New Oklahoma Proven Plants, Drought Tolerant - Cleveland County, Oklahoma
Tracey PaytonHorticulture Extension EducatorOklahoma Cooperative ExtensionCleveland County601 E. Robinson, Norman, Ok 73071(405) 321-4774 New Oklahoma Proven Plants The Oklahoma Proven Plants for 2011 have been determined. What is Oklahoma Proven, you ask? They are plant selections chosen by experts in the Horticulture field that have shown to perform very well in Oklahoma’s climate, which as you know can be unforgiving. We recommend these plants to residents new to our harsh growing conditions, as well as businesses and experienced gardeners alike. Each year, a tree, shrub, perennial, and annual are chosen for Oklahoma Proven status. On some occasions, a Collectors Choice is also selected. The tree for 2011 includes varieties of the American Elm (Ulmus americana): ‘New Harmony’, ‘Valley Forge’, and ‘Princeton.’ These varieties of American Elm are a few that are shown to have resistance to Dutch Elm Disease, which decimated our charming elm lined streets beginning in the 1960’s. All the varieties mentioned are broadly vase shaped with dense canopies and beautiful yellow fall foliage. However, ‘Valley Forge’ is upright and arching while ‘New Harmony’ has arching and somewhat drooping branches. American elms can handle numerous soil conditions, including salts used for melting ice, air pollutants, drought, and a wide range of soil pH.
The shrubs selected for 2011 include varieties from the Abelia Collection(Abelia x grandiflora): ‘Kaleidoscope’, ‘Little Richard’, and ‘Rose Creek.’ Thesesmaller varieties of Abelia are becoming very popular in the landscape. All of thevarieties mentioned stay small, around 2-3’ wide and 3-4’ tall. ‘Kaleidoscope’ has brightred stems and lime green leaves tinged with yellow. The leaves of ‘Kaleidoscope’ won’tscorch in the sun, may have fall color that ranges from deep orange to red, and soft pinkbuds turning to white flowers in late spring. ‘Little Richard’ is evergreen with glossygreen leaves in summer that turn pinkish orange in fall, and white flowers that bloomfrom summer to the first frost. ‘Rose Creek’ is another evergreen having red stems, new growth turning from pink to dark green then purple come fall, and small white flowers encompassed by rosy pink sepals. These compact forms of Abelia can be used successfully in containers, as an accent hedge or plants, in a grouping, or as foundationplants. Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to these plants, adding another benefitto incorporating them into the landscape. Abelias prefer sun or part shade with a welldrained and more acid soil. Giant Coneflower (Rudbeckia maxima) is the perennialselection for 2011. I couldn’t be more excited about this nativechoice, as it is one of my favorite plants. Giant Coneflower haslarge grey blue foliage and flowers with bright yellow petals anda dark inner cone. One reason I love this plant is the flowers are
born in early summer above the foliage quite a bit, and get this: are 5-6’ tall! Giantconeflower is native to the Eastern part of Oklahoma, but does well throughout the state.It will do well in moist or dry soils once it is established. This Coneflower will thrive infull sun, but could also tolerate some late afternoon shade. Deadheading, or removing thespent blossoms, will encourage another flush of blooms in late summer. GiantConeflower works best as a border, or planted in masses. It is a great addition to nativebeds, woodland areas, or the cottage garden. The 2011 annual plant selection is Pink Crystals Ruby Grass (Melinusnerviglumis) variety ‘Savannah.’ As most warm season grasses, it thrives in full sun and heat and will survive in areas where other plants may scorch. Another benefit is unlike some grasses it only grows 18 to 22” tall. Pink Crystals Ruby Grass is a cute ornamental grass with traditional glossy green to blue foliage. In late spring it has bright pink blooms with silky white hairs. In addition, theflowers keep their color and can be used in flower arranging. Pink Crystals Ruby Grassis a great addition if you need something to fill in small areas of the flower bed, as aborder, or to add height to container plantings. The Silver Linden tree (Tilia tomentosa) is the CollectorsChoice selection for 2011. This is a lovely large shade tree thatcan get 50’ to 70’ tall. It is tolerant of the urban landscape, highpH soils, pollution, and can be more heat tolerant than other typesof Linden trees. The Silver Linden makes a great street tree or anice addition for a large Oklahoma yard. The leaves are a nice
dark green on the surface and silvery beneath, which offers an interesting contrast whenthe wind blows. In addition, small, fragrant white flowers will attract bees in late June orJuly and the leaves may have yellow fall foliage. Some cultivars may be selected foryour desired effect, such as brilliant fall color or better performance. I hope you will consider incorporating one or two of these selections into yourown landscape. For information on other Oklahoma Proven Selections by year contactour office at 405-321-4774 or go to: oklahomaproven.org.++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligiblepersons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, orstatus as a veteran, and is an equal opportunity employer.