Plants We Grow at Talking Leaves
by Donald Ray Burger
Attorney at Law

Maria and I grow at lot of plants here at Talking Leaves. That means this page will be quite long. That also means it will be a work in progress for a long time. That means that the following list is only a partial list of the plants we grow. Still, one has to start sometime. Enjoy.

Abelia (Abelia grandiflora). Evergreen shrub in Houston. Long shoots give the plant an airy, arching look. Our canes are up to five feet. This plant has a graceful, old-garden look. We have ours in one corner of the front foundation bed. White flowers in summer and fall. Drought tolerant. Hummingbirds like this plant. It is also a nectar plant which is favored by Swallowtails.

Allamanda Allamanda. Tropical plant. Comes in both a vining variety (Allamanda cathartica) and a shrub variety (Allamanda neriifolia). Unless we have a mild winter, treat as an annual. This plant can get big (to 10 feet). The shrub version stays smaller. Vigorous bloomer with beautiful yellow blooms. You should try this plant, even if it dies in the winter. Plant one in the spring and be rewarded with showy blooms all summer and fall.

American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana). Our plants are about 3 feet high. They have rather long, arching branches. Do not prune. The plant is not bothered by insects. Drought tolerant, but the leaves will droop a little from lack of moisture. Blooms in late spring-early summer. Glossy purple fruits in rows on the branches in the fall. Purchased in March 1995.

Anacharis ___. Perennial. This is a submerged grass grown in water gardens to control free floating algae. Purchased the little sprouts aquarium shops sell in October, 1996. Left it free floating. It grew well, but after a couple of years it just disappeared from the whiskey barrell water garden in which I placed it.

Apple, Reverend Morgan Atlaspur. Self fruitful. 550 chilling hours required. This is recommended as one of the best apples for Houston. It is a variety of a Granny Smith. We purchased ours in Mrch, 1995. We got our first apple (only one) in the spring of 1999. the tree is about 6 feet tall. Aphids love it.

Asian Jasmine (Trachelosjermum asiaticum). Perennial vine used as a groundcover. Disease free and drought tolerant. Plan on two years to get good coverage when using as a ground cover. Ours only gets morning sun. Use a string trimmer to keep height uniform if kkyou want a more manicured look.

Asparagus Fern (Asparagus densiflorun Sprengeri). Perennial fern. Very drought tolerant. Does well in clay pots and benign neglect.

Aztec Sweet Herb (Lippia dulcis). Perennial. This is a fun herb. The leaves are very sweet, giving it its other name of "Aztec sugar." This herb is like mint in that it will spread freely. It dies back in Houston winters, but comes back from the roots if mulched. I got my starter at a herb festival in 1996. I keep this herb in a clay pot by the back door. It is fun to break off a leaf and ask people to taste it.

Bachelor's Buttons Gomphrena globosa. Annual. About 18 inches high. Dark purple blooms in summer and fall. Reseeds easily. Good cut flower. Can be grown in the grownd or in clay pots.

Bamboo Muhly. (Muhlenbergia dumosa). Perennial grass. Resembles bamboo, but not invasive like real bamboo. Height is between 2 and 5 feet. Has unimpressive flowers, but the leaves are striking. Planted in October, 2000.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum). Annual herb. This is one of my favorite herbs. Nothing spices up spaghetti like basil leaves. I keep a plant in a clay pot by the back door so it is always at hand. I usually buy basil in one inch pots. It is supposed to be easy to grow from seed. I grow several varieties, both in pots and in the ground. Basil doesn't like cold weather. I have tried repetedly to overwinter it without success. Keep pinching the bloom tips off so the plant doesn't bolt. This is an easy plant to grow and should not be omitted from your garden.

Bee Balm Monarda didyma.Perennial. Reportedly not a great plant for the Gulf Coast region, others report it does well. The plant I purchased in October of 1996 died. I got another plant in February of 1997. So far I have not been able to get this plant to really flourish. Stay tuned for further reports.

Begonia (Semperflorens begonia, 'Whiskey.') This is a hardy perennial. It is low growing, smallish plant, with spring to fall white blooms. Takes our heat. Planted 1996.

Blackberry, Brazos (Rosaceae 'Brazos').This is supposed to be the easiest blackberry to grow in Houston. It's only drawback is that the seeds are large. Purchased in February of 1997 and planted in April of 1997. I have had a great crop every year. I use bird netting to insure we get to eat the berries.

Blackberry, Rosborough (Rosaceae 'Rosborough'). This is a highly recommended variety for Houston. It is supposed to have smaller seeds than Brazos. Purchased in February of 1997 and planted in April of 1997. Brazos does better.

Black gum (Nyssa sylvatica). This is a good tree for Houston. It produces dependable fall color even in mild winters. Mine is susceptible to webworms. Guess I don't have enough wasps. Planted in 1995. Leaves start turning red in October.

Blueberry (Vaccinium ashei 'Climax'). Perennial shrub. Rabbiteye blueberry. Must be grown in special acidic soil. Mostly disease resistant. Planted in February, 2000.

Blueberry (Vaccinium ashei 'Delite'). Perennial shrub. Rabbiteye blueberry. Must be grown in special acidic soil. Mostly disease resistant. Planted in February, 2000.

Blueberry (Vaccinium ashei 'Tifblue'). Perennial shrub. Rabbiteye blueberry. Must be grown in special acidic soil. Mostly disease resistant. Planted in February, 2000.

Blueberry (Vaccinium ashei 'Woodard'). Perennial shrub. Rabbiteye blueberry. Must be grown in special acidic soil. Mostly disease resistant. Planted in February, 2000.

Bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis). Annual. This is a tough plant to grow in Houston, but not impossible. Sow seeds in fall for spring blooms. Wildseed Farms (800-848-0078) sells the seeds in bulk for reasonable prices. I first seeded bluebonnets in 1995. Some years I have a great crop and other years I don't. Just like the Hill country. In 1999 I had a a lone bluebonnet bloom in June, after the others had come and gone. State flower of Texas.

Blue Daze (Evolvulus nuttallianus). Annual. This plant blooms all summer. Flowers are blue on grayish-green foliage. Needs good drainage. Takes full sun or afternoon shade.

Bougainvillea 'Juanita Hatten' (Bougainvillea spectabilis). Bougainvillea is a spectacular plant-in Laredo. In Houston it seems we get too much rain for it to bloom (produce bracts). It will grow very well, but mostly leaves and thorns. Very sharp thorns. Most books recommend planting them in pots in Houston so they can become root bound. A freeze will knock them down, but they will usually come back from the roots. Bob Webster in San Antonio recommends the specific variety "Juanita Hatten for there. We are trying it for Houston, after repeated disappointments with other efforts. The Juanita Hatten was planted in April, 1999. It has performed well, with a steady supply of blooms. I highly recommend this variety for Houston.

Bridal Wreath Spiraea (Spiraea Vanhouttei). Deciduous shrub. White flowers in spring. Disease free. Height of ours is about four feet. This is a graceful plant. In spring it is always covered with tiny white flowers.

Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) This tree is easy to grow in Houston. It has interestingly textured bark. Like most oaks, it gets tall with the years. It is drought tolerant once established. It is a larval food for Edward's Hairstreak.

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) Perennial. This is one of the best plants for the butterfly garden. It has beautiful purple blooms. It is a nectar plant for butterflies. This plant gets to be a shrub four to five feet across. Very beautiful. Purchased September, 1996.

Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). Perennial. Full sun. Mine took the freeze of '95 without ill effect. Growth in my garden to 3 to 4 feet. Lanky. Blooms early summer. I have observed hummers feeding on the blooms of this plant.This is a larval food for monarchs. The giant monarch caterpillars will eat all the leaves, but the plant always comes back. This is a neat plant. Highly recommended if you want butterflies.

Caladiums (Caladium bicolor). Annual. Like afternoon sun. Most varieties do not flourish in full sun, but a few do ok. Really a shade plant. Tremendous variations in leaf color and shape are available. Great for northern exposures. Plant caladium bulbs in spring after danger of frost has passed. Work bonemeal into soil before planting bulbs. Massed plantings look best. A few caladiums may come back the next year, but not enough to be satisfying. Treat as an annual and plant fresh bulbs each year.

Candle Bush (Cassia alta). Fast-growing tropical plant. Plant has a tree-like growth with a height of five to eight feet in height. Likes lots of water and is a heavy feeder. Beautiful yellow flowers look like candles. Also called Candle Tree, Christmas Candle and Candlestick Plant. Planted October, 2000.

Cape honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis). Evergreen vine. Full sun or part shade. Blooms May to August. Hummingbirds like this plant.

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) Perennial. Prefers moist soil and shade, or at least afternoon shade. It is reputed to not like heat but mine has done fine. Purchased September, 1997.

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum). Perennial herb. Another easy to grow herb. I keep a plant in a clay pot by the back door. A couple of snips of the scissors and you have fresh chives. In spring you get small purple blooms. Divide established plants about every three years so they don't get root bound.

Chrysanthemum pacificum (Chrysanthemum pacificum). Perennial. Sort of a ground cover, in that it is spreading and only gets to about twelve inches tall. Sun or part sun. Likes well drained soil. No disease problems. It has interesting foliage.

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum). Cool weather annual here. Also called corander and chinese parsley. Excellent leaf for authentic salsa. Great on fajitas. We can usually plant it from seeds by mid-October. It thrives in cool weather and can stand temperatures as low as we ever get in Houston.

Cigar Plant (Cuphea ignea). Perennial. This plant gets to about 18 inches high. It has small red tubular flowers. Long bloom season. It is an impressive plant in the landscape. Not bothered by cold or diseases. Highly recommended. Planted in 1998.

Coleus (Coleus hybridus). Annual. Grown for striking foliage. On older varieties you need to pinch off the terminal flowers to encourage fuller growth. Newer varities don't have this problem, and spread wonderfully, almost like a ground cover. Coleus dies with freeze. In the fall, take cuttings for next spring.

Coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus). This is an understory shrub which acts almost like a groundcover when established. It is reputed to havew pink-purple berries in the fall, but ours never had many berries. It grows to about two and one-half feet tall, and has a wild and lanky look. You can cut it back. Purchased March, 1995. Dug it up in the Spring of 2000 to make way for other plants.

Coreopsis Moonbeam (Coreopsis grandiflora "moonbeam.") Perennial. This plant has interesting leaves and branch structure and is covered with small bright yellow flowers. Great for draping over rocks. Full sun. Purchased September 1996.

Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroenia indica). Deciduous tree. Comes in various heights and colors. Blooms all summer. Beautiful bark. Mildew and aphids are sometimes a problem.

Cyclamen (Primulaceae spp). Annual here. Great for front porch clay pots. This is a winter-only plant. Colors are brilliant beyond belief. Pick your color and have at it. No insect problems. Dies in spring as warmer temperatures arrive. An expensive plant, but well worth it. Grown since 1994.

Cypress Vine (Ipomoea quamoclit). Fast growing annual. This is a wonderful vine. I planted one on the arbor in May of 1998 and it practically took over the arbor by September! It has a airy, fern-like look with tiny star-shaped red flowers. It is a great plant for an arbor. No thorns, very prolific, disease-free and cute flowers. Although an annual, it usualy comes back from the prior plant's seeds. Try it.

Dianthus Bath's Pink (Dianthus gratianopolitanus 'Bath's Pink') Perennial groundcover. Grows to about 4 inches high. Spreads to about ten inches. Pink blooms. Mine bloomed in April of 1998. It bloomed in March in 2000. Part to full sun. Needs well-drained soil. Mine has survived our Houston heat and humidity for several years now. . I highly recommend this plant. It gives a "grass-like" effect without having to be mowed. Not invasive. Purchased September, 1997.

Dill (Anethum graveolens). Annual herb. This is a cool weather plant in Houston. It will bolt if allowed to go to seed.

Dutchman's Pipe (Aristolochia elegans). Perennial vine. Grows 6 to 8 feet. Grow this vine for the flowers, which are very hard to describe. They are very large and weird looking. Blooms are steady, but not frequent. Curiosity. Planted in summer of 2000.

Dwarf Basil (Ocimum basilicum). Annual herb. Dwarf variety. I grow this in the garden railroad for its size and smell. Very compact when I planted it. It stayed dwarf sized the first year. We had a very mild winter in 1999 so I cut it back to about one inch tall and it rebloomed. Neat plant. Planted May, 1999.

Dwarf Crapemyrtle, 'Baton Rouge' Lagerstroemia indica 'Baton Rouge'). Perennial shrub in Houston. This is a dwarf version of the standard carpemyrtle. "Baton Rouge" has pink blooms. Very susceptible to fungal attacks. Wonderful blooms throughout summer. Grows to about two feet high.

Dwarf Nandina (Nandina domestica "Harbour Dwarf"). Perennial shrub. Under two feet. Unlike the regular nandina, the dwarf produces no berries.

Dwarf Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria "Nana"). Perennial shrub. Ours only reach about 12 inches high, but I have seen them to two feet. No berries on this dwarf. All in all, this is a pretty dull plant, but is a decent "bones" plant.

Epazote (Chenopodium ambrosioiles). Perennial. Used in Mexican cooking. Legend has it that epazote leaves will prevent gas from beans.

Esperanza (Tecoma stans 'lonesp') Ours is planted in the ground and grows about 6 to 7 feet tall. Lots of brilliant yellow blooms. Can be planted in a pot. The variation 'augustata' is reputed by several sources to do best in our area. This is one of the best yellow-blooming plants/small trees. Also commonlly called Yellow Bells.

Fennel (Foenicululm vulgare) Herb. This is an easy to grow herb. It is a host plant for the Anise Swallowtail.

Firebush (Hamelia patens). Perennial to three feet high and wide in our garden. Full sun. Freezes to the ground if we get an especially cold winter. It will come back, although it does not bloom until mid-summer if it freezes. Blooms last well into fall. The fact that hummingbirds like this plant accounts for its common name of "hummingbird bush." Purchased April, 1992.

Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis). This is one of my favorite plants. It is a perennial and is hardy to around 32 degrees. It is difficult to describe. It looks a little like a fern and tends to have a "weeping" form. It is usually covered with bright red, tubular flowers. It is disease-free and drought tolerant. Can get up to 24 to 30 inches high and abut 18 inches across. A striking plant. Sometimes called Coral Fountain or Firecracker Fern. I have more than one of these wonderful plants. Highly recommended.

Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides). Native to Australia. Mounding grass to 3 to 4 feet high. Full sun. Has striking plumy panicles in summer until freeze. Likes well-drained soil.

French Hollyhocks (Althea zabrina). Perennial. Height 18 to 36 inches. Flowers are a gorgeous white with purple stripes. Full sun. This bloom will draw comments. Grown by Thomas Jefferson.

Giant Turk's Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus). Perennial. This plant gets big. Ours is at least five feet across and 3-1/2 feet tall. Hummers like it. Lots of blooms. Will freeze back but is root hardy. Prune in spring to keep it in bounds and spur on more blooms. This is the species version of Turk's Cap. Malvaviscus arboreus 'Drummondii' is a more commonly sold version (and is usually sold as simply "Turk's Cap"). The difference is in the size of the plants (Drummondii is smaller) and the Drummondii blooms are "upright" while the Giant Turk's Cap blooms usually droop down (and are longer).

Ginger (Zingiberaceae 'Dwarf Bamboo.') This is a perennial in Houston. Often sold as an indoor plant, it needs sun to part shade. Good for a northern exposure. Height to about two feet. Planted May, 1997.

Gulf Muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris). Perennial. Does great in Houston's gumbo. Ours is 1-1/2 to 2 feet tall. Very striking clumping grass. Care-free. Drought tolerant. Sally Wasowski recommends mowing it about Valentine's day. Purchased March, 1995.

Hardy Orchid (Bletilla striata). Perennial. A terrestrial orchid native to China and Japan. Sometimes known as Chinese Ground Orchid. Lavender flowers in March. Plant is lily-like and grows to about 12 inches. Sometimes disappears in our summer heat, but comes back. Mulch to protect from hard freeze. Multiplies freely. Planted in March, 1997.

Hibiscus(Hibiscus rosa sinensis)Perennial, if you move it inside during the winter. This is a tropical perennial. It will not survive Houston winters. Some of mine that were planted in the ground came back but are slow to bloom. Keep them in pots and move them inside when the weather turns cold. the blooms only last one day each, but they do not need to be placed in water. Makes thim ideal for fine weeden desk tops. I try to keep one on my desk at work at all times. The blooms are singles and doubles. Colors are usually on the vivid side. This is a nectar plant for butterflies.

Honey Babe Minature Peach(Prunus persica). This is a self-fruitful freestone peach. This minature grows to 5 feet in height. 500 chill hours. Ripe in mid-July. Planted in February, 1997.

Hyacinth bean (Dolichos lablab). Treat as an annual vine in Houston. May come back from roots if the winter is mild. This is a fast-growing, large vine. First planted in Spring of 1996. Vine grew over 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Large leaves. Purple beans (inedible). Small purple flowers. Striking vine. Gets lots of attention. Full sun. Likes good drainage.

Ice plant (Aizoaceae aptenia). Perennial succulent in Houston, but doesn't like the cold. Drought tolerant when established. Vivid red flowers about 3/8 inches in diameter. Good plant for rock gardens. Cascades nicely. I have only had medium success with this plant, but the flowers, although tiny, are really pretty.

Impatiens (Impatiens spp). Annual. This low growing plant is a nectar plant for butterflies. This plant likes shade. It tends to get leggy by late summer.

Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa). Perennial. Wonderful Texas wildflower. Sometimes known as Texas Paintbrush. Plant in fall for spring bloom. Reseeds freely. It seems that each year either the bluebonnets or the Indian paintbrush predominate. Plant both and you'll be sure to have one of them in abundance.

Inland Sea Oats (Chasmarthium latifolium). Perennial. Two to three feet high in our garden. Sally Wasowski recommends cutting them back to four inches in the winter. Does better in partial shade. Colonizes by rhizomes. Purchased March, 1995.

Irish moss (sagina subulata). Perennial. Doesn't perform well here. I have tried growing it a couple of times. I keep trying. Planted in 1998 and May, 1999.

Jade PlantCrassula argentea. Succulent. Cannot take the cold. Protect from freeze. Makes good indoor plant. Avoid direct sun.

Johnny-jump-ups(Viola tricolor). Annual. Six inches high. Small flowers resemble pansies. Very pretty. These plants self-seed readily, and once you plant them you will have them coming up at random locations. The flowers last till the heat gets them. Thomas Jefferson grew this plant.

Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe ssp).Tender perennial in Houston. Protect from cold weather. This succulent does well here when planted in clay pots. Likes it a little on the dry side. Can also be grown as a house plant. Blooms come in a variety of especially vivid colors.

Katie's Ruellia (Ruellia brittoniana "Katie"). Perennial. Move over monkey grass: This plant is a good substitute. It also produces purple blooms from spring till frost. It does tend to spread out over an area, but is easily pulled up to keep it in check. Disease free. Drought tolerant. Worth a try.

Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzintina). Perennial. Does not really like our rain and humidity. Reportedly dies under sprinkler systems. We have ours in a clay pot by the back door in addition to a plant in the landscape. We grow it simply to have visitors stroke its unusual leaves - which feel remarkably like lamb's ears!

Lantana (Lantata camara). Evergreen shrub to 2 feet tall in my garden. Full sun. Blooms from spring until frost.

Larkspur (Consolida ambigua). This is a hardy annual. First planted in spring of 1998.

Leatherwood (Cyrilla racemiflora). This is an odd looking tree. Ours is still under 5 feet tall. It is multi-trunked. The branches grow every which way. Leaves turn red in fall. White blooms in spring. Yellow-brown fruit in summer. In five years ours got to about five feet tall. Purchased in March, 1995.

Lemongrass (Cymbopogan citratus). Perenial in Houstonh. Freezes back to roots but comes back strong. Large grass (3 to 5 feet tall). Looks like a giant clump of Johnsongrass except the leaves are lemon scented. I recommend planting it in clay pots by the back door. That way you will use it in cooking and no one will mistake it for a weed!

Live Oak (Quercus virginiana). Although not really an evergreen tree, this favorite tree of Houston replaces its leaves within a short span in the spring, thus making it virtually evergreen, and earning it its name. This is a spreading oak. Slow growing, but long lived.

Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha). Perennial. Likes morning sun. It produces tons of spikes of purple bloom with white tips from spring till fall. Freeze tolerant to the mid twenties. This plant gets lots of comments. Hummingbirds like this plant. I have observed hummers eating from ours. Heat and drought tolerant when established. Needs well-draining soil. Prune after it flowers to keep it in bounds. Can reach 5 feet by 5 feet. Planted in May, 1997.

Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera) Perennial bush. Grows to about six feet. Very drought tolerant. It has tubular shaped orange flowers at the tip of the stems. Planted in 1999 from a cutting from Maria's mom's garden.

Mexican Lime(Rutaceae ______). Mexican Limes are also known as the bartender's lime. height to 12 to 15 feet. Not cold tolerant. Purchased in February, 1997. I usually bring it in if a freeze is expected. We grow ours in a clay pot. It does produce wonderful limes.

Mexican Mint Marigold - Texas Tarragon (Tagetes lucida). This perennial herb is the Houston substitute for Tarragon, which will not grow here. Planted May, 1997.

Mexican Oregano (Lippia graveolens). Perennial. Native to Mexico. Has oregano flavor and is more easily grown in Houston than true oregano.

Mexican Plum (Prunus mexicana). This is a small tree. It needs good drainage. Ours had plums the first year (which the birds got) but nothing the second. This plant is supposed to be self-pollinating. During the drought of 1996 our just sat there and the leaves turned papery. We will see if it puts on the normal spring buds. Purchased in March, 1995.

Meyer Lemon(Citrus limon "Meyer"). The lemon plant for Houston. We grows ours in a clay pot in full sun. So far it has taken our (mild) winters. The fruit is lime green instead of yellow for the longest time. Planted in Spring of 1995. Had one lemon in 1996. More each year. Seems to be a reliable performer.

Mid-Pride Peach (Prunus persica) This is considered the best freestone peach for Houston. 250 chill hours. Ours is grafted onto Nemaguard rootstock. It can grow to 15 to 25 feet. Self fruitful. Planted in February, 1997.

Mussaenda (Mussdaenda ssp). Tender perennial which suffers when temperatures dip into the 40's. Will often survive winter if heavily mulched. Slow to come back, however. I keep a small plant in a clay pot in the garage in winter. I put my others in the landscape. That way, if we have an especially rough winter, I still have stems with which to start more cuttings. I know this is a lot of work, but I love this plant. Mine get to be about 2 to 3 feet high by the end of summer. The plant has medium green leaves, with some leaves going to an attractive yellow (as opposed to a yellow that looks like a dying leave) with a bright yellow sepal on the blooms. Hard to describe, but unforgettable. I saw a red mussaenda in the Carribean and sure want one. The only plants I have discovered are the yellow varity, which is sold by Brookwood Community Nursery. Began my love affair with mussaenda in the fall of 1994.

NierembergiaNierembergia 'Mont Blanc' . Perennial. Small, mounding plant. Beautiful large mass of white flowers in spring. I have planted this plant several times. Seems to die after a while. I have yet to keep one alive very long.

Oleander (Nerium oleander 'Petite Pink'). Tender Perennial. Shrub. Galveson is known as the City of Oleanders. Oleanders do great there and are also wonderful for Houston. They are virtually insect and disease free. They do fine in our gumbo clay. The only drawback is the size of traditional oleanders, which get to twenty feet high. The dwarf oleanders grow to about four feet high with only occasional pruning. They repeat their blooms all year long but are not supposed to be freeze tolerant. Planted in May, 1999.

Oleander (Nerium oleander 'Carnival'). Tender Perennial. Shrub. Galveson is known as the City of Oleanders. Oleanders do great there and are also wonderful for Houston. They are virtually insect and disease free. They do fine in our gumbo clay. The only drawback is the size of traditional oleanders, which get to twenty feet high. The dwarf oleanders grow to about four feet high with only occasional pruning. They repeat their blooms all year long but are not supposed to be freeze tolerant. Planted in May, 1999.

Parsley (Petroselmon crispum). Annual in Houston. Likes cool weather. Plant in fall. Ours made it through the summer tucked under some rosemary. Parsley dies after it blooms. Keep blooms pinched back.

Parsley Hawthorne (Crataegus marshallii). This tree is a nectar plant for butterflies. It is also a host plant for the gray hairstreak. It grows to 25 feet, but mine is still under 10 feet. White blooms in March and April. Purchased February 1996.

Passionflower vine(Passiflora spp) I have seen this growing wild in the Heights but I did not get any blossoms the first year on my plant. Others say this is an easy bloomer. The leaves are larval food for the Gulf Fritillary. Planted 1996.

Passionflower vine, crimson passiflora vitifolia We bought this passionflower vine at Gentry's Nursery in Laredo. We got the red one in hope the hummingbirds will like it. However, I have heard that the red passionflower vine is much less winter hardy than the purple-blue one. We will see. The tag said it is evergreen. Planted March, 1997.

Pear Pyrus pyrifolia 'Shinseiki' This is an Asian pear. We had fruit on ours by the second year. Planted spring, 2000.

Pear Pyrus pyrifolia '20th Century' This is an Asian pear. We had fruit on ours by the second year. Planted spring, 2000.

Pentas(Pentas laceolata)This is one of the easiest plants to grow in Houston. If we have a mild winter it will survive. In the winter of 1995 I lost some pentas, but not all of them. In my garden pentas will grow to three feet tall. They are nectar plants for butterflies, honey bees and bumble bees. Red, pink and white blooming plants are available, as are pentas in various heights. Do not miss the chance to plant this wonderful flower. My favorite is "Ruby." Purchased July, 1994.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita). Perennial. Keep mints trimmed back or they will get leggy. Consider planting in pots to keep them from taking over the garden.

Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) Perennial. This old-fashioned plant is a reliable producer of light blue flowers that butterflies like as a source of nectar. This plant sprawls very naturally in the garden. Height is about 18 inches. Width is 24 to 30 inches. This is a nice, old-fashioned plant.

Pomegranate (Punica granatum "Wonderful"). This small fruit tree has large, orange-red flowers and produces similarily colored fruits. Purchased summer, 1996.

Possumhaw Ilex decidua. Deciduous yaupon. Small tree. Berries are red-orange.

Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum'). Perennial grass with red leaves and rose-colored flower stalks. Blooms in summer and fall. Height to four feet. Needs full sun. Drought tolerant. Planted in May, 1997. It has produced nice fruit for us.

Princess Flower (Tibouchina urvilleana). Evergreen shrub, native to Brazil. Leaves are velvety. Blooms are deep purple. Flowers summer to fall. Likes acid soil and afternoon shade. Can get leggy. Responds well to pruning. Four feet tall and four feet wide, or larger. Pinch after blooming to keep bushy. April 2000.

Pyracantha (Pyracantha koidzumii "Victory"). This plant can be easily trained to a trellis, if you wear thorn-proof gloves. This is an elegant plant. Ours is approaching 8 feet high. In the late summer it produces berries. They start out yellow and turn to a deep red. Allow plenty of room for this plant.

Rain Lily, white (Zephyranthes candida). Perennial. Clumps of typical lily leaves to about twelve inches. White flower. Blooms late summer, fall. Planted fall of 2000.

Rain Lily, yellow (Zephyranthes hybrid 'Prairie Sunset'). Perneeial. Light yellow blooms appear after rain. Planted fall, 2000.

Red Bud (Cercis candensis). This is a great tree for the Houston area because it provides beautiful pink blooms in the spring and the leaves turn red in the fall. We grow the variety "Oklahoma." It is also a host plant for Henry's Elfin. Purchased February, 1996.

Red Maple, "Woodlands" (Acer rubrum "Woodland"). This deciduous maple is a recommend variety for the Houston area. It is fast growing. Ours appears to grow in a narrow and upright pattern.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Evergreen shrub to four feet in my garden. Full sun. Tiny blooms in spring and autumn. This is an easy-to-grow herb that is wonderful in cooking. Sprinkle some over a steak. Or use it in balsamic vinegar for a wonderful dressing. Brush against the leaves to release the heady aroma that reminds me of Colorado mountain in the summer. Hummingbirds are reputed to like the blooms, but this seems doubtful to me. I've never seen hummers on rosemary. Still, this is a "must" to grow. Other varieties I grow include "Arp" (most tolerant of cold) and "prostratus" (low growing variety).

Roses (Rosa). I grow far too many roses to list them here. Click here for my rose list.

Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta).This is a beautiful palm. It works great in a clay pot. Some sagos in Houston have frozen back but most of them did not die. They came back strong within a year. This is a disease free plant. Very dramatic.

Salvia, Lady-in-Red (Salvia ____). This salvia can overwinter here in mild winters. Hummers love its red blooms. It blooms from spring until frost. Around two feet high.

Salvia, Victoria (Salvia ____). White. This salvia can overwinter here, even if we get to 25 degrees. It blooms from spring until frost. Around two feet high. Planted in 1996.

Santolina (Santolina chamaecyparissus) . Perennial. Herb. I planted the "green" version, not the "gray" one. The green version is supposed to do better in out heat. get one to two feet high. Planted May, 1999.

Scented Geraniums (Pelargonium sp.). Perennials. These plants come in all kinds of scents. Crush the leaves and guess the smell. You will find everything from chocolate to lemon scents. Keep the plant on the dry side. Scented geraniums will suffer damage at mid 30's and below. Keep them in clay pots. Propogate from cuttings.

Sedums (Sedum ssp). Perennial. Succulent. Unfortunately, the nurseries here in Houston do not give the variety name for the host of sedums available. They are succulent perennials and often of such small size as to be suitable for the garden railroad. Grow in full sun.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' Sedum 'Autum Joy'. This is the classic, full-sized sedum grown throughout much of the United States. It can grow up to about 18 - 24 inches high and produced ball like blooms. Planted in the fall of 2001.

Sedum 'Mini Joy' Sedum 'Mini Joy'. This is the compact version of 'Autumn Joy.' It has salmon pink blooms and is suitable for growing in clay pots.

Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana). Perennial. Native of Mexico. Blooms in summer and fall. Hummingbirds like this plant. It gets to four or five feet tall. Hummers feed on the flowers of this plant. Purchased in Spetember, 1997.

Snap Dragons (Antirrhinum spp.). Annual. This is a cool weather plant in Houston. Plant in early winter and they should last until the temperature warms up in the spring. Great front bed plant. A healthy stand of snap dragons is very impressive. Disease free. Squeeze the flower to make the dragon's mouth open.

Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea). Perennial. Narrow leaves about 12 to 18 inches high. Flower spikes go to two feet with lavendar flowers from spring till winter. Garlic ordor is present only when leaves are crushed. Elegant plant. Easy to grow. No insect or fungus problems. Highly recommended. First noticed hummer eating from blooms on September 12, 1998.

Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum). Perennial. Ours growns to about two feet. Aromatic leaves. Drought tolerant.

Spearmint (Mentha spicata). Perennial herb. Easy to grow. In fact, watch out or it will spread everywhere. Great for ice tea.

Starfish Flower(Stapelia nobilis). Succulent. Also known as Carrion Flower, probably because of the black flies the striking blooms attract, and the smell of the blooms. This is a perennial in Houston. It looks like a catcus, but without thorns. The flower is about 10 inches across and is the shape and color of a starfish. We grow ours in a clay pot. Blooms are irregular, but striking when present.

St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum). Perennial. This is the grass for Houston. It stays green long into winter and comes back strong in the spring. The roots grow all winter so keep it watered in December and January if we don't get rain. We fertilize ours in spring and in early fall. Watch for chinch bugs in the dry heat of summer. Watch for brown patch (a fungus) in the spring and fall.

Stokes Aster (Stokesia laevis). Perennial. Blooms in the fall. This plant can get hugh. Onle of ours in the front covers an area six feet across. Very dramatic when in full bloom. Hundreds of blue flowers about 1-1/2" inches in diameter. Fall bloom begins in October. Requires good drainage.

Sweet Alyssum Lobularia maritima "Carpet of Snow." Annual. Can take temperatures into the teens.

Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare). Perennial. Grows rapidly to three feet. Small yellow flowers. Spreads by rhizomes. Aromatic camphor scent when leaves are bruised.

Texas Lantana (Lantana horrida). This is an easy to grow perennial. It freezes back if we have a hard winter but comes back strong. Height in my garden is around two feet. It blooms from spring to frost. It has coarse leaves and lots of small, orangish blooms. It is a nectar plant for butterflies, honey bees and bumble bees.

Texas Mountain Laurel (Sopora secundiflora). This is a very slow growing tree. It remains small (under 6 feet) for several years. Each spring it puts out blooms that smell just like grape kool aid. This tree suffers if it gets too wet. It is a host plant for Henry's Elfin.

Texas Sabal Palm (Sabal texana). This is the most freeze tolerant palm for Houston. This is a fan palm with great dignity. It is a little hard to find at most nurseries but its cold hardiness makes it worth looking for.

Texas Sage (Leucophyllum frutescens). Perennial shrub. Needs great drainage. Beautiful purple-pink flowers. Silver foliage.

Thunbergia Grandiflora Acanthaceae grandiflora). Perennial vine. Beautiful purple flowers in fall, winter and spring. Comes back from its roots if frozen. Ours easily grew to ten feet in one year. Large leaves. Striking vine for a fence. Purchased in Spring of 1996.

Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera senpervirens). Evergreen vine. Full sun or part shade. Blooms May to August. Hummingbirds like this one.

Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans). Deciduous vine. Full sun. Blooms July to September. Hummingbirds like this one.

Umbrella Plant, dwarf (Cyperus a. nana "Dwarf Umbrella Plant") Perennial water garden plant. Ours is about 18 high. Soil level is about 2-3 inches below water level. This plant's leaves splay out in a pattern that gives it its name of umbrella plant. Purchased in October, 1996.

Virburnum SuspensumVirburnum supsensum 'Sandankwa'. evergreen shrub to about five feet high. I like this shrub because you don't have to constantly prune it to keep it within bounds. Blooms in January with tiny white blooms. Insect and disease free. Planted in July, 1994.

Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica). This is a sprawling shrub which is usually about 3 feet high. It can take poor drainage. The blooms are white spires that look like tails. Blooms in late spring. Turns red in the fall. Purchased in March, 1995.

Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera). Evergreen tree. Usually multi-trucked. Aromatic leaves and small berries. Grows to about 8 to 10 feet tall.

Wood Fern (Dryopleris normalis). Perennial. Freezes to ground but usually comes back from the roots. Needs shade from afternoon sun.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium). Perennial. Nectar plant for butterflies. Small yellow bloom heads. Needs full sun and good drainage. We plant ours in the rose beds.

Yaupon Holly, Weeping (Ilex vomitoria). This variation of the standard Yaupon holly assumes a weeping form in its branches. It is a very interesting look. Easy to grow, drought-tolerant tree. Purchased March, 1996.

Yaupon Holly, Saratoga (Ilex vomitoria). A slow-growing native tree. The berries are eaten by birds. The "vomitoria" comes from the Indian practice of drinking a black tea from the bark of the tree. The tea made the warrior vomit, thus cleansing him for battle.

Yellow Alder (Turnera ulmfolia). Perennial. Yellow blooms from spring to frost. Likes good drainage.

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