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Friday, August 14, 2020

A MUST HAVE FOR THE SUMMER GARDEN. Dicliptera suberecta

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.

10 comments:

  1. What a stunner! Stay cool over there!

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    1. We are trying but it is brutal out there. I hope this isn't a sign of things to come.

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  2. You had me ready to place an order (Annie's has it in stock) until you mentioned runners, Jenny. Do you consider this a plant that spreads with abandon? We don't get freezes here and I'm getting more wary of plants that run amok.

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    1. I may have misrepresented the plant.I think it is just the stem bending down and rooting. Stem rooting rather than underground runners. I have removed a couple and planted them elsewhere. It really is a lovely plant for dry heat. It looks good throughout the day.

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  3. Can't have too many hummingbird plants and this one is really something special. I was given a chunk of this by Renee S in April and it's been planted in a less than ideal spot which doesn't get full sun. Still hoping to keep it alive and perhaps transplant early spring. Hope it grows to be as stunning as yours some day.

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    1. This one grew really quickly. I can't believe its size and wishing I had got it out earlier. But I have moved them before so will be patient and wait for winter.

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  4. I like this plant too and need to bring it back to the garden. I remember it as sprawling bigger than the size you indicate, but I bet growing it leaner would keep it more compact or just giving it the Chelsea Chop in early summer might work here. Looks so good in your garden, Jenny, and amazing it can take your temps -- that's a solid endorsement right there!

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    1. I haven't thought about the CC but remembering that mine dies to the ground int he winter which may make a difference.

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  5. Yours is a beautifully grown plant. There is (or was) a clump at the Huntington BG that must have been 20 feet wide. The hummingbird battles were epic.

    The heat is brutal here also, but probably worse where you are. Stay cool.

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  6. Wow! 20’ Probably a good thing that this plant dies back in the winter.

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