low growing perennials

DocHollywood 9b Central Tucson(USDA 9b)October 4, 2011

Recently purchased a 2nd home in Tucson. Spend most of our time in Portland, OR currently. We are trying to add some color to a planter on the southside of the house that is partially shaded by a mesquite tree midday, otherwise some morning and evening sun. Drip irrigation in place. Looking for suggestions for colorful perennials that mature at a height of about 18-24 inches or less (dont want them above the bottom of the window). Planter is about 18 inches deep and 6-7 feet long. Not interested in cacti for this location and we already have lots of lantana in the landscape. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

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i'm a big fan of salvia gregii and such things, they have a pleasant scent and appearance for years and don't grow tall. they won't be very happy if your drip system goes out :) i'd use aloes if that was a possibility.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 2:30PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Lantana was my first thought, but you say you've got enough of that for your taste for now, so I'd suggest thinking about some of the dwarf growing Ruellia plants (not the full sized as they'd be taller than your stated height restriction, but the 'Katy' varieties would stay shorter). I like xoxos' suggestion of Salvia greggii too. Asparagus fern would do well there too, though won't provide much flower color.

Let us know what you select and how it works out! Portland and Tucson?? You get the best of both worlds!

Take care,

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 1:57PM
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DocHollywood 9b Central Tucson(USDA 9b)

Thanks for the suggestions. Looked up some of the smaller aloes, they look pretty good as do a couple of the salvia. Was previously looking at the ruellia and then read that they were considered an invasive species now. Is this true? The asparagus fern would definitely be a texture difference.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 8:09PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Ruellia does travel seeking water but if you are planting in a planter, as mentioned in the first post, you don't need to worry about the invasiveness of a plant. It won't grow outside the box (unless the box is sitting on the ground and there's drainage holes in the bottom that roots could grow through.) Asparagus fern can be terrible to get out of a bed once established so that would be a definate no-no in ground. Sounds like you have some great suggestions. Post a picture when you get the planter done.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 8:42AM
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DocHollywood 9b Central Tucson(USDA 9b)

The planter is built of brick and I believe is sitting on the bare gound so roots/ruellia may be a problem. Thanks for the asparagus fern tip.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 10:56AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Instead of ruling either plant out, just plant them in a planter that you sink into the ground. That's what I did with walking onions in my garden....and wish I had done with the lemon balm and English thyme. Gads they took over the whole bed. Next time I plant them, and I will b/c I love both, I'll plant them in a container and plant the container!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 5:50PM
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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))

I like to line a planter with pond liner (a thick rubber), fill with yard soil (clay). No drainage. There are lots of great plants that will grow in that kind of "wet bed". Most any pond plant.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 10:21PM
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