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For The Garden

Plants That Multiply Readily

Author: Cathy Cromell
Issue: November, 2013, Page 140
ARTICHOKE AGAVE
(Agave parryi v. truncata)



FAB FOUR

ARTICHOKE AGAVE
(Agave parryi v. truncata)


Type: Succulent

Elevation: Low, mid; hardy to 15 degrees F

Blooms: Yellow; summer

Size: 2-3'H by 2-4'W

Soil: Excellent drainage

Light: Low elevations (filtered light); mid elevations (full sun)

Water needs: Very low

Maintenance: Control agave weevils. For tips, log on to cals.arizona.edu/maricopa/garden/html/t-tips/bugs/agave-wv.htm.

Attracts: Hummingbirds and insects (when in bloom)

Note: Agave species produce offsets around the base or tiny plantlets (bulbils) on the flower stalk; offshoots can be removed and replanted.

Why we like it: Its blue-gray leaves packed into a symmetrical rosette create an eye-catching specimen.


MEXICAN HAT
(Ratibida columnifera)
MEXICAN HAT
(Ratibida columnifera)


Type: Wildflower

Elevation: Low, mid, high; hardy to –20 degrees F

Blooms: Brick-red and yellow, or all brick-red or all yellow; late spring through summer

Size: 1-3'H by 1-3'W

Soil: Any; tolerates clay

Light: Full sun

Water needs: Low; moderate in hotter locales

Maintenance: Naturalizes readily. Thin seedlings to prevent them from outcompeting other wildflowers.

Attracts: Butterflies and native bees (nectar); birds (seeds)

Note: Foliage is deer-resistant, but deer might eat the flowers.

Why we like it: Flowers resemble tiny sombreros. Bright petals contrast vividly against feathery green foliage.


APACHE PLUME
(Fallugia paradoxa)
APACHE PLUME
(Fallugia paradoxa)


Type: Shrub

Elevation: Mid, high; hardy to –30 degrees F

Blooms: White; spring to summer

Size: 3-6'H by 3-6'W

Soil: Good drainage

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water needs: Low

Maintenance: Minimal

Attracts: Birds, deer, insects

Note: It spreads by underground runners, making it a good choice for erosion control. If you prefer, remove surrounding offshoots as soon as they appear to prevent aggressive spread.

Why we like it: Fragrant, rose-like flowers are followed by fruits with pink feathery plumes that look spectacular when backlit by the sun. Flowers and plumes may appear on the plant at the same time.


SOAP ALOE or ZEBRA ALOE
(Agave maculata syn. A. saponaria)
SOAP ALOE or ZEBRA ALOE
(Agave maculata syn. A. saponaria)


Type: Succulent

Elevation: Low, mid; hardy to 20-25 degrees F

Blooms: Salmon; winter, spring or summer

Size: 1'H by 2-3'W

Soil: Good drainage

Light: Filtered light

Water needs: Low

Maintenance: Divide and replant if overcrowded. Provide frost protection.

Attracts: Hummingbirds

Note: Also look for other varieties, such as A. maculata ‘Yellow Form’ with yellow blooms. Many aloe species are prolific, spreading in clumps with numerous offshoots.

Why we like it: Acts like a dense groundcover that blankets the soil. May bloom two or three times per year, depending on conditions.

Other Favorites:
Blue euphorbia, brittlebush, desert marigold, globe mallow, firecracker and Parry’s penstemon
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