San Diego, California. -
More answers to the questions most frequently asked at nurseries.
Q. I’d like to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to my garden. Any suggestions?
A. Colorful as the blooms that attract them, butterflies and hummingbirds are welcome in most gardens. Many plants will lure them – annuals and perennials, shrubs and trees, grasses and groundcovers. For certain luck, choose spiraea japonica, an upright shrub with clusters of pink flowers; lavatera multifida; and ceanothus horizontalis, a small shrub with clusters of light blue flowers. Hummingbirds are especially attracted to blooms with a tubular shape like salvia greggii which also happens to be drought tolerant plant.
Q. I’ve been cursed with a shady yard. Can I get any colorful plants to grow there?
A. A sunless yard does not necessarily mean a plant-less yard. Many plants grow well in the shade and will bring color, movement and life to the landscape. For a great selection of colorful blooms, including white, pink, red or blue flowers choose hydrangea macrophilla. For fragrance as well as blooms, choose gardenia ‘Vietchii,’ featuring pure white blossoms. Azalea ‘Southern Indica’ comes in a wide variety of colors, can reach up to six feet tall, and can survive in considerable shade, though it grows best with morning sun.
Q. What tree has the most fragrant flowers?
A. Many trees offer up fragrant blooms, but one of the most pleasant is michelia doltsopa. Resembling a magnolia, michelia doltsopa features leathery dark green leaves and large, creamy-white blossoms with a wonderful scent.
Q. What are some drought tolerant plants?
A. Saliva greggii, or Autumn Sage, is a good choice. It offers color as well, with blooms from purple and red to pink and white. Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus,' or Maiden Grass, is another good choice. Its tall cream-colored plumes lend nice summer color, then offer bright orange with the onset of fall. Phormium tenax is an exceptionally tolerant plant. Its varieties are sturdy and require almost no care.
Q. I have a boring lawn and would like to jazz it up with a nice tree. What is a good lawn tree?
A. Try a gleditsia triacanthos ‘Honey locust’. It grows fast, features an upright trunk and spreading, arching branches whose foliage offers filtered shade to help keep your lawn green. Its leaves are bright green, fading to yellow in autumn before they drop. Tiny flowers and foot-long pods add interest. This tree is not invasive in root and is tolerant of nearly any soil and climate condition.
Miramar Wholesale Nurseries is Southern California’s leading supplier of landscape plant material and supplies. MWN grows a wide variety of perennials, shrubs, and trees at each of its three locations for projects in and around the region. The fully stocked will-call facilities in San Diego, Irvine/Lake Forest, and San Juan Capistrano serve the needs of commercial properties, institutions, property managers, and commercial landscapers. For additional tips on plant care, see your nursery professional or refer to the Sunset Western Garden Book, available at all three MWN locations.
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