You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Made in the shade or fun in the sun
This year’s Plant ID contest -- a lead-in to the Wilson County Gardening Day -- again elicited a great response from readers, with many searching their gray matter to identify the mystery plants, pictured in the Wilson County News each week after the new year, until the event March 1.
Here is more information about this year’s Wilson County Gardening Day Mystery Plants, as they appeared each week in the news.
This is a tropical plant that we use in containers or in the garden. It is available in several size versions, from about 8 inches to 30 inches tall. I like the taller versions because they are showier.
Pentas are in bloom when you purchase them from your favorite nursery and have blooms every day until about Thanksgiving when the cold weather catches up with them. Use pentas in the shade or sun. The small blooms are borne in 3-inch rounded clusters in red, pink, lavender, and white.
Pentas are favorite nectar sources for hummingbirds and butterflies.
These mandarin oranges do very well as a back-yard tree in our area. Grown in half-whiskey barrels, they only grow to 3 feet tall and produce about 20 pieces of fruit per year. In the ground, they can grow 10 to 15 feet tall and produce bushels of fruit.
In addition to the nearly seedless fruit, satsumas are a spectacular landscape plant. The shiny green leaves are evergreen, the white flowers are fragrant, and the fruit is colorful.
Satsumas do have to be protected from temperatures below 26 degrees F. For special cold hardiness, the new varieties on the market are “Arctic Frost” and Orange Frost.
These bulbs are related to daffodils. Planted in full sun or morning sun, they send up lush green foliage in December or January, followed by white flowers. The flowers have a distinctive smell, which can overcome the household when they are forced to bloom indoors.
Paperwhites are special because they naturalize to come back year after year. Paperwhites are also deer- proof.
Plant the bulbs 4 to 6 inches deep anytime during the year. The foliage must be left to brown naturally to maximize next year’s bloom.
Stonewort or Dayflower
The two plants are similar in growth and bloom habit. The stonewort has a lavender flower that begins blooming in February. Dayflower has a blue flower that begins blooming later in the year.
They grow in thickets of lush foliage that is topped by early morning blooms that fade by late morning. This wildflower is a perennial that can be spread by seed or pieces of root. It will grow in shade or sun.
This plant stumped readers, and no one correctly identified this aggressive vine, which has an attractive waxy yellow bloom that appears several times over the summer. In the nursery trade, it is called yellow honeysuckle, but in real life it is very invasive. It will grow over the top of the trees and even grows across fields.
The prickly “cats claw” grasps everything that comes close. As attractive as the flowers are, I don’t recommend planting the vine.
There are a number of ornamental peaches. Most produce fruit, but their main claim to fame is a superior bloom. The flowers are larger than the regular peach tree; they have more red in the blooms and hold the bloom longer.
Grow all peaches in full sun. Enrich sandy soil with compost over an area of 8 square feet or grow them in a raised bed. They do best when irrigated with drip irrigation.
This fleshy-rooted plant is very showy and invincible in California and places like South Africa, but it is relatively hard to grow here. The plants often do well for several years and then decline in the heat and our soil.
The flowers are either blue or white on stalks that may grow to 2 or 3 feet tall.
This evergreen, deer-proof shrub is available in a 3-foot version and 12-foot version. Once established, it is a good xeriscape plant for growing in the shade. Viburnum tinus makes a great tall hedge in the shade.
Every spring, the red flower buds are followed by white blooms and black berries. The flower buds are especially attractive and may last for four weeks. The birds eat the berries very quickly.
Viburnum tinus grow best in morning sun and soil enriched with compost.
Calvin Finch is a horticulturist and the director of the Water Conservation and Technology Center at Texas A&M-San Antonio. Hear him on “Gardening South Texas” on KLUP 930 AM radio Saturdays noon to 2 p.m., and 1-3 p.m. Sundays. Or, email him at email@example.com.
2. Satsuma orange
4. Stonewort or dayflower
5. Cats claw
6. Ornamental peach
8. Viburnum tinus
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
Balance classes start July 27 (July 22, 2015)
Be a high roller in Floresville (July 22, 2015)
Bobble-head Bozo (July 22, 2015)
Cool down with free snow cones (July 22, 2015)
Copper-pot craftsmanship — CINCO Vodka (July 22, 2015)
Marion Sausage Supper is Aug. 1 (July 22, 2015)
Mu Chi members attend state convention (July 22, 2015)
Opry lineup is sure to satisfy (July 22, 2015)
Save the date for Kody Fest Aug. 8 (July 22, 2015)
Shop ‘Trinkets and Treasures’ (July 22, 2015)
SSCA seeks donations for rummage sale (July 22, 2015)
Start two-stepping at FUMC (July 22, 2015)
Texas sales-tax holiday (July 22, 2015)
The Landing offers help for teens (July 22, 2015)
What a difference an ‘A’ makes! (July 22, 2015)
Browse, learn, shop at Home and Garden Show (July 15, 2015)
Celebrate Czech Day in Jourdanton (July 15, 2015)
Daughters of the Republic installs officers (July 15, 2015)
Enjoy St. Anthony church fest (July 15, 2015)
Experience ‘The Hobbit’ under the stars (July 15, 2015)
Free Movies at the Park in Poth (July 15, 2015)
Learn to compost with worms (July 15, 2015)
Legion Auxiliary plans garage sale (July 15, 2015)
Library happenings (July 15, 2015)
Mystery blanket sparks search (July 15, 2015)
Night In Old Fredericksburg is July 18 (July 15, 2015)
Plan now for Beaver Roundup (July 15, 2015)
Teddy bears, pottery (July 15, 2015)
The bridges of Wilson County (July 15, 2015)
‘Atomic tourists’ converge on Trinity Site ahead of 70th anniversary (July 15, 2015)
Behind the lens: Cover photo (July 8, 2015)
Bobby Flores Birthday Bash is July 11 (July 8, 2015)
Early settlers of Wilson County (July 8, 2015)
Enjoy ‘Big Hero 6’ at Movie Day (July 8, 2015)
Enjoy ‘Cool Tunes’ in Brenham (July 8, 2015)
Family violence shelter seeks volunteers (July 8, 2015)
Family weekend fun in Adkins (July 8, 2015)
FHS Reunion is July 25 (July 8, 2015)
Fishing lures (July 8, 2015)
Give blood at Sacred Heart Church (July 8, 2015)
Hamilton earns rank of captain (July 8, 2015)
Memorial hog hunt a hit! (July 8, 2015)
Save the date for Home and Garden Show (July 8, 2015)
See comedians in China Grove (July 8, 2015)
‘Alabama’ to invade K-Town (July 8, 2015)
‘Dying’ brings broadcaster back to life (July 8, 2015)
Bible study in Verdi (July 1, 2015)
Buses, pickup trucks, automobiles, and walking (July 1, 2015)
Davy Crockett, Depression glass (July 1, 2015)
Dog shows start July 8 (July 1, 2015)
Enjoy Fourth of July parade, concert in Seguin (July 1, 2015)
Enjoy Sunday Dances all month (July 1, 2015)
Free July 4 concerts in SA (July 1, 2015)
Free music, fireworks in Brenham (July 1, 2015)
Ice cream makers, tasters needed (July 1, 2015)
Jack's Cafe adds Sports Room and patio (July 1, 2015)
July is for grape stomping (July 1, 2015)
Look who's flying solo! (July 1, 2015)
Memories fly following balloon stories (July 1, 2015)
Register for state-wide Chili Cook-off (July 1, 2015)
Remembering my first haircut (July 1, 2015)
Savor: Summer drinks with calories and exercise equivalents (July 1, 2015)
South Texas Gardener reveals 'mystery plants' (July 1, 2015)
The Gathering Music Show (July 1, 2015)