Milkweed

Orange milkweed
Yellow milkweed
orange – yellow milkweed flowers
Yellow milkweed flowers
Milkweed
Milkweed
Milkweed
Milkweed

I had some milkweed planted out front, but a tree grew up around it and shaded it out. Despite the shade, lack of water and complete neglect it flowered every year. I’ve relocated it to a somewhat sunnier location. Pictured above are some new ones I planted last week. They are in almost full sun. The one that gets a little bit of afternoon shade is doing well, the one on full afternoon sun is struggling.

More info and photos after they’ve settled a bit

Vitex agnus-castus aka Chaste Tree

Vitex a couple weeks after planting and a rainstorm
Vitex
Vitex
Vitex

Full Sun
Regular watering, well drained soil, drought tolerant once established
Tree/Shrub, mult trunk, purple flowers
Fast grower up to 25′ tall, more typically tops out at 15′ with a 15′ spread
Deciduous
Native to China, India, cultivated here since mid 1600s
Propagate from cuttings

Attracts bees, butterflies, hummingbirds

Used to be known as ‘Monks pepper’, potions from it were supposed to keep monks chaste

This is the first time I’ve grown Vitex and they’ll only been in the ground a week. Just in time for it to stop raining. Of all the plants I put in the last few weeks the Vitex are the only ones that haven’t shown any stress nor have they minded the lack of rain. I have them out in full exposed afternoon sun. Most everything there is wilting. These plants are quite content.

More info as I’ve had them longer

Hogwort, Woolly Croton, Texas Goatweed, Croton capitatus

I stumbled upon this odd looking plant while the hound and I were running at the edge of the woods near a bayou. They usually grow in recently disturbed ground. Someone had kindly mowed a path through the grass and these were about a foot in from the path

Attracts birds who find the seeds tasty. Can be toxic to cattle. Host plant for Goatweed Leafwing

Annual, Native
Male flowers near top, female flowers lower down
Blooms June-Oct
height 8″-36″, usually tops out about 18″
Prefers lots of sun, dry soil

May cause skin irritation

Knockout Roses

Double Pink Knockout Rose

I’ve seen lots of good press about Knockout Roses, but who pays attention to press releases?

I’ve a front bed that gets full, blazing afternoon sun. I put a few out there and despite general neglect over the summer they did quite well. ( anything that doesn’t die out there I consider a success )

So I bought a whole lot more and lined the front bed. It immediately stopped raining. I’ve been watering them heavily. I’ll start to taper that off this week. They are all alive, the ones in the sunniest locations have dropped some leaves.

More info and photos after I get to know them better

Plants use a common ‘language’ for emergency alerts

According to their research, published Sept. 23 in Current Biology, plants actually do have a way of talking to each other. Their messages come embedded in the form of airborne chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which transfer information among plants.

The big finding in the study is what Kessler calls “open-channel communication.” Based on their genotypes, different plants have different smells. But when plants come under attack from pests like the goldenrod leaf beetle, their smells – carried by VOCs – become more similar.

“So they kind of converge on the same language, or the same warning signs, to share the information freely,” Kessler said. “The exchange of information becomes independent of how closely related the plant is to its neighbor.”

The research found that neighboring plants pick up on warning VOCs and prepare for the perceived threat, such as an oncoming insect pest. Said Kessler: “A (VOC) emitted by one plant can be picked up by another plant, and they can either ready their defenses or they may actually directly induce those defenses.”

However, their goodwill toward plant neighbors only works on an if-you-see-something-say-something basis and when, as a result of the communication, pest pressure is equally distributed across the plant population. Plants in populations without herbivores do not freely share information with their neighbors. Instead, they maintain a private channel with their closest kin through VOC emissions that induce resistance – but only in those relatives or plant parts distant from the damage site on the same plant.

“We code our language if we want to keep it private, and that’s exactly what happens there, but on a chemical level,” Kessler said. “That analogy is striking and not what we expected.”

read more….

Insect Herbivory Selects for Volatile-Mediated Plant-Plant Communication

Mexican Abelia

Abelia
Abelia

Full to part sun
Height, width 4′-6′
Average watering, well drained soil
Propagate from soft to semi-hard cuttings

Attracts bees, butterflies, hummingbirds

These photos don’t do the plant justice. More photos and information after it’s had time to settle in

Duranta erecta (Sapphire Showers Blue)

Shrub tree to 15′ tall
full to part sun
tolerates bad soil
flowers white, violet
Low water requirements, drought tolerant
Protect from freezing, will sometimes return from roots in sping — loves heat
Propagate from leaf or soft stem cuttings
Berries toxic to mammals

Native Mexico, South and Central America

Birds love the berries

I just planted this, more info to follow as I see how it does