Native standing cypress in full boom

Native standing cypress in full boom

Don’t you just love a surprise in your garden? It’s always a joy when just a few seeds hidden in an innocent looking mix of summer blooming beauties show themselves months or a year later. Each seed has its “time.” Some bloom almost immediately while others might need a year to surprise you. The standing cypress is a great example of a seed that you could have long forgotten that you even planted. What a surprise to see it yard long spire just spring up one day covered with vibrant red, tubular flowers!

The standing cypress is an upright perennial native to the southeastern United States. It has bright red flowers all up the shaft of the plant, which each and every passing hummingbird and butterfly will appreciate. You might know this showy wildflower by the name Texas plume, Red Texas star or Red gilia. It is in the Phlox family.

Give it full sun and a well drained location. Fall planting is best for her as with lots of wildflower seed-grown plants. During its first year, the plants form rosettes of ferny type foliage close to the ground that you don’t want to mistake for little weeds. The second year, they send up the celebratory spikes of blooms. She does not transplant well.

Wouldn’t they be pretty by the hundreds along a fence line or just out in an open space? She will bloom from June through August and grow 2-5 feet tall. Because of the height, it might work best in the back of your planting area. This showstopper will self-sow very easily, bringing even more redheaded beauties next year. Florists love the unique feathery foliage with its refined looks for floral arrangements. Go and buy some seeds packs just for the surprise of it all.

Joette is an avid gardener and prides  herself on staying up-to-date on the latest gardening activities and tips. To share your gardening news with Joette, call (409) 832-1400 or fax her at (409) 832-6222. Her e-mail is joreger [at] msn [dot] com.