Asclepia tuberosa

5 asclepia almost blooming

Butterfly-weed, Butterfly Milkweed

This is a no-brainer herbaceous perennial for Oklahoma gardens! Lovely bushy, 2′ x 2′ , or a bit bigger mound, that blooms clusters of (Americas Brightest)orange flowers. Its called Butterfly Weed because it brings in the butterflies by serving as a host nectar plant for Monarch Butterflies! The leaves are dark-green and pointed. Asclepia wants to be in full sun and is not too fussy about soil, it actually prefers poor well draining sites. It is one of the last perennials to pop up in spring so don’t get too anxious and redig the are for a new spring planting–speaking from experience. Although it is sometimes called Orange Milkweed and every OK State fan needs to plant 5. this species has no milky sap. USDA Zone 3a to 9b.

Echinecea purpurea

lamilum almost blooming

Coneflower, Purple Coneflower

This is a must have herbaceous perennial plant. It is perfect for Oklahoma! It gets 2′-3′ tall and produces beautiful deep pink, large, single flowers above the foliage. The flowers last a long time–true if you cut them too. My advice is to stick to the straight species if you are new to gardening–they will not disappoint. In the last 10 years there have been many cultivars introduced but I have found that they sometimes revert to a mutant form or they just don’t seem to survive after a year or two. I am not opposed to trying them again, its just that in Oklahoma I am more interested in finding plants that are really reliable. USDA Zone 3 to 8.

Stachys byzantina

2 almost vloming cone and lambs ear May 29Stachys byzantina

Lambs Ears

This herbaceous perennial is soft and fuzzy, and silvery grey-green.  It is low-growing 6″ to 8″ inches tall and easy to grow as long as it has well-drained soil. It requires very little maintenance and tolerates a variety of weather and soil conditions. It’s a hardy, sturdy, plant that can be divided every few years. Really it should be divided ever so often as it can crowd itself out!  It’s easy to propagate by dividing the root ball or rooting a stem that is putting out roots.

Lamb’s ear flowers in late spring and early summer. The pale pink, violet or lavender flower spikes rise from 6″ to 10″ above the woolly base and attract bees and other pollinators. I don’t like the bloom and in the spring and early summer I keep them cut off.  By mid summer I let them bloom and the pollinators seem to appreciate it.  USDA Zone 4 to 9.


Garlic Scapes

1 garlic rapes May 28Garlic Scapes

A garlic scape is the stalk that forms about a month or two before the garlic bulb. They are thin, curly, green, and grow from hardneck garlic plants. If left unharvested, the scapes eventually bloom flowers when the garlic plant fully matures. They taste like garlic–surprise –but they kind of look like scallions and can therefore be used in all kinds of creative cooking–or flower arrangements.

Heliotropium amplexicaule

6 heilio whateverHeliotropium amplexicaule

Hardy Heliotrope

AGAIN!! A repeat already and you will see it again on a moving day post. This is a great plant for Oklahoma gardens!  I got mine three years ago at Bustani Plant Farm and have never seen it any other place.  It blooms and blooms, and loves heat and drought.  I keep cutting it back all summer to keep it blooming in a space about 3′ x 3′.  It has self seeded a bit, and I have transplanted it with success but it’s not that easy to dig up as it seems to have only one tap root. This plant both resprouts from the roots in my garden and self seeds, both of which I encourage as the bees and butterflies find it attractive. USDA Zones 7 to 9.

Salvia nemorosa

5 purple salvia may 25Salvia nemorosa

Meadow Sage

This is a very reliable herbaceous perennial. It will take full or half sun, is drought-tolerant, and has a dark purple blue flower spike. It blooms from early summer to autumn if flowers are deadheaded. after two years mine is about 18″ tall and wide but I expect it to get a little bigger before it needs dividing. All salvias bring in the butterflies and this one is no exception in Stillwater. Next year I will try to learn just who is showing up. USDA Zones 4 to 9

Verbena Bonariensis

3 tall verbena May 23Verbena Bonarieniss

Vebena Brazilian verbena, Purpletop vervain, Purple top vervain

I am not sure if this is an annual or perennial in my garden. I think an annual, I know it is reseeding, but I like the way it shows up like it is dancing around the garden. Presumably it is a hardy perennial in USDA Zone 7, it may be coming back but most of the time I find small seedlings that I move around. The pink purple-purple flower clusters stand at the ends of the stems as if they are floating. This Verbena makes a great see-through plant. Give it full sun for full height drought tolerant it’s very tall about 4 feet and for that reason an elegant contrast wherever it comes up.


Nepta ‘Walkers Low’

2 nepta walkers low may 22

Nepta ‘Walkers Low’


This is an unfussy plant–and I mean a no brainer for the Oklahoma garden. It blooms early and for a very long time. It does fine in poor to average soil and takes any amount of heat and humidity. The silver-gray foliage and pale purple flowers grows into a nice mound shape 24″ tall x 24″ wide. Because it comes out early, I don’t hesitate to shear it back as soon as the blooms fade. It comes right back and keeps blooming. Actually its not a problem to shear it back 2-3 times in the summer.

Sedum lineare ‘Sea Urchin’

6 sea urchin sedum. May 19Sedum lineare ‘Sea Urchin’

Sea Urchin Stonecrop

This low-growing sedum is lovely! It has tiny, narrow, variegated leaves that are mint-green with a creamy white edge. During the summer the bright yellow star-shaped flowers that bloom above the foliage are an added bonus. I have had this in my garden for three years and it has been easy to grow.  Give it well-drained soil and full to part sun. It is happy to take all the heat and drought stress that comes with a Stillwater summer. I have found it to be really reliable but it is said to be winter hardy only to USDA Zone 6a. Oklahoma is so harsh I usually try plants that can survive in USDA Zone 3-4, even though we are in USDA Zone 7a!