LAURA BUSH PETUNIA: Petunia x violacea (Solanaceae)
Our very own Texan. Greg Grant found this plant and named it after you-know-who. Nice vigorous plant. Use it in planters or in your landscape. This petunia holds up best through our heat. Cut back anytime. Up to 18" tall and 24" across. Re-seeds. Share with Friends. Sun to Part-shade.
MAXIMILLIAN SUNFLOWER: Helianthus maximillian
Native. Sun lover. Use in the back border. Can get 5-6 feet tall if it likes you. Covered with yellow sunflower-like flowers in the fall, so plant it now to get full effect of size. Excellent pollinator. Love by anything you usually swat at. Good for cut flowers, too. No maintenance.
'FIRST LOVE' DIANTHUS: Dianthus 'First Love'
Hate to be the only one who loves this plant. So easy. Blooms all season long. Cut it back if it isn't covered with butterflies and hummingbirds. Flowers come out white, and change to pink then red - all the same time! It's a miracle! Up to 18"-24" tall. Sun. Hardy summer and winter. Fragrant. Cut flowers, too. Not Native.
GOLD LEAF TANSY: Tanacetum 'Isla Gold'
Give it a little morning sun, then some shade, to keep that golden foliage looking good. 18" x 18". Compact. Don't think you need to these days, but it was used to kill worms in children in the olden days. Please don't do that. Enjoy only as great color in a shady spot. Looks great in containers, also. Keep on the dry side. Not native.
'BARBEQUE' ROSEMARY: Rosemariuns officinalis
Easy, evergreen herb. Really long, straight stems to be used as shish-k-bobs for your chicken or whatever else you like to skewer around your house.
'MINNIE PEARL' PHLOX: P. maculate x P. glaberrima hybrid
This phlox is a hybrid found in the southeast. Handles the heat very well. Much better than phlox 'David' and not as tall. 18" x 18". Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh promoted and named it. We love his redneck take on names. Sun to Part Shade. Lots of pollinators.
'LEMONJADE' SEDUM: Sedum hybrid
Much better plant than "Autumn Joy' sedum. Not as tall, so it doesn't flop over like, um, well...it just stays upright better than other stuff. Blooms late summer when everything else is tired. Pt in containers or in the ground. Yellow bloom unlike other upright Sedums. Plays well with all other plants. Not Native.
FOUR-NERVE DAISY: Tetraneuris scaposa
One of the best Texas Natives. Stays small and spreads slowly by seed. Loved by pollinators, hated by water. Water it the day you plant it, then depend on your dog to take care of it. 8"-12" tall. Blooms 13 months out of the year. Go ahead, try to prove me wrong. Yes, I'm stressing that 'dry' part.
'BLUE NOTE' SALVIA: Salvia greggii 'Blue Note'
Turned into a customer favorite Really nice, bushy Salvia. Pollinators love it in pots or in the ground. 24" tall x 18" wide. Cut back as needed anytime, and then harder in the spring. Native. Sun to Part Shade.
'PIZZA CRUST' DAYLILY: Hemerocallis
The nicest Daylily bloom we have. Edges are ruffled. Some afternoon shade works best for them. Easy to grow. Will be the least 'needy' thing in your life. Great to start to a Daylily Garden. Fragrant, may even smell like pizza too!
WOODLAND PHLOX 'LOUISIANA BLUE' OR 'LOUISIANA PURPLE': Phlox divaricata
Excellent shade groundcover. Blooms in spring. Spreads nicely. Also use Phlox pilosa if you find it. 12" - 18". Fragrant. Native very close to here. Let it spread under some trees as it wants. Share with you furry friends.
'VERMILION BLUFFS' SALVIA: Salvia darcyi
Likes it dry! Can be the stand-out in your garden. Give it space. Easily gets 4-5' both ways. Brilliant red blooms. Best in dry spots with Full Sun. Blooms loved by , well, you know. Labeled as 'Vermillion Bluffs' ... or 'Blush' if you like.
'COTTAGE PINK' WOOD SORREL: Oxalis
This old heirloom plant used to be found all over east Texas. Now, not so much. Matter of fact, very hard to find these days. It got left behind by its other classy, well-dressed friends. Still a perfect little plant for planters or to re-seed in your spot. Blooms all spring long and then in fall. Sun to Part Shade. Not Native. Show it a little love, please.
WHITE WINE CUP: Callirhoe involucrate var. lineariloba 'Logan Calhoun'
Named after Texas plant hunter, Logan Calhoun, found in Kansas and around the north central plains. Amazing, unknown plant grows like Red wine cup but on steroids. Easy 4' across and blooms much heavier than the red. 4"-5" tall. No special needs. Easy spring blooms look good hanging over a wall. May re-seed, which is good. Not Native, but very close.