Swanflower

by Deva Brown, Bexar County Master Gardener I was watching the black pipevine butterflies in my yard, which were flitting around and occasionally landing briefly, but persistently, in one area. Not seeing any flowers there, I wandered over. On closer inspection, I saw the strangest plant I had ever seen. The whole plant was about 5-inches tall, with this weird …

Brugmansias and Daturas

Patricia L. Brown, Bexar County Master Gardener Brugmansia and Datura are frequently confused at first. This is probably because both have large, trumpet-shaped blooms. While both are members of the Solanaceae family, which include tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and tobacco, each is in a different genus and has many different types.  So that is where the similarity ends. The first time …

Mexican Oregano Bush (or, Rosemary Mint) (poliomintha longiflora)

By Mary Cennamo, Bexar County Master Gardener Mexican Oregano Bush has an interesting history in Texas. In the early 1930s, this dried herb was known as  Wild Mexican Sage and was found most frequently at the  state’s local Mexican markets. Sometime after the 1980s, it was no longer available at the markets but began to be sold in plant form …

Inland Sea Oats: A Low-Maintenance Shade Plant

By Melody Stramer, Bexar County Master Gardner Two of the most common questions we encounter at Master Gardener presentations are:  (1) what plants grow well in shady conditions and (2) what plants are deer resistant?  With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to Inland Sea Oats, a plant that I only recently discovered, despite living here since 2009. …

Shrimp Plant, Justicia brandegeeana

By Tera Marshall, Bexar County Master Gardener Shrimp plants are a must-have for any pollinator garden! They are drought tolerant once established, bloom from June until frost and attract tons of bees! They also freeze back to the ground and come back from the roots, even from our 10° freeze last year (and don’t need to be covered in winter). …

Winecup Wildflowers

by Paul A. Foerster, Bexar County Master Gardener Each spring as the bluebonnets finish blooming in our yard, my wife Peggy and I enjoy the winecup wildflowers (Callirhoe involucrate) as they begin to bloom. The name comes from the color and shape of the blooms when they first open. These beautiful prairie wildflowers are also known as buffalo rose or …

Amaryllis Bulbs

by Mary Cennamo, Bexar County Master Gardener The Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) is a tropical plant that originated in regions of South America and Africa.  The genus Amaryllis comes from the Greek word amarysso, which means “to sparkle” and, indeed, Amaryllis are gorgeous, showy flowers. House Plant or in The Garden? The Amaryllis plant is usually a house plant, and often is …

Growing Plumeria

by Barbara Lutz Plumeria, also known as Lei Flowers or Frangipani, are a fragrant, deciduous shrub or small tree native to tropical regions. Related to Oleander and Jasmine, there are hundreds of named and Registered Cultivars. Plumeria generally prefer growing conditions that are hot and humid with 6+ hours of full or mostly sun. They survive in the shade, but …

DISCOVERING DAHLIAS

By Melody Stramer, Bexar County Master Gardener As a Master Gardener of many years, I both espouse and practice the use of growing plants suited to their environment. Here in San Antonio, we are talking about native plants, drought-tolerant plants, and Texas Superstars. But gardeners are also known for straying from the straight and narrow out of love for a particular …

AN OUT-OF THIS-WORLD FERN – STAGHORN FERN

By Marsha Krassner, Bexar County Master Gardener One day about a year ago, I wandered into the greenhouse located at the back end of one of my favorite nurseries and saw a most other-worldly looking plant. I suspected that it was in the fern family and after consulting my trusty plant identifier and talking with one of the staff, I learned …