Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Native Plants High in Salt Tolerance

Native plants high in salt tolerance are good choices for those gardens near coastline, perennials and annuals alike. These will be hardy in gardens due to them being native to the area and land, and they can take salt without suffering ill effects from it. Plants like this are good choices to plant and propagate.

Railroad Vine

Railroad Vine, Ipomoea pes-caprae, is from the morning glory family and is a perennial vine that is drought resistant and fast growing. It can get 100 feet long with leathery leaves 4 inches long. Flowers are 2 inches long, funnel-like, with pink or purple blooms. Grow a railroad vine in full sun in any soils. Propagate via cuttings or seed and grow in USDA hardiness zones of 8 to 11.

Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto, Serenoa repens, is from the palm family and is a drought tolerant evergreen palm tree. It has 2 to 3 feet wide leaves that are green or blue-green. It is very easy growing once it has been established. Grow in full sun or partial sun in moist soils. Propagate by seed and grow in USDA hardiness zones of 8 to 10.


Cotton, ypium spp., is from the mallow family and is an easy to grow perennial grown as an annual. It grows 6 feet tall at its maximum with leaves 2 to 4 inches long and flowers 3 inches long. Seeds are in a capsule that will open with the cotton boll. Grow this in full sun or partial shade with irrigation if less than 30 inches of rain is typical for the growing season. Propagate via seed and grow in USDA hardiness zones of 8 to 11.

Beach Sunflower

Beach Sunflower, Helianthus debilis, is from the aster/daisy family and is a fast growing vine that attracts butterflies. It will get 3 to 4 feet tall with coarse leaves 2 to 4 inches long and yellow flowers 2 ½ to 3 inches wide. Grow this in full sun in average soil. Propagate via seed and grow in USDA hardiness zones of 8 to 11.

Sea Oats

Sea Oats, Uniola paniculata, is from the grass family and is a drought tolerant perennial grass. It can get 6 feet tall on stems with 2 feet long leaves. Flat seedheads are 1 ½ inches long. Grow this in full or partial sun with a moist fertile soil. Make sure it is cut to the ground come winter for best growth. Propagate via seed or rhizome division and grow in USDA hardiness zones of 6 to 10.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Native Trees Good for Birds

Trees will provide shade and distinct looks in the yard. There are those that are shaped, those that are fragrant, and those that flower well. Some provide better shade; some are just for looks instead of function. Trees have always been mainstays in a yard to give it depth and form. These trees are all going to provide something that birds seek out, and as such will have many birds coming to the landscape around them.

Cornus amomum The Silky Dogwood
From the dogwood family, the silky dogwood will get to fifteen feet tall. It is a pleasant tree to look at, but will not be as decorative as a southern dogwood tree. Birds will be attracted to the fruits only as there isn’t a fragrance to the tree. There will be white flowers and fruits that are like berries. For the best results, the silky dogwood will need to be planted in partial shade.

Aesculus pavia The Red Buckeye
From the horse chestnut family, the red buckeye will get to twenty feet tall. The flowers are red and tubular, a perfect design for the hummingbirds that the tree will attract. It likes to be in shady spots in the landscape and is a fast growing tree. The red buckeye is a nice addition to a landscape for many reasons.

Ilex vomitoria Yaupon
From the holly family, the yaupon will get to thirty feet tall. There are white flowers (practically invisible) and it will be a producer of berries. This tree is an evergreen and a fast grower. The yaupon is a bird favorite for the berries that it produces, and yet they are poisonous. This tree likes to be in full sun or partial shade for the best growth potential, any soil is fine as it is drought tolerant too.

Amelanchier arborea Serviceberry
From the rose family, the serviceberry will get to thirty feet tall. There are tiny white flowers on the tree and can be a shrub or a tree depending on the pruning. It will attract more than forty different bird species from the fruit that it will produce. The serviceberry is a good starter tree if there are many different birds that the gardener wants to attract.
The above four trees will be the ones to bring different birds into the landscape. Depending on the height needed and the distinct type of function the tree needs to have, there should be one listed that will work.

Why Native Plants - Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Why Native Plants - Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Wildflowers do much more than add beauty to the landscape. They help conserve water, reduce mowing costs, provide habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife, protect the soil and save money on fertilizer and pesticides. Also, as Lady Bird Johnson said, native plants "give us a sense of where we are in this great land of ours."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bog Garden Native Plants

There are many gardeners that are starting to create a water garden or bog garden but are unsure of what bog plants to get. Here are a few inspirations to use as plants for a bog garden. These bog plants are lovers of water, whether it’s standing water or just heavy rain areas. For a bog garden, they are sure fire winners in the plant industry. Keep in mind that all of these are native plants, and therefore may not be easy to find in traditional nurseries.

Yellow Pitcherplant
The Yellow Pitcherplant (Sarracenia flava) is a bright yellow plant that will get to two feet tall. There are green leaves, trumpet shaped, and a hood above the “pitcher” of the plant. These are full sun plants that will bloom from April to May in the south, a bit later in other parts of the United States. These are rare plants, but gorgeous and stand out in any bog garden.

Copper Iris
The Copper Iris (Iris fulva) is a flower that will get up to four feet high while in full sun or partial shade. There are many colors that the copper iris can be, mainly orange, gold, yellow, bronze, or a rose color. This is good in standing water so it makes for a good water garden or bog garden inclusion. Blooms will occur in mid season of Spring.

Hooded Pitcherplant
The Hooded Pitcherplant (Sarracenia minor) gets to two feet in height and will have yellow flowers and white spots on the pitcher. It is a good plant for a bog garden and will bloom in the early or mid part of Spring. It, like all the Sarracenias, is a rare plant.

Pine Lily
The Pine Lily (Lilium catesbaei) is a member of the Lily family. It reaches a mature height of two feet tall and thrives in sun or partial shade. There are red flowers on this bog plant anywhere from late fall to the winter months. It is one of the later blooming native plants that can go into a bog or water garden.

Purple Pitcherplant
The Purple Pitcherplant (Sarracenia purpurea) will get approximately one to two feet tall and thrives in full sun or partial shade. There are dark purple or yellowish green leaves, and pink or red flowers on this variant. The blooms occur around mid year and are approximately two inches in diameter. The standing water of a bog garden will not harm these plants, in fact they prefer very moist soils.