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These summer champs will have your garden looking great. Be sure to consider sun exposure in your choices.
Asparagus fern is a sprawling evergreen perennial that boasts tiny white blooms followed by small red berries. Although not a true fern, the bright-green, needle-like leaves resemble many common ferns. The asparagus fern is a member of the lily family and flourishes in shady locales.
Planted here in full sun, bulbine has small, evergreen, aloe-like leaves. It has tall orange and yellow flower stalks that bloom spring through frost. This cheerful plant attracts butterflies and is a low-maintenance addition to your garden.
Butterfly iris has graceful, sword-like foliage and continuously blooms white, purple and yellow flowers that resemble butterflies through most of the year.
Cenizo with Yucca, Rock Rose and Mint Marigold
Seen flowering in the foreground with rock rose, cenizo adds interest with its gray, white, or dusty-green foliage. Lavender flowers appear briefly after rain events in summer and fall. It is among the most drought tolerant of all large landscape shrubs and is best left in a natural from rather than hedged. The soft leaf yucca (upper right corner) is also available in the summer coupon package and needs no additional water once established.
Century Agave with a Sotol
The majestic century agave is shown here as a baby with its silver skin and wicked thorns through the saw-toothed sotol in the foreground. Depending on which type of plant you select – yucca, agave or sotol – they may have sharp thorns on leaf tips or just a rough edge. This characteristic should be a major factor in plant placement in your yard.
This showy San Antonio superstar brings a tropical groove to any landscape without the water. Bright yellow or orange flowers bloom through the heat with no supplemental water once established. Few local plants can outperform esperanza for floral output. They’ve been seen to reach two stories high in San Antonio but can be kept to 3 or 4 feet if you cut it back each year. It is a favorite of hummingbirds and bees, too.
Hearty Purple Heart
Purple heart can be identified by their fleshy purple leaves and purple blooms. Almost indestructible in sun or shade, this plant is very resistant to the summer heat. It readily spreads and can be easily propagated. Just break off a piece and stick in the ground where you want it; water once and you’re usually done. Because it will spread, plant it where it has room to grow or in a confined area - like here in the middle of this fun patio.
Hot Lips Salvia
Small sages, frequently referred to by their genus - salvias, come in all colors. This one is called “Hot Lip” salvia. Other tough selections of salvia, such as autumn sage, tropical sage and little leaf sage, are generally less than 30 inches in height. These sages do well in light shade but will appreciate a little morning sun. They add attractive punches of color and are appealing to hummingbirds and butterflies.
Plants for Shade
Shrimp plants have shrimp-colored flowers in addition to yellow and even chartreuse, which really shows up in the shade. Nearly evergreen with lanky foliage blooms reliably, even in full shade for most of the summer and into the fall. During early spring and through mild winters, shrimp plant thickets are excellent places to find migrating hummingbirds.
Rosemary Trailing Over the Walkway
Rosemary is a tough evergreen that it is sometimes used as a small foundation shrub. Trailing rosemary (pictured) cascades beautifully down retaining walls and rocky slopes or spills out over walkways and boasts lavender-blue flowers that bloom spring through fall.
Shady Blue Plumbago
Plumbago is a tender perennial with profuse blue (or white) flowers that bloom summer through frost. It loves the heat and provides a natural habitat for butterflies. It has a graceful, informal growth pattern (as seen here) as it tumbles over a shady pathway.
Showy Thryallis Hedge
Thryallis is extremely ornamental, with bright spikes of small golden-yellow flowers from late spring through fall.
Texas Mountian Laurel
This evergreen has thick, round compound leaflets and grape candy-scented flower clusters that bloom in March and April. (Caution: the bright red, stone-like seeds are poisonous.) This Texas native is very drought and heat tolerant.
Possumhaw is a Texas native admired for its red fruit that is showcased in the winter when it drops its leaves. This large shrub needs some sun exposure to produce the berries that will attract fruit-eating birds to your landscape and provide color in the winter.
Turk's Cap on a Walkway
Turk’s cap (seen here sporting its characteristic turban-shaped red flowers) is a Texas native we think should be in every yard. It’s a favorite of hummingbirds and prospers under dappled shade but will not bloom as well without some sun exposure. It’s shown here with red yucca and small red sage in the foreground. It can stay green through mild winters, but most people cut it back to the ground each year as it rebounds fast.
Variegated Agave with Purple Lantana
The variegated agave with its flashy yellow stripes is one of many plants in the yucca-agave-sotol category you can select to make a real statement in the garden. A great addition for a contemporary feel, these extremely drought-hardy plants add architectural interest to any landscape. Flowers attract birds and bees. A purple lantana is seen here in the foreground.