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

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

Ruellia Elegans

Ruella, I just put this in a few hours ago
Ruella, brand new plants
What I hope it looks like in the near future

There are many varieties of Ruellia, I have some that tops out at about 6″ tall, this one is about 4′

Perennial
Native to Brazil, Chile
Blooms late spring through fall
Height: 4′
Drought tolerant, prefers moist, well drained soil
Loves the heat, may be damaged in cold winters. Just remove damaged parts in spring
Propagate by division or seed

Attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Excellent caterpillar food

It’s brand new, more information as I have some time to watch it

Dendrobium Smilliae aka Bottlebrush orchid

The flower and the extra long stalks are a show stopper once the plant fills out. It’s pretty cool even now.

Epiphyte, warm growing (70’F-86’F), bright, filtered light, high humidity. Keep wet in summer months, a bit drier in the winter. The drying in the winter is a trigger for blooming. It’s planted in semi-hydro ( small pebbles in a shallow glass container with about an inch of water at the bottom)

Australian and New Guinea native, typically found in low land areas growing in the branches of trees and rocks in a bog forest.

This is one of a few orchids that is pollinated by birds, the yellow honeyeater is a small, yellow, hummingbird like bird that hovers near the flowers, feeds on the nectar and pollinates the orchid in the process.

I’ll fill in more details after I have more time with this one, It was just acquired it at the orchid show last month.

Pseuderanthemum variable

Funny how the most common plants are the most difficult to identify. This one had me stumped for a long time.

It’s a weed, grows in shady areas, not invasive. It shows up some years and not others. This year has been very rainy, winter was cold, one or both or something else must trigger it.

Typically grows in zones 11-9b
Blooms late summer – early fall ( in Houston )
Propagate by dividing rhizomes, will self sow
Stays under 6″ in height
Grows in shady rain forests

Native to Australia
Host plant for Australian Leafwing butterfly
Relative of African Violet

( Australians claim it is impossible to remove by hand or weed killer, so it’s a good thing it’s not invasive )

It’s also a food for White Bearded Dragons. How could you not like it?

Pseuderanthemum is from Greek ‘false Eranthemum’

Information is scarce, as is often the case with common plants
Some Magnetic Island Plants

Callistemon ‘Little John’ aka Little John Dwarf Bottlebrush

Just planted bottlebrush April 2018

This is the compact Bottlebrush reaching 3′-5′ ( top photo ), the bottom two photos are of the larger form and were taken at Lady Bird Johnson Gardens in Austin. The red flowers are most common, there is also a pink flowering variety.

Protect from cold, it will sometimes return from roots after a frost.

Full sun, possibly drought tolerant once established, opinions vary. It prefers to be in moist soil.

Blooms when weather is warm, loved by butterflies and hummingbirds

Considered an invasive in Florida, also considered to be a good plant for bonsai.

Native to Australia, unclear if it should be in Myrtaceae family or Callistemons.

Propagate by cuttings

June ’18

Note: I also purchased several traditional Bottlebrushes (Callistemon) and placed them along fences to use to cover the fence. I have some in shade, full sun, a mix of both and dry and wet areas. So far they all seem to be settling in despite the late planting.

These can be kept trimmed as a hedge, let grow up as trees by removing lower branches, or shaped as a topiary.

I’ll add more photos and notes as they grow