Did Summer Kill Some Plants?
By Urban Harvest
This summer was not as hot as last year’s drought, but no doubt
the heat took its toll on your plants and trees. It looks like
fall’s cooler weather is coming in fits and starts and the
chance of rain is looking more promising. It's time to take an
assessment and see what changes you might want to make during
the fall gardening season.
Take a look around your garden. Make a list of plants you lost
during the summer and of those that underperformed. These are
the plants that you will want to replace with selections that
are hardier or better adapted to our year-round growing
Underperformance can be assessed in several ways:
-- If a plant did not produce the desired look or effect, it
-- If it required too many inputs, such as too frequent watering
or spraying, it underperformed.
-- Drought stress and insect infestations are signals that a
certain plant might not be the best selection for your
Fall is the best time to plant trees, shrubs, and many
perennials and bulbs. Local garden clubs
70th Annual Bulb and
Plant Mart and Master Gardener associations have responded to
this by hosting major plant sales in the fall months. Citrus and
fruit trees provide not only shade but once mature, fruit in
Urban Harvest's annual fruit tree sale is January
19th, so mark your calendars.
The plants that are available at these sales are grown by local
wholesale nurseries and sometimes by members of the sponsoring
organization. They are carefully selected for their suitability
to the Upper Gulf Coast. Many have been chosen because they have
shown themselves to be exceptional performers in members'
gardens or in demonstration gardens across the area.
The Pagoda Flower Clerodendron (Clerodendron buchananii var.
fallax) is a large multi-stemmed, perennial with
tropical-looking leaves that are 10 to 12-inches long. It
produces huge showy clusters of orange-red flowers that are held
above the foliage practically all summer and fall — the
hummingbirds love it. Pagoda Flower is root hardy and fast
growing. It will average 3 to 5-feet each growing season. This
shade lover prefers warm and humid conditions and will do best
in enriched, moist, well-drained soil.
Fragrance is the first word that comes to mind when you think of
Dwarf Orange Jasmine (Murraya paniculata 'Min-A-Min'). A
heavenly orange-blossom fragrance drifts from clusters of
beautiful white flowers that are produced in heavy flushes from
spring to fall. This dwarf variety has glossy, rich green
foliage reminiscent of a miniature citrus. It forms a compact,
rounded 3-foot bush that is wonderful in the landscape and is a
spectacular container plant. Dwarf Orange Jasmine is root hardy
in the Houston area. It grows in full sun or light shade in a
moist, well-drained bed.
Another beautiful root hardy shrub for both the garden and
Dwarf Fairy Duster (Calliandra emarginata).
Growing to about 2 to 3-feet tall, Dwarf Fairy Duster is covered
with hot pink "powderpuff" flowers practically non-stop from
spring to fall. This shrub is simply spectacular in bloom. It
has a very tropical look, but it is very tough. It will do well
in full sun or in light shade. Hummingbirds and butterflies just
love it. Calliandras are known for having very low amounts of
These plants will be joined at the fall sale events by dozens of
colorful selections such as Blue Ribbon Bush, Gold Cestrum, Pink
Mist Cuphea, and Chocolate Vine. In addition to great plants be
sure to take advantage of the free classes and demonstrations
that will be featured during the events or at sale preview
Watch the Chronicle garden calendar for a schedule of the sales
or see individual Web sites of organizations such as the
Land Garden Club and the
Garden Club of Houston, or Master
Gardener associations in
This article is provided by Urban Harvest, Inc. To learn about
gardening classes, farmers markets, school and community gardens
and more go to
www.urbanharvest.org or call 713-880-5540 for
more information. This article was written by Angela Chandler
who is a freelance garden writer and speaker and Heidi Sheesley
who is the owner of
TreeSearch Farms Inc., a wholesale grower of
perennials, natives and unique plants.