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Wednesday - May 02, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Native flowers for color year round
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have the opportunity to recommend plants for a religious organization. They want YEAR ROUND color in some areas, much like how commercial sites use annual color. I would like to suggest native/adaptive plants that can be planted and then exchanged on a quarterly basis. I know mealy blue sage is a good choice. Any other recommendations? What about for fall/winter (can we really replace pansies :)!

ANSWER:

Spring: This is the easiest season to fill. You can use Lupinus texensis (bluebonnets), Engelmannia peristenia (Engelmann's daisy), Oenothera speciosa (pink evening-primrose) and Salvia greggii (autumn sage). There are many other choices as well.

Summer: For summer, Salvia farinacea (mealycup sage), Monarda citriodora (lemon beebalm), Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel) and Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed).

Fall: Helianthus maximiliani (Maximilian sunflower), Eryngium leavenworthii (Leavenworth's eryngo), Liatris punctata (dotted blazing star), and Solidago canadensis (tall goldenrod).

Salvia coccinea (scarlet sage) may bloom from spring through fall.

Winter: The winter months, December and January, will be the most difficult to fill. However, Ratibida columnifera (upright prairie coneflower) blooms into December and Thelesperma filifolium var. filifolium (stiff greenthread) will bloom through the winter months into spring. In the wild you can often see Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Prairie verbena) and Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot) blooming if the temperatures haven't been too cold and there has been enough rainfall.

Perhaps you could consider grasses that would retain their attractive foliage and even bloom in the winter months, such as Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Lindheimer's muhly) or Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem).

 

 

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