Nandina or golden euonymus

bluehaven_gweb(8)January 24, 2014

Many of my plants ( foxtail ferns, red leaf hibiscus) are dying in the cold freeze this winter in Houston. Not sure if they'll come back in spring. So I am already thinking about replacing them with some cold hardy plants that will also provide some color. I am considering Nandina or Golden euonymus for shrubs. What do you think of these? Any other suggestions?

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we are considering planting a number of nandina's at our new home for that reason and because we are building a
farmhouse and we want to plant what was used 50-75 years ago
the Houston river oaks garden book recognizes nandinas as an invasive plant but I believe there are some that are not

looking forward to red berries and colorful foliage and no sheets.......

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 5:57PM
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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

We had a lot of trouble with scale on our golden and box-leaf euonymus in SW Houston while nandina was always trouble-free. So I'd vote nandina if those are the only two options - though you must have a lot of flexibility as they are quite different looking shrubs.

Have you considered any of the abelias? No berries, but long-blooming white (or pinkish) flowers and a variety of sizes are available. Should still get some seasonal color variation even on the coast and there are several new variegated cultivars. 'Kaleidoscope' may even have color similar to golden euonymus for at least part of the year. The 'Edward Gouchers' we've grown have been much more robust plants than the euonymus.

This post was edited by bostedo on Fri, Jan 24, 14 at 20:14

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 7:08PM
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Thank you for your suggestions so far. Anything we want plant now should be really cold hardy. It is heartbreaking to see plants succumb to the occasional freeze here. And if they add some color to the garden, that'll be an added bonus.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 10:07PM
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And we are also looking for something evergreen & doesn't loose a lot of leaves. Thank you for any suggestions.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 10:25PM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

I second bostedo's choice of abelias...............beautiful shrub that stays evergreen.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 11:03AM
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Third it (or whatever) scale is awful on golden euonymus. I have had to remove fairly large shrubs of golden euonymus or either spray (which I don't like to do). I also favor the abelias...'Kaleidoscope' needs sun to get the pretty color. I have two, the one in the shade doesn't have the color of the one in the sun. I have had moles (gophers?) eat the roots off of nandina but I still like them for color and ease of growing.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 11:40AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Canyon creek abelia is a variety that Plantmaven Kathy grows in San Antonio. It has huge panicles of flowers that can be used in dried arrangements. Last time I saw her bush it was about 4 or 5 ft high.

I like nandina too. Check the nursery for small non fruiting varieties. Like the posters above I found golden euonymus' propensity for scale was nothing but trouble.

Here is a link that might be useful: Abelia canyon creek ...

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 3:46PM
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The abelia sound like such a wonderful shrub. When can I find them in the nurseries?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 7:55PM
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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

DFW nurseries I've been checking with are supposed to start getting their initial spring plant shipments next week. Most usually have two or more varieties of abelia in stock at some point during the season. Even the big box stores carry them sporadically; there's something like 17 flavors of abelia in the Lowe's plantguide. Only a few of the big box garden center mangers seem willing/able to special order - but worth a few calls.

Another hardy evergreen (everpurple?) shrub to consider is Chinese Fringe Flower (loropetalum). Provides wonderful year-round color, tolerates pruning for a variety of looks, and is available in several statures. Though we didn't have any experience with it in Houston, it should do well around the state except in the most alkaline soils.

Here is a link that might be useful: Loropetalum

This post was edited by bostedo on Sun, Jan 26, 14 at 10:29

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 9:49PM
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If you get abelia, be sure you don't have cotton root rot in your soil, & make sure that you get the cultivar that will best fit the space.

Nandinas need no care as far as I can tell, & they're easy to prune or groom:
just cut off the tallest canes!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 1:50PM
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Has anyone tried growing chokeberries in Texas???

I just wonder if they can take the August heat/drought or not?

If so, they'd make a great edible hedge! :P

Here is a link that might be useful: Aronia melanocarpa (Black Chokeberry)

This post was edited by blakrab on Mon, Jan 27, 14 at 17:11

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 5:10PM
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Thank you all for your great suggestions. Houston garden center does carry abelia groucher & abelia grandiflora. I saw a lot of Nandinas too. Can not wait to plant a few. When would be a good time to plant? Is February ok or should wait till March.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 11:42AM
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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

February should be a fine time to plant most cold-hardy plants. We've moved and divided mature nandinas and other plants with great success at that time of year. .... make sure that you get the (abelia) cultivar that will best fit the space.

Just emphasizing this recommendation from sylviatexas. Standard abelia x grandiflora wants to grow into an 8 ft+ shrub in our area, in spite of it often being listed with a "typical" height of 4-6 ft. They also want to be nearly as wide as they are tall. They are barely recognizable in some older foundation plantings where they are sheared tight with a hedge trimmer to keep them below the windows and/or soffits. This removes most of their flowers and much of their natural character. Better to control height by annually cutting up to a third of the tallest stems, but is effort that can be avoided (minimized?) by buying one of the many smaller cultivars now available that will more naturally fit the space. Suggest shopping for the best fit (and color) for your spot(s) even if the variety is not available until later in the year; they're tough plants as long as you give them extra water while they're getting established. I wouldn't have any reservations about planting a healthy one at any time where I could get a hose to it - even in August.

Our Edward Gouchers reliably max out at about 5 ft.... other than a few "cowlicks" that are snipped off after the spring growth spurt.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 12:40PM
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Here are the plants I bought. The pot says 3-4 feet. So hopefully it stays that size or smaller. Really excited to get them planted & hope i can keep them as healthy looking as they are now.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 7:12PM
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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

Nice! Like the coloring. Did they provide a cultivar name?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 9:34PM
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No idea about the cultivar.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 11:32AM
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That kind of looks like glossy abelia. I also like abelia a lot. I had an Edward Goucher but it died because I didn't plant it in a spot with enough sun and kept moving it. But I absolutely love the growth habit and colors: reddish stalks, dark green foliage, clear pink/whitish blooms and a growth habit that looks like the shrub is "whorling" (if that makes any sense).

I also have a nandina. A dwarf variety I picked up at my local nursery called "Flirt". It grows to a max height of 3', has very dark green/blue-ish foliage with new growth a striking shade of purple/burgundy. I planted mine in August. I'm in Fort Worth. Right now, it's cold and there's snow on the ground. I've covered my nandina only twice. It's actually holding up quite well right now. There's some winter damage to the top growth but everything underneath is still green. Since you're in Houston, I would think the nandina would do very well there.

Since you're looking for something evergreen, cold hardy and colorful in winter, what about camellias?? I don't have the acid soil that camellias love and as a beginner gardener, I'm waiting to attempt them again when I'm more skilled at this. But in Houston, I think they do very well there if I'm not mistaken. They're evergreen, the blooms are gorgeous and come in many colors and varieties and their blooming season is fall and winter.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 3:16PM
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Chiming in here pretty late but I was afraid I'd lost all of my dwarf Nandina this horrible winter. We're about 30 miles north of the Arkansas/Missouri state line and our winters are normally very mild. The shrubs appeared to be dead- not a leaf left hanging, and lots of brittle twigs. I decided to replace them this past week but when I looked closer, there is life - leaf growth on many of the branches. The same is true of a young Red Bud I'd declared dead a few weeks ago. New leaf growth has suddenly appeared. Things are really late - Crepe Mrytle is still looking dreadful but I've learned from experience not to expect much until the end of May.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 1:19PM
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Hey Pomona ... feel your pain ! Am also southern Mo. and having the same damage from our arctic blast. Finally just yesterday saw some green leaves on the Nandina ... but also wonder if the plants are worth salvaging i.e. will they fill in enough to look presentable!?! Another worry is my 'Golden' Euonymus ... the entire top 2' is stripped barren. Are you finding any answers?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 8:09AM
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