Monday, January 26, 2009
If you are looking for a nice drought tolerant shrub that flowers almost year-round try Euryops. I planted these as a quick fix for a bare bed about four years ago. I knew they were fairly fast growing and flowered in winter.
The plan was to get something started quick and fill in the blank spots later. They lived up to their mission and then some. These currently rank as one of my more brilliant choices, if I don't say so myself. They have bright yellow daisy-like flowers that cover the shrub like a golden carpet. Their leaves are deep green with deep serrated edges that reminds me of Shasta daisy foliage.
Euryops pectinatus are from South Africa, making them fine choices for our similar southern California climate. They can grow to a height of 6 feet tall and about 4 feet wide. They're good for a low screen and bold color impact in the back of the landscape. They also make good container plants.
In my garden, these heat-tolerant shrubs take full blazing sun in the summer and still look green and pretty. Sunset gives their zones as 8, 9 12-24 or USDA Zone 9-10 which means they are cold tolerant to about to 22 degrees.
There's another variety that has silvery leaves called Euryops acraeus which is said to do better surviving a bit of frost.
After a few years Euryops shrubs will develop a thatch on the inside. The structure reminds me of the Australian Tea Tree with the peeling bark and twisted branches. When I trim them I try to cut a few inner branches to help them fill out better. However, if you cut the entire plant back all the way you risk killing it off, so I do my pruning in phases.
Another interesting characteristic of these shrubs is that they really seem to bloom the heaviest on the side that faces west. I imagine it's because there's more sun to drink up on that side.
Just keep that in mind when you are landscaping your garden retreat.