As we enter into a spell of triple digit temperatures there is one plant that seems to thrive on these tough conditions; Dicliptera suberecta. It has both multiple Latin and common names but I have always just called it dicliptera as some of the common names can be confusing.
This one is a surprise seedling in one of my vegetable beds. I noticed it starting to grow in the spring and recognizing the leaves I was almost certain it was dicliptera. I have great plans for it this fall when I will move it into the upper level of the sunken garden. It never reaches more than 2' in height and 3' in spread.
A native of Uruguay, and sometimes known as the Uruguayan firecracker plant, it is root hardy dying back to the ground during the winter which makes it a good plant to combine with some spring flowering bulbs. It is happy in alkaline soils and very drought tolerant, flowering through some of the hottest Austin days and right through into the fall. This is what makes it so welcome in my garden. Its tubular flowers are greatly appreciated by hummingbirds as they begin their winter migration to South America.
Bluish gray leaves are covered with fine hairs which is usually an indication of a plant that will do well in hot weather. It tolerates the humidity well and never wilts during the days when other plants wilt by noon. Its hairy leaves undoubtedly make it unattractive to insects. Flowers fade a little with age but there are always plenty to replace them.
I am told it is not deer proof although if i get any more seedlings I might try them outside the walls. They are better propagated by the runners they send out. Removing them means the mother plant can be kept more compact.
I am grateful for this bonus plant which I believe will do well in my soon-to-be renovated sunken garden.