Articles in Category: Perennial

Rudbeckia

on Tuesday, 27 July 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Flowering Plants

Black-Eyed Susans

Goldsturm edit

Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia sp.) may not be one of those "fancy" plants, but they are so easy to grow and provide such cheerful, long-lasting color that we believe they should have a place in every garden!

This charming and versatile group of perennials is native to North America and includes two species that can be found right here in the wilds of southern Oregon. The three varieties we carry here at the nursery all have deep golden petals that surround a (generally) brown central “cone” – hence their other common name: Coneflowers.

Rudbeckia are largely unfussy about soil, and even tolerate clay soils well. They make great cut flowers, are generally deer resistant, have a long bloom season, and can be fairly drought tolerant (although they also don’t mind getting regular watering). Flowers bloom steadily from mid-summer to frost, and even when the petals are gone the cones make a pretty silhouette in the winter. Rudbeckias look great when planted in a large mass, or combined with other jewel- toned perennials or ornamental grasses.

One of the most fun things about Rudbeckia is that they do double-duty in the wildlife garden. The flowers are popular with butterflies and a variety of bees, while the seed heads attract goldfinches, pine siskins and chickadees during the fall and winter months.

We carry the following varieties here at Shooting Star Nursery:

'Goldsturm' – This is the traditional ‘Black-eyed Susan’ most gardeners are familiar with (see photo above). Plants get about 3' tall and will spread to at least 2' wide; more after a couple of years unless you divide it.

Little Henry editLittle Henry’ (left) has butter-yellow flowers with delicate-looking quilled petals. Flowers are a bit smaller than ‘Goldsturm’, but make up in abundance what they lack in size. Plants are generally well-branched and reach about 2 ½’ to 3’ tall at maturity.

Irish EyesIrish Eyes’ (right) has huge 5” wide, orange-yellow flowers that feature a bright green central cone (does that make them a Green-eyed Susan?). Plants are a bit smaller than ‘Goldsturm’ and ‘Little Henry’ – about 2’ to 2 ½’ tall and about 15” wide.

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.

Penstemon 'Margarita BOP'

on Monday, 31 May 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

MBop2Seeing a mass of blue flowers in the summer garden is like a deep drink of cool water on a hot afternoon. And few perennials do blue better than Penstemon ‘Margarita BOP’.

‘Margarita BOP’ is a natural hybrid of two native Penstemons (P. heterophylla and P. laetus) and was discovered by the late Bert Wilson of Las Pilitas Nursery in Santa Margarita, CA, where it had volunteered at the base of his porch (the BOP in ‘Margarita BOP’ stands for ‘Bottom Of Porch’). Plants are long-lived, have a long bloom season, and are very drought tolerant once established.

Surprisingly enough for such a blue flower, the flower buds start off as pale yellow with a rosy base. But once the buds have opened, the flowers are a gorgeous shade of deep violet-blue. Plants are evergreen, and get to around 2’ by 2’ at maturity. The tubular shape of the flowers makes them extremely popular with hummingbirds, who are their primary pollinators. They’re also a favorite of bumblebees, who often bite their way into the base of the flower to steal some nectar (without providing any pollination services…). Let’s face it, Margarita BOP is just plain irresistible!

MargaritaBOP1‘Margarita BOP’ prefers full sun and well drained soil, and plants are relatively deer resistant. Plant them en masse for a truly gasp-worthy effect, or combine with other drought-tolerant sun lovers like Erigeron, Zauschneria, Eriogonum, Monardella, Agastache, Salvia, or Eriophyllum lanatum.