OUT IN THE YARD — Accent your home with 2020’s Texas Superstar plants

Published 12:05 am Friday, July 3, 2020

A Texas Superstar is a plant that has been approved by Texas A&M AgriLife research as a superior growing plant in Texas.

These plants have withstood field trials, proving their hardiness under Texas’ tough growing conditions. Plants receive no pesticides, minimal soil preparation and watering.

After they have survived and flourished in these conditions, they are recommended to the public as a Texas-tough plant and they carry the Texas Superstar logo. Texas Superstars include annuals, perennials, per-annuals, woody shrubs, trees and specialty plants.

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Annual plants have a life cycle that lasts only one year and are replanted each spring. Some of the new annuals making the list for 2020 include:

  • “Blue Daze,” a 9- to 18-inch cascading ground cover that grows best in full sun. It is tolerant of salty conditions making it a great addition to the coastal landscape.
  • “Tidal Wave Red Velour Spreading Petunia” is a 12- to 24-inch dense canopied petunia that spreads 30 to 60 inches in width. It flowers best in full sun but afternoon shade helps to endure summer heat.

Perennials are plants that live more than two years. New perennials that made the 2020 Superstar list include:

  • “Black Stockings Napier Grass” with its deep purple wide leaves that can grow from 8 to 12 feet tall. Full sun produces best leaf color. Plants will freeze in winter but will regrow rapidly in the spring.
  • “New Gold Lantana” is a low maintenance small spreading woody shrub not new to the Texas Superstar program. It is drought and heat tolerant and will bloom from spring to frost.

Per-Annuals are tropical perennials used as annuals. Some of the Superstar Per-Annuals are shown below:

  • “Gold Star Esperanza” is a semi-evergreen shrub with yellow flowers. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil. This shrub can be grown in containers. Remove the fruit beans to encourage more blooms. Flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
  • “Pride of Barbados” is an evergreen shrub or small tree with red and orange blossoms. Height is from 8 to 12 feet depending on severity of winter. Grow in raised beds in areas with humid climate.

Woody Shrubs are perennial woody plants. Some of the popular ones are shown below:

  • Grandma’s Garden Rose “Nacogdoches” is a yellow flowering shrub rose with a spicy fragrance. It is a repeat bloomer that will grow to a height of 4 to 5 feet and is disease resistant.
  • Vitex, Texas Lilac or Chaste Tree, is a large shrub or small tree with lavender blooms. It is heat tolerant. Texas Lilac is Texas A&M Agrilife’s group designation and recommended varieties are “Montrose Purple” and “LeCompte.”

Trees are woody perennial plants that grow with a single stem or trunk. Recommended Superstars include:

  • Chinkapin Oak, an attractive deciduous shade tree with distinctive saw tooth leaves. Height of tree can reach 60 feet. Grows best in full sun and is adaptable to most soil types.
  • “Basham’s Party Pink Crapemyrtle” is a favorite in warmer locations in Texas. It can be grown as a single or multi-trunk tree. It has smooth bark and its blooms are lavender pink. Height is 20 to 30 feet.

These are just some of the Texas Superstars that will grow well in Southeast Texas.

Please visit TexasSuperstar.com for the full list of plants and details.

Reach Jefferson County Master Gardener Brenda Beadle at bbamaywald@gmail.com or call the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension at 409-835-8461.