Debbie Roland, Master Gardener
The August heat wave put an abrupt end to most of my plants that bloom in the summer. My Lantana always blooms until the first freeze with little water and continues to do so. My Mexican Petunias are still blooming as well. Note that Mexican Petunias are not on the Master Gardener recommended plant list. They are considered invasive but mine are contained by concrete on three sides which has made it easier. The start came from my Mom’s yard years ago so, of course, they have to stay. Mine are waist high and have purple blooms from June to the first freeze.
I have two plants that will be blooming in the next month and both are beautiful if you are looking for a hardy plant for fall color.
The first is Hardy Fall Aster. It is a beautiful green plant through the summer. Mine tend to be leggy if I don’t keep them trimmed back. Then during the month of October the entire plant turns into a mountain of purple blooms. This plant survives with little water once established. Bees and butterflies will abound when you have this plant.
The second is a lesser known plant, Copper Canyon Daisy (see picture below), a fall blooming shrub daisy. I ended up with the four I have because I felt sorry for them. Five years ago at the Master Gardener Plant Sale a tray of them were not selling well so I bought the ones that were left. They are easy to grow in West Texas because they need well drained soil, full sun (will tolerate a bit of shade), and are drought tolerant. Until established they need to be watered several times a week, but once established require very little supplemental water. As its name implies, when you rub the leaves or the breeze rustles the leaves, it smells like copper. In the winter it will die to the ground. I trim mine with an electric hedge trimmer in January.
The flowerbeds where I have these plants, in combination with Lantana and a few ornamental grasses, have required supplemental watering only four times during the heat of 2019.
If you have questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information.