Articles in Category: Flowering Plants

Salvia 'Autumn Sapphire'

on Monday, 27 September 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Autumn Sapphire Sage

Autumn Sapphire Salvia tightcropSalvia 'Autumn Sapphire' is another wonderful perennial introduction by one of our favorite garden writers - Lauren Springer Odgen - and the Denver Botanic Garden. This cultivar of a West Texas native Salvia comes into bloom in late summer, when a lot of other flowering perennials are starting to slow down, and continues blooming right up until frost. That trait makes it exceptionally valuable to late-season pollinators (native bees, hummingbirds, honey bees, butterflies, etc.) and other beneficial insects.

As it name suggests, Autumn Sapphire’s flowers are a rich cobalt blue; complemented by narrow, finely-textured green leaves. Plants grow to 18" to 20" tall and wide, and are hardy down to zone 5. Like most other Salvias, they are also deer resistant and do best when planted in well-drained soils that are low in fertility (too much fertilizer and water will make them floppy). For best results, leave the stems up over the winter to make sure it survives the winter wet, and then prune back in spring when new leaves begin to emerge.

'Autumn Sapphire' performs best in well-drained soil in full, hot sun. Looking for some good companion plants? Consider pairing it with Solidago “Fireworks’, Rudbeckia, Helianthus 'Lemon Queen', Echinacea, or Gaura - or create a mixed planting of 'Autumn Sapphire' and native prairie grasses like Bouteloua, Andropogon, and Schizachyrium.

Anemone hupehensis var. japonica (x hybrida)

on Monday, 13 September 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Shade Plants, Perennial, Flowering Plants

Japanese Anemone

Honorine JobertOne of the standout flowering perennials of fall, Japanese Anemone is a refreshing addition to a part shade garden. They begin flowering when most of our summer-blooming perennials are starting to fade – usually in mid-September - and will bloom continually until frost.

Japanese Anemones are truly elegant plants; rising gracefully above shorter perennials. They tend to look best in the middle or back of a border. Most varieties are 2-4' tall and will spread to at least 2-3' wide. We love to pair them with ferns - especially the bronzy Autumn Fern, with dark-leafed varieties of Heuchera like ‘Obsidian’ and ‘Palace Purple’, and with Hostas and Astilbes.

Shooting Star Nursery regularly carries the following varieties of Japanese Anemones:

 

 Wild Swans2 edWild Swan – Wild Swan is the smallest of this group – just 1-2’ tall and wide – but it makes up for its lack of height with huge 3” flowers that feature white petals with a lovely purple reverse. These plants have a longer bloom season than most anemones, beginning in mid-summer and extending until frost. Wild Swan was the 2011 RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year.

 

 September CharmSeptember Charm – September Charm has masses of soft pink, slightly cupped flowers on plants that reach 2-3” tall by about 2’ wide. Like most Anemones, September Charm makes a great cut flower; extending your fresh floral bouquets well into the fall! This Anemone was given an Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society.

 

 Honorine Jobert – Honorine Jobert was the 2016 Perennial Plant of the year, and it’s easy to see why! These stately beauties grow up to 4’ tall and feature snowy white flowers with golden centers (see photo at top of the article).

Anemones do best with morning sun or dappled light, and love soil with lots of organic material incorporated into it. They only seem to need a deep soak once a week or so, but can also tolerate regular watering and clay soils. Unlike many taller shade plants, Anemones require no staking and just need to be pruned back after the flowers have faded. They’re quite popular with pollinators – lots of our Anemone photos end up featuring a wide variety of honeybees and native bees! 

Pennisetum orientale 'Karley Rose'

on Wednesday, 25 August 2021. Posted in Winter Interest, Deer Resistant, Grasses, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Karley Rose Oriental Fountain Grass

Karley Rose edAn easy to grow, soft textured fountain grass, Pennisetum 'Karley Rose' will give you months of light pink blooms that are great for floral arrangements and beautiful accents in the garden, but aren't attractive to deer.

This Pennisetum is more cold hardy than the straight species (Pennisetum orientale) and blooms earlier than other varieties like 'Hamelyn'. The rose-pink blooms appear in early summer and continue on until frost. Once the blades and blooms dry out to an autumnal tan, the silhouette remains pretty in the frost of winter. Cut this grass back in early spring, as new growth begins to emerge. Aside from that, there is no special care for this drought tolerant, deer resistant grass.

When in bloom, 'Karley Rose' tops out at about 3' tall and 24-30" wide. ‘Karley Rose’ is easy to divide, to create a graceful, massed effect in your garden. It looks great backlit by early morning or late afternoon sun and pairs nicely with Sedums, Echinaceas and other large-flowered perennials. Full sun or light shade and well-draining soil is best – the one thing ‘Karley Rose’ doesn't like is wet, boggy soil.

Salvia greggii 'Mirage' cultivars

on Monday, 16 August 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Salvia Mirage Soft Pink smIf you are a fan of Salvia greggii (Autumn Sage/Texas Sage) you’ll definitely want to check out the new Mirage series of Salvias: Mirage Cherry Red, Mirage Cream, Mirage Pink, Mirage Violet, and Mirage Soft Pink.

Honestly, we can’t say enough good things about this colorful and sturdy perennial!

 Salvia Mirage Cherry RedThe Mirage Salvias share all the best features of Salvia greggii – great sun and heat tolerance, a long bloom season, drought tolerance, and being a wonderful addition to the pollinator garden – but feature a more compact growth habit than the straight species (12-14” tall by 14-16” wide), with better branching, a nice, loosely mounded shape, and a really lovely variety of colors. 

Salvia Mirage CreamTheir strongly aromatic leaves keep the deer away, and they are a delight for gardeners to brush up against and have their sharp, fresh fragrance released into the summer air. And talk about hummingbird magnets! I have seen hummingbirds bypass feeders to nectar from their flowers. 

Salvia Mirage Pink edMirage Salvias prefer full sun and well-drained soil. They’ll also do nicely as colorful, long-blooming container plants, although they are mostly deciduous during the winter months.

To keep them looking full, deadhead them occasionally during the growing season and give them a harder trim in early spring (when you see new leaves beginning to emerge. 

Salvia Mirage VioletWe grow all of our Mirage Salvias (and lots of other plants!) right here onsite here at Shooting Star Nursery, so they are already pre-adapted to our climate. They’re blooming now, and will continue to flower into late fall. Come on in and see them for yourself! 

Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Dark Knight'

on Wednesday, 11 August 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Dark Knight Bluebeard

caryopteris-closeup-plant-o

This late summer bloomer goes by several common names - Bluebeard, Blue Spirea, Blue Mist - so we usually stick to calling it Caryopteris! Caryopteris is an easy, deer resistant, drought tolerant (but also tolerant of moist soils), and long blooming addition to your garden border. The plant in the photo is 'Dark Knight' which is a darker shade of periwinkle-blue from the common 'Blue Mist' variety. Both varieties put on a show with hundreds of flowers from July to frost, attracting honeybees and butterflies from all around.

Dark Knight2A low maintenance plant, Caryopteris can be kept at 2-3' tall and wide with a spring pruning but will get larger if left unpruned. We find that our winters do some tip pruning anyways so it is best to clean them up in spring when you see new leaves emerge and pruning right above them, which can sometimes be as low as 6" from the base. They quickly recover into a nice mounded shape, looking dense and uniform. So they are great for the maintenance person that loves to come in and hedge trim everything!

With its aromatic, lance shaped leaves, this shrub has proven to be quite deer resistant. The leaves have a blue/silver tinge that look great with other silvers like Artemesia or contrast with purple foliage like smokebush. We find Caryopteris to be drought tolerant because of its very deep taproot but can look lusher with regular water in well draining soil. Full sun is best and they will tolerate reflected heat.