Sweet little evergreen shrublet with fine blue foliage. Atop a rounded form in spring, masses of light pink flowers are incredibly showy for such a diminutive plant. To about 8″ x 1′ forming a bun. This member of the brassica tribe is excellent in rock gardens or even on hot dry sunny slopes. Full sun and average, well drained soil. Light to little summer water. Blooms for 3-4 weeks in mid to late spring. Cut back hard after blooming- new blue foliage will flush out almost immediately. Troughs, rock gardens. Low care rock garden classic.
Biome: Hot Aspects
Its surprising in our climate that heat is as big of an issue as it is. But there are scores of sunburned and toasted plants littering our city by the end of summer. We average just 2.o” of rain during June-August and you have to take into account reflected heat. That could be heat emanating from an asphalt street such as occurs in a hellstrip or the accumulated heat of a hot wall. Both can conspire to fry plants. Luckily, we grow a LOT of plants adapted to excess heat. These plants won’t fry on the first day above 95ºF. Some plants revel in reflected heat, they come from hotter climates and need warmth to both bloom and to ripen wood for winter. That means it receives enough heating calories to ensure winter hardiness. Currently, Portland averages 14 days above 90ºF per year. By the next decade that number will have more than doubled. Part of gardening with climate change is to anticipate those effects and adapt to them. Increasingly, we will be considered a hot summer climate. We should garden accordingly.
Climate Adapted Plants for Gardeners in the PNW
Agapanthus ‘Bee Bop’
I selected this seedling about 8 years ago and its been growing in my garden for all that time. A completely deciduous variety that does not show leaves until all chance of frost has passed. Forms a large clump with strappy arching green leaves – to 2′ across in 5 years. As the clump increases so do the amount of flower stalks. The orbs of flowers are neon to cobalt blue. An arresting, glowing blue. Slightly smaller in diameter than other varieties (about the size of a baseball) this plant packs a LOT of flowers onto a stalk- at least 50 and they reverberate above the clump for weeks in July to August. To 26″ in bloom. The stalks that support the vivid flowers are incredibly strong and they barely bend in a breeze. This is a wonderful perennial for full sun and rich, amended soil. Add a handful of lime at planting time to ensure neutral pH. Disappears cleanly in winter. Regular water though its bloom cycle. Pair with chartreuse foliage for a dynamic contrast. Loved by hummingbirds and bees. Best in the center of an ascending border from low plants to tall. Long lived, cold hardy selection that we love.
Xera Plants Introduction
Agapanthus ‘Tall Blue Xera’
This is a strain of Agapanthus from the very cold hardiest varieties that we grow. Not only are these perfectly hardy to cold they are naturally completely deciduous. Even better they wait to emerge until all danger of frost has past. Many ‘hardy’ CA varieties leaf out in the false spring of late winter and then get nipped hard by possible late freezes. Not at all fussy about soil but best in enriched soil with light consistent summer irrigation. Large globes of rich sky blue flowers are bigger than a grapefruit and wave at the top of 3′-4′ stems. Quite a bit taller than other hardy varieties. Full sun to very light shade and not fussy. They will live in containers for eons and bloom like crazy. Flowers appear from late June to early August and are very showy. This is a very pretty tall strain that is reliable and kind of hard to F up. If you’ve lost Agapanthus in a cold garden or unfortunate freeze this is the one to try. As with all Agapanthus they thrive and bloom in neutral to alkaline soil. Incorporate a handful of lime in the hole at planting time. Strappy clumps of mid-green leaves are handsome following bloom. As the plant multiplies it increases its blooms stem count markedly.
Xera Plants Introduction
Agapanthus ‘White Profusion’
Born and bred in the PNW this excellent compact and extremely floriferous white flowered Lily-of-the-Nile is a first rate selection. To 20″ tall and forming an expanding but compact clump. Flowers appear for 4-6 weeks in mid-summer. Clear, pristine white with abundant flower spikes- a small amount of leaves supports copious flower spikes- a great attribute of the best Agapanthus. Lots of flowers/few leaves. Full sun to very light shade in rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Completely winter deciduous. Handsome pale green matte foliage. Long lived perennial. Mix with Blue Agapanthus for contrast. Bloom stems increase markedly with the size of the clump. Our favorite hardy white Lily of the Nile. Agapanthus do best in neutral to alkaline soil. Incorporate a handful of lime in the planting hole.
Agapanthus ‘Xera’s Cobalt’
Our own seed strain taken from the very darkest blue flowers in the Agapanthus kingdom. Prolific blooming, long lived, cold hardy perennials that require rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. Full sun to very light shade. Blooms of the deepest cobalt to black rise on average to 30″ tall for 4-6 weeks in mid-summer. Completely deciduous in winter. Wonderful in the middle/back of a border and a natural with ornamental grasses and Kniphofias. Add a handful of lime to the hole at planting time and put the Agapanthus right on top of it. The parents of this strain are all naturally very hardy and do not emerge until all threat of frost has past. Hummingbird plant.
Xera Plants Introduction.
Drooping Agapanthus isn’t exactly a romantic moniker but it aptly describes the dramatic blossoms on this large perennial. Strappy leaves form clumps and rise to 30″ tall. In August bold spikes emerge to 4′ tall with sky blue drooping clusters of flowers. Very pretty. Clumps spread to 3′ wide so give this plant room for the future. As the plant increases so does the flower stem count. The tall strong flowers work wonderfully in arrangements. They are also coveted by hummingbirds. Full sun and rich soil with regular summer water- at least until blooms fade. As with all Agapanthus it blooms better in neutral to alkaline soil. Incorporate a handful of lime in the planting hole. Mulch in very cold gardens. Excellent for the middle or back of a border. Lives in large containers for many years. Native to high elevation grasslands in South Africa. Winter deciduous.
Agapanthus x ‘Exmoor’
Fantastic cold hardy lily of the nile cultivar that is easy to grow and spectacular in bloom. This selection made in Scotland forms large clumps of strappy leaves and deep navy blue buds open to lighter sky blue flowers. Tall growing Agapanthus to 3′-4′ in bloom and flowers appear from late June to early August. Loved by hummingbirds and bees this is naturally deciduous variety. The leaves disappear to nothing in winter- a good trick because this UK variety shares a common trait among those from there, it holds off on sprouting in spring until all threat of a frost has passed. Its very cold hardy too, solidly zone 7. Excellent long blooming dramatic perennial for hell strips, borders. The contrast between the dark buds and lighter open flowers is a joy. Flower heads are about the size of a soft ball or larger. Regular water in rich soil. Apply a handful of horticultural lime in the planting hole. Agapanthus prefer and bloom better in neutral soil (ours are acidic to strongly acidic). A four year old clump will be 2′ across with 10 or more large flower stalks. They increase yearly from there.
Agapanthus x ‘Stripes’
An excellent cold hardy Lily-of-the-Nile that was bred in the PNW. To 3′ tall in bloom from a low basal presence of strappy green leaves. Each flower in the truss is light blue with darker blue stripes. They are pretty up close- from a distance it reads as glowing baby blue. And you can use this luminosity to your advantage. Easy to grow perennial for full sun to very light shade in rich, well drained soil with regular summer water. This cultivar performs even without regular water but the blooms last longer and are larger with it. Completely deciduous in winter. Agapanthus perform best in neutral to alkaline soil, incorporate a handful of lime in the planting hole.
Agapanthus x ‘Summer Nights’
A northwest raised cold hardy selection with deciduous leaves and the most intense deep blue flower spikes to 28″ tall in June and July. Full sun, well drained soil and regular water. Deciduous Agapanthus (REALLY) appreciate good soil. Combine with other perennials for love, joy. Best with regular summer irrigation and annual applications of organic fertilizer. Has been a long lived, long term performer in landscapes from Vancouver, BC to Medford , Oregon. Selected for intense deep blue flower color combined with excellent hardiness to cold.
Agastache ‘Lilac Moon’
Cool bicolored Hummingbird Mint that has masses of flowers that appear from orange buds which quickly change to luminous light lavender when open. To 20″ tall and forming a clump this very, very, long blooming perennial is delightful for hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. A soft pastel coloration that pairs wonderfully with light yellow flowers and even blue. Great in seasonal containers. Blooms non-stop from June to October. Do not remove flower spikes as new flowers will appear continuously from the same spike. Rich, WELL DRAINED soil with light, consistent summer water. Its best to water Agastaches consistently during their first year in the ground- to establish a large root system. Ideal on slopes- to assist in drainage in winter. Double dig soil to incorporate lots of oxygen in the soil. One of our favorite introductions. An amazing combination of flower colors on a single plant. Do not cut back until new growth has flushed out in spring and all threat of a hard freeze has passed.
Xera Plants Introduction
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