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GARDENING

SOME LIKE IT HOT

Select Plants That Thrive in Our Texas Summers
Story and photos by Joshua Kornegay, owner of Joshua’s Native Plants & Garden Antiques

There are those beautiful plants that are easy to grow and bloom wonderfully during the spring. They are fabulous until it starts to really warm up, then they wilt, decline and finally die as the heat really starts to kick in. But then there are many others that actually thrive in our searing Texas summers. Let’s look at a few of them.

Talk about rugged: the Wedelia hispida, or Zexmania, is native to much of our great state. This bad boy will bloom almost continually all summer and fall without complaining. It usually makes a two foot tall by two- to three-inch wide mound in full baking sun. Little or no extra water is needed as it keeps pumping out happy little one-inch daisy-like flowers. It’s a tried and true Texas summer favorite.

For a non-stop show of huge pink blooms try Big Hit™ hibiscus. Six-inch blooms cover this stout mounding perennial that can reach six feet tall and six feet wide. Taking the heat like a champ this hardy lady will not disappoint. Plant her in mostly sun with average to better soil and marvel at her year after year.

Loving our blistering heat and steamy humidity is Quisqualis Indica, or Rangoon creeper. If you want a wall of beauty, this flowering vine is for you. Clusters of star-like blooms open almost pure white in early morning, quickly turning to pink by mid-morning, then red at lunchtime and a deep maroon by dinner. Four different colors all on the same vine, and all while never losing its delicate fragrance. This carefree climber is native to Myanmar and can be quite aggressive: It’s perfect for those with long boring fences, or it can be brutally hacked back for smaller spaces. You just can't hurt this monster.

This last one offers it all: Almond verbena, or Aloysia virgata, is a large shrub or small semi-evergreen tree that does extremely well in Houston. Hailing from Argentina, its spiky white blooms are almost a constant nectar source for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds all summer and fall. A heavy scent of vanilla extract will permeate your entire yard. It can get up to 12 feet tall, but can be pruned back hard to suit your area. It's definitely not picky at all.

These are just a few of the easiest to grow plants for our southern climate. They are great for those with the brownest of thumbs, too. Remember, work less, enjoy more!

Joshua’s Native Plants & Garden Antiques, Inc. can be found at 502 West 18th, 713-862-7444, joshuasnativeplants.net.

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