Plants of the Season

Oct 5, 2022

TREE: Oklahoma Redbud (Cercis canadensis var. texensis 'Oklahoma'). It belongs to the family of flowering plants called Fabaceae (Leguminosae) which is also called the legume, pea or bean family. This particular cultivar of the Eastern Redbud is a spectacular addition to your landscape. Recently we added 3 of this variety to our landscape and they are growing nicely and we look forward to enjoying blooms---maybe next year. It is also known as the Texas redbud. It ushers in spring with lots of small rosy purple blossoms followed by heart-shaped dark green, shiny leaves. It grows in full sun or light shade reaching as tall as 24 feet and as broad as 15 to 24 feet. There are many other cultivars of redbud including a weeping one and a white one, but the Oklahoma one is particularly attractive and easy to grow. Water in moderation and it is drought resistant when established. There are many redbuds available and for more information on Redbuds, see this article: https://www.southernliving.com/garden/southern-gardening-redbud

PERENNIAL: Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) is an old-fashioned flower that came over with early settlers to the New World a long time ago. The plant is thought to be originally native to East Asia, but made its way to the Middle East where the English encountered them during the Crusades and brought them to England and they similarly arrived in southern Europe. The plant was used to make a salve to treat the hind leg injuries of horses or horse hocks. Hence, the combination of Holy Land and horse hock treatment provided the name Hollyhock.

They produce large trumpet like blossoms that range in color from black, deep red, pink, yellow, and white and produce lots of large round seeds in the round pods that follow blossoms. Consequently, seeds are abundant and you can end up with hollyhocks everywhere if you don't take cautious care of the seed pods. Deadheading is advised to reduce the seed problem. They are a great addition to the cottage garden or in the back of borders as they can grow quite tall, to 8ft. or more. However, there are short cultivars that can be more easily managed and planted in more situations. They attract bees and hummingbirds. For more information on other species and various cultivars see: https://www.gardenloversclub.com/ornamental/flowers/hollyhock/varieties/

SHRUB: Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is an easy-to-grow landscape shrub that is a long bloomer with large flowers in white, pink ,red, and purple colors that attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. It is native to Eastern Asia. It grows to about 12 feet tall and 10 feet wide. It needs little attention other than some pruning to shape it and keep it open; also, to keep blossoms coming. Flowers grow on the current year's growth; hence early pruning before buds develop can keep the growing Rose of Sharon in top form and lots of flowers as well as keeping this tree-like shrub in bounds. Crossing or rubbing branches need to be removed and most branches shortened to encourage new flowering growth. It does best in full sun or part shade and moist but not soggy soil. It can reseed, so be prepared to possibly move seedlings or give to neighbors. The one I have was purchased as a seedling at our Garden Club's plant sale and it has grown into a lovely eight foot shrub with pink flowers in five years. It starts blooming in June and continues through the summer.


By Lee Miller UCCE Master Gardener
Author - Master Gardener