Explore new summer plants this season, the benefits are worth it

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, June 3, 2015

When I looked at the garden calendar to see what needs to be done in the garden in June, I was struck by how many of the plants in bloom are ones with which I am not familiar. Wondering if I should have recognized some of these plants, I started researching and found that there is not a lot of information available on most of them. However, many of the plants are native and have beneficial characteristics so they are definitely worth learning about. Check them out and let me know if you see any of them growing in Natchez.

• Fevervew (Tanacetum parthenium) — Fevervew is a small perennial bush that grows up to 20 inches tall. It is deer resistant and produces daisy-like flowers. It also attracts beneficial insects. It is used as an herbal remedy and according to WebMD has been studied for migraine prevention.

• Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboretum) — The Mississippi State University Extension Service identifies sourwood as a slow growing native tree that reaches 10-15 feet tall. In the summer it produces 10-inch long panicles of fragrant white flowers. It shows a beautiful fall color in late July and August.

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• Virginia stewartia (Stewartia malacodendron) — This is another native shrub or small tree that grows up to 15-feet tall. It is sometimes called a silky camellia, however, it is not a true camellia. It blooms in mid-summer and can be a blue-violet, purple or white. This is a true beauty and while we might not recognize it by name, it is not uncommon in the area.

• Veronica (Veronica spicata) — This perennial is a snapdragon relative. It is a rhizome that grows up to 2-feet tall. Varieties to look for are “Sunny Border Blue,” “Blue Charm,” and “Goodness Grows.”

• Blackberry lily (Pardanthus) — You may know this as leopard flower. It blooms in the summer and early fall with orange flowers spotted with red. It has fleshy black seeds in the fall and winter, thus the name “blackberry” lily.

• Golden rain tree — Two species are grown in Mississippi. Koelreuteria blooms in early summer and Koelreuteria bipinnata blooms in late summer. They grow 20-40-feet tall. Other common names are bougainvillea golden rain tree and Chinese flame tree.

• Balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus) — Most of us have probably heard of this perennial but it is too fascinating not to include. The buds are hollow balloons that gradually inflate and fill with color.  The blooms are 2-3 inch stars of purple, pink, and white on 24-inch stems.

Email your garden questions to me at newsroom@natchezdemocrat.com.


Karen O’Neal is an Adams County Master Gardener who writes a monthly column for The Democrat.