Articles in Category: Attracts Pollinators

Solidagos and Solidasters

on Sunday, 12 September 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant

Goldenrods

Fall Colors editHow can you not love Goldenrods? They provide glorious splashes of sunny yellow in the fall garden that make me smile every time I see them.

There are around 150 species of Goldenrod worldwide – most of them native to North America. These sturdy members of the Asteraceae have a lot to offer in the garden.

They’re easy to grow; are popular with a wide variety of pollinators - especially butterflies and tiny native bees; are deer resistant; and combine beautifully with native grasses like Andropogon and Schizachyrium and other fall-blooming perennials to provide a blaze of color in the fall garden. We generally carry three varieties here at Shooting Star Nursery.

 

Solidago FireworksSolidago ‘Fireworks’ (right): A truly striking variety, with dense plume-like flowerheads of bright golden flowers that really do look like exploding fireworks! Solidago ‘Fireworks’ gets about 3-4’ tall by 2-3’ wide, prefers average water, and also tolerates clay soils.

 

Solidago Little Lemon editSolidago ‘Little Lemon’ (left): ‘Little Lemon’ is a great choice for gardeners who love the look of Goldenrods, but don’t have the room for a full-sized plant. Plants get about 12” tall by 12-18” wide, and the stalks of lemon-yellow flowers make a lovely choice as a cut flower.

 

Solidaster edit smSolidaster ‘Lemore’ (right): As the name suggests, Solidaster is a cross between a Solidago and an Aster. ‘Lemore’ has all the great attributes of Solidagos, but has slightly larger pale yellow flowers and is also relatively drought tolerant. Plants get to be about 2-2.5’ tall and wide.

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

on Monday, 06 September 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Fall Color, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Dwarf Plumbago

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

By September, many of the summer-blooming perennials that have brightened our gardens for the past few months are beginning to look a little tired and worn, so it’s really nice to find a something that looks bright and fresh, and is just getting started up as summer winds down.

It’s especially nice if the plant in question is covered with vivid blue flowers that contrast beautifully against the dark green foliage, like our Plant of the Week – Dwarf Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides). Even better, those lovely dark green leaves turn a dark, burgundy-red in fall; providing brilliant show of fall color.

Dwarf Plumbago is just a delight in the garden. It’s an herbaceous groundcover (meaning it dies to the ground in the winter and comes back up again the following spring) that grows well in a variety of situations from full sun to part shade, is extremely easy to care for, is relatively drought tolerant, attracts butterflies and other pollinators, and is even deer resistant! Plants grow to about 6 to 8” tall by 18” wide, and spread slowly via undergrounds stems. It begins flowering around mid-summer, and here in the Rogue Valley it will generally remain in bloom up until the first frost of fall.

Dwarf Plumbago combines beautifully with plants like Coreopsis, Echinacea, Anemone, and Croscosmia. It’s also a great companion plant for spring-flowering bulbs. The bulbs appear and flower before the Dwarf Plumbago leafs out, but by the time your bulbs have finished blooming, the Dwarf Plumbago is filling in your bed with its lovely deep green leaves; giving your flower bed a smooth transition into late spring/early summer.

Salvia greggii 'Mirage' cultivars

on Monday, 16 August 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Salvia Mirage Soft Pink smIf you are a fan of Salvia greggii (Autumn Sage/Texas Sage) you’ll definitely want to check out the new Mirage series of Salvias: Mirage Cherry Red, Mirage Cream, Mirage Pink, Mirage Violet, and Mirage Soft Pink.

Honestly, we can’t say enough good things about this colorful and sturdy perennial!

 Salvia Mirage Cherry RedThe Mirage Salvias share all the best features of Salvia greggii – great sun and heat tolerance, a long bloom season, drought tolerance, and being a wonderful addition to the pollinator garden – but feature a more compact growth habit than the straight species (12-14” tall by 14-16” wide), with better branching, a nice, loosely mounded shape, and a really lovely variety of colors. 

Salvia Mirage CreamTheir strongly aromatic leaves keep the deer away, and they are a delight for gardeners to brush up against and have their sharp, fresh fragrance released into the summer air. And talk about hummingbird magnets! I have seen hummingbirds bypass feeders to nectar from their flowers. 

Salvia Mirage Pink edMirage Salvias prefer full sun and well-drained soil. They’ll also do nicely as colorful, long-blooming container plants, although they are mostly deciduous during the winter months.

To keep them looking full, deadhead them occasionally during the growing season and give them a harder trim in early spring (when you see new leaves beginning to emerge. 

Salvia Mirage VioletWe grow all of our Mirage Salvias (and lots of other plants!) right here onsite here at Shooting Star Nursery, so they are already pre-adapted to our climate. They’re blooming now, and will continue to flower into late fall. Come on in and see them for yourself! 

Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Dark Knight'

on Wednesday, 11 August 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Dark Knight Bluebeard

caryopteris-closeup-plant-o

This late summer bloomer goes by several common names - Bluebeard, Blue Spirea, Blue Mist - so we usually stick to calling it Caryopteris! Caryopteris is an easy, deer resistant, drought tolerant (but also tolerant of moist soils), and long blooming addition to your garden border. The plant in the photo is 'Dark Knight' which is a darker shade of periwinkle-blue from the common 'Blue Mist' variety. Both varieties put on a show with hundreds of flowers from July to frost, attracting honeybees and butterflies from all around.

Dark Knight2A low maintenance plant, Caryopteris can be kept at 2-3' tall and wide with a spring pruning but will get larger if left unpruned. We find that our winters do some tip pruning anyways so it is best to clean them up in spring when you see new leaves emerge and pruning right above them, which can sometimes be as low as 6" from the base. They quickly recover into a nice mounded shape, looking dense and uniform. So they are great for the maintenance person that loves to come in and hedge trim everything!

With its aromatic, lance shaped leaves, this shrub has proven to be quite deer resistant. The leaves have a blue/silver tinge that look great with other silvers like Artemesia or contrast with purple foliage like smokebush. We find Caryopteris to be drought tolerant because of its very deep taproot but can look lusher with regular water in well draining soil. Full sun is best and they will tolerate reflected heat.

Eupatorium 'Little Joe'

on Wednesday, 04 August 2021. Posted in Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Flowering Plants

Eupatorium Little Joe edit

A diminutive (if 3-4’ tall can be considered diminutive) cultivar of a prairie native perennial, ‘Little Joe’ Eupatorium might just steal your heart!

This uncommon garden perennial features rosy-lavender puffs of flowers held atop tall, strong stalks. The flowers are absolutely beloved by butterflies and bees, as are most members of the Asteraceae. In addition, ‘Little Joe’ is fragrant, and holds up well as a cut flower.

Eupatorium flower detail smWe really love ‘Little Joe’ for the texture it brings to the perennial garden. The plants bring a light, airy feel to the garden and are particularly effective when used as a backdrop for shorter perennials and in combination with ornamental grasses.

‘Little Joe’ thrives in full sun with average water, and blooms from midsummer into fall. It’s also deer resistant and tolerant of clay soils (a real plus here in the Rogue Valley!). Cut plants back to the ground in late winter/early spring, before the new growth begins to emerge.