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

Ophiopogon japonicus ‘nana’ aka Dwarf Mondo Grass

This makes a great grass replacement for part to full shade areas. I’ve had some growing on the driest parts of the garden, some even in full sun and it just slowly mounds into pom-pom like clumps.

Once a year on a rainy fall day I’ll divide it up and spread it a bit further. It’s great for edging or grass replacement.

One of the nicest things about it is that it is a slow growing plant. It’ll look like you just planted it a year later. If you’d like it to grow faster, just add water

Propagate by division
Prefers shade, will grow in sun
Drought tolerant, will grow if you add water
Slow grower – forms mounds 4″-6″ across, ~ 3″ tall

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

Shrimp Plant Justicia brandeegeana

Red Shrimp Plant

Evergreen shrub ~ 3′ tall
Well drained soil, drought tolerant
Protect from freezing
Morning sun, afternoon shade
Prune heavily in fall to promote bushy growth

Propagate by cuttings

Native to Mexico

Attracts hummingbirds

I’ve grown other varieties of shrimp plants. They are pretty easy to grow if you keep them warm in the winter and in an area protected from afternoon sun. A heavy pruning once the weather cools down (Nov or so) will keep it looking good

Lycoris radiata ( Red Spider Lily, Hurricane Lily, Corpse Flower )

Hurricane lily blooming 3rd week of Sept

Look who’s back. It’s late Sept abotu a week after the first real rain we had in a moth

Like most flowering bulbs in Houston this is a member of the Amaryllidaceae family. It only flowers after heavy rainfalls. I had forgotten all about it, and there it was blooming as I left for a morning run. It’s been a rainier year than usual. The total rainfall is typical, the frequency is much higher.

First brought to US in 1854 when Japan and the US opened trade. They are planted in Asia along the edges of rice patties to keep rodents out of the rice.

Prefers full sun, this one is in shade with dappled light only.
Not frost hardy, but this one has been out there for several years, through several cold winters.
Toxic: I think all lilies and Amaryllis are toxic
Prefers lots of water, does best along the edges of rivers
Blooms in Autumn after heavy rain
Propagate by division
Planting depth ~4″

Origin: China, Korea, Nepal

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

Acer macrophyllum aka Big Leaf Maple aka Oregon Maple

This plant caught my eye along a pathway through the woods. I’d swear I’d never seen it before but now that I’ve ID it I seem to keep finding it. Every one I’ve found has been along a pathway at the edge of a heavily wooded area.

Its leaves are the largest of any maple, fitting its large size when grown in the right climate

It can grow over 150′, usually tops out at about 20′, spreading wider than its height. Not suitable for home gardens because of its size and water demands.

Native to wet areas along the western coast and mountains of the US. Doesn’t handle frosts well or droughts

Zones 5-9
Full sun to full shade

The Wild Garden, Acer mactophyllum
Fire effects of Acer macrophyllum