Plant of the Week
Too much shade plagues tens-of-thousands of home landscapes all across Texas. Why? The vast majority of plants (known for their striking blossoms) prefer sunny locations. They flower poorly, if at all, in shady areas. Horticultural help is on the way — after many years of testing and development, a new “Queen-of-the-Shade dappled Garden” has ascended her Texas throne as a Texas Superstar.
This delicate, bold and beautiful perennial has been christened the ‘Texas Gold’ Columbine. This plant, whose scientific name is Aquiligia chrysantha ‘Texas Gold,’ is heaven-sent for partially shady areas of Texas landscapes. A Texas native, this new introduction is a cultivated selection form a rare perennial wildflower found in moist, shady areas only along a few remote streams and waterfalls in the Big Bend area of west Texas.
- Years of field testing by horticulture specialists with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service (now called Texas Cooperative Extension) have shown ‘Texas Gold’ to be a truly superior performer. Its advantages include:
- Being considered by many professionals to be our most spectacular shade-blooming perennial and one of the best new plants to be made available in years.
- Across much of the state, many commercially available columbines weaken or die the very first summer! ‘Texas Gold,’ however, has the native toughness and ability to tolerate the heat of Texas summers, thus it is truly perennial and will give you years of enjoyment without the expense and hassle of replanting. This is true Texas value from a true Texas native.
- Its elegant, stately beauty is truly something to behold. Butter yellow blossoms, highlighted by graceful cups and long, dramatic spurs, are held well above the attractive foliage for maximum impact. Occurring on long, branching stems, these flowers also make good cut flower specimens. As an added bonus, the blossoms have a pleasing honeysuckle-like fragrance, and are attractive to hummingbirds.
- Long blooming for a perennial, ‘Texas Gold’ rewards the homeowner with bounteous blossoms from late March through early May. A grouping of several such plants can be breathtaking.
- Unlike some perennials which at times look rather weedy, the scalloped, bluish gray-green foliage and compact, rounded growth habit of ‘Texas Gold’ make it attractive year round.
- First perennial to achieve the coveted “Earth-Kind” designation for the Extension office. Rarely will pesticide application be required.
‘Texas Gold’ should give excellent performance in all areas of Texas with the possible exception of the Rio Grande Valley and the Panhandle. Even in these two areas, ‘Texas Gold’ is most worthy of trial planting (Lubbock and northward, plant in semi-shade along the south wall of a building for winter protection).
Remember, Learn and Have Fun!
David Rodriguez is County Extension Agent-Horticulture, Bexar County. For more information, call the Master Gardener ‘Hotline’ at (210) 467-6575 or visit our County Extension website at https://bexar-tx.tamu.edu, click under Horticulture and Gardening.