Articles in Category: Drought Tolerant

Vitex agnus-castus

on Tuesday, 20 July 2021. Posted in Good for Screening, Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Trees, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Chaste Tree

Vitex edThis drought tolerant Mediterranean native absolutely thrives here in the Rogue Valley! Vitex needs consistent heat in order to bloom profusely, and our long hot summers give them exactly what they like. From mid-summer into early fall, Vitex is covered with long spikes of flowers ranging in color from soft lavender to dark blue. The blooms slowly open from the base to the tips, eventually reaching up to 12 inches long and lasting at least 4 to 5 weeks; attracting bees and hummingbirds from far and wide.

VitexFlipSide editVitex’s fragrant leaves are very attractive in their own right. Their shape is similar to a lace leaf Japanese Maple; and are a lovely shade of soft blue-green. Most varieties are gray-green underneath, but Flip Side features a dark purple reverse – making them truly stunning in a breeze. As an extra bonus, the fragrance helps make this plant quite deer resistant.

One of the fun things about Vitex is that you can grow it into whatever form you like, multi-trunk or single trunk tree, or a large, broad shrub. The straight species, and varieties like Shoal Creek get about 10-15’ tall and wide. Varieties like Flip Side and Delta Blues are smaller – maybe 8-10’ tall and wide at maturity. Vitex bloom on new wood, so they take very well to a severe pruning, even all the way back to the ground if needed. We have also seen them be used successfully in large containers against hot walls and parking lots.

Vitex grow slower with drought conditions and grow fairly rapidly with regular water and richer soil, but will tolerate both conditions well. We have been very impressed with the cold hardiness and drought tolerance of these shrubs as well as their many uses. Vitex are one of the few choices for a small tree or large shrub that thrives in the heat and has lovely blooms late in the season!

Agastache

on Wednesday, 14 July 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Anise Hyssop/Hummingbird Mint/Licorice Mint

photoAgastacheAurantica250x376

Sometimes it's hard to be thankful for the relentless heat we get in July and August in the Rogue Valley, but having an Agastache (or two) in your garden will definitely help you learn to appreciate our summer weather! This late blooming perennial LOVES our dry, hot summers. Agastaches attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds with their tubular flowers. They thrive in well-drained soil and can even handle gritty or nutrient poor soil. And as you might guess from their multiple common names, Agastache’s minty-fragrant foliage endears them to gardeners – while making them generally unpalatable to deer.

There is a catch, of course. Agastache not only thrive in well-drained soil – they require it. The key is getting them through our wet winters. We recommend planting them high, adding gravel or grit to the hole, and mulching with a 1/4" gravel to keep moisture from the crown.

The other imperative is to not prune Agastaches back until spring, when you see new growth emerging from the base. Leaving the woody stems will help them survive our rainy winters; it is usually too much water, not cold, that will do them in. Placing them in full sun, even in the winter months will also help.

A deep soak every couple of weeks will get them through the summer months, but once mine are established I don't water them all summer. They pair beautifully with ornamental grasses like Bouteloua, as well as other sun-loving, pollinator-friendly perennials like Echinacea, Nepeta, Erigeron, and Lavender.The other imperative is to not prune Agastaches back until spring, when you see new growth emerging from the base. The woody stems will help it survive the rainy winter; it is usually too much water, not cold, that will do them in. Placing them in full sun, even in the winter months will also help.

Coreopsis verticillata

on Wednesday, 30 June 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Threadleaf Coreopsis

Coreopsis MoonbeamCoreopsis are sturdy and versatile perennials that can brighten up any sunny summer garden. They bloom profusely from May through October here in the Rogue Valley, with bright daisy-like flowers that float over their loose, airy foliage like stars.

We really like using them in a mixed border; their foliage adds a nice texture when mixed in with other larger-leafed plants and their flowers bring a generous splash of color. They’re also a great choice if you’re looking for a perennial to plant over your spring-flowering bulbs. Coreopsis are still dormant when bulbs begin blooming, but are flushed out and flowering by the time your bulbs start to fade – it’s a great way to extend the bloom season in your garden!

Coreopsis ZagrebCoreopsis are a big favorite with bees and butterflies, and you will find that they’re literally humming with activity on a warm summer morning. The flowers also hold up well in bouquets, and make a lovely addition to the cut flower garden. To prolong your bloom season, be sure to deadhead the plants once or twice during the spring and summer months.

Aside from that, Coreopsis are extremely easy to grow. They’re heat tolerant, deer resistant, and drought tolerant when established. There’s only one small down side: Coreopsis are a bit habit-forming – once you try one, you will almost be certainly be back for more!

CoreopsisRedSatinShooting Star Nursery regularly carries three different varieties: Moonbeam (top left) – a lovely, soft yellow; Zagreb (above right) – bright golden-yellow; and Red Satin (left) – ruby-red flowers with a satiny sheen. All get about 18” tall and 24” wide at maturity.

Penstemon pinifolius

on Wednesday, 23 June 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Perennial, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Pineleaf Penstemon

Penstemon Mersea YellowPineleaf Penstemon makes me happy every time I see it. So many benefits in such a compact package! 

 Penstemon, as a group, have a reputation of being fussy about watering, and not being very long lived. But this western native perennial is evergreen, and one of the very best Penstemons for long term success in the garden. It makes a great rock garden plant or edger at the front of a border, in fact, we have a bank of it planted in our display garden. The delicate tubular flowers should be appreciated up close - that is if the hummingbirds will let you get close enough!  

PPinifolius crop ed

Pineleaf Penstemon requires well drained soil, especially on a slope, and will be drought tolerant once established. The needle-like foliage is evergreen and looks best when you can shear the spent flowers back in the same style as you would shear an Erica or Calluna after blooming. In most areas, we have found them to be deer resistant.

 Sunset Steppe Penstemon edThese Penstemons typically begin blooming in late spring - May and June here in southern Oregon - and are great compliments to the other sun lovers like spring and summer blooming sages, sedums, lavenders, or even dwarf conifers. They will stretch to about 2' wide and 12-18" tall and look comfortable among rocks and boulders.

 The varieties we usually carry are 'Mersea Yellow'- a nice soft yellow (shown top left), Penstemon pinifolius - the straight species - which is a reddish-orange (above right), 'Steppe Suns Sunset Glow' - an apricot orange veriety.

Marrubium rotundifolium

on Monday, 21 June 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

'Silver Heels' Horehound

Marrubium Silver HeelsMarrubium rotundifolium – aka ‘Silver Heels’ Horehound - is a great plant for the really hard places in your yard. It absolutely thrives in full, hot sun and poor soils, and is extremely drought tolerant once established; a deep soaking every four to six weeks will keep it looking great all summer long.

There’s lots more to love about ‘Silver Heels’ too. For starters, it’s evergreen, deer resistant, and pollinator friendly. ‘Silver Heels’ gets about 10” tall and about 3-4’ wide; making it a great choice for a groundcover or a low-growing perennial.

But the thing that makes this plant a real stand-out in the garden is the texture of its leaves. We tend to choose most of the perennials for our gardens based on the color of their flowers, and there’s nothing particularly memorable about the small, white, flowers of ‘Silver Heels’. But oh, those leaves!

Marrubium4‘Silver Heels’ has rounded, soft green leaves with a wonderfully pebbly texture, and the undersides of the leaves are coated with dense, white hairs – making them look like they’ve been felted. Plant them with dark green or bronze-leafed perennials or grasses, as a soft “carpet” under a taller plant, or out along the edge of a walkway or wall – where you can pet them as you walk by.

Like many fuzzy-leafed plants, ‘Silver Heels’ doesn’t do well with overhead water from sprinklers, and prefers drip or hand watering when necessary (which isn’t often!). And they actually grow better in lean, poor soils than heavily amended soils. But give ‘Silver Heels’ a hot, dry, sunny spot where all your other plants struggle, and they’ll be absolutely content.