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This shrubby, woolly perennial is native to the warmest, dry regions of the US and Mexico. Its large, rose-like salmon-colored flowers appear in loose clusters from spring to frost. It grows to 3 feet tall and almost as wide, and can bloom nearly year-round in warm regions.
If you want a summer-flowering shrub with great fall color, look no further. Fritsch spirea jumps out with a striking red, orange, and yellow glow even brighter than the fall color of oaks and maples. It has coarser foliage than others in the genus, and if sheared back in spring, it produces giant summer blooms.
This low-growing, clump-forming shrub has a spreading habit, reaching 10 inches tall. Slender branches spread across the ground. Foliage is light blue-green to 1 inch long. In late June, this plant bears clusters of pink flowers; bloom continues into September if deadheaded.
This fast-growing, upright specimen has very attractive small, blunt, dark blue-green leaves and arching branches. Bowl-shaped, pure white flowers are borne midsummer in large numbers. They attract butterflies.
This deciduous, terrestrial orchid has linear, acute leaves 2 to 10 inches long. At summer's end, it produces sweet, vanilla-scented, 1- to 3-foot spires of white flowers that last for weeks and hold up well as cut flowers.
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 bulbous perennial has clumps of strap-shaped, mid-green leaves. Each stem, less than 1 foot tall, bears a solitary scarlet to deep crimson flower in late spring or early summer; established clumps may bloom again later in the summer.
This mat-forming perennial has rosettes of furry, silvery-gray leaves to 4 inches long. In summer, it bears gray spikes tipped with tiny, pink-purple or violet flowers. This plant crowds out weeds. 'Silver Carpet' is a non-flowering cultivar. 'Big Ears' has 8- to 12-inch-long, grayish-white felted, mid-green leaves.
This new cultivar of a treasured favorite is as cute as a button. With leaves about the size of a dime, 'Silky Fleece' has the same great soft, silky texture and silver color as other lambs' ears, just in a smaller package, growing to about 10 inches tall and wide. Lilac-plum flower spikes rise above the foliage from mid- to late summer. Grow it as edging, in containers, or in rock gardens.
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 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 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.
A soft-stemmed shrub grown for its extraordinary foliage, Persian shield has thick, quilted purple leaves to 6 inches long splashed with iridescent pewter or silver. In autumn, it bears delicate funnel-shaped violet flowers in an eye-catching spike formation.
Celandine poppy is an eastern U.S. native wildflower with attractive leaves and flowers. It prefers moist, shady areas and will naturalize in a site it likes. Leaves are bluish green, deeply cut, and lobed. Summer brings bright yellow, poppy flowers in small clusters. Use in a woodland, border, or rock garden. It may become weedy.
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.
10 Outstanding Succulents
Skip the finicky selections and go for these unique yet reliable beauties
by Maureen Gilmer
Potted plants keep flower beds looking their best
Potting Soil Recipes
Cook up your own container mix that is suited to your plants
by Daryl Beyers
Potting Soil Ingredients
Here's a breakdown on some common container soil ingredients
by Daryl Beyers
VIDEO Potting Soil Recipe for Cacti and Succulents
Perfect drainage makes this recipe succeed
by Jeff Moore
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