The Dallas Morning News recently ran a Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle with the…
“I want to replace what’s in my flower beds with something new…but some parts get lots of sun and some get shade, and I’d love flowers that attract pollinators, but I need something drought-tolerant and low maintenance, and of course I’d like a Texas native, and I need the space to fill in quickly…” Golly! This is a tall order, but one that NHG garden advisors hear a lot. Luckily, we have a great solution: our native Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii).
Turk’s Cap is a deciduous, semi-woody shrub that dies back to the ground each winter then re-emerges and quickly grows to 5’-6’ in late spring; over time, each plant also spreads. The rich green leaves contrast with the unique “Turk’s turban” shape of the bright red flowers; cultivars such as ’Pam’s Puryear’ (pink), ‘Big Momma’ (tomato red with larger flowers), and ‘Variegatus’ (variegated foliage) are also often available. This is one plant that can handle the clay soils of the Metroplex, and once established, it’s drought-tolerant. Turk’s Cap is low-maintenance, too: it will bloom all summer with no dead-heading of spent flowers, and an occasional trim will assure a neat, compact growth habit. It will perform in any light conditions, though exposure to full summer sun in our hottest months may cause the leaves to take on a wrinkled, leathery sort of appearance. Turk’s Cap loves dappled light or even full shade, and the beautiful flowers are a great way to add color to a darker corner of the landscape.
Now here’s the best part: many pollinators love the nectar of Turk’s Cap, and hummingbirds can’t resist it. The fruit it produces is a food source for birds and mammals, and the leaves are a larval food for three butterflies (the Turk’s Cap White Skipper (Heliopetes macaira), the Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak (Strymon istapa), and the Glassy-winged Skipper (Xenophanes tryxus). If you’re questioning what to plant in your garden, the answer may be Turk’s Cap.
Stop by NHG or call 214.363.5316 to check on product availability.