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I loved all your thoughts and guesses this week. I keep hearing from so many of you how much you enjoy this challenge, even if you don’t know the plants. I think we all need to keep ourselves occupied these days with something new. Thanks for playing along. Keep your suggestions and ideas coming!

My son told me this first plant was simply too easy. My opinion, is that there are some people reading this that don’t know a petunia from a persimmon, so we need to have a mix of plants. That being said, many of you got this one right.

Oriental persimmon – Diospyrus kaki is a small tree that would grow easily in any landscape in Arkansas. Most varieties are self-fruitful, while a few do need another variety for pollination. In experience with fruit crops, heavier fruit set will occur with two different varieties. Unlike the native persimmon

Diospyrus virginiana which has both male and female trees and needs to be fully ripe to be less astringent, these fruits are edible before a hard frost. They have few problems with insects or diseases, so require no spray schedules. If you are looking for an easy tree fruit to grow in Arkansas, and you like persimmons, this might be your new tree. They rarely have freeze injury in Arkansas, but it can happen in an odd spring. Fruit size and shape will vary greatly depending on variety. Some can have this squattier shape, while others can be almost the size of a grapefruit.

They would prefer not to dry out, and like full sun.

xGordlinia grandiflora - Mountain Gordlinia or Sweet Tea,

is a fast-growing hybrid shrub or small tree developed by Ranney and Fantz of the Department of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University. It is a cross between Franklinia alatamaha

and Gordonia lasianthus.

It has large showy, sweetly fragrant white flowers that appear mid-summer and last through September. It is semi-evergreen but does have some red-orange fall color. In Arkansas this would do best with full morning sun or dappled light, with some protection from afternoon sun. It is not drought tolerant, so needs soils that do not get dry. I think all of you that guessed Franklinia, Gordonia, Stewartia,

or Camellia sinensis,

should give yourself a pat on the back, since they all look similar and are related—in the tea family or Theaceae.

This plant generated a lot of really good guesses, both Franklinia and Gordonia (Loblolly Bay), but also Stewartia and camellias. All were good guesses since they are all related in the tea family or Theaceae. Stewartia tends to bloom a bit earlier. I was quite impressed with the expertise of our gardeners in this challenge. Keep your ideas coming!

Zephryanthes sp. – Rain Lily or Zephyr lily

, is a member of the amaryllis family. In the wild, these bulbous plants burst into bloom after a heavy rain, thus the common name. The flowers can be white, yellow or shades of pink.

Zephryanthes candida is only white and tends to be a bit more vigorous than some of the more colorful species. The foliage on rain lilies is much thinner than on most amaryllis’ species, looking almost like monkey grass.

The bulbs should be hardy throughout Arkansas. Plant in a well-drained site in full sun. Bulbs should be planted 4-6 inches deep.

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