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When the Same Old Plants Just Won’t Do

Tired of cookie cutter landscapes that all look the same? There are many not-so-popular perennials that thrive in our area. Try these eye-catching underdogs for unexpected flair in your flower beds.

Have you had the same experience I have? You go to your favorite garden center in hopes of finding a plant you don’t see in everyone’s landscapes, but you’re not really sure what you’re looking for?

There are many underused perennials that thrive in our area and that are beneficial to our landscapes. And many of them provide critical habitat for butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators.

Here are two perennials that don’t get the attention they deserve.

Copper Canyon daisy (Tagetes lemmonii): This pollinator favorite has an unusual fragrance that I find pleasant, but others disagree with me. Grow this perennial in full hot sun with lots of room as it can grow three to four feet tall in one season. It will freeze with the first cold weather event, so in late January, cut back to four inches above the soil line. As soon as the weather warms, this plant starts spring growth quickly. Flowers lightly in the spring and in the fall it’s covered with small yellow flowers. Copper Canyon daisy is a great plant for your xeriscape garden since it’s drought hardy and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

Availability: Found in most locally owned nurseries.

Sundrops (Calylophus drummondondii): This perennial, aka square-bud primrose, showcases the beauty of our native Texas plants. It does best in an area with full sun or light afternoon shade and excellent drainage. As sundrops only grows to about a foot tall and maybe three feet wide, this is a perfect choice for the front of the perennial border or in between rocks in your xeriscape garden.

Availability: Limited; best chances are with local or specialty nurseries in the spring.

Do you have a favorite underused perennial in your garden? Let us know which ones you enjoy. Or just browse our extensive plant database.

Steven Siebert
Steven Siebert
While Steven Siebert is a SAWS Water Resource Planner, Conservation runs through his veins. As a life-long gardener from the tundra, Steven is thrilled to have the opportunity to garden in south Texas twelve months of the year. Steven is a palm enthusiast and a life member of the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo serving on the wine committee. Steven’s favorite title though is Uncle to his nephew Ryan and niece Madison.
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