What plant do you like even more that you expected to?

RedBird_TNSeptember 21, 2012

Have you ever purchased a plant that you didn't have experience with, and liked more than you even thought you would? I'll throw out a couple...

The first is vitex (chase tree). I'd seen it featured in a couple of reference books for the southeast. I am pruning it as a tree. It has beautiful purple blooms (a true lilac color) from May to September. I think the bark and leaves are quite attractive as well. It also seems to tolerate drought quite well.

My second is Muscari (Grape Hyacinth) 'Valerie Finnis' that I planted in a small rock garden by my front door. I love the flowers, but what I love even more is the foliage. It is a lovely dark green that is strapping and almost fountain like -- quite graceful. The foliage just appeared a few weeks ago.(I thought the bulbs had gotten confused and sent up the foliage at the wrong time, but I checked the nursery catalog where I got them and sure enough, they send up foliage in the fall.)

Please share your experiences with "better than expected" plants.

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Lots actually...Japanese Lily Grass (Liriope muscari), rosemary, coreopsis, Black-eyed Susan's (Rudbeckias), Japanese tassel fern, Eucalyptus globulus, hardy ice plants, dwarf pomegranate.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 3:13PM
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red bird, Ditto on the vitex. Mine was a rooted cutting given two+ years ago, now about 10' h x 7'wide. I love this! Agree the bark is wonderful to look at also. I'm pruning but only side growth, leaving quite a few branches growing from the base.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 4:15PM
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topsiebeezelbub(z7 Al)

My new loves are acanthus, talinum and coleus...not new to me, just really appreciated them this year when most things cooked and they stayed fresh and lush; and an annual called Emelia "Scarlet Tassles"...adorable! (new grandaughter is named Emelia, so HAD to plant it) It is bright orange-red, but dainty like baby's breath. Always glad to see Arum Italicum making an appearance this time of year...and Chinese Ginger!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 12:19AM
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I also love acanthus,coreopsis and Grape Hyacinth.
Flowers really looks great.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 1:35AM
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Thanks for all of the responses. It is so interesting to read. Do others have thoughts to share/plants to mention?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 9:55PM
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Do hope others will continue to contribute to this. Often, what we see in nurseries in 4" pots give only a hint of what's to come.

The link below will be a great read for all of you.

Here is a link that might be useful: UGA Trial Gardens report

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 6:44AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Thanks for the link to the trial gardens at UGA. University trials are almost always really interesting and helpful to us home gardeners. I am absolutely going to locate some of those varieties for next year.

One of my all time favorite performers is Angelonia. This is a nonstop bloomer that scoffs at the summer heat, doesn't need a lot of watering once established, no dead heading, and loves the blazing hot sun. We've been growing it in Alabama red clay!

Something I discovered this summer is that it makes a wonderful cut flower! Not only does it last for a long time in a vase, but the foliage has a delicious scent. I can't quite describe it.

Anyway, my flower gardens and containers will never be without some Angelonia. Pronounced: an jel O nia.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 8:05AM
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rhizo, second you on your admiration for Angelonia. Watching mine now, hoping to find some seeds. The seeds I've found online frightfully expensive, $1/seed. If I could count on 100% germination rate, might consider. Linking to an article from Texas about them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Angelonias said to be deer resistant!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 8:37AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Confederate roses. After being in the south for a few years, I really started to want some and have started a couple little plants by borrowing from my Mom's giants. The first one I cut has made a 3rd flower. I thought it was too small for this year, but it's doing what it can. I've decided to make a new bed in the front yard with a few more of these next summer.

Amaryllis that I moved. Don't know if the house was built over it or a critter moved it at some point, but after watching this stick out from under the edge of the house and bloom for a few years, I realized I wanted to give it a better spot, for being a healthy plant and for being seen. It had 2 pups, so may eventually form a patch if I did the right thing by it.

Wax Begonias never used to do much for me but I've developed a deep respect for these xeric little perennials that are so easy to multiply. To me, they always look like they are full of good cheer about life, disappearing for a short time while they're unable to fake a smile for us.

Datura/Brugmansia, even though they're usually peach colored. I'm more of a pink/red/purple person. These are taking my breath away at every turn this week. The ones I've bought just won't grow like the ones I see, so I buy more. Trying to be patient but how long does it take? There's 3 now, one in the ground from last year and 2 still in pots. If it's the last thing I do, I will get a huge, ruffly, dangling bloom! Going to put the new ones right in the middle of the yard in the new bed mentioned above. Probably should be getting them in soon, even if I don't get the bed started yet. Worth working around.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 12:35PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Rosie, where do you buy your seed? Park and Swallowtail both sell them for around $4.00 for a pkt. of ten seeds.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 1:40PM
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Hey rhizo, I haven't bought, have gotten nursery grown plants the last two years. Didn't do a long search online, so glad to know I can buy them for a MUCH better price. Meanwhile, waiting for mine to have seeds develop. Cost: zero. Even better.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 1:56PM
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Purple Porterweed, Glorybower, and Cape Honeysuckle. Absolute favorites!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 10:13AM
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Cat's whiskers (Orthosiphon stamineus) - I bought one, on impulse, when a local nursery went out of business this summer, and it was beautiful until frost. I doubt the original plant will come back this spring, but the cuttings I took are doing well.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 1:20PM
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Snow Princess Alyssum, bloomed and bloomed from spring to frost. Didn't get any water for two weeks in the middle of summer and looked dead. Whacked it back for the third time, watered and it started blooming again. That one was in a pot, the one in the ground didn't do as well.

Lo and Behold Butterfly bush. Was covered with blooms all summer and did nothing to it.

Trumpet Honeysuckle. It has had at least a handful of blooms in between the big flushes continuously all year long for 3 years now. And the hummingbirds LOVE it.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 7:32PM
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squeakmommy(Z6b Mid-TN)

I purchased a plant on a whim once called Lemon Sugar Marguerite. It was so sweet and pretty, well-behaved, bloomed it's little head off with the prettiest little pale yellow flowers. It did not come back after winter and I have never been able to find it since. I still miss you, little flower.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 5:38PM
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Lol Sqeakmommy. Hope you find it!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 2:49AM
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joraines(7 Upstate SC)

I am late to this thread but a few plants I love even more than I thought are bronze fennel in my butterfly garden which usually always have at least one swallowtail caterpillar on it during the summer and a pink mum I was given by a friend (not sure of the name) that is a profusion of blooms in my buterfly garden in late summer and into fall.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 6:41PM
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ala8south would love to see pictures of your lo & behold butterly bush! I am dying for one, but I live in a small town and our nurseries don't carry much "new" stuff. Takes a few years for them to get it! lol I'll send postage for cuttings!! (unrooted) Troubledog I love catwhiskers! Mine got huge and was beautiful!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 3:16PM
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Bridget Helm

I'm in zone 9.

Serena Angelonia was amazing last year and survived the winter! it's very robust and laughs at Louisiana heat and humidity.

I LOVE my duranta bush. i think it's prettier than my vitex and attracts just as many hummingbirds and butterflies

crossandra was an orange sherbert beauty and is coming back now that the temps warm

bandana lantana (not you usual lantana)

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 10:03PM
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