Friday, January 13, 2012

Cold Tolerant Native Perennials for the Garden

(American Beautyberry image by GNU license, Wikipedia)

Some plants are tender and wither away at the first sign of chilly weather. Then there are the hardy plants, those that can take the cold weather. Cold tolerant plants are great for those looking to plant a garden or landscape ornamentals in places where it gets cold. These plant selections are all considered cold tolerant by the Native Plant Information Network. Plant them around tender plants to make sure your entire garden doesn't die out in the cold season.

Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii)

Also known as Anisacanthus wrightii, hummingbird bush, Wright acanthus, or Mexican flame, this native perennial shrub is from the acanthus family. It grows three to five feet high with red-orange flowers, light-green leaves, and peeling bark. Flowers are tubular in shape, blooming summer to fall. Foliage is lanceolate. Flame acanthus prefers to grow in full sun or partial shade with a well-drained soil. It is drought, heat, and cold tolerant. Propagate by seed and by softwood cuttings. It has a high deer resistance.

Sideoats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula)

This native perennial is a member of the grass family of plants. It grows two to three feet high with erect stems. It is a bunch grass with spikelets that look like oats.  It has a tan color come fall season, with basal leaves turning purple or red. It is a warm season grass that is both cold and heat tolerant. Sideoats grams prefers to grow in full sun or partial shade with a well-drained soil. Propagate by seed or by root division. Seed can be fresh sown in the fall or after stratification in the spring. It has a high deer resistance.

American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

Also known as the French mulberry, this native shrub is a member of the verbena family of plants. It grows three to five feet high and three to five feet wide, typically. Some may get as high as 9 feet. There is smooth bark with raised areas called lenticels. Flowers are small and clustered, blooming pink. Fruits are rose-pink or lavender-pink and look like berries. They too are clustered. Branches are long and arching. Some cultivars have white fruits. American beautyberry prefers to grow in partial shade with a moist soil. It is cold and heat tolerant. Propagate by seeds, softwood tip cuttings, division, or by root cuttings. It has no deer resistance.


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