Regional Picks: Plants to Grow Together- Southern Plains

Fine Gardening - Issue 145

Southern Plains


Plant This


Berlandier’s sundrops (Calylophus berlandieri ssp. pinifolius)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 7 to 11

Size: 24 to 30 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; well-drained soil

This yellow-flowered showstopper is a bushy, upright perennial featuring 2-inch-wide blossoms. The fine, needlelike foliage creates an airy, lacy effect. Berlandier’s sundrops is moderately deer resistant and generally dislikes wet soils or too much supplemental irrigation. Peak bloom time is midspring through early summer, but it may flower off and on throughout the year. Prune back to the newly emerging growth in late winter and deadhead after blooming to encourage more flowering. Plants are mostly evergreen but may die back to the ground in harsh winters.


With That:


Shrubby skullcap (Scutellaria wrightii)

Zones: 8 to 11

Size: 8 to 12 inches tall and up to 18 inches wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

Neat, compact, and evergreen, this mounding perennial with striking bluish purple flowers works well massed at the front of a bed or border or in a rock garden. Wherever you use shrubby skullcap, plant it in poor to average soils with good drainage, and water it minimally for best results. This plant prefers gravel mulch instead of organic mulches, such as shredded hardwood. Maintenance is easy: Simply deadhead from spring to early summer to encourage profuse flowering.


Pine muhly (Muhlenbergia dubia)

Zones: 7 to 11

Size: 2 to 3 feet tall and wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

Pine muhly is a clumping evergreen grass, native to the desert. Its leaves are stiff and upright, providing an elegant structure. This deerresistant plant features a burst of cream to tan flower spikes in late summer and fall. Because of its small size and contained growth habit, pine muhly is a great addition to small gardens. In late winter, rake out any dead stalks, or cut the plant back by one-third every other year.


Woolly stemodia (Stemodia lanata)

Zones: 8 to 11

Size: 6 inches tall and 2 to 3 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

A striking, silvery white ground cover, woolly stemodia is primarily grown for its stunning foliage. Just a few inches high, this plant spreads beautifully and works well on a slope or cascading over a wall. Small, light purple flowers appear from spring through fall on this somewhat deer-resistant plant. While woolly stemodia can be a challenge to establish, planting it in the sunny, dry conditions and fast-draining soils it appreciates will help ensure its success.


Sarah Yant is the owner and principal designer of Eden Garden Design in Austin, Texas.

Photos: Joseph A. Marcus, courtesy of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; courtesy of Sarah Yant; Jerry Pavia; courtesy of High Country Gardens. Illustration: Elara Tanguy

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