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Mystery plants for the week of June 8, 2020

Standing Cypress – Ipomopsis rubra

is a wonderful biennial wildflower in the phlox family. The first season it starts out with a low-growing rosette of foliage,

and the second season it soars upward with tall spikes of reddish-orange blooms which open from the top and progress downward.

Then it sets seeds and dies, but it self-sows, so you should have it coming back for years. You can deadhead the first stalk of blooms and get another one if you are so inclined.

Then let that one set seeds. If you start some in the spring, it may not bloom until the following year, but fall sowing of seeds can give you flowers the following summer. But planting some seeds two years running, will ensure blooms every year. Hummingbirds and bees love this plant. It was blooming beautifully at my friends garden in Paron, Arkansas when I was there picking blackberries.

White Milkweed – Asclepias variegata

is a white blooming milkweed, also commonly called redwing milkweed. While many of us are familiar with the bright orange butterfly weed plant,

there are actually quite a diverse number of milkweed plants that do well in our gardens. This variety tends to do do better at the edge of the woods, where it can have a little afternoon shade. It does have a milky sap indicative of most milkweeds (the orange butterfly weed is the only species without a milky sap). The blooms are pure white on the outside with purplish centers.

Variegata in the name stands for the bi-colored blooms, not variegated foliage. While monarchs may visit this one, it is not an important food source for monarchs, unlike some of the others, but it is very popular with other butterflies and and bees. After blooming, milkweeds form a canoe-shaped seed pod. Let them mature to get seeds for more plants.

Pink Trumpet vine – Podranea ricasoliana

is a tropical vine native to South Africa in the bignoniacea family, related to our native trumpet creeper

and cross vine.

It is not commonly sold for our gardens, nor is it rated winter-hardy in Arkansas, but it might come back from the root system if it is protected. I have seen zone 9 as its northern range of hardiness, but one source says it is hardy to 10 degrees. It is drought tolerant and used extensively in Florida. It starts blooming in the fall and (where hardy) will bloom through the winter and into spring. I took this picture in February in Costa Rica.

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