Plant Feature: Flowers

Agapanthus

Genus: Agapanthus

Spikes of flowers in mid-spring offer dramatic forms that resemble fireworks. The foliage retains a glossy appearance with little upkeep and water throughout the season. In some areas, blue agapanthus are so heavily used along highways that home gardeners eschew them as too common. In these cases, dwarf plants and those with white, dark purple or pink flowers bring an unexpected look. Agapanthus do well in partial shade to full sun in all but the hottest summer gardens.

Allium

Genus: Allium

This flowering bulb produces starburst blooms on long stems. Primary allium variations are color, bloom size and height. Most varieties do well in sunny locations and have light water needs. Alliums work well in mixed borders and the globe forms serve as a visual contrast.

Bi-Color Lily

Genus: Moraea Bi-Color

This perennial shrub is also referred to as an “African Lily”. The plant features grassy sword-like evergreen foliage and attractive flowers with distinct spots. They are vigorous plants but do take some time to become established for flowering. Care needs to be taken in site selection as the plants are very unattractive if invaded by trailing ground covers and they are difficult to weed.

California Lilac

Genus: Ceanothus

These evergreen shrubs are native to California and tolerant of very little water in the summer. They work well in gardens as hedges and as a backdrop to lower plantings. California lilacs have small clusters of fragrant and attractive flowers in the spring. California lilacs can become quite large, growing to the height of a tree and expanding to a girth of five feet. Avoid planting California Lilac if you have a problem with deer.

Cleome

Genus: Cleome Hasslerana

This flowering annual is also known as a “Spider Plant”. Stunning blooms appear on tall spikes in clusters that reach 3-4′ in height and serve as dramatic garden focal points. Pink varieties include various shades from light tones to dark. As individual flower clusters fade long seed pods serve to add further garden interest. Attractive foliage features grouped leaflets. Grows well in partial or full sun. Occasional volunteers from will emerge in planted beds.

Crape Myrtle

Genus: Lagerstroemia

This showy summer blooming tree can be grown with a single trunk or multiple branching limbs. With pruning crape myrtles can retain a compact form and dwarf varieties can be used as shrubs. Newly transplanted trees require weekly watering but mature trees tolerate heat and drought conditions well. White blossoms can appear spent more quickly than pink and lavender varieties.

Daffodil

Genus: Narcisus

These early spring blooming bulbs benefit from winter rain reducing the need for supplemental watering. Early spring blooms can be staged with the selection of several varieties. Some types feature fragrant blooms. Yellow is the most common daffodil color. White blooms and those with orange trumpets are often seen as well. Daffodils look great in post and planted in the ground in naturalized drifts.

Fortnight Lily

Genus: Dietes Vegeta

This hardy flowering perennial shrub produces beautiful flowers and sword-like foliage. Volunteer sprouts will appear from dropped seeds that can be pulled or developed over three years to maturity. Care needs to be taken to position fortnight lilys where they will not be invaded by grassy or trailing plants as their compact form makes weeding difficult. Over time the plants can develop an overgrown appearance and in cutting them back it is nearly impossible to avoid a hacked look.

Gazania

Genus: Gazania Rigens

This very hardy ground cover is available with a wide variety of flower colors. Yellows and oranges are the most common and may remind some of shopping center flowers. In such cases, pink and cream flowers offer a different look. Foliage varies between glossy green to a gray-green with a powdery appearance. Some gazania varieties have a trailing growth pattern while other types grow in clumps.

Geranium

Genus: Geranium

The many varieties of geranium differ in leaf and flower color. Long lasting late spring blooms are attractive but the fragrance does not appeal to most as a cut flower. While geranium varieties can be grown as perennials, the plants often become unattractively leggy over time. Given this, geranium may be best thought of as annuals when winters are cold or and summers extremely dry. New plants can be readily grown from cuttings. The plants are hardy but the plants do not do well in gardens with clay soil.