Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Duranta and other Delights of the Day

Tropical shrubs that are root-hardy in my climate are a delight from July to Frost. The dead trunks are cut to the ground and winter is a barren slate waiting for early daffodils. Spring is full of other beauties and when those are done, Summer Stars come out.

I'm so happy to have discovered Duranta. I passed up Gold Edge and regretted that. Since I found the regular Duranta erecta, I'm not sorry about Gold Edge. Texas Superstars site says it is more suited to the shade and 'is used for its foliage display, blooming is not important.' What! The blooms are the most important part -- ask butterflies -- and the golden dewdrop berries are second most.

Already 5' tall, Duranta is blooming with the Crapes.

This is the only Duranta shrub blooming so far. Four cuttings rooted last summer are in bud.
I plan to root more for a hanging basket for the winter. Duranta bloomed indoors the first year I had it.

Another purple favorite, Strobilanthes or Persian Shield,
here with lavender Pentas.

Persian Shield also dies to the ground at frost.
I have cuttings coming on to keep inside where they may
have little blue conehead blossoms in winter.

Butterflies are finding magenta Pentas.
Pentas are another plant that may return but I take cuttings
because if happy, they will bloom indoors this winter.

Hibiscus syriacus, known to us as Althea.
You may know it as Rose of Sharon.
I have just the one plant, but it comes in lovely colors and
roots easily. It would make a nice deciduous hedge.

It only takes one Reine des Violettes rose to perfume the air.
Here it is backed by pink Crape Myrtle.

Gardenias are more or less done blooming this summer.
I caught the fragrance before I saw the flower.
They've had lots of yellow leaves because of drought.

I'm always wondering what will bloom for Bloom Day, which is near.
There is always a blossom somewhere.
There are some really gaudy show-offs in the Upper Garden.


  1. Oh I will be so happy if my Duranta gets as large as yours. You know it's toxic right? I have a double althea more of the purple color, I like yours better. Nothing says southern like a gardenia and it's intoxicating scent.

  2. I love my Oregon garden but would give a lot to be able to grow a gardenia, like the one in your image. The fragrance, and that look of a lady in a soft white dress lounging around planning what to put in her next iced drink. Enjoyed the post!

  3. I have enjoyed my duranta in the flowerbed but just discovered that many people put it in baskets and pots because it spills over. I'm going to try it. It is one of the few things that is blooming during our drought.

  4. That persian shield is one showy plant! I envy you the gardenia, one of my real faves. Not for Seattle outdoors!

  5. What beautiful photos! Duranta is new to me. Some day I'm going to try Persian Shield in my garden. The gardenia looks luscious. There was one in my yard when I was a child, and I'll never forget the fragrance.

  6. hi..you're duranta is stunning. it's a common plant here in the philippines. our neighbor has that in white. i like yours better. i also love your persian shield. i've got to have one. you think it will survive in a tropical country? have a nice day!


  7. The Duranta is a beautiful bloomer--I can imagine the butterflies would love it. Persian Shield is a favorite of mine for containers. But unfortunately, in my zone 5 garden, none of these make it through the winter. I can always buy more pentas and Persian Shield each spring, but I sure wish I could grow gardenias--they must smell heavenly!

  8. The Duranta flowers are so sweet. Are you seeing lots of butterflies? We aren't here (Austin). Someone suggested they bypassed us as a result of the fires...

  9. Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog! We will be visiting your great state next Monday! We are going to Callaway Gardens (my husband will play golf while I look at the gardens), then we are visiting some friends in Sharpsburg, then we are driving to Acworth to visit my niece, and then on to our final destination, Dahlonega to hang out with our grandkids (and their parents) for a week, in what I hope is a little bit cooler temps! We have rented a house on 8 acres with a river to dangle our feet :-) So looking forward to it! So is Callaway Gardens worth the trip?

  10. I have not tried Duranta yet, although I see it used in containers quite often. I keep experimenting with different annuals every year in my containers. Pentas are always winners...as long as they get a little relief from the afternoon TX sun. And gardenias are hopeless in my alkaline soil. They do sell them here, but I just take a big whiff and keep moving because I know they will not do well for me.

  11. I've never heard of Duranta before; what a beautiful color! -Jean

  12. I have the same duranta and I too love, love it!! Mine is still small but even the small plants are gorgeous and flower profusely.

  13. I love our four seasons (OK, winter, not so much) and I don't want your summer heat, BUT, ohhhh, I am "green" with "green envy" here! The duranta is lovely, and the gardenia, oh my, love those too. There is a new crepe myrtle that is almost winter hardy... so they claim. At least I have my Rose of Sharon shrubs, and one that is the same color as yours has exactly one bloom right now lol... they don't generally bloom for another month.

    And that reigne de violette is definitely a winner in the fragrance department!

  14. You have flowers looking very good in spite of the heat, humidity and drought! The duranta is especially lovely.

  15. Welcome to Bloomin' Tuesday! The purple Duranta is lovely! Looking forward to seeing more of your 'bloomers'. Jean

  16. Most all of your plants are new to me! I do recognize the Rose of Sharon. Welcome to Bloomin' Tuesday. I enjoyed my visit here.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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