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Largely untried in the northern states, Wright's dropseed is a great new grass that is becoming a substitute in southern gardens for unwieldy pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana). Heat and drought tolerant, its gray-green foliage sports airy clouds of flowers atop tall stems in summer. This grass is good as a single specimen or in a group as a showy backdrop.
This pest-free perennial blooms best during warm months. It is strange how these small blue flowers attract butterflies more than large-blooming, showy neighbors. Blue porter weed gradually reseeds nearby for a fresh batch of new plants. Mix with other species of Stachytarpheta for a variety of leaf shapes and colors ranging from purple to coral.
This decidous, thicket-forming shrub has attractive wavy-margined leaves that resemble maple leaves and have good orange-yellow fall color. Cutleaf stephanandra grows to less than 2 feet tall but spreads by suckering. Flowers are unremarkable at a distance, but attractive close-up. In winter, the rich brown, arching shoots draw the eye.
This plant grows exuberantly and fills out within a season, yet reaches only 18 to 20 inches tall. It bears terminal, cornflower-like, 2- to 3-inch-wide blue flowers held on strong stems. Plants do not splay open in the middle or fall over like the species does.
Chenault coralberry is an undemanding workhorse. This 2-foot-tall shrub spreads about 10 feet without causing any trouble. It does an excellent job of covering ground and smothering weeds while eliminating erosion. In late summer, small pink flowers appear and are followed by rosy red fruit.
This prolific cultivar has dark green foliage and bears nodding blue flowers from mauve buds. It grows to a compact height of 18 inches tall. It may become invasive and difficult to eradicate once established.
This notably beautiful plant produces huge, elongated banana-shaped leaves, which are arfully edged in luminescent yellow. The rosette sits at 18 inches tall, and in early summer the plant bears clusters of mauve-pink bells atop stems that are 4 to 5 feet tall.
From the Fairytail series of dwarf lilacs, this petite cultivar bears single, light pink flowers in mid- to late season. It has a rounded, compact habit, 6 feet high by 5 feet wide. It shows good resistance to powdery mildew.
This fragrant hybrid (S. persica × S. vulgaris) has slightly nodding, 6-inch-long clusters of lilac-purple flowers. It forms a spreading shrub, 15 feet tall and wide.
This fragrant hybrid (S. persica × S. vulgaris) produces slightly nodding light-purple flower clusters to 6 inches long in midseason. It forms a spreading shrub, 12 feet tall and wide, and shows good disease resistance.
This early flowering hybrid produces fragrant, single white flowers. It forms a shrub 8 feet high by 10 feet wide, and exhibits autumn coloring. This hybrid and its offspring show some disease resistance.
This hardy, late-flowering hybrid bears perfumed rose-pink buds opening to pink flowers. It forms a shrub 10 feet high by 8 feet wide.
This species has an untraditional, spicy fragrance, and it is one of the most strongly scented lilacs. In midseason, it bears single, white-throated, pale purple flowers that open to white. It forms a shrub 10 feet high by 10 feet wide.
This fragrant cultivar bears single rose-pink flowers in midseason, which often rebloom in late summer or autumn. It forms a shrub 6 feet high by 10 feet wide.
This strongly fragrant cultivar bears single light purple flowers in mid- to late season, and it exhibits maroon autumn foliage. It forms a compact shrub 8 feet high by 8 feet wide.
This cultivar has double bluish-purple flowers that open from violet buds in midseason. It forms a shrub 12 feet high by 8 feet wide.
This cultivar has double opalescent pink flower buds that open to white in midseason. The flowers are very fragrant. It forms a shrub 12 feet high by 8 feet wide.
This unique cultivar bears slightly fragrant, creamy yellowish blossoms in midseason. It forms a shrub 12 feet high by 8 feet wide.
In midseason this unique cultivar bears slightly fragrant, single purple blossoms with distinct white margins. It forms a shrub 12 feet high by 8 feet wide.
This tuberous-rooted tender perennial is related to portulaca, but has fleshy green leaves and delicate, wiry flower stalks. Stalks have a fine, see-through texture. Minute hot pink flowers are followed by carmine-colored seed pods that are showier than the flowers. The variety 'Kingwood Gold' has chartreuse foliage. Plants can grow to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide.
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
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