by Pat Adams, Permian Basin Master Gardener
For year around color in your garden you need to think perennials (the bones of the garden). Perennials come back every year. Select a location where you want the plant by deciding if it needs sun, shade or partial shade. Prepare the soil by adding compost before you plant and then water well. It is helpful to put plants that require the same care together. Plants that need less water need to stay in the same area. Plants that might take a little more water should be together. The following list is just a few that are low maintenance, low water and big impact. We will list a plant for each month. Some years the time may vary but this is pretty close to when they bloom in the garden.
Gopher Plant (Euphorbia rigida), a wonderful plant with a funny name is faithful to bloom in February. The whole plant has a silvery looking foliage year around but the blooms are tiny little yellow button flowers. The bees love this plant and it is showy so you can put this in the front of your bed.
Columbine (Aquilegia chryrantha) blooms in March with beautiful spurred blooms atop light green foliage. This will bloom for weeks and when it has finished blooming you can collect seeds to share with friends.
Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) is evergreen but in April it sends out shoots with coral blooms that reach 2 to 3 feet. It will bloom until late summer. This is a favorite of Hummingbirds.
Engelmann Daisy (Engelmannia peristenia) will start blooming in May with small yellow flowers that cover a light green zig zag foliage. Sometimes the foliage is as pretty as the flower. The butterflies like all the daisy type flowers.
Flame Acanthus (Aniscanthus quadrifidus) will start blooming in June with red tubular blooms that the hummingbirds love. If you will trim back the top of the plant it will produce blooms for you until frost.
Salvia farinacea is blooming by July and has dark blue flowers that will bloom all summer if you keep it deadheaded a couple of times during the summer.
If you are looking for a vine then the Coral Vine (Antigonon liptopus) is a good perennial that will come back every year for you. Also called Queen’s Wreath, it has a large tuber that needs some protection from cold so I plant mine next to a sidewalk or you could place a stone over the plant in the winter to protect. It has beautiful clusters of pink flowers from August to frost. Bees love the flowers.
Fall is one of the best blooming times for us in West Texas. In September we enjoy the Fall Aster (Aster oblongifolius) and it is faithful to bloom beautiful mounds of purple flowers until frost which the butterflies love.
In October the White Mist Flower (Euportorium havanense ) will start blooming with white blossoms that will be covered by every species of butterfly.
In November the Copper Canyon Daisy (Tagetes Lemmonii) which has been green all summer is now loaded with yellow blooms that the butterflies like. This plant has a strong smell but it is a beautiful plant for a fall garden.
For more information you can contact AgriLife at 432-498-4071 or 432-686-4700