It’s still hot. It’s still dry. It’s still hot. It’s still dry. The summer merry-go-round keeps circling around and around.
So how could any plant survive this?
First of all, the plants in the yard have received more watering than usual.
Some plants actually live and bloom better in the heat, like this Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis paniculata). The foliage is green most of the year. But it’s flowering performance with its strong sweet smell comes in the hottest part of summer – mid August into September.
One warning: prune it back to the ground by the beginning of spring, or it will be so heavy, it will tumble down and bring the trellis with it. The optimum time is early winter.
The flowers disappeared from Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) when the heat cranked up, but the foliage is pretty and unique all by itself. The ruffled leaves are soft to the touch.
This lovely plant is new to me this year. Although I can’t find the tag, I think it is Rose Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena Globosa). The leaves are wider than other gomphrenas, and it grows in a rounded mound.
Strawberry Field Gomphrena (Gomphrena haageana) are individual plants with a bright red ball at the top of each stem. They reseed so freely that just a few can guarantee many flowers for years to come.
Another successful bush for this heat is Desert Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii).
Bees and other pollinators flock to it.
Caryopteris or Bluemist shrub (Cayopteris x clandonensis) shines in the heat. The main concern is more about its cold hardiness. But it has survived some low temperatures.
Celosia is a large plant family that includes several annuals, such Cockscomb. This one is Flamingo Feather (Celosia spicata). All celosias do well in the heat. The trick is to save their seeds. I’m hoping to do that with this plant.
A favorite in Texas is Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima). There’s no question that it’s a stunner. But the problem is that it isn’t cold hardy here. So it has to be brought inside for the winter. That’s possible for a few years before it gets too large.
So I’ll just enjoy it for now.
Blue Potato Bush (Lycianthes rantonnetii) is listed as cold hardy for here in Zone 8. But I have lost one already, so for right now it is carried to a protected area each winter.
A plant that should not be grown here is Firebush (Hamelia patens). I resisted getting one as long as I could. It does very well two zones warmer than here. For now, it’s in a pot.
Sometimes, I think my love of plants is madness.
Of course, the very best plants for any region are the native ones. If they grow in a field with no supplemental water, that is a dead give away that they’re perfect for the area. Snow on the Mountain (Euphorbia marginata) forms large colonies in the dry fields.
Sometimes a few will come up in the yard, so I let them grow. Obviously, this Swallowtail butterfly appreciates it.
“To find some who will love you for no reason, and to shower that person with reasons, this is the ultimate happiness.” Robert Brault