Cool Plants In Our Garden 2.0
In The Garden – By Stephen and Kristin Pategas
When an unusual plant is well-placed in a design whether in the ground or in a container, it really attracts attention. We have found these plants at plant trade shows, wholesale nurseries, online such as Plant Delights, and sometimes garden centers. We use all of these in our garden and many were specified for and successfully grown in gardens we designed in Central Florida (Zone 9b).
- Agave victoriae – reginae – Queen Victoria agave: This spectacular agave grows as a mound reaching 12 to 18-inches wide and tall. The variegated architecturally shaped leaves each have one terminal spine. Do not plant this where a beach ball may be tossed about. Unlike most other agaves, this one dies after flowering and sadly, there are not any pups to salvage. The flower spike reaches 10-15’ in height. It grows in Zones 9-11 with a minimum temperature of 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit. Protect from frost. It will thrive in full to part sun and may scorch in reflected heat. It is a succulent and well-draining soil is a must. The best bet to find this plant is to look online.
Aloe vera (A. barbadensis): This aloe is well known for the burn healing properties of the gel in its spiny leaves. Break off a leaf and apply the sap to the skin. The plant could reach a two-foot height if planted in the ground. Otherwise the size of its container will control its ultimate size. In the spring, look for yellow to red blooms – there are color variations. The foliage is frost tender. It is a succulent and well-draining soil is a must. Young plants may be easily grown on a sunny windowsill. Do not overwater.
- Muhlenbergia capillaris – Pink muhly grass: This Southeastern US native grass is an eyecatcher when in bloom for weeks in late fall to winter. The fine textured leaves reach a width of about 30 to 36-inches and an 18 to 24-inch height. The pinkish airy blooms rise above the foliage and sway in the breeze. Plant at least three of these in a grouping to maximize the impact of the leaf texture and the blooms. Muhly grass will grow in moist to dry conditions. Cutting the foliage off at a six-inch height every two or three years in late winter will keep it looking fresh. Otherwise it does not require any trimming.
Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Summer Sunset’ – Summer Sunset dwarf Asian jasmine: Dwarf Asian jasmines come in many cultivars and this one has electric variegation in its foliage. Look for full sun to part sun locations for this creeping groundcover plant. It is low water use and cold hardy into at least northern Florida. In the ground, allow it to achieve a six to eight-inch depth to minimize weeds. It also makes a good year ‘round container plant as it cascades over the rim.
Hortus Oasis (FL26000315) in Winter Park is a boutique garden design company specializing in residential, commercial and specialty gardens. Stephen is a registered landscape architect and Kristin is a certified landscape designer. Contact them at 407-622-4886/ firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.houzz.com/pro/hortusoasis/__public.
Credit: All photography by Stephen G. Pategas/Hortus Oasis unless otherwise notedby