Native Plant Focus: Oxeye Sunflower
[By Ann Hall, Environmental Education Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org]
With showy yellow daisy-like flowers attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, beneficial wasps, flies and native bees, the oxeye sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) blooms all summer and into fall. Since this plant is not a true sunflower, it is known by several common names including ‘false sunflower’, ‘oxeye daisy’ and ‘smooth oxeye’. This upright clump-forming Texas native perennial is very effective when used in a garden border, native plant garden, or as an addition to a pollinator garden.
Oxeye sunflower is easy to grow and maintain
It thrives in full sun but will tolerate part shade. The low watering requirement and tolerance to all soil types make it a perfect plant for our hot Texas climate. At maturity, oxeye sunflower will reach a height of 3-6 feet and spreads into 2-4 foot clumps. Dead head (remove spent flowers) to keep this long-blooming perennial covered with blooms. No known pests or diseases affect this extremely resistant plant.
Nature is enhanced by the oxeye sunflower since it is pollinated by a specific ground-nesting bee. Birds use the seeds as a winter food source while the plant’s stems provide cover for beneficial insects. Starting the oxeye sunflower from seed is easily accomplished in the cooler fall and winter months. Although it is possible to divide the mature clumps, this strategy is less successful than growing from seed.
Seeds of oxeye sunflower are readily available from online retailers who focus on seeds of Texas native plants. Watch for local plants sales offering starts of oxeye sunflower or check local native plant retailers. Enjoy not only the summer to fall color this plant provides, but also the hummingbirds, butterflies, bees and other fascinating pollinators it will attract to your garden.
Plant with a Purpose!
Join us for this free workshop and learn how to create habitat in your landscape while saving water at the same time.
We’ll delve into:
- Importance of keeping invasive species at bay – 8:15 a.m.
- Wonders of pollinators and how to attract them – 9:45 a.m.
- Many benefits of native plants including water conservation – 10:45 a.m.
- Best methods for seed collecting and propagation of the plants you love – 12:45 a.m.
Attend one or more FREE sessions – click here to save your spot.
Experts from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and Texas Master Naturalists will lead each session.
- Saturday, June 23 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Join us for all or part of the program
- Lunch provided
- HARC Building, 8801 Gosling Rd, The Woodlands
- Free but registration is required – click here to save your spot
Thank you to our sponsors:
Houston Advanced Research Center, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Texas Master Naturalists, Woodlands Joint Powers Agency
Native Plant Focus: Texas Red Yucca
Texas Red Yucca is a striking landscape plant
Beautiful tubular blossoms attract pollinators
More effective at attracting hummingbirds than a feeder, the Texas Red Yucca is also a nectar source for butterflies and native bees. Actually a member of the Century Plant family, the Texas Red Yucca thrives in our hot Texas summer although it is cold tolerant enough to survive freezing temperatures.
With low watering requirements after establishment, this striking perennial evergreen shrub produces dramatic 3-4 foot spikes of pink to coral to red tubular flowers. These beautiful flower spikes provide focal interest in landscape beds, large containers, rock gardens or as a single specimen plant. Each bloom produces a seed capsule which dries to offer winter interest in the landscape. The evergreen leaves turn a deep shade of purple in cold weather, further enhancing the garden.
Thriving in full sun to part shade and needing only natural rainfall, this plant is adaptable to any soil. Maintenance is minimal – removing the dried flower spike before spring begins is optional. Planting this succulent in your landscape or a large container will provide beautiful blooms from May through October. Texas Red Yucca is readily available in most local retail outlets offering bedding plants as well as those specializing in Texas natives. Enjoy this easy to grow plant along with the hummingbirds and insect pollinators it will draw into your garden.
Butterflies, bumblebees, hummingbirds, moths and other pollinators add life to the landscape and put food on the table! National Pollinator Week–June 19 to June 25, 2017– Continue reading
If you like to eat fruit of the tree and vine—apples, sweet cherries, pumpkins, pears, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, nuts and other fresh produce—you should love pollinators! The Environmental Services Department celebrates pollinators during National Pollinator Week (June 20-26, 2016) and encourages residents to do the same. Continue reading