Bulbs in the Amaryllis family produce very showy flowers on long stems. Naked ladies, Amaryllis belladonna, have naturalized in many parts of California, thriving in our wet-winter, dry-summer climate. The pink flowers on bare stems are a familiar sight along Highway 1 near Mendocino, and around old farmhouses here in the Valley.
Bigger cousins of the naked ladies, crinum lilies have lush strap-shaped green leaves while they bloom. The cluster of large white flowers are on top of long stems that stand nearly five feet high.
Dwarf plumbago creeps by rhizomes and spreads steadily to make a tough ground cover in shade or sun. It has dark, true blue flowers from mid-summer through fall.
Cape plumbago has lighter blue flowers, blooming freely summer and fall. The plant sprawls, trails, or climbs throughout the warm weather.
This little-known perennial is a great way to draw hummingbirds to the garden! Dicliptera, aka Uruguayan firecracker plant, spreads steadily but not rampantly, blooms summer and fall, and tolerates sun, light shade, and moderate drought.
Fuchsia Del Campo Glazion
Popular with coastal growers because of its resistance to fuchsia mite, the Del Campo Glazion is a great variety for Sacramento Valley gardeners. Two to three feet tall and wide, compact growth habit, and old-fashioned looking flowers in great abundance.
Geraniums are commonly called cranesbill because of the shape of their seedheads. As a group they are hardy, adaptable perennials. This one spreads a couple of feet as a small-scale ground cover and blooms non-stop through the summer. Perennial of the year in 2008, Plant of the Centenary in 2013! Quite a lot of praise for this little plant, perhaps because it is so widely adapted and carefree.
Spectacular flowers the size of dinnerplates! This is a real hibiscus, but unlike the better-known tropical type it is cold-hardy and deciduous. The plant gets about five feet tall and wide. Full sun, light shade, average watering.
With dozens and dozens of Salvia hybrids to choose from, what makes Pitcher sage stand out? It is very cold hardy, and has lovely violet-blue flowers that seem to glow. Native to eastern and central America, so it prefers a bit more water than our southwestern and California native types.
Verbena White Turkana
New verbena hybrids are stunning. This white variety in the Turkana series is one of the cleanest, brightest white flowers you'll ever see. Heat tolerant plants trail to make a small-scale ground cover, blooming until nearly frost. Cold hardy? Probably.
Verbena Peach Superbena
Verbena are notable for their hot neon colors, but some are more subtle. This is the Peach Superbena, a softer-color choice in that series.