Alternative plants

alabamanicole(7b)August 2, 2012

I haven't lost much from my new landscaping, but the clethra anifolia's definitely didn't stick -- they all died.

Can anyone suggest alternatives that will fit my 5'-6' tall and wide holes in my landscape that will do well in a dryish sunny spot? Ideally something which is fragrant and attractive to bees and beneficial insects, and mostly trouble-free. It doesn't need to have showy blooms or leaves, but if they are, it needs to be in cool colors -- white, pink, blue, etc.

I've already determined that azalaeas and hydrangeas hate my house. Gardenia is a possibility, but I'd prefer something not evergreen for this area.

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sundog7(7)

Would something like Buddleia work? They certainly attract butterflies, and the right variety can be found to fill a spot that size.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 4:40PM
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alabamanicole(7b)

Hmmm, that is a possibility although I'm not terribly fond of them. It's a bit unruly for these spots but it could work. My neighbor has one she threw in the middle of her yard and it is doing great.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 7:51PM
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sundog7(7)

The larger butterfly bushes can be unruly and tree sized, but there are several dwarf varieties. I was thinking of one that Park's has called "Butterfly Heaven". It grows to 6 feet high and about 4 or 5 feet wide with lilac-blue blooms.

There are also smaller or dwarf Crape Myrtles. Some grow to only 2 or 3 feet, some to 6 - 10 feet, and some to 12 - 15 feet.

Here is a link that might be useful: Butterfly Heaven

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 2:41PM
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alabamanicole(7b)

I looked all over for dwarf crepe myrtles for a year before giving up and getting the roses. I really wanted "Diamond Dazzle" which would be too small for this spot. All I could ever find were the orange and red ones. Either the white ones are very popular or are very hard to get. If I could find a couple of "Petite Snow" or similar I'd definitely be interested. Tough plant and good for the bees, too.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 5:09PM
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sundog7(7)

Based on what I can find, call this place to see if they have "Petite Snow". If they don't have one, they can probably get one.

Hanna's Garden Shop
5485 Hwy. 280 East,
Birmingham, AL 35242
(205) 991-2939

Here is a link that might be useful: Hanna's current inventory

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 7:17PM
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alabamanicole(7b)

I really appreciate that referral, Sundog. I'm not sure I want to spend 5 hours in a car for two shrubs... too bad I just drove through B'Ham a few days ago. :(

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 9:33AM
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louisianagal(z7bMS)

some suggestions:
sweet olive, althea, spirea, flowering almond, abelia. Most if not all of these would need some pruning in later years.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 10:39AM
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topsiebeezelbub(z7 Al)

Earth Touch in Huntsville should have all of the above, and more.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 2:09PM
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topsiebeezelbub(z7 Al)

I wonder why, though, the clethta died? Is this a problem area. T think they ate waterside plants and could not take any drought. No plant would survive planting in this heat without lots of deep watering...maybe you should wait till fall.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 2:15PM
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alabamanicole(7b)

I will certainly wait until fall for planting, but fall is right around the corner.

The clethra's died in spring; well before the heat wave. And I don't water my landscape plants unless they are fresh in the ground. If they can't take the Alabama weather, I put in something that can.

It's not a problem area, really -- everything else is doing fine. It just gets a LOT of sun and not much water.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 3:35PM
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madabouteu(8A - central Alabama)

Forget gardenias, they do not like afternoon sun - I found that out the hard way.

The star magnolia I planted in my yard last November, though, has done well. It did lose some leaves toward the end of June but has recovered. It is a deciduous magnolia, lots of starburst blooms in spring.

The abelias somebody mentioned would also be good. I have noticed that skippers, the btterfly relatives, love the flowers.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 2:39PM
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alabamanicole(7b)

madabouteu,

I actually chopped down a gardenia in front that was doing well -- the only plant doing well there when I moved in. It was just on a bad place -- too close to the foundation and somewhere I needed something tall. It's trying to regrow, so I guess gardenias can handle the spot -- I'm just not wild about them.

I planted a star magnolia on that corner near where the gardenia was this spring (and next to one of the spots I need to fill). It really struggled in the drought and heat this year and like yours, lost a lot of leave that just burnt up even though I gave it a few good soakings. It seems to be better now. Some of my neighbors have them, so I hope it does well.

But the star magnolia gets too tall. I aven't recall seeing an abelia in person yet, so it's on the list... but I am learning toward the dwarf crepe myrtles. Boring, I know, but they are tough plants, and the only other one I have will probably never bloom since it's in too much shade.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 3:10PM
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sundog7(7)

Abelias attract so many bumblebees that I call them "Bumblebee Bushes". Beautiful plant; great choice.

Has anyone mentioned Weigela?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 7:12PM
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alabamanicole(7b)

Isn't weigela too big? I found some dwarfs online but they are too small.

I do like to feed the bees; I wonder if there is are abelias at the botanical garden?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 8:49PM
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louisianagal(z7bMS)

I have both Frances Mason abelia (yellowish leaves whitish flowers) and doesn't lose leaves in winter) and Edward Groucher or Goucher (green leaves pink flowers) and now there is one called Canyon Creek I thnk multi color leaves. All do very well. Edwards are definitely bigger than Frances.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 10:50AM
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bulzi(8a)

alabamanicole,wondering what has become of your "alternative plants" decision. And the winning plants are....... ?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 1:30AM
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alabamanicole(7b)

I went in a different direction and planted yaupon holly "Bordeaux" They are smaller than I wanted, but left unsheared they should have the right look -- soft round -- and the purplish hint to the leaves suits the cool toned cold scheme.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 8:43AM
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topsiebeezelbub(z7 Al)

You will still have to water when it gets really hot and dry...long, slow, deep water.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 8:07PM
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