So, what does grow good in this heat?

msroseAugust 28, 2011

I'm having to reevaluate my plans for an english type garden in my raised flowerbed after this summer's heat. I wanted roses, daylilies and lots of perennials for color, but I'm having to water three times a day to keep most of it alive and as of tomorrow, we are on water restriction. The only thing that's handling the heat without any problems is my Drift roses. Anything else besides cactus and yucca plants doing fairly well for you? What about dwarf crape myrtles? Do you think they would tolerate this weather? My mother has several dwarf bottlebrushes that aren't even phased by the heat, so I may add a couple of those next year. I'm just a little worried that the cold winters might get to them since it is a raised bed. What about ornamental grasses? The previous owner had cannas and I took them out, because I'm not that crazy about them. I may need to put some back in. Some of the things that are struggling are shasta daisies, echinacea, coreopsis, dalilies. These are all first year plants, so I don't know if they would do better after a couple of years (if they make it through this one). Out of desperation for some color, I threw some zinnia seeds out there and they're doing wonderful.


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My Russian Sage, saliva greggi, mexican sage, mexican feather grass, muhly grass and rock rose are all holding up very well in this crazy heat with hand waterings about 3x a week and whatever the sprinkler gives them 2x a week. Also doing well are my purple varigated potato vine, regular potato vine, coreopsis, vinca, portulaca, lantana and zinnias!!
I know what you mean about first years plants though. This spring was my first and of course I put alot of new stuff in. I have had plenty of plants that I have had to let go to the crazy heat. The skullcap was my biggest surprise in losses since it's supposed to be super hardy and drought resistant, but it's been a tough first season. Pleasantly surprised at the ones that have performed well.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 2:09PM
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Lin barkingdogwoods

For a big Southern touch, you can't beat Crinum - while some of mine out in the sand have dried tips on their leaves, the ones that are irrigated a bit are lush and green. They flower at different times (depending on variety) and some repeat all summer when they're established.

Now is the time for the fall bulbs to start popping up - I've already had some Oxblood lily (rhodophiala bifida) make an appearance, and my white spider lily (hymenocallis galvestonensis) is popping up like a white Surprise Lily. Oh - they should be blooming soon too.

I really like the bulbs because they can make it through too little water - some may rot in too much, but that's not an issue in my sandy soil.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 3:04PM
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Lin - I've never grown Crinums. Do you have any favorites?

ladybugfruit - I'm tempted to just fill my flowerbeds with zinnias and potato vine next year :)

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 4:05PM
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jardineratx(zone 8, Texas)

Although I have quite a few plants surviving this horrible heat and drought,the ones that are looking good and not merely surviving are: Helichrysum, Texas tea plant, Pavonia (rock rose), Flame Acanthus, Gaura, Santolina, South African foxglove, Ruellia (mexican petunia), Gomphrena, Lantana, Zinnias, Plumbago, Ice Plant, Mexican Oregano, and Shrimp plant(non-stop blooms). These are all being watered 3 times/week.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 4:18PM
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ExoticRGVNativesTy(10a TX)

Nearly all plants in my garden have survived the summer with virtually no watering. One of my favorites is Jicamilla (Jatropha cathartica). Our big Esperanza is full of blooms right now. Texas Lantana is always a winner in hot weather, and I am thinking about using it in a mass planting near the road. Manfredas are a good succulent option.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 5:02PM
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To anyone close enough to Kilgore.

I need to divide my overcrowded crinums this fall. They are milk and wine and a solid pink one. My sister probably has an over abundance of the pink ones also. We got them from our late mother.

To Texas Forum gardeners they are free, but you must come for them. The bulbs are usually rather large and tight in the ground. It needs to rain some before trying to dig them.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 5:16PM
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Lin barkingdogwoods

Laurie, I really like Ellen Bosanquet - nice deep rose color and blooms around the fourth of July. I've got a white that repeat blooms - early summer and now - I've lost the tag but I think it's a Moorei. And of course the milk-and-wine lilies are a must for a Southern garden!

I buy mine from Nestor on eBay (bulbsnmore) - I"m patient so I usually buy the small size and let them mature in the garden. I have a ton that haven't yet bloomed as they're growing to size.

All in all, I've never met a Crinum I didn't like :)


    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 5:29PM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

I water once a week. Zinnias,Blanketflower, rockrose,turk's cap, gregg's blue mist, begonias in a pot, obedient plant, latana camera, salvia coccenia(trop sage?), native ruellia NUDIFLORA (not the britonia in the store), hyacinth beans,mini climber "cascade", modern climber "fourth of july", coneflower, frog's fruit, (tiny but makes a lovely flowering groundcover between stones), Tx star hibiscus, and although a bit scraggly my crossvine put out a line of blooms along the top of the fence, rose of sharon, a very small anisacanthus, mini roses, and yellow primrose.
None of these (except the rose of sharon,turk's cap,blue mist,rock rose,frog's fruit,hyacinth bean and tropical sage) are blooming like crazy but they are putting out patches of color here and there that really helps. My garden just turned 3 so it's not "set in" yet either.

Anyone else find verigated crinium? Mine is the native kind and is green and white with day lily sized leaves (ie not the giant tropical kind).

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 9:40PM
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pjtexgirl...once a week?

Ty...virtually no watering?

I didn't even know this was possible. I water at least once a day and sometimes two or three times a day. Luckily I have a very small yard.

Lin - Thanks for the recommendations!

Thanks for all the other suggestions. I will printing this page to help me with my plant shopping next year.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 11:06PM
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Lin barkingdogwoods

PJ, in all the Crinum I have, I haven't yet bought a variegated one. Is it hardy here? Last year I bought a variegated hymenocallis and left one in the ground over the winter, took the other one inside. The one in the ground didn't make it :(

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 11:15PM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

I found a varigated Crinium on sale at Home Depot or Lowe's. It had 3 small plants clustered together. I divided it and put it in the ground last fall. Two lived but the third was too small to overwinter. They are just now beginning to spread and are only 5" long.

Watering once a week for 40 minutes should water any size yard. Frequent,shallow watering causes the roots of the plants to come to the surface and become prone to heat damage and water loss, creating a vicious cycle of frequent shallow watering just to keep them alive. The only problem I have is dry clay soil causing run off. After 20 minutes all my water heads for the darn street or the swale! Grr... The trick is to water in 10 minute cycles with the sprinkler system to give the water time to really soak in instead of wash away. The roots of the plants will "chase" the water down into the ground, protecting them from drying out and getting toasted by extreme heat. I water my container plants (baskets and pots) nearly every day. I don't have too many of those tho.

I have a mostly native xeriscape. Texas Smartscape has lists of plants for every situation. They even have a contest for gardens following thier guidelines. It's a simple site that is actually kind of fun. You can put in what kind of plant you want (tree,shrub etc..) how wide and tall you want it to get, what type you want (color,bloomtime,evergreen etc...), and how much light and water you have in an area.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 11:30PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Yes my manfred(just making an appearance) , hesperaloe, Flame acantha, mexican oregano texoma stans, sedum palmerii , ipomopsis agregata, heterotheca villosa are doing well and I also do not water.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 11:37PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Msrose, there's a couple of threads on the Texas Gallery where people have listed plants that stay looking good through the heat. I just added some more pictures.

PJ, how deep is your soil? I wish I had brought in foot of dirt when we moved in here 20 plus years ago.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 11:43PM
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Laurie, I also have raised beds and their watering requirements are quite different than ground level beds. We use raised beds so that during our wet soggy winters, plants don't sit with their roots in water all winter. That said, in a summer like this, the water will wick away quickly so the beds need watering more often. I water my raised beds every other day, actually every other night. The plants that have looked good and bloomed all summer in my beds are; Evergreen wisteria, golden cestrum, esparanza, all the salvias, but especially salvia coccinea, flame acanthus, Pride of Barbados, cannas, coral vine, thryallis, zinnias, perslane, russelia equisetiformis, russelia mexicana, russelia sarmentosa, lantana, batfaced cuphea, tall cuphea, James Verity cuphea, passiflora 'Lady Margret',Sweet almond verbena, and Chinese hats. The crinums and hymenocallis bloomed and the foliage still looks good. The daylilies bloomed in their time and are now sulking, but will liven up when it cools down a little. The roses have lived but not bloomed much because I haven't fertilized because of the heat. Some have burnt leaves from the intense heat. My goal this summer has been to just hold on. I've started cutting thing back in anticipation of cooler weather and maybe even a good October flush.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 9:07AM
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I knew that if I tried to do this from memory, I'd forget some. These plants have also bloomed and looked good all summer; Tuber vervain, Turnera, the yellow and the cream colored, all the shrimp plants, verbena, Four-o-clocks, Blue mist flower,Mexican flame vine,Cape plumbago, blue and white, King's mantel,coreopsis,Bush morning glories,rudbeckia, and Yellow butterfly vine.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 10:05AM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

Jim, I have just started Cape Plumbago in a bed with ajuga and was wondering if you have a problem with it's being invasive. I relly like this plant, and it has room to spread for a few years.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 10:17AM
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Carrie, it's not invasive by any means. It does occasionally put out a few sprouts within a couple of feet of the root ball, but they are easy to transplant. You'll love it.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 10:24AM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

I do love those blue flowers, and it is doing really well where I have it. Thanks for getting back to me.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 12:17PM
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Thank you so much for all the wonderful suggestions!

pjtexgirl - My mother was telling me that her neighbor waters their yard similar to the way you do. I may have to give it a try.

bossjim1 - I'd love to see pictures of your raised bed if you have any.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 11:50PM
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Laurie, here's some pictures of my beds. They are not from this year.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 9:36AM
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Thanks, bossjim1. You're 3rd picture is similar to what I had in mind for my bed. I wanted something with lots of color like that. I actually bought an umbrella pillar and planted Climbing Pinkie after seeing yours. I have to admit I haven't been very good at training it to grow just on the inside of the pillar and it's kind of all over the place right now.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 10:28AM
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Laurie, my umbrella is home made, but I train Pinkie up through the center instead of outside the pillar.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 10:41AM
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English thyme has been growing under the shade of a yaupon tree just fine. I watered it once this year, after the yaupon lost a limb in August and the thyme started getting sun part of the day. This surprised me...

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 2:28PM
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Does anyone grow Blue Princess Verbena? It's listed as a Texas Superstar plant, but I never could find it in the nurseries this year.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 2:49PM
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jim your pictures are enough to encourage even the most dispassionate gardner
thanks so much for posting them
i'll head out in the yard to water... yet again

my rosemary, pride of barbados, plumbago and rangoon creeper are still looking good
rose plants look good, but few blooms and citrus are hangin in as long as i water everyother day

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 7:47PM
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I made the mistake of starting a bunch of new shrub/perennial beds this spring and summer. That said, my Rock Roses and Cenizo don't seem to mind one bit. Both are growing like crazy.

Ones that have "hung in there" but not necessarily grown much are Bush Germander, Cherry Sage and Golden Thryallis.

Crape Myrtles are surprisingly tough too. I planted four of them about a month or so ago when Home Depot was having a big sale. After going into initial transplant shock, all are bouncing back nicely and putting on new growth.

Disappointments that didn't make it include Loquat, Wax Myrtle,TX Betony, Butterfly Bush and Blackfoot Daisy.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 12:58PM
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