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The 'Caddo' maple typically reaches a mature height of 30 feet and spread of 25 feet, but may be taller. Its star-shaped leaves turn under slightly at the edges, and turn muted yellow to orange in the fall that can be spectacular. Its crown is oval-shaped, with an upright/erect growth habit. This moderately drought-tolerant maple is a great street or shade tree.
'Caddo' maples, native to southwestern Oklahoma, are well-adapted to heat and drought, and resistant to leaf tatter and scortch common among many maples. The leaves are dark green, leathery, and deeply lobed.
Thick, succulent grayish green leaves tipped with spines make this 3-foot-tall and wide agave a striking addition to a xeric bed or desert garden. Although its color is muted, its architectural form can't be overlooked.
The spine-tipped leaves of this aloe grow in a beautiful spiral; mature plants have five rows of leaves growing either clockwise or counterclockwise. It is very hardy, but will rarely flower. A native of Lesotho, Africa, it is extremely endangered due to overcollecting.
In late spring, lavender-pink flowers rise above this plant’s lacy, fernlike foliage, which forms an airy network beneath. The blooms appear a bit later than typical for other astilbes, and they extend later into summer. ‘Maggie Daley’ is moderately drought tolerant once established. Pair it with Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum, Zones 5–8) for a beautiful combination. And deer and rabbit resistance is the pièce de résistance! -Kielian DeWitt, Fine Gardening #147 (Octover 2012), page 76
This perennial produces milk chocolate-colored flowering buds that open in spring with golden yellow petals over blue-green foliage.
Yellowwood is a vase-shaped spreading tree with dark green foliage that turns a delicate yellow or orange in the fall and smooth light gray bark. Breathtaking, pendulous, foot-long, wisteria-like clusters of fragrant white flowers appear in late spring and early summer, often in alternate years.
This basal branching cordyline combines the rugged easy-care attributes of its cordyline cousins with an unusual mix of shiny dark color, compact bushy form, short stems and cascading grass-like leaves.
This bushy shrub or small tree has generated many notable cultivars, all of which add great textural qualities to the landscape. It has 6-inch-long frothy plumes that appear after the flowers and give a long-lasting, smoky haze to branch tips. Its green leaves are smooth and rounded and produce brilliant fall color.
This shrub or small tree has stunning dark red-purple foliage that turns scarlet in autumn. It has plume-like seed clusters, which appear after the flowers and give a long-lasting, smoky haze to branch tips.
This shrub or small tree has stunning deep purple foliage that turns orange-red in autumn. It has plume-like seed heads, which appear after the flowers and give a long-lasting, smoky haze to branch tips.
Striking, extra-large yellow blooms cover each stem from base to tip in early spring.
This southwestern native shrub grows to 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide and sports long, dull, spiny stems that green up and leaf out after a rain, followed by long, scarlet flowers that attract hummingbirds.When dry conditions return, ocotillo drops its leaves again. This cycle can replay several times a season. Great as a surprising specimen or forbidding hedge.
One of the oldest tree species on the planet, ginkgo grows only about a foot a year, reaching 50 to 80 feet. Female trees set fleshy fruit that smell unpleasant as they decay; they contain edible nuts.
Daylilies are classic, extremely popular garden plants. They feature long, arching, strappy leaves and long stems of generally 6-petaled flowers, though double flowers are popular as well. Each flower lasts only one day, hence the plant’s common name. Daylilies come in a wide range of colors, from cream and cheery yellow to peach, orange, fiery red, deep burgundy, pink, and purple. Some have contrasting throats and "eye-zones." Daylilies are ideal for a mixed herbaceous perennial border.
'Forsyth Lemon Drop' is lovely and cheerful daylily cultivar.
This floriforous daylily is a melony yellow.
'Froufrou' gets its name from its small, ruffled yellow petals.
'Girl Scout' has large, bright yellow flowers.
This pale-yellow-flowered daylily distinguishes itself with its profuse bloom and compact size (only 16 inches tall), making it good for containers and the borders. It is an early season bloomer with circular flowers that open in late afternoon and last through the night.
'Jan's Twister' has large, light coral, spiderlike flowers and no fragrance.
Red daylily with a yellow center.
This everblooming daylily is a member of the Happy Ever Appster(R) family of daylilies. All Happy Ever Appster daylilies are offspring of the popular 'Happy Returns' daylily and were developed by Dr. Darrel Apps, famous daylily hybridizer. 'Just Plum Happy' flaunts 6-inch-wide, bright rose-pink blooms with purple centers on stems 12 to 16 inches tall from June to frost above a clump of deep green, strappy leaves 18 to 24 inches wide.
Peach daylily with yellow accents.
This upright selection reaches 24 inches tall and 44 to 48 inches wide. 'Fort Knox' has an elegant vase-shaped habit and radiant yellowish-gold leaves 10 inches long by 6 inches wide. Lavender flowers appear in midsummer.
Bold, large, shield-shaped leaves with a deep green center and creamy-white margins turn white with age. Funnel-shaped mauve flowers borne on leafy scapes 32 inches long appear in midsummer.
A robust, clump-forming perennial, 'Piedmont Gold' has prominently veined, wavy-margined, bright-gold leaves 10 inches long by 7 inches wide. It reaches an average height of 18 to 25 inches tall and 40 inches wide. White flowers on 26-inch stems appear in midsummer.
A botanical giant, 'Sum and Substance' averages 30 inches tall by 60 inches wide, sometimes more. Upright, heart-shaped, flat leaves have a glossy chartreuse hue that changes to gold when exposed to more light. Near-white lilac blooms borne on leaning scapes 36 inches long appear from late July through mid-August.
'Sun Power' is a clump-forming perennial with oval to heart-shaped, yellowish green leaves below funnel-shaped, pale-lavender to white flowers in midsummer.
A clump-forming perennial with flat-spreading, blue-colored leaves, Japanese rock hosta bears funnel-shaped white flowers, sometimes flushed with purple, on arching, leafy scapes 24 inches long.
This is a small, upright, mounded, deciduous shrub with attractive, flaking reddish-brown bark on mature stems and striking, linear to oblong blue green leaves. Midsummer to early autumn, this plant bears golden yellow flowers with striking, bushy center stamens. Reddish-brown fruit capsules ripen in September and persist well into the winter. St. John's wort excels in the Midwest.
'Blue Star' jumiper is a slow-growing, compact, evergreen shrub with a mounding shape. Its silver blue foliage is attractive in all seasons, and its blue, berry-like, female cones each contain one seed, hence its common name.
This compact shrub was bred by the noted horticulturist, Dr. Michael Dirr. It was selected not only for its small stature but also for its excellent disease resistance and standout flower color.
'Hermann's Pride' is small, but bold. Unlike the rampantly creeping variegated yellow lamium (Lamium galeobdolon 'Variegatum'), the lamium cultivar ‘Hermann’s Pride’ is a slow-growing, clump-forming treasure that grows like a small bush, beautiful in foliage (jagged, silvery, and green) and flower (brilliant yellow). Masses of flowers appear in late spring to early summer. While some may have trouble controlling this cultivar, it behaves meekly in harsh climates. -Sue Whetten, Regional Picks: Rocky Mountains, Fine Gardening issue #127
This new, compact loropetalum has the reddest blooms of all cultivars. Dark burgundy foliage retains its color throughout the year. Great for specimen planting, mass plantings and borders.
In autumn, this unique specimen creates a spectacular, billowy inflorescence of massed, vibrant pink, airy flowers on 4-foot stems. It is noted for its tolerance to poorly drained soil. It is possibly hardy to Zone 6 with protection.
This beautiful warm-season grass produces attractive, pale purplish-gray plumes in autumn and goes dormant in the cold season. It forms a neat, upright clump with fine blue-gray foliage.
This dwarf, non-fruiting olive cultivar is an evergreen tree reaching 4 to 6 feet high and wide. It has attractive dark green leaves.
Panicum Ruby Ribbons’ soft blue-green foliage emerges in the spring on upright, clumping plants. The foliage takes on a wine-red color in early summer, which intensifies as the season progresses. Flower heads appear in late summer, followed by ornamental seed heads, which, if left uncut, provide long-lasting winter interest.
This deciduous tree has thick shoots and large, lobed, bright green leaves. Fragrant pinkish lilac flowers appear in late spring with the foliage. When grown as a perennial, its robust shoots become sturdy stems 2 inches in diameter, with mammoth leaves as much as 2 feet across. Paulownia tomentosa can grow to 12 feet tall in a single season.
This spreading tree with a graceful habit bears glossy, dark green leaflets. Thick shoots grow quickly when young—and more slowly as the tree reaches maturity. In fall, foliage turns a handsome shade of yellow and the tree bears clusters of blue-black berries. Deeply corrugated, pale gray-brown bark is a striking feature; unfortunately, it doesn’t develop until the tree matures.
Each bush is covered in a mass explosion of amber blooms. One of the new Next Generation Flower Carpet roses with improved heat and humidity tolerance and disease resistance.
Each bush is covered in a masses of scarlet red blooms from late spring thru fall. One of the new Next Generation Flower Carpet roses with improved heat and humidity tolerance and disease resistance.
Each bush is covered in a mass explosion of vivid pink blooms all summer long. One of the new Next Generation Flower Carpet roses with improved heat and humidity tolerance and disease resistance.
This large, clump-forming grass has linear leaves with central white stripes. In late summer it bears huge, purplish-bronze flower clusters, which eventually fade to silver. It resents high fertility and shows considerable drought tolerance.
This choice species boasts narrow, downy sage-green leaves and true sky-blue blossoms from summer to fall. It has woody stems and forms a beautiful specimen 12 inches tall by 18 inches wide.
This tender perennial from Peru is highly unusual for its dramatic, purple-black flowers and pistachio-green calyces. The flowers appear from late summer to early fall. The drama is heighted by its contrasting silvery leaves and stems, which are densely cloaked in woolly, white hairs. Plants grow to about 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide. This specimen looks great tumbling over the edge of a container.
Little bluestem is a tidy, finely textured clumping grass with a blue-green summer color. Its silvery seed heads rise to a height of nearly 2 feet in late summer and are at their best when backlit in the morning or afternoon sun. In fall, the grass turns a rosy rust color that lasts all winter.
This flowering evergreen tree has pinnate leaves 4 to 6 inches long. Notched, mid-green leaflets grow in pairs. Pea-like, fragrant blue-violet flowers in terminal racemes appear in spring, maturing to bright red seeds.
This evergreen species makes a handsome specimen with narrow, arching foliage that is streaked orange in summer and becomes orange-brown in winter. Its fine, pendent flower inflorescences open purplish-green in midsummer and have a misty quality.
This semi-evergreen species makes a stately, stand-alone specimen with narrow, arching foliage and shimmering gold panicles that reach 8 feet tall. The flowers open in June as silvery-purple and mature to shades of wheat.
No other grass exhibits quite the refinement of texture as this species. Its bright green foliage resembles delicate filaments that arise in elegant, vase-like clumps and spill outward like a soft fountain. All summer it bears a profusion of feathery panicles, which mature from foamy-green to blonde. It is native to the Americas.
This small deciduous shrub is covered in early spring with pink buds that burst open to reveal slightly fragrant, showy, flat-topped white flowers. Fleshy red fruit is borne in pendulous bunches in late August, darkening to all-black in October. Leaves fade to a dark maroon in the fall and winter months when planted in colder areas. Plants grow to about 5 feet tall and 8 feet wide. A cross between V. utile and V. × burkwoodii ‘Park Farm Hybrid’, this shrub is excellent as a foundation plant, as a specimen, in mass groupings, in a shrub border, or in containers. Evergreen to Zones 7 and 8.
Like other creeping myrtles, 'Illumination' is a tough evergreen ground cover for shade that will grow in almost any soil. Its hallmark is its bright gold leaves that are edged with a border of irregular green. Periwinkle-blue flowers appear in spring. Use 'Illumination' as a shade ground cover or in hanging baskets. -Tom Nelson, Regional Picks: Northern California, Fine Gardening issue #127
This dramatic architectural plant is one of the most beautiful variegated yuccas on the market. Its sword-shaped leaves bear bold central stripes of bright canary-yellow against a rich celadon edge. In cool weather, margins are tinged pink, and the entire yellow stripe turns rose-colored on many of the leaves, lasting through early spring. Plants grow to 2 feet wide and nearly as tall. Branched clusters of nodding, creamy-white bells open in mid-summer on stout stems that reach 6 feet tall.
This easy to grow evergreen yucca bears dramatic, sword-shaped yellow leaves with a dark green edge. Not as staunchly upright as some yuccas, its leaf tips sometimes droop with age. Its foliage color is best from fall to spring. Plants grow to nearly 2 feet in height and 3 feet in width. In summer, it produces a 6-foot-tall spike covered with nodding, fragrant, white bell-shaped flowers.
This sculptural plant bears sword-like leaves to 24 inches long in shades of blue- or gray-green and maturing to dark green, with smooth margins. In summer, the plant produces 8-foot spikes of nodding, bell-shaped, fragrant white flowers, sometimes tinged purple, to 2 inches long.
Conifers for Shade
Yes, you can grow evergreen trees and shrubs in shade. Who knew?
by Christine Froehlich
10 Combinations for Shade
The secret is in using color to pump up the interest in low-light spots
by Inta Krombolz
Find spots in your garden for plants you thought you couldn’t grow
by Dan Johnson
Bringing Sun and Shade Together
Show off what these extremes have to offer, then unite them with some common ground
by Dan Johnson
Stylish Shady Containers
Low light doesn't have to cramp your creativity or limit your plant choices
by Karen Chapman
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