I figure that I may have some unique knowledge given my profession that can benefit others.  Many people enjoy working in their yard or gardening.  Most people also don’t know anything about the plant they are putting into the ground outside of “they’re pretty” and what is mentioned on the tag at the local Home Depot.  I am going to attempt and discuss a new ornamental plant or tree every week (don’t hold me to that) that I’ve come to enjoy and that I think will expand on the planting palette of others.

In addition, I’m going to attempt to focus on low water use plant material.  There is a big push in this state for new or remodeled construction to utilize low water use plants and high efficiency drip irrigation systems.  The passage of Ordinance 1881 has actually made it law.  We are ever more vigilant about the way landscapes are designed and watered.  Field turf (grass) may come more and more at a premium given that it takes almost an inch per week to adequately water a yard.  I plan on stressing those plants who are attractive, relatively easy to grow, and use low to medium amounts of water.  You may be surprised what you discover.

Not all of these plants will likely be found in the local Home Depot or Lowe’s, however, I’m going to keep to plants that are used within the landscape architecture industry…which means…they’re available.

Alyogyne huegelii

Blue Hibiscus

This large shrub/small tree is a definite favorite.  Everyone knows the normal tropical feeling hibiscus that are all over Southern CA.  Bright red, orange, coral, yellow, and white you can find them pretty much anywhere.  Well, this blue hibiscus is actually not the same species as those hibiscus…called a hibiscus simply because it’s flowers (as you can see) resemble the other, more common plant.  They are members of the same family but that includes almost 2,300 other species.  Besides the general shape of the flowers this plant is all it’s own.

Large, upright, often multi-trunked it will flower almost all year long with pale blue to dark purple flowers (depending on which variable you buy).  Don’t attempt to grow these into a barrier hedge unless you want people to be able to see right through it…this plant grows open and airy.  Great as an accent bush that draws your eye and provides lots of color or up an a hill where you need something that needs little maintenance.  One note of warning though is that the flowers don’t last long…typically only 2 to 3 days…and will fall off afterwards.

Take note too that this is an evergreen with dark green and deeply and irregularly lobed leaves.  Can be pruned if you dislike it’s growth habit or want to keep it smaller, but looks best if you just let it go as a large multi-trunked shrub.

Finally, this guy is a LOW water use plant and is a hard little sucker to kill.  Can take the harshest, direct sun and little water and will flourish.

Everyone I know (including myself someday) absolutely loves them…on occasion you can even find them at the Home Depots and Lowe’s of the world.

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