Three New Super Stars for 2016

Three New Texas Superstar Plants for 2016

 A new Superstar Brochure will help you find success with
Strong & Stunning Plants for Texans!

Basham’s Party Pink Crape Myrtle Lagerstroemia indica × Lagerstroemia faurei Basham’s Party Pink

Basham’s Party Pink Crapemyrtle

Basham’s Party Pink crape myrtle is one of the best large crape myrtles for USDA zone 8 and warmer locations in Texas.  This beautiful tree-form crape myrtle can be grown as a single or multiple trunk specimen maturing with beautiful fluted smooth bark which exfoliates in shallow plates to expose predominantly light tans, gray and silver-gray bark highlighted with some reddish brown under-tones.  The graceful canopy is covered in spring to early summer with one or more flushes of large soft lavender-pink terminal flower clusters.  The handsome dark green foliage appears to have inherited some resistance to pests and diseases from its L. faurei heritage and a lesser propensity for seed pods than some of the other hybrids from its L. indica parentage.  It was introduced to the nursery trade by the legendary Texas plantsman and nursery professional Mr. Lynn Lowrey in 1965, making Basham’s Party Pink the granddaddy of Texas hybrid crape myrtles and a time tested Texas Superstar®.

Exposure:  Full sun for optimum flowering.

Height:  20 to 30 feet tall with two-thirds to similar spread.

Plant type:  Small to medium single or multiple stem deciduous tree.

Planting time:  Fall or early spring planting is best, but plants can be readily established from containers or balled-and-burlap at any time of year with appropriate irrigation.

Soil type:  Tolerant of all but very alkaline soils as long as the soil is well drained.

Suggested uses:  Specimen flowering tree, small shade tree, near patios and outdoor entertainment areas, street trees with training, in cut flower arrangements, or in very large landscape containers.  Bark, trunk and branch architecture can be nicely highlighted with night lighting.

Special notes:  Water during establishment and in severe drought.  To reduce foliar disease problems plant where it is mostly sunny and there is good air movement.  Avoiding direct irrigation spray on the foliage will also reduce disease incidence and lessen the potential for foliar damage where salty irrigation water is a problem.  Plants are cold tolerant in USDA plant hardiness zone 8 and warmer, but should be used only in protected locations in colder climates.  If frozen to the ground in a severe winter, established plants will usually regrow several feet in a single growing season.

More information on Crape Myrtles may be found at:

Brazilian Red Hots Alternanthera  Alternanthera dentata Brazilian Red Hots

Brazilian Red Hots

Brazilian Red Hots is a dependable selection of the old-time Joseph’s Coat that grows with a mounded habit.  The attractive, lively, hot pink and rose shades outlined foliage make it a delightful addition to any Texas garden.  It’s an easy to grow and low input plant that prefers partial shade, but can tolerate the Texas hot summer heat, if planted early in the spring.  However, its attractive foliage color is most vibrant if planted in intense sunlight. Once established, which might take a period of supplement irrigation in a well prepared soil amended with organic material, the plants are somewhat drought tolerant.  Though not the biggest feature of this plant and often inconspicuous, ball shaped white flowers spring out above the foliage in mid-winter in regions where there is no or little frost. 

Exposure:  Prefers partial shade in hot regions, but will tolerate full sun well if planted early and can take more sun in the northern part of the state.

Height:  24 – 36 inches tall with a 12 – 18 inch spread

Plant type:  Annual in most of Texas as it is sensitive to frost.   In frost-free areas it can be a short-lived perennial.

Planting time:  Best in spring after frost, but can also be planted in mid-summer or fall if watered adequately for establishment.

Soil type:  A well prepared soil amended with organic material with good drainage is best, but will tolerate poor soils.

Suggested uses:  Is an excellent stand-alone plant; be it planted as a mass border planting or accenting a repertoire of other popular Texas Superstar selections, such as Cora Vinca, Butterfly Pentas, Serena Angelonia and Baby’s Breath Euphorbias.  It will also complement combination plantings in containers. 

Special notes:  Plants benefit from being cut back lightly as days become longer in late spring for a vigorous flush of summer color and possibly again in late summer for fall satisfaction.

Texas Whopper Begonias  Begonia X benariensis Whopper® series (Semperflorens type)  

Whopper Begonia

Wax begonias have long been a staple of Texas Landscapes.  But, this recently introduced series distinguishes itself with large leaves on large plants that have enormous flowers held well above the foliage for a showy display.  They are outstanding in shade and partial shade and will tolerate full sun except in extreme heat.  Both green and bronze foliage types are available with red or rose flowers.  “Everything is bigger in Texas” and Whopper begonias fit the bill! Read the latest AgriLife TODAY article on this new Super star. 

Exposure:  Does best in partial to full shade.  Also does well in morning sun and will tolerate full sun except in extreme heat, especially with low relative humidity.

Height:  In shade can reach 24-30 inches with a 12 to 16 inch spread.  Will be shorter and more compact with more sun.

Plant type:  Annual

Planting time:  Best in spring just after frost, but can be planted later.  Will be more heat and sun tolerant if allowed to establish well prior to summer heat.  If planting in mid-summer, a shady location is advised.

Soil type:  A well prepared bed with organic matter and good drainage is best, but tolerant of soil types.  Should be kept moist, but not too wet.  Moderately drought tolerant.

Suggested uses:  Excellent for mass bedding, in mixed borders, and in containers.

Special notes:  Be careful not to overwater, especially if growing in containers.