Sunday, May 03, 2009

Duranta - Super Plant!

If the heat has you in a rut with gardening, nothing will boost your spirits better than a little success. Or, how about a big success. One of mine has been duranta. I discovered the plant in 2001 at Tera's Garden in downtown Phoenix, which is no longer around ;-( . The lure of it's summertime durability was irresistible. At the north end of the backyard garden I had a hot wall that was frying the lawn with reflective heat. Bored with bougainvillea, I decided to add a purple duranta.

This picture was taken in 2002 October, about 1year after being planted from a 5gallon pot.

Now, only eight years later (April 2009), that once hot wall is just a cool memory. I prune the duranta about once a year, but I cut blooms from it regularly to add to flower arrangements.
The best thing about this plant, it's one of the biggest features here at Xericopia. Everyone who visits instantly remarks "What is that plant with the blue flowers?!" As they stumble past a field of lavender, swarming hummingbirds, 8ft tall hollyhocks, and purple hibiscus, they fixate on the duranta way out at the far end of the garden.

If you're looking for it in the Phoenix area, check out one of the great local spots like Baker Nursery. You'll likely not this beauty at a general home center.


Anonymous said...

Vinnie...we've fallen in love w/ our Duranta, but we live in Cookeville Tn (an hour east of Nashville) and wonder if it will w/stand our cold winters. We usually get about 8" of snow 2 to 4 times during the winter/early spring months. The bees,butterflies and hummingbirds are crazy about it (on our patio) and we'd love to plant it. It's been trained as a bush (long stalk) in a pot, so we can take it into the garden room for the winter if we have to. Whatya' say?

Vynnie the Gardener said...

Way to keep those bees happy! Duranta is pretty amazing, and even in the southern snow, it will bring you joy. Cover it as best you can when snow is forecast (either tented or triple-layer with frost cover), mulch very thick, 6inches or better, and use some twinkle lights to generate some warm air under the covering. (I'll do a winter post in November). Over time, the duranta will become stronger and healthier in the ground. -