Milkweed

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

January is caterpillar time. There are at least a dozen on this plant.
Lots of scale on the other one, I’ll deal with it when the weather breaks

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.

Someone has been munching on my milkweed, butterflies I hope. I read that milkweed should have the stalks cut back to 6″-8″ in Oct to encourage any late travelers to keep migrating south. idk? Since this is its first year in the ground I think I’ll leave it be and trim it late spring. After seeing the hungry January caterpillars I’m sure I won’t cut it back in the fall.

Once I see new growth in the spring I’ll trim them so they’ll bush out a bit more

In the early fall there were dozens of posts that milkweed needed to be cut back in the fall. Ugh. Don’t do it. Every plant I trimmed back died.

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…

So far they not only handle full sun in Houston and do better the more sun they receive. They are fast growers the ones in full sun are 3x-4x as large, the ones with a bit of shade are 2x as large as the last set of phones and it’s only been a year.

Keep up with the waterings, leaves shrivel when it’s dry and they don’t get a thorough soaking at least once a week.

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

It thrived through the summer heat, we did get regular rain this past summer. It receives afternoon shade and has done well despite the lack of rain this fall. Most weeks it gets a good soaking. It handled the weeks I missed better than most of the other plants. Growth is steady.

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

It loves sun, it gets most unhappy with even a little shade.