Drought Tolerant Blooms for Your Yard
As we head into the July 4th weekend, all of us here at Evergreen Nursery wish you a very happy Independence Day! It’s been a challenging year, and as California opens up again, we hope that you can safely enjoy the holiday with your friends and family. The nursery will be closed on Sunday, July 4th.
Our ambient temperatures and long days are perfect for gardening. We encourage you to come and visit us to stock up on drought tolerant and native plants to help you conserve water. We also stock a variety of mulch to beautify your yard and preserve soil moisture.
Add some color to your yard and plant some oleander. If you’re in need of an easy, low-maintenance screening plant, oleander is the perfect choice. It’s evergreen, bright, and water-saving, with a long bloom season from summer until late into the fall. We have a selection of pure white, pale pink, and dark pink – one of them will be sure to suit your tastes.
Continuing on our drought tolerant theme, we have in stock the desert willow –‘Chilopsis linearis ‘Bubba.’ The desert willow is a beauty with its large stunning dark pink flowers that emerge throughout the summer months. This tree is well adapted to our Bay Area climate and will attract native bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
If you’re looking for a drought tolerant perennial, we have the perfect plant for you! Bulbine frutescens comes in two colors, ‘Orange’ and ‘Yellow,’ and blooms for a very long period. Plant it in your water-saving garden and enjoy along with the bees, butterflies, and birds!
Don’t forget about the inside of your house! A new house plant can really brighten up your home office or living room. Add a Neanthe Bella Palm to purify the air.
Check out our webshop to see what soils and fertilizers we have in stock before your visit.
We are open seven days a week, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
The Evergreen Team
Plant of the Month: Nerium Oleander
Nerium oleander, commonly known as oleander, is a colorful and useful shrub that originates in North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean region. This evergreen, long-blooming plant is well suited to the Bay Area climate. It is adapted to coastal areas and those with a maritime influence, as it is tolerant of salt spray, but cannot endure temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Oleander is also adapted to a variety of soils, but amending clay soil to improve drainage will keep these plants happy.
When you’re driving on California freeways, you will often catch a glimpse of oleander‘s cheerful red, pink, or white blooms where they thrive sandwiched in between six lanes of traffic, tolerating drought, fumes, and dust; thriving regardless of these adverse conditions. Growing Nerium oleander in your yard is therefore very easy, as they are low maintenance, drought tolerant, and require very little pruning.
Oleander is in the Apocynaceae family, also known as the Dog Bane family. They develop clusters of flowers in late spring to mid-summer and in our mild climate can bloom well into the fall months. Their flowers have 5 petals which often grow in clusters facing upwards. They are similar to other plants in the same family, such as star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), Mandevillea vine, and milk weed (Asclepias species). The Oleander shrub has an upright habit of growth with multiple stems. The leaves are linear (long and thin), 4-7″ in length, and gray-green or dark green in color.
It should be noted that oleander is very poisonous and is therefore not recommended for homes with small children and pets likely to snack on foliage. Every part of the plant is poisonous – fruit, flowers, leaves and stems, as well as the smoke from burning branches, which should be avoided.
However, this colorful, low maintenance shrub has lots of uses in the garden. In the right location, these plants can be the perfect screen between your house and the street or provide your garden with privacy from the neighbors. They also function as effective windbreaks to protect your yard from coastal winds and brighten up patios when planted in pots.
USDA Zones: 8-11.
How to Care for Nerium oleander:
- Plant in full sun or part shade – blooms more profusely in the sun.
- Enrich the soil and improve drainage by digging in compost.
- Tip back new growth to avoid the plant becoming leggy (make sure to wear gloves and long sleeves).
- Water occasionally once established.
- Fertilize once in the growing season – young plants need more phosphorus for good root development.
Nerium oleander ‘Cherry Ripe’ has bright red to dark pink flowers. This smaller size oleander grows 6-12′ tall by 6′ wide. It flourishes in full sun and is salt tolerant, deer resistant, and verticillium wilt resistant. ‘Cherry Ripe’ is adaptable to different soil types and drought tolerant. USDA zones: 8b-10b.
Nerium oleander ‘Sister Agnes’ has beautiful, large 1″ white flowers with a light fragrance. It is an intermediate sized oleander, reaching 10-15′ tall and wide. ‘Sister Agnes’ thrives in full sun to part shade, tolerating a range of soils and salt spray. Not as hardy as some other oleanders. USDA zones: 9-11.
Featured Drought Tolerant Tree: Chilopsis ‘Bubba’ (Burgundy Desert Willow)
The burgundy desert willow or Chilopsis linearis ‘Bubba’ is a beautiful shrubby tree that is native to California, the Southwest, and Mexico. This drought tolerant, deciduous tree thrives in our Bay Area climate. Chilopsis isn’t a real willow, but its attractive linear gray-green leaves are similar to the shape of willow tree leaves. The large, deep pink flowers with lighter pink throats and upper lip are reminiscent in shape of Tecomeria and Jacaranda blooms, as they are from the same family, Bignoniaceae. The flowers of the desert willow, like the others, are also magnets for hummingbirds and other pollinators.
The cultivar ‘Bubba’ is smaller than the straight species of Chilopsis linearis, making it a wonderful addition to smaller gardens, reaching only 25-30′ tall and wide. ‘Bubba’ needs full sun and very good drainage. Plant on a hillside or mound up soil to ensure water drains away from the roots. Regular water is needed until established, then occasional and deep watering. Chilopsis is perfect as a specimen in xeriscapes or drought tolerant landscapes. Attractive to pollinators. USDA Zones: 6-10.
Featured Drought Tolerant Plant: Bulbine Frutescens ‘Orange’ & ‘Yellow’
The attractive gray-green foliage is long and linear, growing 8-12″ long, and the plant spreads outwards by rhizomes to a width of 1-2′. In hot summer areas with limited water, the plant can enter a summer dormancy, then resume growing and blooming once rainfall or irrigation is available. The plant sends flower stalks up above the foliage up to 1-2′ tall. The blooms are a delicate star-shape with eye-catching frilly stamens in the center.
Bulbine frutescens thrives with good drainage – its roots tend to rot if planted in solid clay soil. To address this problem, plant with plenty of soil amendment and consider planting high on a mound to encourage drainage. Plant in full sun or part shade. Water occasionally once established. Dead head occasionally to improve appearance. These succulents are perfect for drought tolerant gardens, rock gardens or wildlife gardens. USDA Zones: 8-11.
Featured House Plant: Neanthe Bella Palm
‘Chamaedorea elegans’ or the Neanthe bella palm is a popular houseplant that is easy to care for. It originates in Guatemala and Mexico, where it is found growing in the rainforests. It thrives in bright, indirect light, so keep a little removed from large windows and out of direct sunlight. This amazing palm is known for its ability to filter the air around it, providing cleaner air for your home. Water every 7-10 days, allowing the upper soil to dry out in between waterings. It is worth rotating house plants often to ensure they grow evenly and don’t lean in one direction!
In Your Garden: What to do in July
- Choose summer color to accent your garden or patio. Plant flowers such as cosmos, snapdragons, Salvias, Vinca roses, and Zinnias.
- Feed vegetables, perennials, containers, and hanging baskets with a water-soluble fertilizer. We recommend E.B. Stone Organics Fish Emulsion or Maxsea All Purpose Fertilizer. Avoid feeding during the heat of day.
- Fertilize camellias, azaleas, and rhododendrons with E.B. Stone Organics Azalea, Camellia and Gardenia Food.
- Feed your shrubs and garden beds with E.B. Stone Organics All Purpose Food. Always feed when the soil is damp, and water again after application.
- Cut or deadhead spent flowers to promote more blooms. Finish pruning spring-flowering shrubs.
- Spray small transplants and water thirsty plants with Bonide Wilt Stop to reduce drought stress.
- Mulch garden beds to protect the soil from summer heat, conserve moisture, and keep garden maintenance needs low.
- Check shade shrubs for thrips. (Key symptom: silvering of leaves with black specks). Spray with Bonide Horticultural Oil as needed. Apply late in the day to prevent leaf scorch.
- Water cactus and succulents, especially during hot weather. Full sun may be too strong for succulents, especially in inland locations.
- Provide a water source for birds and thirsty bees, such as a bird bath.
- Monitor whiteflies — use yellow sticky traps, thin out dense branches for air circulation, and apply earth worm castings as a mulch around susceptible plants to discourage them.
- Utilize gopher baskets and cages to keep valuable plants safe. Repel moles and gophers with Bonide MoleMax. Remember, trapping is the permanent solution for gophers.
- Set yellow jacket traps at the perimeter of yard (not near eating areas) to discourage yellow jackets from visiting.