We hear about superstars every day on the television and in our magazines, but did you know that there are superstars in the garden too? Our wonderful Aggies have designated a group of plants that are just that — superstars. The term “Texas Superstar” is a registered trademark of Texas Agrilife Extension Service. You can check their Web site for even more details on the Superstars and hundreds of other plants that we can grow in Texas.
What does it take to be a Texas Superstar plant? The Aggies look for plants that can survive in full sun, need minimal additional water, need minimal soil preparation and need no pesticides. More plants are added to the categories every year. After several years of extensive field trials, some plants are given this designation by a team of Texas A&M University researchers and extension horticulturists. For 21 years they have tested plants in search of top performers. They have deemed more than 50 plants Texas Superstars. Categories include trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials and vegetables.
The top 10
Hummingbird bush (Hamelia patens) is a stunning, tall red-head with nectar-filled orange-red tubular blooms. Gold Star Esperanza, or yellow bells (Tecoma stans), is a big blonde who can grow 6 feet tall with golden-yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers for months. Plumbago is a stunning blue bloom filled bush that butterflies will love just as much as you. Texas lilac Vitex, the Chaste tree (Vitex agus-castus) loves heat and grows like a small tree with purple blooms. Texas Gold Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha hinckleyana) is a soft yellow blooming perennial that won’t disappoint. Thryallis (Galphimia glauca) will give you months of small brilliant yellow flowers on a 6-foot shrub. Grandma’s Yellow Rose is a bushy 5-foot upright shrub with a spicy fragrance. Summer phlox is a perennial with showy clusters of pale-pink blossoms. Blue Princess verbena is a low, wide shrub with purple blooms for months. The striking Pride of Barbados will grow to give you 10 feet of glamorous red and orange blooms all summer long.
If you are interested, just search Texas Superstars and find the other 40-plus Superstars. You’ll be glad you did.
Fruit and Vegetable Show
Mark your calendar for the Jefferson County Extension Agency 40th annual Fruit and Vegetable Show to be held June 9 at Central Mall in Port Arthur. The general public is invited to enter as many items as you would like; entries are free and will be accepted from 9 a.m. until noon. Judging begins promptly at noon with prizes and ribbons. Enter your fresh or processed fruits, vegetables and herbs or just come to watch the fun. For more information, call the Texas AgriLife Extension office at (409) 835-8461.