the rabbitbrush chronicles, part 4

Probably the last thing I have to say about rabbitbrush, which isn’t much anyway, but I bought some more.

These were labeled ‘Compact’. I wonder if that’s the same thing as ‘Dwarf’. Only time will tell.

Also in the picture are a couple of Salvia greggii ‘Wild Thing’. The name says absolutely nothing about the plant, unlike ‘Furman’s Red’ which at least gives an indication of what color to expect. The latter overwinters for me fairly reliably but does not flower spectacularly without some serious rain in August or September.

The answer, or at least part of the answer, is watering, and a lot of it. West Texas gets more summer rain–especially late-summer rain–than cities along the Front Range. (Look up the annual precipitation of Alpine, Texas, if you don’t believe me.) The plants like water, period.

Why some of these sages overwinter and some don’t is a mystery to me. (No piffle about “drainage”, please.) ‘Dark Dancer’ and ‘Grenadine’ have been hardy here in heavy soil, with watering, as has ‘Navajo Cream’, with a ridiculous amount of watering (it’s growing next to the newly-seeded blue grama lawn), but ‘Wild Thing’ has never made it through one winter. Being an optimist, I’m trying it again.

Speaking of watering (I know, this started out with rabbitbrush, but my mind wanders a lot these days), I felt inferior because my Sporobolus wrightii was wilting and not flowering, so I watered them, and now they’re putting up flower spikes. Yes, it’s in the front garden, which never gets watered, but the pinyon on the right is newly planted, and needs attention with the hose, so I figured why not water the grasses.

Feeling much better, thank you.


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4 Responses to the rabbitbrush chronicles, part 4

  1. Lucie K. says:

    Your “chronicles” inspired me to take a stroll at Crown Hill Park (I caught a field of blooming rabbitbrush out of the corner of my eye earlier this week, and went back today). View some shots at I did not recognize the orange and black insects atop the blossoms (barely visible in the close-up picture). Are you familiar with them?

  2. paridevita says:

    Could be longhorn beetles. Rabbitbrush also attracts locust borer beetles, all kind of other bugs.

  3. Jim says:

    I planted a couple rabbitbrush bushes last fall. Should they be left as-is come spring? Or cut back? I don’t know what to expect as far as looks in spring and summer. But so far I love these plants in fall and winter. Any suggestions for how to care for them? Thanks!

    • paridevita says:

      That’s up to you. You can leave them as is, or cut them back. If you cut them back, they won’t get very big, of course, but when they get really large they tend to be rangy. I like the look, but some people don’t.

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