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Foot-long blossoms are nocturnally fragrant, and pour out from narrow calyces of light yellow, to terminate in fluted, reflexed openings the hues of golden summer squash.
Few plants evoke tropicalia quite like the Brugmansias, with their voluminous tubular flowers that drip from imposing shrubs or small trees. They look fantastic in containers or plunged into a border, and the dramatic display persists from late spring until autumn. In cooler climates, they may be brought under glass or cut back and held dormant in a cool basement. All parts are highly toxic if ingested.
Foot-long, rich pink blossoms are nocturnally fragrant and pour out from narrow calyces to terminate in wide, flared openings.
The papaya is a herbaceous, fast-growing shrub that grows best in tropical and subtropical climates where it will flower continually, but it will perform in colder climates from high summer to early fall. It offers a striking sculptural presence to the landscape due to its lobed, 2-foot-across leaves and large, delicious fruit (sometimes reaching 20 pounds).
A native small tree found in wetlands from Minnesota to Florida and from New England to California, buttonbush can reach 8 to 15 feet tall and is often wider than it is tall. Prune it into a small multi-trunked tree to reveal the curly bark of its young stems and the punctuated pale spots of its older stems. Blooms are extremely rich in nectar and attract butterflies and other insects.
Through the fall and into winter, pincushion hakea provides beautiful cut flowers for the holidays; the foliage and seedpods are also great for arrangements. You can prune it into a bushy shape or a slender, small tree. As a member of the Protea family, pincushion hakea does not like phosphorus fertilizer, and like most Australian plants, it prefers to be well mulched so that its specialized roots can extract nutrients from the mulch layer.
This rounded, woody, evergreen shrub or small tree has lance-shaped, glossy dark green leaves with toothed margins. It bears 4- to 6-inch blossoms all summer. Solitary, five-petaled flowers 4 inches across range from single to ruffled and double. Colors include yellow, orange, pink, red, and combinations.
Dime-sized, drooping, bell-shaped yellow flowers have a faint anise fragrance, but they’re hidden under new foliage in June.
With some of the darkest foliage you'll encounter in the genus Loropetalum, 'Carolina Midnight' is a great new introduction that will add some purple punch to the garden. The flowers are like dark fuchsia fireworks in a sky of purple. It is a great substitue for purple smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria) in the South.
This yucca-like Mexican plant has bold bluish leaves to 3 feet long that have tiny serrations on the edges. It makes a stunning accent in the garden or in a container. It is hardy to 10°F and extremely drought tolerant. Thousands of tiny white flowers bloom on a 4-foot stalk on mature clumps.
Large—to 20 inches across—almost rounded, lobed leaves colored a downy gray-tinged green contrast beautifully with almost any companion plant. This thicket-forming, sparsely branched, evergreen shrub, which behaves like an herbaceous perennial in Zones 6 and 7, produces thick, leafy shoots topped by white flowers borne on branching stems to 20 inches long in fall.
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
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