Friday, July 29, 2011

Texas Native Plants that Love Full Sun Landscapes

The Texas landscape can be hot enough as it is, plants that are in full sun areas – those areas that get over 8 hours of sunlight a day- can really need to be able to take the heat. These native plants of Texas can all thrive as well as survive the heat.


Pulsatilla patens
Common Name: American Pasqueflower, Eastern Pasqueflower
Lifespan: Perennial
Description: American pasqueflower grows 6 to 15 inches tall with hairy stalks and a three leaved flower stem. Flowers are blue, purple or white and bloom from April through June. Leaves are linear and basal.
Planting Guide: Pulsatilla patens requires sunny spots in the landscape and dry nearly neutral soil. Soil pH should be between 6.8 and 7.2.
Propagation: American pasqueflower is propagated by seed, clump division, and root cuttings. Seeds come in the summer and do not need stratification or scarification. Division and cuttings should be done in spring or fall.
History: The name refers to the flowering throughout Easter that most of the flowers do throughout its range.
            It is a Native American herbal remedy for headaches, childbirth, decreasing sexual excitement and for central nervous system suppression.
Warnings: Can be dormant in a drought but will need good drainage.
            It can be an irritant due to volatile oil.
Distribution: Pulsatilla patens is found in AK, CO, ID, IL, IA, KS, MI, MN, MT, NE, NM, ND, SD, TX, UT, WA, WI and WY.


Populus tremuloides
Common Name: Quaking Aspen, Aspen
Lifespan: Perennial
Description: With round shiny leaves and white-green bark, the quaking aspen grows 35 to 50 feet high. Foliage will turn into a bold yellow. Catkins are silver-toned and come before the leaves. Bloom season is from April to May.
Planting Guide: Populus tremuloides prefers full sun and wet soil. It is adaptable to soil conditions.
Propagation: Quaking Aspen is propagated by root division, seed, or cuttings. Sow seed fresh as they only are viable for a few days.
History: It is a larval host plant for the Great ash sphinx (Sphinx chersis) butterfly, the Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) butterfly, and the Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) butterfly.
Warnings: Quaking aspen is plagued by insect and disease issues.
Distribution: Populus tremuloides is found in AK, AZ, AR, CA, CT, CO, IL, ID, IN, IA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NC, ND, OR, OH, PA, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI and WY.


Cordia boissieri
Common Name: Mexican Olive, Anacahuita
Lifespan: Perennial
Description: Growing up to 30 feet high, the Mexican olive has dark large leaves and white trumpet-shaped flowers with yellow throats. Leaves are soft and semi-evergreen. Flowers are also large and bloom all year round with the majority of the flowering between late spring and the early part of summer.
Planting Guide: Cordia boissieri prefers sun or partial shade and well drained moist or dry soil. It needs a wild winter area. There is a high tolerance for heat and drought. Soil should be alkaline or neutral in pH. It is a slow grower.
Propagation: Mexican olive is propagated by seed, semi-hardwood cuttings and softwood cuttings. Seeds can be sown without treatment or after double-stratify. Summer is good for taking cuttings.
History: Butterflies love the flowers and cattle, deer and birds will browse the Mexican olive for its fruits.
Warnings: Deer and cattle that eat too much of the Mexican olive fruit may become tipsy.
Distribution: Cordia boissieri is found in TX.


Datura inoxia
Common Name: Pricklybur, Indian-apple
Lifespan: Short-lived Perennial
Description: Growing 1 to 3 feet high, the pricklybur has simple alternate leaves that are ovate in shape. Leaves are hairy and soft and smell like old peanut butter. Flowers are like funnels, white with purplish hues, with a bloom season of March through November. Seeds are in capsules that are spiny.
Planting Guide: Datura inoxia prefers full sun or partial sun with any type of soil. It is drought tolerant.
Propagation: Pricklybur is propagated by seed and is an avid self-seeder.
History: This is a weedy and quickly spreading plant through the landscape. The flowers are spectacular though.
Warnings: All parts of the pricklybur are poisonous due to the toxic alkaloid scopolamine.
Distribution: Datura inoxia is found in TX.


These four native plants can work wonders in your prairie or wildflower garden. They are all Texas beauties.

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