Articles in Category: Perennial

Euphorbias

on Saturday, 04 December 2021. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Wood Spurges

Euphorbia-with-Allium

Another plant we love to sing the praises of: evergreen, usually compact, deer resistant and drought tolerant - with flowers that last 3 months or more. The only thing you have to do to enjoy them is to not overwater, and to prune the flower stems back to the base of the plant after blooming is done.

This photo shows a Euphorbia characias variety in full bloom, with Allium 'Purple Sensation' in the foreground. Flowering begins in early spring and will easily last into July. The flowers are set off by the larger bracts, thus lasting longer than a typical petaled flower. When flowering stalks start to brown or look faded, just prune the flower stem all the way to the ground so the new stems can fill in.

As an added bonus, Euphorbias are evergreen in all but the coldest Rogue Valley winters, and their foliage tends to color up in winter; providing a nice visual interest in the winter garden. Euphorbias will take full sun to half a day of sun and need well draining soil. They all have a white sap in their stems keeping the deer at bay but can also cause a rash in some people, so wear gloves when pruning Euphorbias.

There are many, many varieties of Euphorbia, here are some of our favorites:

Polystichum munitum

on Thursday, 21 October 2021. Posted in Winter Interest, Native, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Western Sword Fern

Western Sword FernThe sculptural fronds of ferns provide lots of winter interest, and Western Sword Fern is one of the toughest, most drought tolerant, and easiest ferns to grow in the Rogue Valley. 

This native fern can tolerate our dry summers and wet winters and even take a little sun. It prefers to be an understory plant but established ferns in good, composty soil will tolerate quite a bit of sun. The key is to get them well established with deep waterings the first few summers and applications of yearly leaf mulch or compost mulch. Western Sword Fern has a courser texture than some more delicate ferns but that makes their fronds last longer, allowing them to be used in cut flower arrangements. The leathery, dark green fronds can be 2-4' tall depending where they are grown and can be used alone or look especially good in clumps or drifts. 

Polystichum detailWe like to use Western Sword Ferns under large trees - like oaks, combined with Euphorbia purpurea, Heuchera sanguinea or the purple leafed varieties of Coral bells, Mahonia repens, and other dry shade perennials and shrubs. All ferns are deer resistant and the Western Sword Fern is no exception. They are evergreen but will look their best with an annual shearing of the oldest fronds in spring to allow the new fronds to uncurl. Leave the old, pruned fronds as a natural mulch.  Ferns are always interesting to watch throughout the seasons and Western Sword Fern makes an especially nice evergreen specimen in the shade garden.

Helianthus 'Lemon Queen'

on Sunday, 03 October 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant

'Lemon Queen' Perennial Sunflower

Helianthus Lemon Queen2Sometimes, you just need a large, sunny statement plant in a flower bed. If that’s the case in your garden, Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ might just be the one you’re looking for.

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ is one of my very favorite large perennials. This plant has so many wonderful qualities, it’s surprising that it isn’t better known. ‘Lemon Queen’ is easy to grow, pollinator friendly, deer resistant, clay tolerant, works well as a cut flower, and generally just makes you happy every time you see it.

‘Lemon Queen’ gets 6-7’ tall and about 3’ wide, making it a perfect choice for the back of a garden bed. It thrives in full sun with average water, and provides a glorious explosion of 2” wide sunny, lemon-yellow flowers from mid-summer on up to frost.

Pollinator1Pollinators like bees and butterflies aren’t the only ones who love this plant; overwintering songbirds will thank you for leaving the plant standing through the cold weather so they can snack on the seeds. The old top growth can then be cut to about 2” tall in early spring, once the new shoots start to emerge from the warming soil.

Coupon3‘Lemon Queen’ is a cultivar of a native prairie sunflower, and it looks great when combined with other prairie natives like ‘Autumn Sapphire’ Salvia or grasses like Andropogon (Big Bluestem), Schizachyrium (Little Bluestem), and Panicum (Switch Grass).

See if you can find some room to bring this ‘Queen’ home to your garden!

Asters

on Sunday, 03 October 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial

Aster Raydons Favorite smFall is Aster season and here at Shooting Star Nursery we love these bright, cheery perennials!

As a group, Asters (which have now mostly been categorized as the genus Symphyotrichon, for all you plant nerds out there) are sturdy, long-lived, and unfussy about soil type - they even tolerate clay soils well.

Planting Asters is also a great way to extend the flowering season in your perennial garden. They generally come into bloom in mid to late summer – just as most perennials are finishing up their flowering season – and continue blooming right up until frost.

Aster cropOne of the things Asters are best known for, though, is their ability to attract butterflies and other pollinators. Their simple, daisy-like flowers provide a great platform for butterflies to land on while they nectar from the plants. In fact, if you’d really like to roll out the red carpet for butterflies, consider planting both Asters and Erigerons. Erigerons begin blooming in early spring and continue flowering into summer, at which point Asters come into bloom.

Most of the Asters we carry here at Shooting Star Nursery fall into two groups: dwarf Asters that about 12-18” tall (October Skies, Purple Dome, Wood’s Pink, Wood’s Purple) and standard Asters that get between 2-3’ tall (Avondale, Moench, Raydon’s Favorite). Snow Flurry is a prostrate Aster that only gets 4-6” tall, and our native Douglas Aster can range in height from 1-3’ tall.

Aster and Solidago cropAsters prefer average water, and will do well in full sun to part shade, depending upon variety. For a great show of fall color, consider planting them with a mix of goldenrods and ornamental grasses. We like to leave their dried flower stalks standing throughout the winter months (their seeds are really popular with wintering songbirds), and cut plants back in early spring as new growth begins to emerge.

Salvia 'Autumn Sapphire'

on Monday, 27 September 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Autumn Sapphire Sage

Autumn Sapphire Salvia tightcropSalvia 'Autumn Sapphire' is another wonderful perennial introduction by one of our favorite garden writers - Lauren Springer Odgen - and the Denver Botanic Garden. This cultivar of a West Texas native Salvia comes into bloom in late summer, when a lot of other flowering perennials are starting to slow down, and continues blooming right up until frost. That trait makes it exceptionally valuable to late-season pollinators (native bees, hummingbirds, honey bees, butterflies, etc.) and other beneficial insects.

As it name suggests, Autumn Sapphire’s flowers are a rich cobalt blue; complemented by narrow, finely-textured green leaves. Plants grow to 18" to 20" tall and wide, and are hardy down to zone 5. Like most other Salvias, they are also deer resistant and do best when planted in well-drained soils that are low in fertility (too much fertilizer and water will make them floppy). For best results, leave the stems up over the winter to make sure it survives the winter wet, and then prune back in spring when new leaves begin to emerge.

'Autumn Sapphire' performs best in well-drained soil in full, hot sun. Looking for some good companion plants? Consider pairing it with Solidago “Fireworks’, Rudbeckia, Helianthus 'Lemon Queen', Echinacea, or Gaura - or create a mixed planting of 'Autumn Sapphire' and native prairie grasses like Bouteloua, Andropogon, and Schizachyrium.