Articles in Category: Drought Tolerant

Eriogonums

on Monday, 09 May 2022. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Native, Fall Color, Perennial, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Flowering Buckwheat

Display garden2In our opinion, Eriogonums – also known as Buckwheats – deserve a place in pretty much every sunny garden in the Rogue Valley! Eriogonums are one of those plants that check all of our boxes here at Shooting Star. Drought tolerant? Check. Good pollinator plant? Check. Native plant? Check. Really, really pretty? Check. We are frankly amazed that we haven’t featured it as a plant of the week before this!

In general, Eriogonums prefer full sun and well-drained soils. They’re a perfect plant for that hot spot in your yard that gets blasted by afternoon sun. Despite their toughness and resilience, they are covered with showy displays of delicately beautiful-looking flowers from mid-summer into early fall. They look great in a mixed planting combined with other sun-loving, drought-tolerant plants like Salvias, Agastache, Zauschneria, and Monardella, and Ceanothus.

They’re also one of the best pollinator plants around; providing larval food for butterflies and moths, and abundant nectar for a truly dazzling variety of pollinators: tiny native bees, bumblebees, honeybees, butterflies, and beetles. Seriously - one of my favorite things to do with Eriogonums in the garden is just sit next to one on a sunny day and watch who comes to visit!

We regularly carry the following varieties:

E. compositum flower detailEriogonum compositum (Arrowleaf buckwheat): To 2’ tall by 1’ wide. Soft grayish-green, arrow-shaped leaves. Flowers – which are borne in clusters up to 3” across - are white, tinged with a soft pink, and fading to a rusty red. E. compositum is somewhat more tolerant of heavy soils than E. umbellatum – although it would still prefer well drained soil. As an extra bonus, f you leave the seed heads on the plants in the fall, you will be extremely popular with seed-eating birds like goldfinches!

 

Eriogonum ed cropEriogonum umbellatum (Sulphur-flower buckwheat): As the name suggests, these plants feature bright, sulphur-yellow flowers. Their leaves are a darker green than E. compositum, and more rounded. Plant size can be variable: they get between 6-12” tall by 1-3’ wide.

 

Kannah CreekKannah Creek: A cultivar of E. umbellatum, slightly more compact and consistent in size and shape. Kannah Creek gets about 12-15” tall by 15-24” wide. As an extra bonus, they provide outstanding fall color, with foliage turning a bright burgundy color as cold weather moves in.

  

Stipa gigantea

on Friday, 22 July 2022. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Grasses, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Giant Feather Grass

stipa-gigantea

In the quest for evergreen ornamental grasses, the Giant Feather Grass provides the evergreen green blades, but the thing that makes this grass a standout is its 6' tall blooms that shimmer in the evening light and last much longer than most ornamental grasses.

The 2-3' tall clump of foliage can be cut back in the winter to refresh it or left alone to have a permanent presence in the garden. Blooms start emerging in May and retain their good looks until frost starts to beat them up and need cut back. Besides that, there is no maintenance needed for this grass and the inflorescences rise dramatically above other perennials or shrubs.

Stipa gigantea is drought tolerant in well drained soil, deer resistant, heat tolerant and has interest all year long. They look wonderful as a single accent or could be massed for a naturalistic garden. By the way, it doesn't seed around like its cousin- Stipa tenuissima or Mexican Feather Grass. It's difficult to photograph the quality of the light as it shines through the blooms, but come visit and we'll show you!

Phlomis fruticosa

on Monday, 30 May 2022. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Jerusalem Sage

PhlomisJerusalem Sage is a very striking and unusual plant to add to your drought tolerant or deer resistant garden. The fuzzy gray-green leaves seem to be unpalatable to deer, and being a Mediterranean native makes it a great choice for our dry summers.

Phlomis acts as more of a shrub than perennial; staying evergreen in all but the coldest winters. Ours died back a few years ago when it got to 7 degrees, but came back full and lush the next summer. It can grow to 4' tall and wide but can be pruned in fall to keep it more compact. We have found it to be fully deer resistant even in the hills of east Medford and seems to be tolerating the clay there as well, as long as it is not overwatered. The large, fuzzy leaves make a nice contrast to the finer leaves of most drought tolerant plants, and Phlomis also brings a strong structural element to your landscape design!

Phlomis2Starting in May, the yellow flowers emerge in whorls along the sturdy stems and attract bees and butterflies throughout the summer. Phlomis will take full sun to light shade and will tolerate poor soil, requiring good drainage, and even tolerating some clay if not overwatered.

Phlomis russeliana is a similar looking Jerusalem Sage that we sometimes carry; it tends to spread by runners instead of staying in one clump and stays a bit shorter, but will stay within bounds.

Both species remain attractive even after the blooms fade, their seedheads keeping an architectural sillouette throughout the colder months and providing seed for birds. They look great with ornamental grasses, Lavenders, Nepetas, Asters, Sages, Vitex, and other Meditteranean type plants. Just prune back the flower stems when you're done with them and that's about all you have to do to maintain them.

Choisya arizonica x ternata 'Aztec Pearl'

on Tuesday, 24 May 2022. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Fragrant Blooms, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

'Aztec Pearl' Cutleaf Mexican Orange Blossom

Choisya Aztec Pearl

Here's a great choice for that elusive 4-5' tall evergreen shrub! Choisya ‘Aztec Pearl’ smells great, is deer and drought resistant, pollinator-friendly, insect and disease-resistant, and is also a good firewise shrub.

One of the tricks in creating a drought tolerant garden is to select plants that actually thrive in our summer-dry climate, and this plant definitely fits the bill. Choisya ‘Aztec Pearl’ is a hybrid between C. ternata - which is native to Mexico (hence its common name) and C. arizonica – which is native to Arizona.

Choisya Aztec Pearl sm'Aztec Pearl' grows well in exposures ranging from full sun to half a day of sun. It looks handsome all year and especially when it is covered with clusters of fragrant white flowers in the late spring that have a spicy, citrusy fragrance like orange blossoms. Its five-fingered leaves have a wonderful texture that contrast well with rounded leaf forms or purple foliage. Plants generally reach 5’ by 5’ here in the Rogue Valley, but it is easy to tip prune them to keep them around 4' tall and wide.

‘Choisya ‘Aztec Pearl’ is hardy to near 0 degrees, under the right conditions. The key is to place it where it gets at least some winter sun, and make sure that the soil is well-draining and doesn't get waterlogged over the winter months.

Nepeta 'Junior Walker'

on Monday, 09 May 2022. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Nepeta 'Junior Walker'

Nepeta Junior Walker crop

Nepeta 'Junior Walker' is one of my very favorite drought tolerant perennials - and that's high praise indeed! Its aromatic, blue-gray foliage provides a beautiful contrast for soft-looking, blue-violet flowers. Plants generally begin blooming in early May, and will bloom well into fall if you shear them back after their spring bloom.

'Junior Walker' reaches about 16" tall by 30" tall at maturity. It does best in full sun and well-drained soil, and combines well with other drought tolerant perennials. It makes a nice accent in a summer garden; creating a nice cool place for your eyes to rest amidst the other hot-colored blooms of summer. 

Nepetas are also known as Catmints, and their foliage smells like mint with a warm hint of camphor. This aroma also serves another purpose in the garden: while it's really pleasant to humans, deer don't like the smell and tend to avoid the plants. 

However, the most notable feature of 'Junior Walker' - and of all Nepetas - is that they are absolute magnets for pollinators. Here at the nursery, it's not uncommon to find our Nepetas covered with a combination of butterflies, skippers, honeybees, bumblebees, and tiny solitary native bees. If you have really limited room for pollinator plants in your garden, put 'Junior Walker' at the top of your list! 

We also regularly carry these other varieties of Nepeta:

 N. Purple Haze2Nepeta 'Purple Haze'- 'Purple Haze' is the shortest of the Nepetas we grow. They share the same abundant violet-blue flowers and aromatic foliage of 'Junior Walker', but plants only get about 4" tall at maturity. They're a great addition at the front of a perennial bed - or plant them to spill over a rock wall.  

 Nepeta Walkers Low cropNepeta 'Walker's Low'- 'Walker's Low is the tallest Nepeta of the group. Plants get to 24" to 30" tall, by about 36" wide. Like 'Junior Walker', it has a gentle mounding shape and combines well with other sun-loving, drought tolerant perennials like Salvias, Agastaches, Rudbeckias, and Gauras.