Magazine article Landscape & Irrigation

Leucophyllum Frutescens -- Texas Ranger. (Plant Palette)

Magazine article Landscape & Irrigation

Leucophyllum Frutescens -- Texas Ranger. (Plant Palette)

Article excerpt

As we face another drought year in the West, the wisdom of using Southwestern natives seems brilliant again. Not only do many tolerate low water and intense heat, they manage to be beautiful at the same time. Such is the case with Leucophyllum frutescens, or Texas Ranger.

Growing naturally throughout Texas and northern Mexico, this evergreen shrub is a life-saver in the deserts but will tolerate temperatures dipping into the teens. It is most often used as a low shrub that is lovely left alone or sculpted into a formal or informal hedge, as it's densely foliated from the ground up. A naturally slow-grower, it will take time to reach its full width and height of approximately eight feet. This habit will be good news for those who wish to plant it and leave it alone, as supplemental pruning is minimal. Best in Western Garden zones 7-24, Texas Ranger blooms best where humidity and intense heat are common. Its ability to withstand wind makes it a natural for coastal applications. Any soil, even those plagued by alkalinity, is acceptable as long as it drains well. It will often have several long periods of bloom, beginning in the early summer throughout the fall.

Silvery gray leaves are small and attractive all year. In the summer when the heat arrives, spectacular light-purple flowers appear. Bell-shaped and approximately one inch long, they attract hummingbirds in profusion. Spots inside their throats provide interest upon close inspection. …

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